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Your Adoption Home Study Checklist

How to Prepare for the Home Visit, Interviews and More

The home study can be another smooth step on your way to an adoption placement. And this adoption home study checklist will put you on the right path. We're here to set you up for success.

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What Is the Adoption Home Study?

The home study is a review of a hopeful adoptive family’s lifestyle, living situation and adoption readiness. A licensed social worker — who is typically a part of a larger adoption agency or other social work organization — conducts this review.

During the home study, the social worker will:

They will write a home study report, which they will then send to the state government, court and the adoption agency the parents are working with. This report will be referenced at the adoption finalization hearing to ensure that the placement is safe for the child.

Typically, the home study is the last step of the process a family must complete before their profile can go live for prospective birth mothers to view.

Adoption Home Study Checklist by State

Adoption laws are enforced at the state level. Each state has different expectations and requirements for every step of the process, including the adoption home study.

To help families navigate all of the different standards, we created a guide for every state, which allows you to find a basic home study checklist specific to where you live.

Keep in mind: when you work with a national agency like American Adoptions, your home study may need to meet additional standards beyond your state’s requirements.

For example, we can provide home study services in most states. Even if we don't offer home study services in your particular state, we will help you find a local home study professional who can handle this step.

We'll review your home study to make sure it meets nationwide guidelines to prevent potential delays later on in the adoption process. You should never have to deal with preventable delays, unnecessary paperwork or avoidable mistakes from an indequate home study worker. As a licensed home study provider, we will always ensure that your home study is as smooth as possible. Our national scope will also help ensure your eligibility to adopt your child no matter what state they are born in.

General Home Study Checklist

Although there will be unique details in your state’s specific home study checklist, many aspects of the home study are similar across the country.

You can rely on this home study checklist to help cover the basics — just make sure to check with your home study worker to determine what other requirements you may need to meet. This guide will cover important information, such as:

  • Tips for preparing your home

  • Some interview questions you can expect to answer

  • The basic documents you’ll need to fill out

Home Study Forms and Documents

The social worker conducting your home study will need to review various documents at the beginning of the process. One of the best ways a family can prepare for the home study and help speed up the process is by collecting these documents and home study forms ahead of time.

Although your social worker may ask for something that isn’t on this home study checklist, you can get a head start by gathering the following:

  • ID (such as a driver’s license)

  • Birth certificates

  • Social security cards

  • Marriage certificate (if married)

  • Proof of citizenship or proof of legal immigration

  • Proof of income

  • Proof of employment

  • Medical records

  • Immunization records

  • Pet vaccination records from the vet

  • An autobiographical statement

Adoption Home Inspection Checklist

The home study involves an inspection of a family’s living situation to make sure it is safe for a child. You can ask your social worker for an adoption home visit checklist ahead of time.

Preparing your home before your social worker's visits can make this process much smoother. Each state has different points of emphasis when it comes to the home inspection, but this social worker home visit checklist will touch on the major points across the country, such as:

  • Functioning smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Gates on stairs

  • Covered electrical outlets

  • Secure, locked windows with screens

  • A first-aid kit on hand

  • Any firearms out of reach and locked up

  • Functioning heating and cooling

  • No lead paint

  • A safe yard, with proper guardrails around any decks or pools

  • Safe, functioning appliances

  • Child-proofed corners on furniture

Family Member Interviews

Finally, your social worker will interview all family members living in the house. This helps the social worker get to know you.

Each interview is different, but you are likely to hear questions such as:

  • What is your motivation to adopt?

  • What is your parenting style?

  • How has your own childhood affected the way you see parenting?

  • Tell me about your marriage.

  • Tell me about your job.

  • How much do you know about the adoption process?

  • Have you learned about the unique aspects of raising a child who comes home through adoption?

  • What are your thoughts on cultural diversity?

  • What is your approach to potentially having a transracial family?

  • What are your hopes and dreams for your child?

  • Why do you feel adoption is right for your family?

When you remain flexible and follow this home study checklist, you’ll be better prepared for a successful adoption.

Talk to Your Adoption Specialist about a More Specific Home Study Adoption Checklist

Along with following this adoption home inspection checklist, the best way to prepare for a home study is to work with a knowledgeable, helpful adoption specialist.

At American Adoptions, our specialists have many years of experience working with families from all across the country. And some have even been in your shoes, going through the adoption process themselves. They can give you specific guidance about the unique nature of your state’s adoption home study. 

If you have more questions about the adoption home study checklist, then we are here to answer them for you. You can get more free information now when you fill out our online contact form or call 1-800-ADOPTION.

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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While adoption home studies vary slightly from agency to agency and state to state, there are several key elements that are almost always included in every home study.

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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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