Disclaimer: The steps I describe in this series are the steps we took toward adoption. This is our perspective on the steps to adoption.
As mentioned in step 2, we will now discuss the home study which is part of the adoption process. So what is the home study? An adoption home study is basically an in depth look at the prospective adoptive parents. A home study is probably the most crucial part to start the adoption process. Basically, you cannot adopt a child without it so you can have an agency, have been matched with an expectant mother and have lawyers in place, but without the home study, it’s all a waste of time.
What to Expect
The home study is performed by a licensed social worker. The social worker will require the following:
State background check
County background check
Proof of insurances
Visit(s) to your home
The above items are not all inclusive and some home studies may require more. This can be a very intimidating process. As prospective adoptive parents, it can feel that you are having to reveal a lot of personal information but the safety of the child is of the utmost importance.
In addition, once a child is placed with the adoptive family and birth parent rights have been terminated, the social worker will be required to file a report for a period of time until the adoption is finalized. This means there will be additional home visits and paperwork.
Words of Advice
The home study is very nerve wrecking. However, as our social worker told us, she wants us to be successful in adoption. Please do not be scared of the social worker, they are doing what is required by law. They are not someone to be feared and actually for us, has been a sounding board. We have called our social worker and asked her advice during our adoptions when something did not seem right to us. She has been invaluable to us and I hope your social worker will be as well.
The home study will most likely cost from $1000 to several thousand dollars. The costs vary a lot from state to state. A home study is good for one year so you will have to renew your home study if you have not been successful in adopting within a year. A home study update can cost a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars as well. Also, the post placement visits will cost several hundred dollars as well. Remember to add the home study costs to your adoption financial plan if these fees are not covered under your adoption agency fees.
In summary, the home study is intimidating but it is part of the process. Do not fear it but embrace it. It means you are one step closer to bringing your child home.