When you are adopting a child, you must begin with a home study. An adoption home study is an overview of your life. It consists of a criminal background check, health clearance, a review of your finances, an assessment of your marriage, partnership, and other personal relationships. A home study is used by the courts to determine whether a stable environment exists for a child to be placed in your home.
A home study is required for every adoption with the exception of relative or step-parent adoptions. The child you are adopting can be an infant or a teen; the adoption may be international or domestic, it may be done privately or through a foster care agency. If a prospective adoptive parent is not a relative or a step-parent, they must go through this study.
The adoption home study is the most significant first step in the adoption process, and it is often the lengthiest. The entire thing can seem overwhelming. The more you know about how a home study works, the more prepared you will be for one.
To successfully complete a home study, you will need to meet at a minimum the following requirements:
- Submit birth certificates, marriage licenses, and other personal documents
- Have a licensed home study social worker visit your home
- Have each member of your household complete an interview with a licensed home study social worker
- Submit to a background check that will include a criminal record check and child abuse clearances
- Submit character references from people who know you
- Get health clearance from your doctor
Taking the initiative is the key to completing an adoption home study successfully and expeditiously. The following are the general steps required to complete a home study:
- Find an Adoption Home Study Provider Near You
An adoption home study can only be done by a licensed social worker. Such individuals tend to be employed by child placement agencies. Some private adoption companies also employ licensed home study professionals. The person you choose will help you meet some of the requirements. More importantly, they will help guide you through the process.
- Fill out the Home Study Application
After you apply for adoption, you should receive an application and information packet. You should complete the form as soon as possible.
- Meet With the Social Worker for the Home Inspection
After you have completed the application and filed the required paperwork, the home study worker will be ready to conduct their home visit and carry out their interviews. They may also request you to fill out a form. This should be completed and submitted before their visit.
After the social worker visit, they will write a report. This report is required before your family’s profile can be shown to prospective birth mothers. You will be given a copy of the report. You will need to review and verify all the information in it. This report ultimately gets filed with the Petition for Adoption with the Court.
This process is new to just about anyone who is adopting for the first time. While there may be several steps to go through and it might seem daunting at first, know that we’re here at Gulf Coast Adoptions to help go over all of this with you and prepare you along the way. Please contact us to find out more about the home study process or to start your adoption journey today.