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Adoption Home Study

Jared Said:

Where can I find a list of requirements for adoption and home study?

We Answered:

With over 20 years in adoption work, and having approved over 400 families to adopt, I can tell you what we looked for. Many of these requirements are set in stone in our state, as they are with every state. And then the agency approving you will also have their own requirements -- some may have "Christian only" or "No smoking" reqirments, for example. But the basic requirements are as follows:

Job and job history - stable employment history
Salary - decent stable salary reflected on your tax returns, pay stubs and employment letters
Taxes - good history of completing verifiable tax returns
Marriages - usually look at number (less than three is preferable!) and length of current marriage (usually 3+ years)
Divorces - will need copies of the decrees, and names of exes, as well as explanation of reason for divorce
Children - children will be interviewed, even if live with you part time or if they are grown
References - must have personal and professional (therapist, rabbi, teacher) references who have known you both for 5+ years ideally
Medical - letters from doc stating no communicable or catastrophic ilnesses/diseases, and state that you are mentally/emotionally and physically stable
Mental - stability
Abuse history - from childhood on up, history and how you have resolved or coped with it
Arrests - if you have one, why and when, with details, and resolution, verified by criminal and child abuse background checks in all states where you have lived
Income - must be sufficient to more than just pay all bills and expenses, and not be in debt or bankruptcy
Pets - must be child friendly and up on all vaccinations and healthy
Home - must have a "home" -- not just a house -- can be an apartment or house, but needs to be organized, warm and child friendly and safe
Cars - do not have to be new, but need to be safe and dependable with approved car seats
Friends/neighbors - appropriate, not partiers and moochers
Family - need to be enthusiastic about the adoption for the sake of the child!
Counseling - history of marriage counseling and resolution, as well as mental health counseling and therapist's names and reports
Alcohol and drugs - no drug use and alcohol in strict moderation, and if have history of addictions, must have proof of resolution
Lifestyle - generally fit and appropriate for children, such as not a "clubber" or partier, no risky habits
Hobbies - what you do with your spare time
Religion/Spirituality - do not have to attend church unless the specific agency reqires it, and some birthmothers want only a certian religion or practice or the absence of it
Motivation to adopt - why and history of desire to adopt
History with children - caring for nieces/nephews or friend's children, or volunteer work documnted
Childhood - everything from your birth on up, such as family activites, discipline, parental roles, discipline, etc.
Family of origin - how close are you now and how often do you stay in contact, etc.
Marriage - stability and strengths and weaknesses, duration, usually at least 3 years
Sex life - normal, agreeable to both (indication of stability)
Exes - why ex relationships ended
Attitudes toward birthparents - caring, open, appreciative or want nothing to do with her (indication of attitude towards child as well)
Attitudes towards people of different socio-economic status - general attitudes reflect how you may see child, or birth parents
Attitudes about continuing contact with birthmother - open, semi open or closed -- most agencies will not work with families who want a closed adoption as this is not in the best interest of the child
Expectations of child - are the expectations realistic or not, such as must be bright and look like us (argh)
Health Insurance - must have adequate medical insurance for the child, as well as for selves

ETC.!! Good luck to you!!

Danielle Said:

What is involved in an adoption 'home study'?

We Answered:

Good question. Each state has its own requirements and any homestudy agency in the state is required to meet at least those, but each homestudy agency is different. I've heard of some easy ones where the agency only does the minimum the state requires and I've seen some strenuous ones. I'll share what my own homestudy required. It required a criminal background check and a child abuse and neglect registry check. We did 4 hours of interviewing over two different meetings and my husband and I talked with our social worker each individually and together. I thought the interviewing was very thorough. It covered relationships, family, religion, experience with children, readiness for adoption, parenting philosophy, etc. We had a safety inspection of our home, including by the fire department, with a posted fire escape plan. We had a doctor check-up and hadour doctor attest to our mental and physical health. We also had a 12 hour international adoption class, over 2 different days, but that was because we adopted intenationally and isn't a state requirement. We also had a required reading list for international adoption. I'm sure there are some little things I'm forgetting, but that is most. After all of that, our social worker wrote the report and sent a rough draft to our adoption agency who looked it over to see if it covered all of the information of the foreign government requires, because the foreign government often requires different information than the state in which you live, and an internation homestudy has to meet both requirements.
Our international program required 2 post-placement visits as well, one at 3 months and one at 1 year.

edited to add: forgot a couple of major ones: financial discolure form, and 4 references.

Also, I agree with the poster who said that more should be required AFTER placement.

Anna Said:

Any tips to help prepare for Adoption Home Study?

We Answered:

The look to make sure you have fire detectors outside of each bedroom, you will need a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and baby proof your cabinets. make sure your meds are locked away in a cabinet and no cleaning products in a cabinet that the baby could get to. You need to post an evacuation plan and emergency numbers in your home (dr #, 911, fire dept # , Etc). Make sure all doorways are open for use in case of a fire (no blocked doorways or clutter in your hallways). All windows must be in working condition. Just basic stuff. You could probably call the social worker and she would give you a list of items they will be checking. Good luck to you.

Ray Said:

Adoption Home Study?

We Answered:

I would not go through Social Services to have a homestudy done for an international adoption. Most countries have very, very specific criteria that they are looking for in a home study. First of all, find an agency that has a Taiwan program. Here is one for you:

www.familyandchildrensagency.com

It doesn't matter if they have a program in your state. Most agencies with international adoption programs can place children all over the country. They will probably be able to recommend a social worker in your state that is familiar with the home study process for Taiwan, and can help you.

Just so you know, Taiwanese adoption is very similar to American domestic adoption, in that the birth mother is allowed to choose the adoptive parents. You may want to consider this when you apply for an adoption from this country.

Marilyn Said:

adoption home study question?

We Answered:

we had a similar issue and were told to place a lock on the door to our furnace room. we complied and it was no problem :) I think the home study workers want to see compliance with any housing issues :)

Gilbert Said:

Can a home study for inter. adoption be through a different agency than your post placement studies?

We Answered:

yes

Discuss It!

Robert said:

Nice Q and A. Always interesting to hear opinions from professionals. Might have to look for more articles with her. Thanks