A home study is essentially an assessment performed by a licensed social worker of a prospective adoptive family’s life. It serves to evaluate the family’s readiness to adopt as well as prepare them for the adoption process and help to better match them with potential birth parents. A home study for adoption has three main parts:
A documentation phase
An in-home visit
A home inspection
The home study can be an emotional part of the adoption process. It may feel that someone is judging you and deciding whether or not you’re worthy to become parents, but try to remain as calm as possible throughout the process. Your home study provider only wants to help you on the road to parenthood.
The documentation phase of a Missouri adoption home study is frequently the most time-consuming, mostly because there’s a lot that an adoptive family has to prepare. For this part of the process, it can be helpful to have an adoption home study checklist that includes the following:
Health statements. You will most likely be asked to provide records of up-to-date checkups as well as information about your health habits. If anyone in your household has suffered from a mental health condition, a statement from a mental health professional may also be required before pursuing adoption.
Financial information. Part of being prepared for adoption is being financially stable. This doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy, but you should be prepared to submit pay stubs, income statements and tax returns to show that you can financially provide for a child.
Autobiographical statements. These are written statements by each adoptive parent that will tell the home study provider about yourselves and why you wish to pursue adoption.
Background checks and clearances. Before you can adopt, it will be necessary to obtain criminal records on each adult in the household. Having a criminal record doesn’t necessarily prevent you from adopting, but your home study provider will need to discuss your history with you and ensure that he or she believes it’s safe for a child to enter your home.
The home study process can seem like a tedious one, but really it can be mapped out in a few simple steps:
Contact an adoption professional like American Adoptions for an application packet.
Begin the background check process for all adult members of your household.
Schedule the first home study visit with your home study provider.
Have all home study documents ready for your first home study visit.
Have a social worker visit your home at least once for the in-home interview. This will entail the social worker interviewing each member of your family to learn about your home environment and to verify everyone’s readiness for adoption.
Wait for your social worker to complete a home study inspection, where he or she verifies that the house is safe for a child to live in.
Once all of the home study requirements have been met, your home study provider will finish his or her report and send a copy of the document to you. You should make sure everything is correct and confirm with the information with your home study provider.
If you move or make any major changes in your life, you’ll be required to update your home study. This will also be necessary if your home study expires before a baby is placed in your home.
We can! Not all adoption professionals are licensed to provide home study services, but since American Adoptions is a licensed adoption agency in Missouri, our families don’t need to work with another professional to complete a home study. That’s one extra step you don’t need to add to your adoption home study checklist.
Home studies can be stressful, and it’s our goal to make that process as painless as possible for you. To learn more, call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request free information here.
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