Home studies are a pretty big deal in the adoption process. A home study is an assessment of a prospective adoptive family’s life, history and home, and, if all goes well, it ends with a recommendation that the family be able to adopt.
It’s natural, then, that the process can seem scary. It’s tough to have your lives under a microscope, but everyone has to go through it before adopting — even celebrities! To make the process as educational and stress-free as possible, it’s important to choose the right professional to complete your home study.
For Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, Arkansas and Florida residents, American Adoptions can provide home study services in a span of four to six weeks. (These are the states in which we are licensed.) If you don’t reside in one of these states, though, there are important questions to ask any home study professional before you begin the process.
Who can perform a home study?
A home study must be performed by a social worker licensed in your state. Some states, as well as other countries, require that social worker to be from a licensed adoption agency. To avoid any issues with the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), we recommend working with a licensed adoption home study professional. You don’t want to travel to another state to meet your child only to realize your home study has been denied.
How much does a home study cost?
The ultimate price tag varies based on each adoptive family’s individual situation. It’s common for international home studies to cost more, because the requirements of the other country have to be met as well. Before selecting a professional to complete your home study, be sure to ask about prices — not only for the present time, but for post-placements and other updates after your child has joined your family.
Remember, cost is not the only factor. You need a timely, experienced professional to help you ready your family for its newest member.
How long will the home study take?
Some professionals move faster than others. You should ask any agency you’re considering this question, as well as a few follow-ups:
- Does the home study time frame start the day you apply or the day your interview takes place? Some estimated time frames can be very skewed if the clock doesn’t start until the day your interviews begin. You want to make sure the agency you choose can get the ball rolling relatively quickly.
- How soon can the agency send a professional to begin the interview process?
- How long does it generally take for background checks to be returned? Is that factored into the agency’s time frame estimate?
- How quickly will the professional actually write your home study after the interviews and background checks? Ask for references.
Other factors to consider
It’s helpful to think beyond the day your child joins your family when choosing a home study professional. He or she will also be responsible for post-placement supervision visits, which will entail coming to your home to assess how everyone is adjusting with the newest family member. The number of these visits depends on the state (or by country in an international adoption).
You may need an updated home study down the line if you move, switch careers or add new family members to your home. Otherwise, the original is good for 12 months before it has to be updated.
If you’re pursuing an international adoption, be sure the home study professional you choose is well-versed in the different demands associated with the country or countries you are considering. It’s important that your professional know what those countries are looking for in adoptive families.
Remember that it’s normal to be anxious about your home study. It is, after all, a very big step on the way to growing your family — and the right home study professional will help to guide you along the way.
I am looking for a certified home study agency for pre-adoption qualification in Montgomery County area of Pennsylvania.
Hi, Jeremy — Check out 1-800-homestudy.com for licensed professionals in your area!
My husband and I near our home study done for our private adoption of our 12 year old daughter and I have no idea where one is located near me. Florence Wisconsin
Hi, Shanna — Check out 1-800-homestudy.com1-800-homestudy.com for licensed professionals in your area!
Do I have to go through a foster agency or can I just do a home study
Hi, Tiffany — Are you considering adopting through foster care? If so, yes, you will need to work with a licensed agency to adopt a child in the foster care system. Most foster care agencies require you to work with a foster-care-specific home study professional for this step.
If you’re considering private domestic infant adoption, you do not need to work with an agency for placement, although it is advised. You can complete a home study with a home study professional and work with an attorney in an independent adoption. Learn more about that here: https://www.americanadoptions.com/adoption/independent_adoption
I’m looking for someone to do a home study that is a non religious agency or individual that is Licensed in the state of ND. Any info would be appreciated.
Hi, Naomi — Unfortunately, your options may be limited in North Dakota. We don’t know of any professionals who meet the criteria you’re looking for, but you might check 1800homestudy.com for updates if any new providers are available. Good luck in your search!
We already have an infant placed with us and we just need to know the state requirements not the religious organizations policy.
We are not legal experts and cannot offer legal advice regarding North Dakota adoption requirements. We encourage you to contact a local adoption attorney for more information: https://adoptionart.org/find-an-attorney/attorney-directory/#!directory/map/ord=lnm/xnd=1
I have completed my adoption papers an need just need a home study to be performed in my area in Illinois. I need a licensed social worker or company.
Reach out to American Adoptions or your adoption agency to see if they request that you work with a specific home study professional: Some agencies do! If not, you can find a local home study provider here: https://www.1-800-homestudy.com/professional
We are in the processed of adopting our daughter in the Philippines. We just need a home study to be performed in our home in Simi Valley, California.
Below is a link to a search tool that can help you find home study professionals in your area. Be sure to call and check that they’re able to complete an international adoption home study, as not all providers are licensed for that type of placement. Best of luck to you and your family!
We are in the processed of adopting International. We just need a home study to be performed in our home in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
Hi Abraham — Check out 1-800-homestudy.com for licensed professionals in your area!