A home study isn’t as scary as one might imagine. However, if you aren’t emotionally and physically preparing, a home study could feel intrusive, even invasive. But when you remember the purpose of the home study—to find the best environment for the child—a little of the fear is taken away. Of course, you, as a potential adoptive parent, want what’s best for the child, too! You want to make sure that you’re truly able to give the child what he/she needs. With that in mind, consider the following:
To prevent “failing” a home study, be prepared to answer all the whats, whys, and whens.
If you have chronic health issues that require you to be on medication, a written note from the doctor stating your reaction to the medicine and the value it provides will be helpful (Some medications have concerning side effects – you may not experience those.)
If you’ve dealt with legal issues recently, be ready to share specifics, including the negative. Being completely honest is required and will alleviate any distrust on the part of the social worker performing your home study.
If you’ve only recently had an increase of income that lifts you above the poverty level and allows you to care for a child financially, have the paperwork showing your hire date, the salary increase, and anything else that will show financial stability.
If you don’t have a room designated for the child you hope to bring home, be sure that you do actually have a bedroom that can be used in that fashion. Be clear with your social work about your plans to change the office to a bedroom, for example.
For a good, comprehensive list of things to prepare for, check out this list on the blog When The Stork Gets Confused.
Have open, honest discussion with your spouse or partner before the home study portion of your adoption experience.
In addition to sharing finances, showing your home, and discussing your living conditions with the home study social worker, you and your partner will be interviewed together and separately. It’s important that both are on the same page and have equal desire to continue with the adoption process. Of course, we’re all different, with various strengths and weaknesses, individual interests, and varying degrees of desires. But when it comes to adoption, a cohesive, joint desire is important when considering the welfare of the child.
Whether you’re an organized person or not, be sure to have all of your information at the ready.
You’ll know well ahead of time what information you need to provide during your home study. Consider getting a file folder or a file box to keep all the adoption information. Being able to pull out whatever you’re asked for will help expedite the process and give you peace of mind as well.
Best wishes as you begin or continue on your adoption journey! You’ll get through this pressure-cooker called a home study and go on to be terrific parents to a wonderful child!