What happens if you fail homestudy??
Can you repeat it or is a done deal? Has anyone every failed the home study?
I went through years of anxiety before I would even go to an info meeting, I was convinced that I would be turned down, but everything I was most nervous about turned out just fine.

You are not going to fail homestudy!!! Try to look forward to the day when you get to read that approved homestudy report. I promise you it's an awesome feeling.
Good luck to you, and keep asking questions, there are people who want to support you.

love-
kathleen
waiting for Sarah Chloe, born 1/23/03
You are not going to FAIL the homestudy. Just try to focus in your head the end result and have confidence that it will be okay. I am sure that everyone on this forum was exactly like you are feeling, but having gone through it, the anxiety about it is worse than the actual homestudy. I know it is hard but just try to think positive. Everything will go smoothly.

STeph
Thanks everyone
I know I am overreacting about the whole thing. My home study is not until 05/24. I have so much time. but I am so scared. Plus I haven't chosen an agency yet. You all have been so kind to me.


Angela
It's not an exam that you pass or fail.
The homestudy is, first and foremost, a process of preparing you to adopt.

Before you begin the homestudy, your homestudy agency will ask you some questions, in writing and/or in person, to make sure there are no issues that would totally rule you out as a candidate for adoption, forever or at this time. The agency does not want to waste its time and your money doing a homestudy on a person who shouldn't be adopting.

The social worker may ask at intake, for example, if you (and your spouse, if you have one) have ever been convicted of spouse or child abuse, because a person with a domestic violence history IS likely to be turned down. The social worker may ask if you have a chronic psychiatric illness other than simple depression, especially one that has caused suicide attempts and/or inpatient hospitalization, since an unstable person could harm a child. The social worker may ask about your income and its source, since a person who has a poverty level income won't be able to provide adequate care to a new family member -- and families will not be permitted to bring children into the home if they live on public assistance.

If you answer all the questions in the intake interview and/or questionnaire honestly, you can feel pretty confident that nothing will turn up in the course of a homestudy that will cause you to be rejected out of hand. Do be aware, however, that if you are not honest upfront, and it subsequently turns out that you have concealed information, you will almost certainly be turned down. Therefore, it is a good idea to mention even small things that could come up. As an example, if you know that your spouse was arrested for public drunkenness while in college, mention it, even if you think the record was expunged and even though he/she has had no drinking-related problems since that night, 20 years ago. You will almost certainly be reassured that a youthful indiscretion, not associated with any larger problems and not repeated, will not be held against him.

Your homestudy agency will also ask you, at intake, if YOU have any questions about things that could disqualify you as a parent, or cause an agency to suggest that you defer applying. Many people undertake the homestudy with a good deal of fear about their qualifications. This is the appropriate time to ask about your concerns -- before the homestudy actually begins. Most people learn that their concerns are unfounded -- that living in a rental apartment is fine, that seeing a psychotherapist for mild depression caused by a series of miscarriages is perfectly appropriate, that an annual income of $45,000 is adequate, and so on.

Be upfront with your questions and worries. Before you spend money on a homestudy, you have every right to be concerned about how some things will be viewed. At the very worst, you may talk something through with the agency and come to the realization that maybe you should wait a year or two before applying. Perhaps you feel that, should you lose your job, you'll have a terrible time finding another because you never completed your college degree; you might decide it is wise to get the credits you need for the degree before you try to adopt. Perhaps you've been contemplating a move back to the city your relatives live in; since you don't have a good social support network in your current city, it might be best to seek a job there, make the move, and then apply to adopt. Perhaps you have a lot of debt and little savings; it might make sense to come up with a plan for reducing the debt and putting a little in the bank each month before considering the financial stress of parenthood.

Once you start your homestudy, there will be a review of your documents, to make sure that you are who you say you are; if you have been honest with the social worker, there should be no problems. There will be a criminal records check and a child abuse clearance; again, if you've been honest, this is no big deal. Once in a while, you may be asked for some additional information. As an example, if you saw a psychotherapist, you may be asked to have him/her send a letter to the agency, outlining your diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis; if the therapist feels that you would be a good candidate for parenthood and that you have addressed the issues for which you sought help, you are likely to have no problems.

Most of the homestudy will be spent preparing you for the challenges of raising an adopted child. You will be encouraged to think about how you will discipline a child, and helped to ensure that you and your spouse are "on the same page". You will be encouraged to think about how you will help a child become an honest and ethical person -- for example, if you plan to raise your child in a religion. If you will be adopting transracially, you will be encouraged to recognize how "conspicuous" your family will be in the supermarket, and to develop a plan for dealing with nosy questions -- and bigoted relatives; social workers know that there's usually at least one bigot in every family! If you will be adopting internationally, there will be discussion of the medical risks in such adoption; it is important for you to think about what you will do if a child comes home with a previously undiagnosed physical or mental challenge.

