- A home study is a document telling the story of your family: who you are (both past and present), what values you hold, what your finances are like, your health history, your reasons for adopting, how you plan to parent, etc.
- An approved home study means that you have been found fit to parent.
Who Conducts a Home Study?
- A social worker licensed by your state will conduct a series of visits/interviews in your home and will use the information learned to write your home study.
What do I need to do prior to starting my home study visits?
- Complete background checks
- Get fingerprinted
- Complete historical background summary
- Write out a brief outline/story of your life (your social worker will use this as a guide during your home study interviews
- Complete a health report/physical from your doctor
- Obtain a copy of your health benefits and coverage
- Complete training hours
- Typically trainings are offered by your agency and are available online
- Depending on your program/country of choice, different trainings will be required
- Compile financial summary
- Gather pay stubs, W-2s, previous year’s tax returns, etc.
- List out any debts
- Complete a monthly cash flow budget
- Gather references
- Compile copies of legal documents
- Birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports
- Make sure your house is up to date on safety
- Develop an emergency evacuation map of your home
- Identify any potential hazards
- Pool/water feature
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Fire extinguishers
- Complete background checks
What can I expect during my interviews & home visits?
- The social worker will ask a series of questions to learn more about your family and how it relates to your adoption.
- There will be times when the social worker asks to speak with you and your spouse one-on-one, however most of the time you will be interviewed together. If you have children, depending on their age, they may be interviewed as well.
- Depending on how the social worker conducts the visit (everyone is different), they may present you with a survey to take that will help them guide the conversation. Other social workers may just use the history background summary you provided.
- Relax, be flexible, and have a sense of humor! They aren’t there to interrogate you. They are there to make sure that your family can be a safe, healthy, loving environment for a child.
- Try your best to be open and honest.
- Depending on your history, they may need to ask questions about sensitive subjects—be prepared.
- Some families fear that things that have happened in their past may disqualify them from being an adoptive parent. My advice has always been to be open and honest about those things and show how there has been healing or change in your life. It may require further discussion or a letter from a licensed counselor. (Different agencies have different standards for this).
- Among the more concerning issues that could potentially be disqualifying would be a drug or alcohol conviction and/or addiction problem.
After you complete all of your interviews, your social worker will get to work writing your home study. This can take several weeks, so try your best to stay patient!
By AdoptTogether Adoption Consultant, Chloe Briggs