Surviving the Home Study

The home study is a nerve wracking experience. What should you expect and how should you prepare for it? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Rebekah Hill, social worker and Clinical Therapist in Adoption Services at SAFY; and Jeanette Quick, Home Study Service Coordinator at Hopscotch Adoptions.

Hit the Highlights
  • What is the adoption home study?
  • What is a foster parent home study?
  • What is the purpose of an adoption or foster care home study?
    • to gather information about prospective families (through request for documents, interviews)
    • to evaluate the prospective family’s home for safety, security, and overall health (through home visits)
    • to better educate and prepare families for adoption or fostering (through required training and interviews)
  • Is it possible to get one home study that can be used with all types of adoptions: domestic infant, foster care, and international adoption?
  • When in the adoption or fostering process is the home study usually done?
  • What type of information from the prospective adoptive or foster parents is usually gathered during the home study process?
    • Criminal background checks
    • Medical history
    • Statements of income and assets
    • Autobiographical statements
    • References
  • How long does it take to complete an adoption home study?
  • How long does it take to complete a home study to become a foster parent?
  • What type of criminal history for adoptive or foster parents will preclude adoption?
  • Will DUIs from the past be a problem for adopting or fostering?
  • It is important to be honest and share it all with your social worker.
  • Will expunged criminal records be discovered by a criminal background check?
  • What type of medical history for adoptive parents will be a problem for adopting?
  • Do you have to have a current physical?
  • What to do about getting a medical physical if you don’t have a regular primary doctor. Can go to Urgent Care clinics or Minute Clinics for an adoption physical?
  • Is a mental health diagnosis a problem if you want to adopt or foster?
  • What are adoption agencies looking for in terms of income and assets in adoptive families?
  • What type of documents do you have to provide on your finances to the adoption agency?
  • Do you need to make a certain amount of money or have a certain amount in savings in order to adopt?
  • If you want to be a foster parent, can you count the stipend you get for fostering a child as your income?
  • What should be included in the autobiographical statement?
  • How many in-person interviews are usually required in the home study process?
  • What type of questions will be asked in the adoption or foster care home study interview?
  • How are beliefs about corporal punishment or spanking handled when adopting a baby? When adopting from foster care? When adopting internationally?
  • Who in the family has to be interviewed as part of a home study?
  • Will children in the family be interviewed?
  • What if the children have mixed emotions or do not want another sibling?
  • Who should you use as a reference for your adoption home study?
  • What are social workers looking for when they evaluate the home for an adoption home study?
  • How clean does the house have to be?
  • How are pets considered as part of the home visit for adoption or foster care? How well behaved are your pets supposed to be?
  • Do you have to own your own home to adopt or become a foster parent?
  • Can you live in an apartment if you want to adopt or become a foster parent?
  • What are social workers looking for when they evaluate the home for a foster care home study?
  • What type of education or training is required when you want to adopt?
  • What type of education or training is required when you want to foster?
  • How much does an adoption home study cost?
  • How much does a foster care home study cost?

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Image Credit: Province of British Columbia