Home studies are a pretty big deal in the adoption process. It’s a step that everyone who is adopting has to complete. And, to be honest, this step can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

One of the most important things for any hopeful adoptive parents is to find the right home study agency. Home study agencies are licensed, staffed by social workers, and provide the services you need to complete your home study for adoption.

To make the process as educational and stress-free as possible, it’s important to choose the right professional to complete your home study. This guide will help you do that.

What is a Home Study?

A home study for adoption is a review of your living situation and adoption readiness by a social worker. It involves reviewing important documents, a home visit, and an interview. The home study is required for all types of adoption, and it can be completed by a licensed home study agency in your state.

Who Can Perform a Home Study for Adoption?

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. American Adoptions is a licensed home study provider in six states. If you see your state below, click the link to learn more about our home study services:

If you don’t see your state here, you can use the tools at 1-800-homestudy.com to find a licensed home study agency near you.

How Much Does a Home Study Cost?

Most home studies cost between $1,000 and $3,000. The range is so wide because there are several different types of home studies. For example, home studies for foster care are often the least expensive, while home studies for international adoption can be the most pricey.

American Adoptions is able to provide home studies at a lower cost than many other professionals in our licensed state.

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 Adoption 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.

What Do Adoption Agencies Look for in a Home Study?

The goal of the home study is to ensure that any child who is adopted ends up in a safe, loving home. So, your home study agency is looking for signs to make sure you are prepared to adopt.

Along with basic things like meeting the home safety inspection checklist, they will also ask about your understanding of adoption, your views on parenting, your relationship with your partner, and other important factors that could influence the type of home you provide for a child.

Remember: Even though the adoption home study can feel stressful, you are all on the same team! Everyone wants what is best for the child.

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 before your adoption is complete. 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. If you are interested in using American Adoptions’ home study services, you can explore your options here.