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4 Steps to Complete Your Home Study

What is An Adoption Home Study?

A successful home study is required for every type of adoption, whether it is international, domestic, private, foster care, infant, or adoption of an older child. This study is a basic overview of your life - including criminal background checks, your finances, personal relationships and more. It is used by the courts to assess if a stable environment exists for a family to receive a placement and to raise a child.

Home studies for adoption are often one of the lengthiest steps of the entire process. This is because it requires extensive reviews of essential documents, such as birth certificates and marriage licenses, which can take time for some families to locate or receive copies of from the appropriate state agency. Families are encouraged to begin the home study process as soon as possible, as this step is often required by adoption professionals before they begin the process of connecting a family with an expectant mother or child.

It is also important to note that there are states, courts, and adoption agencies that will only accept home studies from a licensed professional. To find a qualified provider in your area, please select your state from the dropdown menu below.

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What Does a Home Study Consist Of?

What is involved in a home study can vary somewhat, but the adoption assessment process always involves several steps and quite a bit of paperwork. Often, a home study consists of the following:

  • Gathering and submitting personal documents, like birth certificates and marriage licenses
  • Each member of the adoptive household completes an interview with the home study worker
  • Home visits with the social worker
  • Background checks (such as child abuse clearances and criminal record checks)
  • Character references from people who know you
  • And more

If you are currently preparing for this process, make sure to consult a home study checklist and put yourself in the best position for success. If you have additional questions about what is involved in a home study for adoption, you can speak with our specialists any time at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Step 1: Find an adoption home study provider in your area.

The home study process is conducted by a licensed social worker who is typically employed by a child-placing agency or other social work professional. If you live in a state where American Adoptions is licensed to complete home studies, you will not need to contact a separate home study professional; we complete the process for you. If you live in another state, you will need to research and select a home study provider to begin the process. The professional you choose can help prepare you for what to expect during a home study in your specific circumstances.

Step 2: Complete the home study application.

Most families receive an application and information packet from the agency they are working with. During this step, you will learn the details of the way your state conducts the home study process. You will also begin filling out information that your social worker will need in order to complete the study. This is an excellent time to gather required documentation, such as medical records, tax records, and proof of income, which may be reviewed during this process.

Step 3: Meet with your assigned social worker for interviews and the home inspection.

After the application has been filed and the documentation has been reviewed, your social worker will conduct her/his in-home visits and interviews. The interviews are meant to help your social worker get to know you and understand your motivation to adopt. They will also asses things like your parenting style, adoption readiness, and general personality. During the home inspection for adoption, the social worker will review your living situation to make sure it is safe for a child. Leading up to the in-home study, it's helpful to baby-proof your house.

Step 4: Complete the home study report.

The end result of the home study is a report written by your social worker. This report is required by the agency in order to become an "active family," which is the term for families whose profiles are being shown to prospective birth mothers. This report is also required by state governments and courts to ensure the legality of the placement. Most families are asked to review the report and verify all information during this final step of the home study process.

Finding an Adoption Home Study Provider

Are you ready to get started? You can find an organization that provides adoption home studies near you using our customized search tool. Just select your state and review the qualified professionals in your area.

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If you can't find any professionals, or if you just have more questions about the home study, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to speak with a specialist or request more information online.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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