Often hopeful adoptive parents are intimidated by those two words: home study. There are feelings of anxiety and dread at the thought of a social worker coming to probe the inner workings of their home and family. However, there’s nothing to fear if you just prepare yourself for the process. Here is a checklist to make things easier for you.
The social worker is not there to judge you, they are there to learn more about you and your family and also to be sure your home meets the safety guidelines set by your state of residence. The Social Worker is not just there to see your home, this is a time when you will be asked a lot of questions also, about your childhood, your marriage, your relationship with your parents and siblings, what your adoption plans are, and many more.
This is a time when the social worker will help you understand the adoption process. It is also an opportunity for you to ask adoption questions and explore the type of child that will be entering your family.
Be honest and upfront with information. If you have something in your past you are not proud of (an arrest, an addiction and/or treatment, etc.) be upfront and honest with your social worker from the beginning. It can save a lot of time and show you are making an effort to be truthful and sincere with your adoption agency.
Past indiscretions do not always mean you cannot adopt, but the most important thing to remember is fully disclosing things that have happened in your past from the moment you contact your agency is highly important.
Take the time to learn and grow from this experience. Most prospective adoptive parents are anxious about their home visit but then find the experience fun and exciting. The best thing you can do is relax and learn from the home visit, it will help you gain insight and understanding about adoption.
Certified copies of the following,
1- Birth certificates for you, your spouse, and any children in your home
2- Adoption decrees for any adopted children in your home
3- Marriage certificate
4- Death certificates of any former spouses
5- Divorce decrees for you and/or your spouse
Employment verification on the company’s letterhead,
1- Verification of income
2- Proof of life insurance
3- Proof of health insurance
4- Verification of any and all monetary assets
5- Any debt information
6- Mortgage or rent information
Social workers are not looking for the perfect home, but a suitable, safe home for your child. When you’re preparing for a home study, consider the following information.
1- Clean your home, but don’t feel the need to remodel your home.
2- Check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.
3- Be sure to have firearms stored properly and be ready to talk about your gun safety policy.
4- The social worker will want to check the room your future child will be living in.
Upon first contact with a client, social workers are often met with some barriers. The worker’s ability to gain entry into the home is often indicative of resistance to or compliance with intervention.
When the interviewer asks about your weaknesses, they want to ensure you can recognize your limitations and work on them. Select a weakness that will not impair your performance as a parent, like a lack of self-control or difficulty in making decisions, instead show that you will be a good parent.