If you are considering adoption you will find that it is a very involved and detailed process. This is rightly so because the betterment of a child(ren) is being considered for your care. One important part of the adoption process is the adoption home study. The adoption home study is a detailed written report that is prepared by a social worker about the family being considered as an adoptive placement. The adoption home study is a very involved document that requires a family to open themselves up, and explore their reasons and even suitableness for adopting. The home study process may occur over one long visit or a series of visits and interviews with the family members. This process is not only eye opening for a family, but also the social worker on determining what type of child would be fit into the current family dynamic. I would like to further review some of the areas one can expect to be explored during the adoption home study process.
The type of questions that are normally covered in this section of the study/interview pertain to the history, especially childhood and parenting beliefs of the prospective adoptive parents. Questions such as How were you disciplined as a child? How do you currently discipline or plan to discipline children in your care? Questions about best memories from childhood vs. your greatest fears? Prospective adoptive parents can learn a great deal about themselves by exploring this area.
Your Community/Living Environment
Adoptive parents needs to able to articulate the positive attributes of the community and overall environment they live in. What are the schools like? Are their extra curricular activities/clubs for the child’s participation? Are their resources available to assist the family if a child with special needs is expected in the home? Is the neighborhood/neighbors child- friendly? All of these questions help to paint the picture of the lifestyle the child will grow up in and be influenced by.
The area of physical health will be explored for those hoping to adopt. The social worker will need to know about any health issues or concerns that you have and how one is monitoring and dealing with those issues. If necessary one may need to be prepared to explain how the feel their present health issues will or will not affect the adoptive child. Overall there should not be any major issues with one adopting as long as the health problems are not of such a serious nature to affect ones life expectancy.
Prospective adoptive parents must be able to show that they are financially fit and stable to care for an additional family member. One may be asked to produce financial statements such as previous tax records, paycheck stubs, and/or bank statements. Some social workers may require that a family fill out a financial worksheet showing expenses vs. current income.
All though some information will vary from state to state, many will request criminal and child abuse record checks. Most misdemeanors that are older in occurrence with a valid explanation may not be an issue, but felony convictions considering their timeframe of offense and nature of offense will likely not be tolerated.
Most home studies will also require a certain number of references. These are individuals who have known you and your family for a period of time. They will be able to speak on your overall character and level of integrity. One would want to select people who have experienced interactions with the adoptive couple/family in a variety of situations.
During this stage of the home study the worker will review paperwork that has been received for clarity and further explanation if needed. They will interview your other children if you have any, to obtain their feelings toward adoption if they are old enough to convey that information. The social worker will request to tour your home and see the place you have designed for the adoptive child to live in.
As one can see an adoption home study is an involved process of many components. The cost of a home study is also something one must consider. Depending on what type of adoption is being considered, the adoptive family may or may not be responsible for the cost. It will be best to speak with the organizing worker on the fees associated. Adoptive home studies can range from $500 to $3000 in cost.