What do you think of when you hear the words “adoption process”? Do you think about home studies, a social worker—basically a stranger—knowing every detail of your life?
As an adoptive mother and a social worker who does home visits and studies, I can assure you that there is nothing to worry about along the adoption process. The social worker is not trying to “trick you” or judge you. He or she is solely trying to get to know you better to enable writing the most accurate report for your family as possible.
However, to complete the report will require that some personal topics will need to be addressed. One issue that will need to be discussed is mental health—meaning, the health of the prospective adoptive parents. While there can be some extensive diagnoses that will disqualify some people to adopt regarding mental health, most are not a major concern. It is important to just be open and honest with your worker about any medical or mental health diagnoses or medications. Remember, the social worker’s role is not to judge you, but to ensure that should a child be placed in your home, he or she will be in a safe environment.
For the home study, most agencies will require that a duty of candor form be signed. By signing this, it basically states that you will disclose everything truthfully and will let your worker know if anything major changes in the future.
So, what happens if you do have a mental health diagnosis and want to adopt? First, share the diagnosis early with your worker. Don’t hide anything. They will want to know when you were diagnosed, if you are on medications, and if there are any issues that hinder you in your day to day life. More than likely, your worker will need additional medical documentation or possibly a mental health examination completed.
Social workers are there to help you and aid your family through the adoption process. While it can be hard to talk to basically a stranger about your personal life, history, and medical diagnoses, it is crucial for the accuracy of the home study to have this information. It is very important that you are open and honest up front with your home study social worker. Not revealing information will only delay the adoption process.