Home Study Services

What is a home study?

The home study is a pre-placement report that provides an evaluation of your ability to parent a child adopted internationally and is also an intricate part of your parent education. The home study is a written evaluation of the findings of the social worker, who has met with the applicants on several occasions, both individually and together. At least one meeting will occur in the applicant’s home. If there are other people living in the home, they also will be interviewed by the social worker.

How long does it take?

On average the home study process can take three to four months to complete. The home study process, the contents of the written home study report, and the time it will take to complete vary from state to state and how motivated the prospective adoptive parents are to complete the paperwork and how busy the social worker is. All of these factors can affect the home study timeline.

What does it include?

Personal and family background-including upbringing, siblings, key events, and what was learned from them
Significant people in the lives of the applicants
Marriage and family relationships
Motivation to adopt
Expectations for the child
Feelings about infertility (if this is an issue)
Parenting and integration of the child into the family
Family environment
Physical and health history of the applicants
Education, employment, and finances-including insurance coverage and child care plans if needed
A statement describing the counseling and training provided to the prospective adoptive parents
References and criminal background clearances
Summary and social worker’s recommendation that includes the characteristics of the children for whom the prospective adoptive parent(s) would be qualified to care (specifically in particular whether they are willing and able to care for a child with special needs

The home study is more than a visit to your home, it is an interview and educational process resulting in a condensed, written description of your history, values, and personality. It describes your childhood and growing up years, education, and work experience. It also is the story of your choice of life partner and children that you already have in your home if that is the case. Anyone reading your home study will have a snapshot of your life and of the events that have shaped you into the person and family that you are. It sounds rather intimidating at first, but the process provides a great opportunity for adoptive parents to learn even more about each other. Your home study also discusses what has motivated you to adopt, the training that has prepared you for welcoming a new child into your home, and describes the resources that you have available to assist you during that process.

Why is it so important?

A home study is a legal document that describes each individual in a family with the primary focus on the adoptive parents. A home study determines whether or not the family meets the requirements to adopt and the type of child they are best suited to parent. It is used by immigration to verify that the family meets the requirements to bring an orphan into the United States. The home study is also used to complete a re-adoption after the child comes to the US and settles into the home and new life.  This document represents the family in the immigration (CIS) and the foreign court process.  It represents YOU.

The home study process begins with an application and home study fee. The home study process includes both paperwork and interviews. The prospective adoptive parents provide copies of birth and marriage certificates, tax returns, medical exam forms, and a variety of other documents. In addition, each parent fills out an autobiographical questionnaire in which they answer questions concerning childhood life experiences, education, current, and past marriages, and personal experience with or theory on parenting and discipline. The interviews include the couple together, each prospective adoptive parent individually, a visit to the home, and interviews with any children or other individuals living in the home.

Criminal and child abuse checks are completed on the prospective adoptive parents. Local state criminal checks are completed; fingerprints are cleared through the FBI and child abuse checks are completed for at least the past five years wherever the family has lived. If a home study is being completed for a country that is a party to the Hague Convention, child abuse checks are completed on the prospective adoptive parents for each place they have resided since turning 18 years of age. This is easily done for a family that has moved rarely or not at all but can be a bit daunting to a military family or similar family with a history of many moves. A home study can generally be completed in two to four months. The home study always takes at least as long as it takes for your FBI fingerprints results to come back from DC, but generally, if a family is highly motivated to get the paperwork in it can be accomplished in a shorter period and the family that takes more time over paperwork can see the process stretch out longer. All home studies require time to think about and process the information that has been given. You can think of it in terms of your worker constantly researching and completing a term paper on your life.

For more information about our domestic and international home study and post adoption/placement services, please contact our staff.

For more information on the paperwork and process including fees click here.

To review our financial agreement, including our agency documents, or the number of adoption placements per year for the prior 3 calendar years, the number of placements that remain intact, the number of families who apply to adopt each year, and the number of waiting children eligible for adoption click here.