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Arizona Adoption Home Study: A Guide

How to Simplify Your AZ Home Study for Adoption

When hopeful parents start this process to build their families, they often worry about one step in particular: the required Arizona home study for adoption. It is one of the most important requirements that every hopeful family must complete to be eligible to adopt — and one of the most intimidating. Because the Arizona adoption home study involves an extensive review of nearly every aspect of the family’s life and home, it’s understandable why this process can be so nerve-wracking.

But the purpose of an adoption home study is not to see if you have a “perfect” home and are a “perfect” parent. Arizona adoption home study professionals just want to confirm that you are physically, emotionally, and financially prepared to raise a child. Remember, your home study worker is there to help you get one step closer to bringing your child home!

Families working with American Adoptions in Arizona are able to conduct their home studies directly through our agency, as we are a licensed home study provider in the state of Arizona. This means that you will only need to work with one adoption professional; we are here to help you through every step of the adoption process. In addition, we are able to provide Arizona adoption home study services to families working with another professional for child-placement services.

If you are ready to begin your Arizona home study, or if you have more questions about what to expect, you can reach an adoption specialist now at 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information online. In the meantime, you can learn more about how to complete your adoption home study below.

The home study for adoption in Arizona is made up of two primary parts — paperwork and in-home visits.

Paperwork

The home study can be the most time-consuming part of the adoption process, in part because it requires families to gather so many forms and documents to submit to their social worker. To help keep your process moving, it is recommended that you start collecting the necessary documentation for your Arizona adoption home study as soon as possible. Some of the documents you’ll be required to submit as part of your home study include:

  • Recent health records from your physician, verifying you are physically fit to care for a child

  • Recent financial statements, including income statements, tax returns or paystubs to verify that you are able to provide for a child financially

  • A background check on the state and federal level for all adult members of the household. Each member must certify whether they are awaiting trial or have ever been convicted of a criminal offense

  • Driver’s licenses, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses, etc.

These are just a few of the documents that may be needed for your Arizona adoption home study; your home study worker will be able to provide a more detailed checklist of the documentation she will need to complete the process.

In-Home Visits

This is the part of the home study for adoption that families often worry about the most. Home study visits are not to be feared! Arizona adoption home study professionals are not expecting you or your home to be perfect. They just want to make sure your home is a safe, stable environment for a child and that your family is fully prepared to welcome a new baby through adoption.

There are two parts to the pre-adoption home visit: the home inspection and interview.

The Arizona adoption home study inspection involves your social worker touring your home with you, looking to see if you’ve taken some basic safety precautions. These features need to be in place before a child can be welcomed into your home. You should do your best to prepare your home before your social worker visits, but you will not “fail” the inspection if you did not have one or two of these features in place before the initial visit. The purpose of this visit is for your social worker to help you find safety hazards you may have overlooked.

Some basic features your social worker will be looking for are:

  • covers on electrical outlets

  • fences around pools

  • screens on windows

  • gates for stairs

  • firearms, toxic cleaners, chemicals and medications stored out of reach

  • emergency plans for fire, natural disasters, medical emergencies, etc.

Remember, your social worker wants to make sure you are providing a safe, stable and loving home for a child. They will help you achieve this.

After the home inspection, your social worker will interview each member of your family. The home study interview is where the social worker gets to know more about you. You will have a conversation about your interests, careers, hobbies, family dynamics, personal values and relationships. During the conversation, your Arizona home study worker will want to know more about:

  • Your knowledge about adoption, including cultural and racial diversity, what to expect raising an adopted child, issues that your child may encounter as an adoptee, birth family relations and the adoption process in Arizona.

  • Your thoughts about AZ adoption, including how excited you are about this opportunity, your personal views on the process, and how you want your adopted child to feel about their adoption.

  • Your individual upbringings and backgrounds, and how those may affect how you parent your own child. What experiences and traditions do you want your child to have?

  • Your relationship as a family and as a couple, including how unified you are in your feelings about adoption and your potential adopted child.

This is your social worker’s chance to really get to know your family’s personalities and ensure that you are ready to become parents. If you have children living with you, they will be included in the home study process as well. Adoptive parents are often nervous about the home study interview, but reviewing some common interview questions and thinking about your answers ahead of time can help you feel more relaxed when the time comes.

The Home Study Report

The Arizona adoption home study will culminate in a report written by your social worker. This report will detail the findings of her home study investigation, including information about your family’s:

  • Social history

  • Financial status

  • Religious background

  • Physical and mental health conditions

  • Previous adjudications of child abuse, abandonment of children, dependency or termination of parent-child relationship, if any

  • Fitness to adopt

Once the report is complete, you will generally have the opportunity to review it to ensure all factual information (like social security numbers and birthdates) is correct. After you’ve reviewed and confirmed the accuracy of the report, it will need to be approved by your placement agency, and then your home study will officially be complete! 

Post-Placement Visits and Home Study Updates

An approved home study will allow you to move forward with the adoption process and begin searching for an adoption opportunity — but that’s not the last you’ll see of your home study worker. Before your adoption can be finalized, you’ll also need to complete a post-placement study.

Once a child is placed with your family, your Arizona adoption home study professional will visit the home within 30 days. This visit allows you to express questions or concerns about the adoption process and ensures the child’s needs are being met and that you all are adjusting well to your new family dynamic.

Following the initial visit, the Arizona adoption home study professional will visit at least once every three months until the adoption is finalized. If the child has special needs, they will visit at least once a month. These post-placement visits will be very similar to your home study visits. The social worker will interview all members of the family and discuss the following issues:

  • How the child has impacted relationships in the family

  • How the extended family and child view each other

  • Each family member’s role in taking care of the child

  • How the parent is dealing with the child’s needs

  • How the child challenges the placement (if old enough), and how the family reacts

  • How the child is adjusting to school (if applicable)

Additionally, you may need to update your home study if it expires before you receive an adoption opportunity. In Arizona, the initial home study certificate is valid for 18 months. It can be extended in one-year periods until a child is placed with your family. You will also need to update your home study if you experience a major life change, such as a new home, new job, or change in marital status.

Arizona Adoption Home Study Checklist

While this article provides some good background information about what to expect during this process, it’s not a complete Arizona adoption home study checklist. Your American Adoptions home study worker can go over the adoption home study checklist and process with you in more detail to help you feel fully prepared for this exciting step. If you are ready to get started on your Arizona home study for adoption, contact us now at 1-800-ADOPTION or request more free adoption information online.

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