Guest Author - Brandii Lacey
The tern “home study” often sounds scary to prospective adoptive parents. However, it’s really nothing to stress out about. A home study is a written evaluation of a family who desires to adopt a child. Home studies are performed by licensed social workers. Home visits, interviews and background checks are a part of the home study process.
Social workers are looking for clean and safe homes during the home visit. A designated room for the child (it doesn’t have to be decorated), working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are important items to have in place. Your house doesn’t have to be child proof (unless you already have children at home), but you will need to go over your child proofing plans with the social worker.
The social worker conducts interviews of parents, children and anyone else living in the home. Topics covered include family, health, history, relationships and finances. Interviews may be conducted individually and together.
You can also take this time to ask your social worker questions—remember, she will probably have much experience in adoption.
Criminal background checks are performed as part of the home study process. You should be honest with your social worker about any prior criminal history or offenses. More than likely they will turn up in the background check.
Changes in your family, including a job change or move, the home study must be
updated accordingly. If you move out of state, your home study may need to be updated by a licensed social worker in your new state of residence.
Home studies expire after a certain amount of time, which varies by state. Make sure you know the exact date your home study expires, and take appropriate action to get it updated in time. An adoption can’t happen without an approved and current home study.
While it's normal to get nervous about someone coming into your home and interviewing your family, understand that this "someone" is there to help you start or add to your family.