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Home Studies: What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Adoption Process Pre-Adoption

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  Written by EAC on 17 Nov 2016

If you are considering adopting a child, you are eventually going to run into the concept of Home Studies. No, they are not homework or at-home classes you have to take. Rather, a home study is a complete review of you, your spouse, your family, and your entire home environment. In other words, all the things that will help determine whether or not you are suitable to adopt a child. Needless to say, that makes home studies an essential part of the process. Therefore, it’s important you are prepared for what is ahead.

The process can be made easier by working with a personal consultant.  When it comes to international adoption, home study requirements can vary from country to country, with paperwork requirements and other factors being different depending on where you are adopting from.

What your home study may entail:

  • In-person interviews, including interviews with any adults living in the household.
  • A physical, mental, and emotional evaluation of the prospective new parents.
  • A physical, mental, and emotional evaluation of any other adults living in the household (adult children, relatives, tenants, etc.).
  • A detailed examination of the household finances, including debt, savings, income, expenses, and more.
  • A full examination of the family’s living conditions.
  • If applicable, an in-depth look at the family’s ability to care for a child with special needs.
  • A detailed background check including checking for drug use, child abuse, domestic violence, criminal convictions, and other issues.
  • A check on any previous rejections for adoptions, and why.

Requirements for home studies also differ depending on whether or not you are adopting from a Hague Convention country. The Hague Convention is an international agreement outlining adoption regulations among countries that have signed onto the agreement. Since EAC has been a Hague accredited agency since 2008, it’s important to know U.S. regulations for adopting from Hague countries. When it comes to home studies conducted when adopting from a Hague Convention country, they include:

  • The home study must be conducted by an accredited agency or exempted provider (example of an exempted provider: a social worker that is only conducting the home study and is not involved in the adoption in any other way).
  • The adoption service provider follows state and federal law.
  • The person conducting the home study is licensed in the state in which the study is being conducted.
  • All fees for the home study are disclosed in writing.
  • The study must conclude with a determination as to how suitable the family is to adopt.

For a family considering adoption, all of this means ensuring you have good paperwork and detailed records; being honest with your interviewers about things that might show up on a background check; and most important of all, understanding that this process is designed for the benefit of the child.

 
 




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