Selecting an Adoption Home Study Professional
Since the home study can be a lengthy process, we recommend that you find an adoption home study professional and begin as soon as possible. Home studies are an overview of an adoptive family’s life, history and home and allow courts and our agency to determine if a stable emotional, physical and financial environment exists for an adopted child.
If you reside in Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, Arkansas or Florida—the states where American Adoptions is licensed—we can provide adoption home study services and complete your home study in four to six weeks. We offer adoption home study services for domestic adoptions, embryo adoptions and international adoptions, except those between the U.S. and China.
Please Note: Many states, adoption agencies and courts will only accept home studies from licensed adoption agencies. In our experience, the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) offices can deny or delay approval of an adoption when a home study is not completed by a licensed adoption home study professional. In that case, you may be required to have another home study performed. This could lengthen your wait and double your costs.
If you need assistance locating a licensed adoption home study professional in your state, please call or visit 1-800-HOMESTUDY, or ask your American Adoptions’ Adoption Coordinator for assistance.
Below, you’ll find good questions to ask a home study professional, and to learn more about adoption home studies, visit our home study section.
What other services should I inquire about with my adoption home study professional?
Post-placement services: Post-placement supervision visits are similar to the home study but occur after your return home with the baby. Your adoption home study professional or the agency that completed the placement will complete the required post-placement visits. A social worker will visit your home to assess how you and the child are adjusting. The number of visits required to finalize an adoption vary state to state or by country in international adoptions.
Home study updates: In most states, a home study is only good for 12 months before it needs to be updated. Updates may also be necessary if a family moves homes, changes jobs or adds family members to their home. Updating a home study is less intensive unless new issues are a cause for concern.
Domestic vs. international home studies: Home studies for domestic and those for international adoptions differ. Most international countries require particular documents and specific phrasing. It is important to understand that each country has slightly different demands. Due to variances in international home studies, some adoption home study professionals do not provide international adoption home study services. It’s important to determine a home study professional's international home study experience to ensure the process is efficient and non-stressful for you.
What is the cost of an adoption home study?
The cost of an adoption home study varies depending on the state where you live and the type of home study you need. It is important to inquire about the cost for the adoption home study, for post-placements and for updates down the road. Typically, international home studies have a higher cost due to a country’s additional requirements. Although it is important to inquire about cost, it should not be the only factor in choosing a home study professional. Consider the professional's ability to complete the home study in a timely fashion and their credentials or knowledge about the specific type of home study you need for your adoption choice (i.e. domestic or international).
When inquiring how long the home study process will take, is there anything specific I should ask?
You should decide if timeliness is important to the home study professional because some process home studies slower than others. Because certain steps take longer than others, you should also ask about the time involved in the following steps:
Interview(s): Some agencies arrange interviews inefficiently and say your home study time frame starts the day your interview takes place. Ask how quickly they can send an adoption home study professional to begin the interview process and if the start date is at your home study application date or at a later date, such as the interview. Home study professionals who are unable to provide a specific response could work slowly.
Background checks: Although states vary on background checks, most require police records and child abuse registry checks. A home study cannot be completed until background checks are returned. Ask local home study professionals how long it typically takes for background checks to be returned and if this time is factored into their time estimate.
Writing of the home study: This process varies significantly among home study professionals. Background checks might be returned and interviews completed, but some professionals may delay writing the home study weeks or months. Ask for references from adoption home study professionals to learn how quickly they will write your home study.
Is there anything I can do that could slow down or speed up my home study process?
Yes, to move your home study along as quickly as possible, make yourselves available for an interview as soon as the adoption home study professional can make an appointment and try to quickly obtain the supporting documents. If your home study requires references from friends and family members, tell them in advance and request their urgent response. If a physician reference is necessary, obtain an appointment as soon as possible. Ask your home study professional for additional ways to expedite your home study process.
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