You're ready to adopt, and become a parent. Before you can go too far into the adoption process, you need to complete a home study. The home study is the step of the process that ensures you are a good fit for and will provide an appropriate home to an adoptive child, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Administration for Children and Families. If you're not entirely sure what to expect or how the study will go, getting a jump on some common questions can help you to stay informed and prepare to become a parent.
1. Are all home studies the same?
No. Just like there are different types of adoptions, there are different requirements for home studies. For example, if you're adopting internationally through a country that is part of the Hague Convention, you'll need to have a Hague authorized provider conduct your home study. The adoption agency can verify this and make sure that you have the right case worker in charge of the process.
2. Does the study just look at the family's home?
Again, no. Even though the name includes the word "home," your actual house isn't the only part of this adoption step. The idea is to gather and put together a picture of your family. This doesn't just mean a simple visit to your home. Throughout the study you will need to include other information. This includes child abuse clearances, references, criminal background clearances and a health history, according to the website Children Awaiting Parents. Other information that falls under the home study umbrella may include financial documents, insurance coverage verification and personal statements from you and your family.
3. What kinds of personal statements are part of the home study?
These may vary, depending on the type of adoption process you are going through. Typically these include statements on your motivation for adoption, expectations for the child's life with you, expectations for integrating the child into your family and possibly your feelings on infertility or the journey to adoption.
4. Who pays for the home study?
The home study is not a free step in the adoption process. You will pay the adoption agency for the home study. One exception to this is if you are adopting through the foster care system.
5. Is special preparation needed for a home study?
Not really. Yes, you will need to prepare all of the required documents. This may mean getting copies of birth certificates, a marriage certificate and other information. Your caseworker will let you know ahead of time what you'll need. When it comes to prepping your home, the caseworker wants to see a typically picture of how you live. While you want to show the pro a neat and tidy (as well as safe) environment, you shouldn't create a fake image of how things really are.
Whether you're adopting from places like A Chosen Child, your hometown, the foster care system or internationally, you'll need to complete a home study. This part of the adoption process allows you to show off just how fit you are to become a parent. From providing paper work to writing personal statements, the study provides an all-inclusive picture of who you are and what your family can offer its new member.