Lifetime Adoption has put together an adoption home study checklist to help adoptive parents. This was born from our most common questions about home studies. “What is a home study?” “How deep will they dig into our lives?” “Do we have to organize every closet and dust every corner?” and “Is there any reason we wouldn’t be approved?” are just a few of the frequently-asked questions about adoption home studies.
The adoption home study process exists to assess your ability to be parents. The home study provider is a social worker who is there to help get you ready for adoptive parenting, and to equip you for success. Keep reading to discover what the home study involves. We’re also sharing an exclusive Lifetime Adoption webinar here that includes everything you need to know about adoption home study!
What’s an Adoption Home Study?
When you begin the home study process, you’ll complete paperwork about your family, income, medical history, and your position on discipline. The home study provider needs to know you’re both healthy enough to parent, so you’ll need to get physicals. You will also need to get FBI fingerprints to check on your criminal history. The goal of all this is to make sure that you’ll be responsible parents, with a stable income, and with no criminal history. You’ll be asked to get background checks in your state, and child abuse clearances also. Depending on where you live, you might need to take classes or read books in order to better become more acquainted with adoption and parenting adopted children.
The home study provider schedules a time to meet with you in your home. They’ll tour your home and check for safety measures. Examples include an evacuation plan, a fire extinguisher, and a fence around your pool. If they find any issues, they’ll give you a chance to fix them.
Finally, the social worker will interview both of you. They need to get acquainted with both of you and learn your goals for the future. The social worker might ask about your lifestyle, family background, careers, and religious affiliation.
Adoption Home Study Checklist
Here are the basic items you will need to provide:
- ID – such as driver’s license
- Proof of residency
- Birth certificates for adoptive parents and all children in the home
- Marriage license
- Divorce Decrees
- Death Certificate of former spouse
- Proof of Military Discharge
- Background checks (FBI, State, Local, Abuse, Sex offender) for every state lived in for the past 5 years
- Relative references
- Non-relative references
- Employment references
- School references for children in the home
- Financial statement
- Your tax returns for the past three years
- Proof of medical insurance, including documentation that you can add an adopted child
- Savings statement
- Guardianship statement – who is named and accepts responsibility in the event something happens to the parents
- Physicals on adoptive parents and all children in the home
- Pet vaccination verification
- Complete state application to adopt
- Adoption disclosure
- Release of information
- confirmation of completion of mandatory training hours
- Adoptive family questionnaire (very detailed historical and current information about the family)
- Other forms to sign and acknowledge depending on state requirements – such as:
- Acknowledgment of Firearms safety requirements
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Information
- Water Safety
You Will Also Have:
- Interviews with all family members
- Inspection of the home
Webinar: Behind the Scenes of an Adoption Home Study
In this adoption webinar exclusive to Lifetime, we discuss all-things-home-study. Get expert answers from one of Lifetime’s directors, Linda Rotz, who is also an experienced home study professional. In the webinar, you’ll get to go behind the scenes of the adoption home study so that you’re prepared for what to expect, both before AND after you bring your baby home.
Did you know most hopeful adoptive parents start their home study at the same time they begin their program with Lifetime Adoption? If we can help you learn more about getting started, or taking the next step, toward your family’s adoption dream, just reach out. You can talk with someone at Lifetime today: 1-727-493-0933.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.