When you’re preparing to adopt, the thought of a social worker visiting your home to inspect it for the adoption home study can feel daunting. You can manage the visit with less stress if you first educate yourself and prepare. The social worker is doing a “people study,” and part of that is to see where and how you live. They are not looking for a perfect model home, but one where a child will be safe and clean.
These tips on home study preparation were excerpted from my book, Called to Adoption:
“You may wish to plan to have refreshments to offer your social worker so the appointment feels more like a visit and less like an interview. Set the date and time for your visit and confirm the day before the appointment. If you have young children, be sure they are fed and rested prior to the visit, or even put them down for a nap before the appointed time. Be sure that you are also fed and rested, as the interview may be a few hours.
Clean and tidy your home the day before, picking up any items in your yard that are out of place. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but presenting a home that is clean and neat is important. Your preparation is a good time to discover little changes or adaptations your home could use for a new child, such as minimizing clutter, reorganizing, or making your home more child friendly.
If you have pets, have them fed and put in their area to avoid distraction. They will need to be current on required vaccinations, and you may need to provide documentation as validation.
If you have been asked to complete or submit documents, be sure they are copied and clearly labeled. Similarly, if you have been given a list of topics that will be discussed, come prepared to the discussion. You will need to have ready answers to questions like: who will care for your child should something happen to you, how you plan to discipline your child, and other topics relating to parenting. If you are not a parent yet, these may not be topics you and your spouse have discussed, so some time spent in preparation may be well served.
When we were preparing for our first home study visit, I cleaned our condominium like I was expecting the queen! I was almost disappointed when our social worker didn’t open the perfectly organized closets or check for dirt under the refrigerator. I had the house absolutely spotless, only to learn later that it wasn’t a “white glove test” of our home.
One helpful thing we did to prepare for the interview was to casually discuss future decisions we’d have to make. We talked about childcare while we took our evening walk. We discussed child-rearing over dinner. We didn’t stress about it, but rather, took time to come together about how we wanted to raise our family. If you haven’t given these topics a lot of thought, don’t worry. No one expects you to have all the answers, but it is a good opportunity to begin to prepare for parenthood.”
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”