What exactly is a homestudy & why to families wanting to adopt have to have them? Here is some great information on this very important part of adoption for you!
Understanding the Homestudy
No matter of the type of adoption (domestic or international) nearly all families must have a homestudy completed by a licensed social worker prior to proceeding with an adoptive placement. The purpose of a homestudy is to ensure that each child is placed in a suitable home & that good matches are made between children and families. Homestudies also help to make sure that prospective families have homes that comply with State and local laws for placement of adoptive children & families are educated about adoption & have the information they need to make the best decisions for their families about adoption.
Your homestudy may include requests for the following information:
- Your personal & family background-including upbringing, siblings, key life experiences.
- Marriage, family and significant relationships
- Motivation to adopt
- Expectations for the child
- Feelings about the infertility your family has dealt with, if this is an issue
- Parenting & integration of the child into the family
- Family environment
- Your physical & health history
- Education, employment & finances, including insurance coverage & child care plans if needed
- Criminal background clearances
- Child abuse clearances
- The final step is the social worker's summary & recommendation.
Required Documents & Other Items
Specific requirements for homestudies vary by state & adoption agencies; the following, however, are commonly required:
- A visit to your home, made by a social worker that is completing your home study. This visit is to ensure that your home meets basic state safety regulations, & will also assist the caseworker in documenting the layout of your home in the home study.
- An autobiographical statement-a statement you create about your life history
- Certified copies of birth certificates for you, your partner, and any children
- Certified copy of your marriage license
- Certified copies of divorce decrees, if applicable
- The death certificate of a former spouse, if applies
- Certified copies of the finalization or adoption decrees for any previously adopted children
- Income verification (may include tax returns, W-2 forms, paycheck stubs, etc.)
- A statement of health provided by a physician, which might include lab test results or a statement of infertility
- Written references from friends, employers, neighbors, etc.
- Child abuse clearances
- Fingerprints for criminal record clearances
Questions You May Be Asked
During meeting(s) with your social worker, you can expect to answer questions about your background, your education, your job history, your marriage, your leisure activities, your religion, and your experiences with children. For instance, your social worker may ask:
- What is your family like? How will you integrate your new child into your family? How will your extended family accept an adopted child?
- How is your marriage? How do you make decisions, resolve conflicts, & express your feelings?
- Why do you want to adopt?
- What is your home like? Are there places for your child to play or spend time alone? Are there parks nearby?
- What is your neighborhood like?
- What was your family like when you were growing up? How were you raised? Are you close to your parents? Close to your siblings?
- Where do you work? Is your schedule flexible enough to accommodate the responsibilities that come with parenting?
- What sort of childcare arrangements will you make for your child?