There is a lot of uncertainty that goes into a home study. Even the words, “Home Study,” leave prospective parents with a hodgepodge of misconceptions and fears. There’s little to worry about. We won’t disqualify you for not having a golden toilet or 2000 thread Chinese silk blankets. We want to emphasize that the home study is a learning process for both you and us. Relative to the other components, studying the home is quite short. What is more important to us is learning about you (the parents!) and the paperwork; and trust us, there is a ton of paperwork!
Now when we say “learning about you,” we don’t mean an interrogation. We’re not looking for Martha Stewart-level of cooking or Mother Theresa-level of patience and compassion. We aren’t trying to find the “one thing” that will give us reason to reject you. Believe it or not, we WANT our children to find families! We want to find your compatibility with the child.
As comfortable as we want you to be, it is important to remember that the home study is not just another hurdle to reach adoption. It is a vital step to determine your suitability for the child. We will work at your pace, but understand that we must gather the necessary information to keep the process moving forward.
After we receive your application, the Director will assign a social worker and you will be mailed a contract. Once we receive back from you the signed contract and home study fee, the social worker will contact you to set up the initial visit. The case will be opened and you will be provided a checklist of all the necessary documents. The Social Worker’s role is to understand your expectations and help you through every step of the home study.
The home study requires a minimum of four visits. Each visit must be 1 ½ - 2 hours long, with a week in between each visit. Only one of these visits needs to actually be in your home. During the home visit, we are ensuring that it is a safe environment with adequate space for the prospective child. We also require a meeting with every member of the household, including both children who live in the home, and those who may be away at college.
You will be required to complete an online training. If a couple is adopting, both parents must complete it; however, both names can be placed on one certificate. All necessary documents must be submitted before completing the final visit. Keep in mind that if you are working with another agency for placement, we may require additional documents from them.
The final report will be written within two weeks after all visits and after all documents have been completed and submitted. This report will be reviewed by the Program Coordinator, you, and possibly the Adoption program partner and/or placing agency. Once the report is finalized, it will be signed by the Program Coordinator and notarized. The recommendation letter will be e-mailed to you, which requires your approval. Any remaining fee balance must be paid before you can receive the official, completed home study.
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We know this sounds like a lot, but be assured that we are here to make the process go as smooth as possible! This is just a general overview of what a home study looks like. Once you jump into it, we will be able to answer all your specific questions and provide all the specific details. We are so excited to know you are considering international adoption! Allow us to partner with you to help form the precious, forever family you’ve longed for.