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Your Complete Guide to the Tennessee Adoption Home Study

The Tennessee adoption home study: it’s one of the most important steps in the adoption process — and one that can cause the most undue stress for hopeful parents.

This essential adoption requirement can seem overwhelming at first, but with the right preparation, your home study process will go smoothly, and you will be well on your way to adopting a child. To help make this process as easy as possible, we’ve created the following adoption home study checklist for Tennessee families.

What is the TN Home Study for Adoption?

The home study is basically an overview of an adoptive family’s life, which includes background checks, a collection of important documents, interviews and home visits from a licensed social worker. Specifically, in Tennessee, the home study for adoption includes:

  • At least one visit to the home

  • Reference letters for adoption

  • Health examinations

  • Verification of marital status

  • Interviews with all members of the family residing in the household

  • And more

During the adoption home study interviews, you will likely discuss:

  • Your motivation to adopt

  • Your ability to provide for a child

  • Your character, values and ethical standards

  • Your physical and mental health

  • The health and fire safety conditions of your home

  • And more

The purpose of the Tennessee home study is to assess potential parents’ readiness to adopt a child and their ability to provide a stable, loving home to a new family member. It is required for anyone looking to adopt a child in TN, whether through domestic infant adoption, foster care adoption or international adoption. (Certain home study requirements may be waived for stepparent or relative adoptions.)

While it can seem a little daunting at first, the home study is actually an exciting part of the adoption process; once your Tennessee home study for adoption is complete, you can officially begin looking for the child who is meant to be a part of your family!

How to Complete the Home Study for Adoption in TN

The Tennessee home study for adoption can take some time to complete, so it’s recommended that you start working on it early in your adoption process. Your American Adoptions specialist can provide more details about the home study process and refer you to a licensed home study provider in Tennessee.

Your home study provider will send you a more detailed adoption home study checklist but, in general, you can expect your home study process to go something like this:

Step 1: Submit required documentation.

First, you will need to collect and submit a variety of required documents to your home study worker. Some of the documents they may request could include birth certificates and marriage licenses, physicians’ statements, financial information and letters of recommendation for adoption from friends and family members.

Gathering all of this paperwork may be time-consuming, but it’s worthwhile; these documents are essentially “proof” that you are legally, financially, physically and mentally ready to welcome an adopted child into your home.

Step 2: Complete the in-home visit with your social worker.

Your social worker will conduct at least one visit to your home to complete a required walk-through. It’s important to know that your home doesn’t need to be spotless for this visit; this walk-through, sometimes called an “in-home inspection” or “home tour,” is simply meant to confirm that you can offer a stable, comfortable home for a child. Your home study worker will be checking to make sure you have certain safety measures in place and that your home is a generally clean and healthy environment.

Step 3: Meet with your social worker for the family interview.

Finally, your home study worker will complete an interview with everyone in your household. This interview will likely be completed during your home visit.

The interview is your social worker’s way of getting to know you and your attitudes toward adoption. They may ask you about your life as a family, including your values, your parenting philosophy and the things you like to do together. You might also discuss your motivation to adopt and your knowledge about various adoption-related issues.

Find a Tennessee Adoption Home Study Worker

You will need to work with a licensed home study provider in Tennessee to complete your adoption home study. Some options to consider include:

Your American Adoptions specialist can provide additional references to Tennessee home study professionals, or you can search for other providers at

Tennessee Adoption Home Study Checklist

To help your Tennessee adoption home study proceed smoothly, you may want to start collecting the following documents:

  • Driver’s licenses or identification

  • Birth certificates

  • Marriage licenses

  • Proof of insurance

  • Tax returns and recent paystubs

  • Physician statements

  • Adoption reference letters

  • Previous adoption decrees (if applicable)

  • Criminal background checks

  • Child abuse and neglect registry clearances

Prior to your home visit, you may want to double check that you have the following safety measures in place in your home:

  • Functioning locks on all doors and windows

  • Working smoke detectors and CO2 detectors

  • Covered outlets

  • Baby gates for stairways

  • Dangerous substances and tools placed out of reach of children

  • Emergency phone numbers and evacuation plans

  • Fire extinguisher

  • First-aid kit

To learn more about Tennessee adoption home study requirements, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway. To learn more about the whole Tennessee adoption process with American Adoptions, call 1-800-ADOPTION now to speak with an adoption specialist. 

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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