Preparing for the Home Study

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The domestic infant adoption process begins with one necessary step -- the home study. In the United States, an approved home study is required for the placement of an adopted child. Most adoption agencies or attorneys will not work with you until you have a completed home study. Each state has slightly different requirements for the home study, but they are typically conducted by an agency licensed by your home state. This entire process will gather information about your family, as a prospective adoptive family, and approve you for the adoption of a child. The home study will evaluate the overall health and safety of your family and your home, and it will better educate and prepare your family for adoption.

The home study process can be tedious and taxing because of all the necessary documents and paperwork that will be required, but it is also much needed time spent with your social worker. The social worker who conducts this home study can be a source to answer questions that you may have about adoption and can even assist in facilitating conversations about key topics in adoption with your spouse or partner. Try to acknowledge this time as a gift that will only add to the health of your family.

The home study will include the gathering of personal documents such as marriage/divorce records, health and medical information, and financial information such as tax returns and employment/salary info, but it will also include a background check. You will provide personal references who will be called upon to speak to your character and your readiness to adopt/parent a child. A social worker will interview you in your own home, and any other individuals, including minor children, living there as well. The social worker will also inspect your home for safety concerns.

It can be helpful to prepare yourself for these interviews by reflecting upon the following topics; How have I/we prepared for adoption? What led me/us to adopt? What do i/we believe is the plan for our family? What prior influences in my/our history may affect this journey?

Please remember that your social worker is not judging your housekeeping skills or your home d├ęcor! The social worker is simply ensuring that your home meets the safety requirements of your home state. The things that can preclude approval of your home study are a criminal record or a serious safety concern. The social worker does not care whether you own or rent your home, just whether it is safe for a child. 

It may be helpful to be in contact with a support group, a counselor, or an adoption advisor during this portion of the journey. Take this process one step and/or one document at a time or it can easily overwhelm some individuals and can sometimes lead to resentment and uncertainty. This process can be all-consuming, as any preparation for parenting can naturally be. Practice self-care and be sure that you and your partner/family, are well cared for and attended to during what can be a stressful time in the adoption process. Work together as a family and, if possible, divide the tasks so that one person is not carrying the full load.  Lean into this journey, do not be afraid to ask questions and learn as much as you can during this important time in your adoption journey.

If you are considering adoption and you would like guidance throughout your adoption, contact Katie at Purl Adoption Advisory at (602) 842-4955 or info@purladoptions.com.

This post was written by Purl Adoption Advisory contributing writer, Trisha Pavicich, a licensed social worker who has worked as a Birth Mother Specialist and Home Study and Post Placement Specialist for various adoption agencies. 

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Katie Zimmerman