There is a lot of uncertainty that goes into a home study. Even the words, “Home Study,” leave prospective parents with a hodgepodge of misconceptions and fears.
There’s little to worry about. You won’t be disqualify you for not having a golden toilet or 2000 thread Chinese silk blankets. The home study is a learning process for both you and your placing agency. Relative to the other components, studying the home is quite short. What is important is the process of learning about you, the parents, and the ton of paperwork that accompanies that process.
Learning about you doesn't mean an interrogation. A Martha Stewart-level of cooking or Mother Theresa-level of patience and compassion is not the end goal of a home study. The “one thing” that will give reason to reject you is also not what a home study is about. The bottom line is finding your compatibility with the child.
Although it is important to be comfortable, it is important to remember that the home study is not just another hurdle to reach adoption. It is a vital step to determine your suitability for the child. A steady even pace to gather the necessary information to keep the process moving forward is vital.
Once your application is received you will be assigned a social worker and you will be mailed a contract. After the contract has been looked over, signed, and a home study fee has been payed the social worker will be in contact to set up an initial visit. The case will be opened and you will be provided a checklist of all the necessary documents. The social worker’s role is to understand your expectations and help you through every step of the home study.
The home study requires a minimum of four visits. Each visit must be 1 ½ - 2 hours long, with a week in between each visit. Only one of these visits needs to actually be in your home. During the home visit, it is being determined that it is a safe environment with adequate space for the prospective child. A meeting with every member of the household, including both children who live in the home, and those who may be away at college is also required.
You will also be required to complete an online training. If a couple is adopting, both parents must complete it; however, both names can be placed on one certificate. All necessary documents must be submitted before completing the final visit. Keep in mind that if you are working with another agency for placement you may be require additional documents from them.
The final report will be written within two weeks after all visits and after all documents have been completed and submitted. This report will be reviewed by the Program Coordinator, you, and possibly the Adoption program partner and/or placing agency. Once the report is finalized, it will be signed by the Program Coordinator and notarized. The recommendation letter will be e-mailed to you, which requires your approval. Any remaining fee balance must be paid before you can receive the official, completed home study.
This is just a general overview of what a home study looks like. Once you jump into it, we will be able to answer all your specific questions and provide all the specific details. We are so excited to know you are considering international adoption! Allow us to partner with you to help form the precious, forever family you’ve longed for.