Choosing just the right adoptive family for your baby might seem complicated. As you look at adoptive parent profiles, they’ll probably all look nice and friendly and say things you like. But, as one woman puts it, “How do I know my baby will be safe with the adoptive parents I choose?”
You will be happy to know that Lifetime’s hopeful adoptive parents go through a long and detailed process before they are approved to adopt. Part of this process is called a “home study.” Once the home study is complete, our team of adoption professionals will review it to ensure your baby will go to a safe and loving home.
Learn more about the in-depth screening and background checks every hopeful adoptive parent must go through to adopt so you can know your baby will be safe!
What is a Home Study?
A home study is a report that a state-certified social worker creates to gather information on a couple hoping to adopt. This social worker is independent, meaning that they do not work for Lifetime, so they’re not biased. They will screen and evaluate the hopeful adoptive couple.
The social worker will visit the couple’s home as part of the home study process. This visit makes sure that the house is safe and has plenty of room for a child. The social worker will check the entire home and property and interview everyone who lives there. If there are other adults who live with the adoptive couple, such as a grandparent, the social worker will also interview them and any children in the home. The social worker wants to ensure that everyone in the household is excited to see their family grow.
How to Find Out if an Adoptive Couple has Completed a Home Study
Now that you know what a home study is and what it involves, you might be wondering, “How do I know if the couple I’m interested in has completed a home study?” When you are looking for adoptive parents using Lifetime’s Family Search, you can see whether an adoptive couple has completed their home study. Once you click on their site, there will be a pink home study badge displayed at the top right of the site.
This badge means that their home study is current, and our team at Lifetime has reviewed it. If you find a family that does not have a badge, that means that they are in the process of completing their home study. Legally, before a baby can be placed in their adoptive home, the home study must be complete.
How Are Adoptive Families Evaluated?
The social worker will also conduct background checks and in-depth screenings on the hopeful adoptive parents. They will run a background check on all adults in the home, which includes federal (FBI), state, and local checks. These checks will show if there have been any criminal behavior or child abuse reports ever reported.
The hopeful adoptive parents have to prove their income through payroll stubs or tax records, pass criminal background checks, and get a physical to show they’re healthy enough to parent. In addition, the social worker will run financial checks on the hopeful adoptive parents. The social worker wants to be sure there are no financial struggles or extensive debt that could cause stress on the family now or in the future.
The report will also need to show that the family can provide medical and dental insurance along with life insurance so that if anything should happen to a parent, their child will be provided for.
Another screening an adoptive family must complete is a health certification. All members of the household, even children, must get a doctor to certify that they are healthy and able to care for a child.
Adoption education is also important to the home study provider. Some states require a certain amount of hours of education before a couple can adopt. At Lifetime, we provide adoptive families with extensive articles, webinars, podcasts, and blogs to make sure they receive all the adoption information, parenting, and life skills education they need to be great parents to your baby.
Even after the adoption is complete, the social worker will continue to visit the adoptive couple’s home monthly to make sure everyone is settling in and are happy and healthy.
Here’s a breakdown of the evaluation process to become an adoptive parent:
- Medical history
- Background checks
- Interviews to determine the stability of a couple’s relationship, their family, and discipline practices
- Criminal record, child abuse, and FBI clearances
- Personal references
- Physical exams
- Income tax records
- Inspection of their home and neighborhood
- and much more!
Lifetime Adoption – How Do I Know My Baby Will Be Safe With the Adoptive Parents?
As a result of these evaluations, Lifetime knows that every adoptive couple we work with is financially secure, stable, in a solid marriage, and are overall good people. To be able to adopt, Lifetime adoptive families have to pass an intense, objective, unbiased screening process.
Even after you’ve placed your baby with the adoptive family, the social worker will conduct follow-up visits and interviews. They will make sure your child continues to flourish. Phone conversations, regular home visits, doctor’s reports, pictures, and updates are a normal part of our adoptions.
In over 35 years of helping thousands of birth parents finding the right adoptive family for their child, Lifetime has kept the highest standards for the adoptive families.
So, regarding the question, “How will I know my baby will be safe with the adoptive parents I choose?” The answer is you can be sure the adoptive parents have been thoroughly screened by the state and reviewed by Lifetime to make sure your baby is going to a safe, warm, loving home.
Lifetime is available 24/7; just text or call us at 1-800-923-6784 with any questions you may have.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 10, 2018, and has since been updated.
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.