What to expect from the home study process during an adoption

This article looks at what the home study assessment during the adoption process is and why it matters.

Making the decision to adopt a child is not one to be taken lightly. It makes sense, therefore, that the adoption process is long and vigorous. While that process can occasionally be frustrating, it is designed to ensure that adoptive parents understand what adoption entails and that children's best interests are put first. One of the first and most important steps people who want to adopt will have to complete is the home study. Below is a look at why the home study is important and what it entails.

What is a home study?

Regardless of whether one is adopting domestically, internationally, or privately, a home study must be completed by law. Essentially, the home study is a way of ensuring that a prospective parent is ready to adopt. The home study worker will assess whether the prospective parents are financially, emotionally, and psychologically prepared to be adoptive parents. The home study can be stressful for parents, but it is a necessary step to ensure that adopted children are put in a safe and nurturing environment and that prospective parents know exactly what to expect when adopting.

Step One: Paperwork

The first and longest step of the home study process deals mainly with paperwork. The documentation requirements are substantial, so having all of the paperwork prepared early on can speed things up quite a bit. Some of the paperwork concerning the prospective parents and anyone else living in the home that will be required are state and federal criminal background check, home fire and sanitation inspections, tax returns, education/employment records, proof of insurance, birth certificates, mental and physical health reports, and a statement detailing the reasons for adoption.

Step Two: Interviews

The next step consists of the home study worker conducting interviews. It is important to remember that not only will the prospective parents be interviewed, but anyone else living in the home will be interviewed as well. The home study worker will use these interviews to get a sense of what daily life is like at the household and how each member of the household feels about the adoption.

Step Three: Home Inspection

Finally, after the interviews are completed the home study worker will conduct a home inspection. The home inspection is mainly designed to ensure that the home will be safe for the child. The worker will look to make sure all fire alarms are working properly, that dangerous chemicals and objects are securely put away, and so on.

Getting help with adoption

The adoption process can be intimidating and, at times, confusing. That is why anybody considering adoption should talk to an attorney who understands the process. An experienced attorney can inform those who are hoping to adopt about what to expect and help them prepare so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.