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South Dakota Home Study Guide

How to Prepare for the Adoption Home Study in South Dakota

Whether you are hoping to grow your family through international, foster care, or a domestic adoption, the adoption home study in South Dakota will be the one of the first major parts of your journey. The process allows you to show what kind of life you can provide for your child. Knowing this can cause some adoptive families to feel unnecessarily anxious. But know this — the home study process  in South Dakota is nothing to fear.

The home study process is not used to judge whether you will be a perfect parent or not, but rather to determine if you are financially and emotionally ready for the adoption journey. Typically, your home study will have two components.


In order to know what documents are necessary for your adoption, the best thing that you can do is contact your local home study professional. They will be able to tell you which documents are needed for your South Dakota home study for adoption. Typically, you can expect to provide the following to your South Dakota adoption home study professional:

  • Adoption Reference Letter:  You will need to provide at least three reference letters, and at least two of them should be from nonrelatives. If the person you know needs help getting started, there are several sample letter of recommendation for adoptive parents online that should give them an idea of what to include. 

  • Recent Financial Statements: You will be asked to submit documentation to prove that you have the means to take care of and provide for a child. This information can be provided via tax returns, paystubs, or income statements.

  • Background Checks and Clearances: You will need to complete criminal background and child abuse registry checks to ensure that there is no history of prior abuse or neglect.

Documents such as your letter of recommendation for adoption and background checks will take some time to gather. It’s a good idea to speak with your home study professional first to understand which documents are necessary as soon as you can.

In-Home Visits in SD

It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous about your in-home visit in South Dakota, especially when it means that you will be one step closer to adopting a child. Even though this feeling might not go away until much later, researching what the visit will entail can help ease some of the pressure that you’re feeling.  Your in-home visit will be comprised of two main steps.

Step 1: A Home Inspection

During your inspection, your assigned social worker will tour your home to see if it is a safe environment for a child. They will be looking for features such as:

  • Gates in front of stairs

  • Covers on pools

  • Covers on all electrical outlets

  • Toxic chemicals and medicine out of reach

  • Fire extinguishers and emergency escape plans

Remember that your social worker will be there to point out any potential hazards. Don’t worry — if you accidentally overlooked a feature, your home study won’t be denied automatically. You’ll just want to make sure that it’s taken care of during the next home inspection.

Step 2: The Interview

Your South Dakota adoption home study social worker will visit for an interview with everyone that currently resides in the home. This will also include any siblings the potential adopted child will have. During your adoption home study interview, your social worker will be able to evaluate:

  • Your current knowledge about adoption, including any culture and diversity issues that an adopted child might face.

  • Your relationship with your spouse and family and how excited everyone is for the adoption.

  • Cultural and family traditions that you plan to continue while raising your child.

While you are being interviewed, your social worker might ask you questions like:

  • “What led you to adoption?”

  • “How did the two of you meet?”

  • “What kind of education do you want your child to have?”

  • “What are some parenting skills you liked about your own childhood? If you could, would you do anything differently?”

The purpose of the South Dakota adoption home study interview is to get to know you and your spouse better as individuals, not just names on a piece of paper. Your social worker is not looking for perfection, just a realistic portrait of your family dynamic. The observations the social worker makes during the in-home visit will be used in issuing your final decree of adoption in South Dakota.

Post-Placement Visits in SD

Your in-home visits won’t be the last time that you see your SD adoption home study professional. After an adopted child has been placed with your family, you will start to receive post-placement visits up until the adoption is finalized in court. During these visits, your home study professional will observe how well the adopted child is integrating with their new family. Your social worker will also provide helpful resources to make your transition to post-placement life a smooth one.

If you have any questions about what the post-placement visit involves, please visit 1-800-homestudy for more information.

To help organize everything you’ll need, you can start using a South Dakota adoption home study checklist.  This list will give you a nice breakdown of everything that your home study provider might ask for.

If you’re ready to start your infant adoption process in South Dakota with American Adoptions, please call 1-800-ADOPTION to receive free information. You are also welcome to visit for a sample adoption home study and other great resources. 

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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