In most states, a social worker will evaluate your fitness to parent during what’s known as a home study. Rather than a study and evaluation of your home, it’s really a people study. Adoption home studies not only serve to qualify you to adopt, but also help to prepare you for adoptive parenting…for the child you’re so eager to meet!
Requirements in each state differ, but an adoption home study usually includes a home inspection, physicals, a review of your finances, references from friends and coworkers, and a background report that may include an FBI check. It also includes personal interviews with everyone living in your home and a little personal history about your family life.
Nearly all people who apply to adopt do qualify for a home study, and most prospective parents worry unnecessarily. The intent of a home study is to screen out people with severe mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, a criminal record of child abuse, or those with so little income that an adopted child would be placed into poverty. If your home life is stable, if you are in reasonably good health, if you have enough income to raise a child, and if you are a loving and responsible person with a heartfelt desire to parent a child for life, you should qualify to adopt.
Adoption home studies should be kept updated. In most states, families only need to update annually. Check with your home study provider to make sure your report is kept current so you don’t compromise a potential adoption. Even ordinary changes in your life need to be reflected by a home study update, including moving to a different home, changing jobs, having a relative move into your home, adding a biological child, or if you change your preferences for a child.
After you are home with your child, your home study provider will visit you again. These visits are called post-placement visits and serve to help you finalize your adoption. These visits will evaluate how life is going, how everyone is adjusting, and to complete required court reports that will be submitted with the request to finalize your adoption. This is an excellent time to ask about local support groups or play groups, or for additional resources regarding your unique adoption.
This information was excerpted from Lifetime Founder Mardie Caldwell’s most recent book, Called to Adoption. To learn more about how you can answer God’s call to you to adopt a baby or child, please give Lifetime Adoption a call: (530) 432-7373 or visit www.LifetimeAdoption.com.