The home study is an important part of the adoption process. During the home study, a licensed social worker or caseworker will gather information about your family and eventually conduct a report. The goal of this process is to educate and inform individuals or families about adoption, gather autobiographical information about the prospective family, and to evaluate the capability and suitability of a family to adopt. Some prospective adoptive parents find the home study process to be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what you need to know about the home study to make it as stress-free and comfortable an experience as possible.
You should be prepared to submit or share the following information during the home study process:
- Autobiographical statements
- Employment and financial information
- Personal references
- Medical reports/records for all family members in the home
- Criminal background clearances
The home study is not one single visit but a process that can take two to three months to complete. The home study consists of multiple, prearranged visits between the social worker and prospective family. The caseworker simply wants to get to know a family as well as possible before giving his or her evaluation, and you can not learn enough about someone in a single day or meeting. However, expedited home studies can be arranged if a birthmother’s due date is quickly approaching.
Typically, the steps and meetings involved in a home study consist of an orientation/initial information session, training to help potential parents better understand the needs of children waiting for families, adoption processes, etc., several interviews, conducted either in your home or an office, and a home visit.
The home study process is designed to determine whether adoption is the right choice for you and your family, to prepare you for adoption, and help you determine the child that will best match your family. Be yourself, be open, and be positive. By doing so, and by understanding what’s required of you, you can be on your way to a successful home study.