Home study. For some, the term may conjure up worries about being scrutinized and judged. However, a home study is not as scary or intimidating as you think. It’s actually a very important part of the adoption process for everyone involved. Here are 6 reasons why a home study is necessary.
1. To Educate. The home study is a great opportunity to learn more about adoption and ask your social worker questions. He or she will provide useful reading material and resources, as well as explain exactly how adoption works. Any concerns you have will be addressed, so you can more successfully navigate the adoption process. Think of your social worker as an adoption teacher rather than a judge.
2. To Comply With the Law. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what type of adoption (domestic, international, or foster care) you are planning to pursue. An adoption home study is a legal requirement. In many states and countries, the social worker who conducts the home study must also be associated with a licensed adoption agency. And, if you plan to adopt through an attorney, you’ll still need an adoption agency or independent social worker to perform a home study.
3. To Complete Paperwork. Your social worker will help you to complete all the necessary forms and ensure all legal requirements are met. In some cases, you will become licensed as a foster family, which is also handled through your adoption professional. He or she will submit documents to the court on your behalf and will follow-up with you throughout the process.
4. To Make Sure You’re Ready. Are you physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to raise a child? Does your home have all the required supplies and furnishings? Do you have a fire escape plan? Throughout your home study, your social worker will not only assess your readiness to become a parent, but will also make sure you are fully prepared to take on the enormous responsibility. He or she will work together with you to ready your home and your heart for adoption.
5. To Ensure a Good Match. An experienced social worker will also offer insight into what types of situations would be a good fit for your family. He or she will instruct you on how to handle meetings with expectant parents, write an honest profile, and decide what type of child you are willing and able to parent.
6. To Protect the Child. In any adoption, the child is the most important person. Your social worker will want to be certain that you and/or your spouse can provide a safe, loving home. This means inspecting your home for potential dangers and performing background checks to rule out criminal records or inappropriate behavior.
If an adoption home study still sounds scary or you’re afraid you won’t pass, you’re not alone. Most potential adoptive parents feel that way. The good news is that 90 percent of people who complete a home study are approved to adopt, according to Adoptive Families. So chances are, you will be just fine.