If you are planning to adopt a child, then one of the first things you will need to have completed is a home study. Whether you are doing a domestic, international, step-parent or second-parent adoption, a home study report is required. So you might ask, what is a home study?
A home study is a report completed by a licensed social worker approving you as an adoptive parent or family. The social worker must be licensed in the state where you reside. She will request you to provide her with some documents including a medical letter indicating that you are in good health, a letter from your employer verifying your position and income, reference letters from friends attesting to your ability to parent a child, etc. For a complete list of these documents please see Documents Needed for Home Study. It is important to note here that this is Family to Family’s required list of documents and this list will vary from agency to agency and state to state. As well as international adoptions require more paperwork depending on the country you are adopting from and the international agency you will be using to complete your adoption.
The social worker will also need to visit your home and complete an interview with all persons that live in the home and an environmental checklist. The checklist ensures the safety of the child being placed in your home. Any safety concerns or hazards will be discussed at this time as well as suggestions for child-proofing in areas of your home. If you have questions regarding your home inspection, please ask your social worker.
Another step in the home study process is criminal and child abuse background checks. You will be asked to provide information such as your social security number, driver’s license number, and any other names you have used so that your home study agency can request a criminal and child abuse background check on anyone over the age of 18 that lives in the home where a child will be placed. An FBI check may also be requested. It is important to be upfront and honest with your social worker regarding any criminal or child abuse history you may have. If you do have a criminal history, depending on the situation and the charges, this may or may not prevent you from being approved as an adoptive parent. The social worker, the home study agency and the licensing department will decide on a case by case basis.
The home study is a great way for your social worker to really get to know you and understand your ideas regarding the adoption process. If you have any questions or concerns about the process or paperwork, the home study is a great time to talk to your social worker about these. For example, if you have questions regarding drug abuse during pregnancy or attachment, discussing these with your social worker answers your concerns or fears and gives the social worker an idea of your comfort level with these areas of the adoption process. She may be able to provide you with resources for before, during, and after the adoption process if needed.
Once you have given all of your paperwork to your social worker and the home visit has been completed, then you will be provided with an original of your approved home study report. I would like to mention that some agencies require you to use their social worker or an approved social worker for their agency so be sure and ask when you are moving in to the home study process. A fee will be charged for the home study report but this varies among agencies. Please contact us if you are interested in Family to Family completing your home study report. You can find other documents pertaining to the home study along with a template for medical and reference letters in our home study forms. You might find many answers to your questions on our FAQ page for home studies. We look forward to helping you with the home study process to adopt a child.