Preparing for a new family member is an exciting time for families who choose the route of adoption. There are applications to complete, interviews to undergo, and information to learn before, during and after the completion of the adoption process. The early stages can be especially nerve-wracking because of the uncertainty and newness of it all, but as you learn the reasons behind why things are done the way they are, you can have a much more positive adoption experience. One step that will occur for any type of adoption is an in-depth, comprehensive home study. The following blog will discuss the reasons for and the process of the home study, anticipated fees, and finally, the many possible individuals involved in the home study process.
What is a Home Study?
Some prospective parents may feel that home studies are a scary and confusing aspect of adoption which risk that possibility that they will be disqualified and unable to be approved to adopt. That is generally not the case. The purpose of the home study is to assess the likelihood that the prospective family will be able to provide a safe, secure and loving home for their new child. This does not mean perfect, no situation is. It just has to be the type of home where a child will thrive, have his or her physical, emotional, and safety needs met, and live in a stable situation. This means the family’s financial status has to be good enough that the child isn’t at risk for not having his or her needs met.
While home study requirements may vary from state to state and from agency to agency, the home study itself is a required step in the adoption process for domestic and international adoptions. During the home study process, a licensed social worker will work with prospective adoptive parents. To get to know them and to assess whether they are able to care for a new child in that safe, secure and loving environment described above. This will entail several face to face visits in the agency office and in the family home.
The information gathered at these meetings is compiled into a detailed written report, including specific documents, about the family’s home life, health and income statements, background checks, and if the prospective adoptive parents have a safe, secure environment in which to raise the child. The time it takes to conduct a home study varies from agency to agency, and/or how many caseworkers are assigned to conduct the home study and to complete the background check. Home studies will need to stay current because they do expire from every 6 to 24-months, depending on the state, for instance, Nevada expires annually.
Who is involved with the home study?
The home study will require the entire prospective adoptive family to be included in the adoption approval. This will allow the social worker to see how the family interacts, parenting style and everyday home life. They are not looking to see if your couches match your wallpaper, but rather how the household functions and whether the environment feels nurturing, safe and secure.
The social worker or other professional will write the home study report once he or she has met with the prospective adoptive parent(s) on several occasions, and if they are a couple, both together and individually. Each family member plays an important role in the pre-adoption process. There will be several interviews, visits, informational sessions, and home visits. These steps will allow the social worker to get to know the family and assist prospective parents with their adoption.
Home studies ensure children are properly matched with families that can meet their needs of a loving, safe and healthy home. Prospective parents may utilize their time while they wait for the home study to be completed by connecting with other prospective and current adoptive parents and developing supportive networks. Although the home study is not the final step, it is a major part of the adoption process. Families looking to adopt should try to keep a positive outlook and keep learning about what the process entails. By doing so, they can learn valuable and helpful information about their new life with their adopted child.
If you have any questions, concerns or are currently in the process of adopting a baby feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit our website here or contact us by phone, 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Want to Give Back?
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Strom graduated from Lehman College in the Bronx in May of 2018, where she received her bachelors in Professional Writing. After receiving her education at Lehman College, Rachel is currently interning at Adoption Choices Inc., where she is a weekly blogger.
Rachel was adopted from Asuncion, Paraguay in 1991. Her adoption experience has helped her write articles for Adoption Choices Inc., from the perspective of an adoptive individual. She hopes her articles will help someone looking into adoption or encourage those currently in the process.
When Rachel is not writing for Adoption Choices Inc. or her own novels she enjoys her other passion for baking, where she resides, in the New York City area. When she is baking, music is always playing throughout the kitchen while she is whipping up a delectable dessert for her friends and adoptive family.
“The Adoption Home Study Process.” Child Welfare Information Gateway, Children’s Bureau, Oct. 2015, www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/f_homstu.pdf.
Caughman, Susan, and Isolde Motley. “What Is a Home Study? & More Answers for Adoptive Parents.” Adoptive Families, Adoptive Families Magazine, 2 Mar. 2018, www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-process/what-is-a-home-study/.
“Home Study Requirements.” U.S. Department of State: Travel.State.Gov, U.S. Department of State, Aug. 2018, travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/Intercountry-Adoption/Adoption-Process/how-to-adopt/home-study-requirements.html.
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“What Is an Adoption Home Study? What Type of Information Is Included in It?” Children’s Bureau | ACF, Children’s Bureau, 27 June 2018, www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/faq/adoption9.