During the preparation time, it is rare that something comes up that will "scuttle" an adoption. However, a social worker could express concern about your attitudes on some adoption-related issues. As an example, if you are judgmental about people who place their children for adoption, you may not be able to encourage a child to feel good about his/her birthparents or to sustain an open adoption. If you feel negative about Chinese culture, you won't do a very good job of raising a Chinese child to feel pride in his/her birth heritage. The social worker could suggest that you do some serious thinking and reading before you proceed, or that you rethink the type of adoption you plan to do.

And you could make a decision not to proceed, upon doing the serious self-examination that should be part of this preparation. Perhaps you'll come to the conclusion that you are just not ready to "move on" after infertility, or that your spouse needs a little more time to consider whether he/she really can love a child who does not look like him/her. Perhaps you'll decide that being a single parent is likely to be too tough for you, or that the challenge of parenting a teen when you're close to 70 isn't exactly your cup of tea.

When people express concerns about "passing" a homestudy, they are often focusing on the home visit. The home visit is just a small part of the homestudy, and most parents should have no worries about it. You can always ask your social worker in advance if there are any specific laws in your state governing things like whether a newborn needs to have his/her own bedroom, or whether it's OK for two sisters to share a bedroom, or whether you need to have all the childproofing done for the home visit. In most cases, however, all that the social worker will really care about is whether the house is safe and welcoming. If you have no major hazards like an unfenced pool or broken cellar steps, and if you would feel comfortable inviting your boss or your inlaws to dinner, your home is probably just fine. Your social worker will probably even love your dog, even if he throws up on the rug at your social worker's feet!
"Your social worker will probably even love your dog, even if he throws up on the rug at your social worker's feet!"

Oh, this made me laugh! My cat throws up all the time. As I was meeting with my real estate agent last year, we were focused on forms and details and for much, much too long, the cat was throwing up just 6 feet away. I was so embarrassed!

Thanks for the laugh.

Jeannine
They're on our side!
One thing to keep in mind is that the social worker Wants you to "pass"--they want to help the agency place a child in your home, too!

Granted, they have to work in the child's best interest and they can't overlook something that would clearly be detrimental to a child, but when all is said and done they want to assist you, not be the bad guy.
Should I worry?
I was in a mental hospital for a suicide attempt when I was 18. Will this effect my chances of adopting if it is discovered during the homestudy?
regarding the suicide attempt...

how long ago was that? are the issues resolved?
every one panics about their home study lol I know I sure did. you will be fine. and your house will be the cleanest it has ever been.
If you disclose this and the issues have been dealt with appropriately, it is not an automatic disqualifier. If, however, you choose not to disclose and it comes to light through a reference or some other manner, the social worker and/or the agency may deny you for not disclosing. There are very few reasons a social worker decline to recommend a family for adoption - failure to disclose is one (depending on the seriousness of the issue and the reason it was not disclosed), insufficient financial means (less than 125% of poverty level), previous history of child abuse or neglect (as a perpetrator), or a criminal history that could put a child a t risk would be the most common.
Any one notice this is a post from 2003?
I was convinced I would fail! In Ohio, you have to pass so many screenings. I even had to buy a fire extinguisher and draw an elaborate fire escape plan for the fire inspection, and then they told me the fire extinguisher wasn't mounted the right way in the right place and I thought I was toast! (No pun intended.) And that was just one thing . . . . But like the others said, they do want you to pass unless you have major, unresolved issues.

I figure if you can survive the stress of the home study process, you are 90% there as far as mental strength goes.

Good luck!
SAK just wrote almost everything that I was thinking. It is so important to keep in mind that a homestudy (when done well) is a process and its goal is to prepare you for being an adoptive parent.

That said, I don't give anyone I don't personally know false assurances not to worry about the homestudy process. A good homestudy process does deny (or at least delay) some people from adopting. Sometimes it's through the person realizing they aren't ready but sometimes it's the social worker determining that there are unresolved issues that must be resolved first. The agency that we worked with was very clear from the beginning that if they thought there were unresolved issues they would make recommendations to us on how we could resolve them, but that they would not write a final homestudy report that approved us for adoption if they did not think it was in a child's best interest to be adopted by us at that time.

Personally, if I was looking into working with an agency or social worker that gave false assurances I would choose not to work with them. Mind you, our agency and social worker were very positive, upbeat, and great to work with. It's not like they were holding a threat over us or anything like that. They were simply honest in their priorities and their top priority was doing what is best for children -- it was clear that the children were at the heart of what they do, not us.
Heh heh, good catch, but Post 8 is new (the question about the suicide attempt).

purplecat said...
Any one notice this is a post from 2003?
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