If you’re hoping to adopt, you’ll need to complete the home study process before a baby can be placed into your home. The home study makes sure the homes of hopeful adoptive families are safe and abide by state adoption laws.
As one of the first steps in your adoption, the home study may bring up many different emotions, from excitement to intimidation. The adoption home study usually includes a complete background check, paperwork and documentation, interviews with members of your household, and a visit to your home.
While this might seem like a lot, we’ve seen people get through the home study process smoothly and quickly by following these 6 proven tips:
1. Obtain a list of needed documents
Ask your home study provider for a list of all the documents you need to provide. Some of these required documents may take you additional time to get, so it’s smart to start working on those first.
As an example, you’ll probably have to provide copies of your marriage license, driver’s license, and birth certificates. If you don’t have these documents, it might take some time to request copies. Also, there are some documents that you’ll need a notary for, such as a notarized financial statement.
2. Schedule doctor appointments
Most home studies require a signed physician’s statement regarding your health. You’ll also need to visit an authorized authority to get fingerprinted. If you have pets, make vet appointments so that they’re fully up-to-date with all vaccinations. Make sure to schedule these appointments right away so that they don’t get in the way of your ability to finish your home study.
3. Request that your references submit letters quickly
Home study applications usually require reference letters from family and friends, attesting to your character. We recommend choosing your references early on in this process since it’ll take time to get the reference letters back. There is a way to expedite the process, though.
Once you’ve chosen your references, you can give them a heads-up that they’ll get a reference request soon. Also, kindly request that they submit their letter as quickly as possible. We often find that missing reference letters are one of hold-ups of completing a home study.
4. Reserve time in your schedule to work on this
We recommend that you set aside some time to dedicate yourself to the home study application and needed documents. While the questions are pretty straightforward, it’s just a matter of making time to finish it. You might try setting aside two hours each day to power through your needed items.
5. Read a checklist
Once you’re done with the paperwork part of your home study, the next step is to schedule the home visit and interviews with a social worker. Before the social worker visits, we suggest reviewing a general home study checklist. This will allow you to see whether your home meets the recommended safety standards. Ask your social worker to provide you with a more state-specific list.
6. Check your home’s safety before the home visit
Even though your social worker will give you an opportunity to fix any potential safety hazards before finishing their report, taking care of all safety hazards before their initial visit will expedite the overall process.
Lifetime Adoption Agency provides affordable home study services in Florida. Learn more by calling us at 727-493-0933 or visiting our Adoption Home Study page.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 27, 2018, and has since been updated.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally-recognized adoption expert and the Founder of Lifetime Adoption Agency. She has been working in adoption since 1986 and is also an award-winning author and speaker.
Mardie knows the sorrow of coping with infertility, and is an adoptive parent who experienced many of the challenges adoptive families might face. In various media appearances worldwide, publications, and her podcast, Mardie important steps that must be taken to complete a safe and secure adoption. Having adopted her son, Mardie knows firsthand the joys of raising an adopted child.
Mardie’s life mission is to help adoptive parents and birth parents find each other. With Lifetime Adoption Agency, she seeks to build happy families and provide precious infants and children with a loving and secure future.