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Quelling The Home Study Jitters

So you’re ready for your home study? Don’t freak out! There are lots of resources available to adoptive parents to make this part of your journey go smoothly.

A home study is conducted after you have submitted your application for adoption and have completed all required training classes. The keys to sailing through the home study portion are knowledge, preparation, and communication. Be prepared to answer tough questions and to provide what you might consider otherwise private and personal information. The case worker will need to verify, among other items:

  • Family background
  • Financial statements and personal references
  • Parenting experiences
  • Daily life and personal schedule
  • Background checks

Once the caseworker gathers this information, they compile a report based on their findings, which can take anywhere from three to six months to complete. The more prepared you are, the faster the process can go.

Work with professionals and family members to ensure you have all the information necessary prior to your home study date. They will ask about your income, so meet with your accountant or financial planner to gather all financial statements. Getting your family members on board is important too, because the caseworker will interview immediate and extended family, and their responses will be built into the final home study report. In fact, these interviews often offer the caseworker perspective into your daily lives and relationship habits.

Once your report is finished, request a copy for your review. Should you find any inaccuracies in the final report, it’s important to communicate that to your caseworker or agency to get it resolved. In addition to reviewing the documents, be clear with your agency and legal representation on what information is going to be shared with a birth family.

Lastly, be prepared for any associated costs that are affiliated with a home study. If you are represented by a private agency or a social worker, the fee can be anywhere from $1000-$3000. It’s important to keep records of all your adoption expenditures.

For more resources on what to expect during the home study process (including a fact sheet) – visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Image via americanadoptions.com