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Adoption Home Study in West Virginia

Steps for Completing your West Virginia Home Study for Adoption

The adoption home study is one of the most important adoption requirements that every hopeful adoptive parent will have to complete, whether you are adopting domestically, internationally, or through foster care. It is the part of the adoption process that shows you are truly ready to adopt a child.

Adoption home studies can be a nerve-wracking process for hopeful adoptive parents as they feel they are under a microscope having to prove their abilities to parent. However, this is not a judgement of parenting styles or abilities. It is simply a confirmation that you are emotionally, financially and physically prepared to adopt and raise a child.

While American Adoptions isn’t licensed to provide home studies in West Virginia, there are trusted home study professionals who will guide you through this process.

Adoption home study requirements in West Virginia can typically be broken down into two main parts:

  1. Paperwork

  2. In-Person Visits

Paperwork

Collecting all the necessary documentation for your WV adoption home study can be a lengthy process, so it is recommended that you get started as soon as possible. Some of the documents you will be required to submit as part of your home study to adopt in West Virginia include:

  • Recent health records from your doctors, counselors or other health professionals to verify that you are physically and mentally able to care for a child.

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

  • Personal references from 3-5 close friends to whom you are not related. Your home study professional will contact your references to ask for a letter of recommendation for adoption.

  • Background checks and clearances for all adult members of the household on both a state and federal level to ensure there are no prior records of violent behavior, abuse or neglect.

  • Autobiographical statements from each of the hopeful adoptive parents about your intent to adopt. You will be asked to describe your childhood, your relationship together, your journey to become a family and your ultimate decision to adopt, including the life you envision for your child.

  • Copies of birth certificates for each family member, driver’s licenses, marriage license, divorce degrees (if applicable), proof of insurance, pet vaccination records and military discharges (if applicable)

In-Home Visits

In-home visits are the most dreaded part of the West Virginia adoption home study, but they aren’t as bad as you might think.

Your home study professional isn’t looking to see if your house if perfectly cleaned and free of dust. He or she isn’t there to ensure your laundry is completed and your clothes are pressed. They are just there to ensure that your home is a safe place for a child.

There will be two “phases” of in-home visits conducted by your home study provider: pre-placement and post-placement. During pre-placement visits, your West Virginia home study provider will visit your home to conduct a home inspection and an adoptive family interview.

During the adoption home study inspection, your social worker will tour your home with you to ensure your home is a safe environment for a child. He or she will look for the following basic features:

  • Screens on windows

  • Fences around pools

  • Covers on electrical outlets

  • Gates for stairs

  • Cleaning supplies and medicines out of reach

  • Emergency plans

It is not necessary to find every potential danger a child could face in your home. Your social worker will point out any concerns he or she may have and will allow you time to make any adjustments to your home before you are placed with a child. If there is something you have forgotten, you certainly won’t be prevented from adopting! You can just correct the issue in time for the next home visit.

While it is important for your home to be safe, the biggest priority of your social worker will be to ensure that you are able to provide a healthy, stable and loving environment to a child. He or she will do this through a family interview.

The interview portion of the home study for adoption in West Virginia is where your social worker will learn more about you. She will ask about your family dynamics, your hobbies and interests, your careers, and your relationships. You will also discuss your parenting styles, your feelings about adoption and your journey to parenthood.  This will give her an idea of the life you are wanting to provide your child.

By getting to know you better, your social worker will be able to make recommendations for your family that will help guide you to an expectant mother who is looking for a family like yours. It’s not a test, so just relax and be yourself!

Home Study Updates

Your West Virginia home study for adoption will need to be renewed annually until you are placed with a child. Your home study must also be updated after any major life change, such as a new home or new career.

While home study updates aren’t as extensive as the initial home study, they will most likely require another home visit from your social worker. 

Post-Placement Visits

Once a child is placed with your family, your West Virginia home study professional will conduct a series of post-placement visits to ensure everyone in the family is adjusting well to the change. The initial visit will typically be within one week of placement, followed by a minimum of four in-home visits over the course of six months. Both adoptive parents must be present for these visits as well as the adopted child.

During these visits, your social worker may offer advice about transitioning into the role of parents, contact with the birth family and more.

West Virginia Adoption Home Study Checklist

Documentation

  • Driver’s licenses

  • Birth certificates

  • Social Security cards

  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)

  • Passports (for international adoption)

  • Green card (if applicable)

  • Recent tax return

  • Bank statements

  • Insurance records

  • Medical statements

  • Pet vaccination records (if applicable)

  • Adoption reference letters

  • Military discharges (if applicable)

  • Adoption decrees (if applicable)

Child Safety Features in Your Home

  • First-aid kit

  • Screens and locks on doors/windows

  • Working smoke detectors

  • Working CO2 detectors

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Toxic substances (cleaning supplies, medicines, art supplies, etc.) placed out of reach of children

  • Covered trash cans

  • Fences around pools

  • Easily available list of emergency phone numbers (pediatrician, Poison Control, veterinarian, etc.)

  • Gated stairways

  • Safeguards around fireplaces and heating equipment

  • Home evacuation and safety plans

  • Covered electrical outlets

Clearances, Classes and Training

  • Criminal background checks

  • Child abuse and neglect clearance

  • FBI clearance

  • Sex offender clearance

  • Parenting class

  • CPR and/or First aid certification

  • Foster care licensing (if applicable)

  • Special needs training (if applicable)

  • Cultural diversity class (if applicable)

Your home study provider will be able to walk you through the home study process and ensure you have completed everything on your West Virginia adoption home study checklist.

To learn more about the West Virginia home study for adoption or for a referral to a home study professional near you, call 1-800-ADOPTION today.

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.