The most intimidating part of the adoption process for many families is the home study, mostly because they’re not really sure what to expect. They understand that the home study is a vital piece to the adoption process and that without passing a home study, they won’t be able to adopt, but it can still be scary to have a caseworker enter your home and talk to you about your family life in order to approve you to adopt. However, a home study does not need to be something to fear. In fact, if you approach it as an opportunity to show the caseworker what type of a life you are able to give a child, it can actually be a great experience!
First, let’s take a look at what a home study actually is and what you can expect from the process. A home study is an evaluation of your living situation and ability to be an adoptive parent, but, contrary to what most people think, it’s not meant to find “perfect” parents. There is no such thing. The process is really meant to find good prospective parents and ensure a safe and happy situation for an adopted child. Perfect is not the standard in order to get an approved home study.
In general, the process is meant to really answer these five questions in order to determine the fitness of an adoptive family to raise an adopted child. Let’s take a look at what these questions are and why they matter.
Who Are the Adoptive Parents?
Taking on the responsibility of a child is a big endeavor and birth parents and adoption agencies want to make sure that they really understand who the adoptive parents are in order to feel confident in placing a child in their custody.
It’s important to remember to be yourself throughout the entire process. As we mentioned earlier, the purpose is not to find perfect people or perfect parents. The objective, at least with this question, is to determine the type of people you are and to ensure you have good character. Be honest, be open, and be yourself.
Why Do the Adoptive Parents Want to Adopt?
Of course there are many different reasons that you may have turned to adoption including infertility, health issues, age, or any of the dozens of other factors. With this questions, the caseworker just wants to get a good sense of why adoption and a child are important to you and your family.
Typically, this one is pretty straight forward, but be sure to express why you really want to complete your family with an adopted child and how they’ll fit into your every day life. The caseworker (and later on, the birth parents) will want to know that your reasons are legitimate and heartfelt.
How Prepared Are the Adoptive Parents for Adoption?
As with any addition to the family, you’ve got to be prepared. What kind of plan do you have in place to care for the child? Will one of you be staying home to care for the baby? How involved will your extended family be? What are your education plans for the child? How do you plan on handling discipline or other difficult conversations?
These are just some of the things to think about when going into your home study. The evaluation will want to make sure that the home, as well as the parents, are actually ready for the pressure and intricacies of raising a child.
Be sure to have a plan for when the child arrives at your home. Think about how you and your family will go about integrating the child into your daily life and how you’ll give the child a safe and loving home for the rest of his or her life.
Does the Adoptive Family Meet the Requirements to Care for a Child?
This one is very straight forward – are you fit to raise the child? This means emotionally, physically, and financially.
The home study will evaluate whether or not you’ve got the emotional skillset to really nurture a child and get through the inevitable tough times so that the child can thrive, whether or not you’re in the physical condition to care for yourself and an adopted child, as well as whether or not you can financially support the addition to your family.
You by no means have to be wealthy to pass this portion of the evaluation. The caseworker is merely evaluating whether your family is in a stable enough situation to be able to support a good standard of living and take on the substantial expenses of raising a child. Be prepared to answer questions about your physical, emotional, and financial health.
Is the Adoptive Family’s Home Fit for a Child?
This portion will go more in-depth to evaluate your living situation.
Is the home baby proofed? Is the neighborhood safe? Is there a nursery set up? Do you have the tools necessary to support the child? Do you have an emergency plan in case of a natural disaster or fire?
Bringing a child under your roof is a big obligation. You should not only be able to raise them to thrive, but you also need to supply a home that is safe for them. Be sure to have a plan for how you’ll keep the child safe in your home immediately and as they grow.
Adopting a child is a great way to build your family, but it’s also a huge responsibility. The purpose of the home study is not to be intrusive, find perfect parents, or to make you feel uncomfortable. It’s all about ensuring that an adopted child would be in good hands.
If you’re considering adoption, start with our application and chat with our caseworkers! We love making families whole!