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Archive for home study

How to Get Your Adoption Home Study Done Quickly

Happy couple meeting with their adoption home study providerAs the first step in the adoption process, the home study can bring up many emotions, from the excitement of beginning the adoption journey to feeling nervous about the process. Typically, a home study includes paperwork and documentation, a precise background check, interviews with household members, and a visit to your home.
 
Even though this may seem like a lot, you can get through the home study process in record time.
 

Here are 7 proven ways to finish your home study quickly:

 
1. Make sure you’re both committed to the process
 
First of all, it’s crucial that both of you are committed to your adoption. It’s your home study provider’s goal to place children in loving, accepting homes. But family dynamics can be strained when one spouse is more dedicated than the other.
 
In addition, if just one parent is committed, the other tends to procrastinate about finishing the necessary paperwork and setting appointments.
 
2. Compile a list of required documents
 
Since some of the required documents for your home study might require additional time to obtain, we recommend that you start working on those first.
 
As an example, you’ll need to gather personal documents, like copies of your driver’s license, marriage and birth certificates. It can take awhile to request copies of these from the appropriate government departments if you don’t have these documents on hand. Some documents, such as your financial statement, will require notarizations.
 
Please check with your home study provider, because requirements vary state by state. Make sure to verify with them which documents are necessary to submit for your home study.
 
3. Schedule appointments as soon as possible

Most home studies will require a signed physician’s statement regarding your health. In addition, you’ll need to schedule a visit to an authorized authority so that you can get fingerprinted. So that these appointments don’t become a bottleneck in finishing your home study, schedule them right away.
 
4. Complete your paperwork online

Find a home study provider who will accept home study applications via e-forms. If you can complete your paperwork online, you may be able to finish it all within a week. Hopeful adoptive parents who complete paper forms typically take a few months to finish.
 
5. Give your references a heads-up

Most home study applications require reference letters from your family and friends. We recommend choosing your references early on in the home study process since it’ll take time to get the reference letters returned.
 
Once you’ve chosen your references, let them know they’ll receive a reference request. Kindly ask them to submit it as quickly as they can. That’s because missing reference letters are often the last hold-ups to completing a home study.
 
6. Dedicate time to work on this

Try to set aside some time in your schedule just for completing your home study application. The questions on the application should be pretty straightforward, so you just need to make some time to do this. Try setting aside a couple of hours each day to power through the application.
 
7. Check your home before the home visit

After you’ve completed the paperwork, the next step in the home study process is to schedule a home visit and interviews with a social worker.
 
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.
 
You can learn more by calling 727-493-0933 or visiting our Adoption Home Study page.

how to finish your adoption home study #homestudy #adoption #adoptiongoals #adoptionagency #adopt #hopingtoadopt
how to complete your adoption home study #homestudy #adoption #adoptiongoals #adoptionagency #adopt #hopingtoadopt
how to finish your adoption home study #homestudy #adoption #adoptiongoals #adoptionagency #adopt #hopingtoadopt

How to Rock Your Home Study

Married couple with adoption consultantMany hopeful adoptive parents find the home study to be the most time-consuming and nerve-wracking part of the adoption process. They wonder things like, “Will they find our home to be acceptable? What about our parenting approach?”
 
Today, Lifetime Adoption Agency will share what to expect with a home study and how to prepare, as well as shed light on common home study myths!
 

What’s the adoption home study?

It’s an evaluation that a licensed social worker completes on a prospective adoptive family. Per state and federal regulations, you must have an approved home study to adopt. That’s because your home study will be used by your attorney to file adoption paperwork with the court. Before he or she approves and finalizes your adoption, a judge will review your home study.
 
It’s the perfect time to learn more about the adoption process and how to parent an adopted child. So make sure to ask your home study provider your questions as they come up!
 

Information in a Home Study:

  • Your background (childhood, parents and siblings, and life events)
  • Important people in your lives
  • Marriage and family relationships
  • Reason for adopting
  • Expectations for your child and the adoption
  • Outlook about infertility issues (if relevant)
  • Parenting approach and childcare plans
  • Family environment
  • Your health history
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Finances (including your insurance coverage)
  • References
  • Criminal background clearances

What to Expect in a Home Study

The home study process typically happens in 3 stages:
 
1st Stage: Complete required paperwork
 
2nd Stage: A social worker will make at least one visit to your home, and conduct individual interviews of both of you.
 
3rd Stage: The social worker writes an evaluation of your family and their recommendation for adoption.
 
The home study process will take from two to four months, depending on how quickly you complete your paperwork and how busy the home study worker is at the time.
 
Completing adoption paperwork

Common Myths About Home Studies

“Our house must be perfect.”
A social worker is expecting to walk into a home that looks lived in, not one that’s been perfectly staged. The social worker won’t arrive in a little white outfit for a white glove test, we promise!
 
“We have to be rich.”
Even though adoption can get expensive, you don’t need to be wealthy to get your home study approved. The social worker is looking to see if you’re financially stable; that you stay out of debt and pay your bills on time. So, what’s more important than how well-off you are is your budget, debt, and how you spend.
 
“We have to own our home.”
Couples who rent a condo, apartment, or house can also get their home study approved.
 
“My past has to be clean.”
The social worker understands that you’re only human. With that said, you’ll have to answer questions about your criminal background, social environment, and medical history. Shares Linda Rotz, Lifetime’s Director of Adoption Services, “The adoptive couple needs to share if they’ve been directly or indirectly exposed to circumstances such as alcohol/drug abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, jail, counseling or financial issues. The truth is, most couples have had some sort of exposure,”
 
The social worker completing your home study will evaluate the issues and address them. Sometimes, a hopeful adoptive couple needs to show growth and change in a specific area, or take additional training. While there are felonies that would disqualify a couple from adopting, each state has its own laws. So it’s best to evaluate them with the social worker.
 
Social worker tours a couple's home

How to Get Ready for Your Home Study

Be prepared to answer questions about very personal topics such as your marriage, childhood, and any issues you might carry around. The home study provider might ask about your mental health, how you were disciplined as a child, marriage conflict, infertility issues, and financial struggles.
 
By asking questions like this, the social worker is seeking to determine how you manage stress and difficulty. How have you worked through tough issues in the past? Do you have a strong support system? Are you willing to ask for help when it’s needed? By being straightforward about how you’ve moved through difficult events, the social worker can get a clear picture.
 

Home Study Tips

Expect to spend quite a bit of time completing paperwork and gathering the needed documents. Here’s a list of items that most home study professionals require:

  • Tax records
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificate
  • Background checks
  • Bank statements
  • Employment verification
  • Proof of insurance
  • Physicals

We recommend reserving a few weeknights or a weekend to work through the process. Put on your favorite music, grab some snacks, put on some music, and get to work!
 
It’s important to be yourself during the home visit and interview. Since the home study professional is trying to get to know you and your family, it’s beneficial for you to be honest and straightforward.
 
The adoption home study might involve a lot of work, but once you bring your baby home you’ll see that it’s completely worth it!
 

Home Study Resources

Adoption webinars about the home study, which are free to access!

Lifetime’s Adoption Expert Q&A: The Adoption Home Study, and more…
Behind the Scenes of Your Adoption Home Study
Adoption Q & A – All About the Home Study
 
Here are some useful articles on the adoption home study:
 
Home Study 101: All You Need to Know
6 Proven Tips on How to Get Your Home Study Done in a Flash
How to Get Ready for Your Home Study in Florida
Surviving the Adoption Home Study

Adoption Home Study #adoptionhomestudy #homestudy #adoption #hopingtoadopt
Adoption Home Study #adoptionhomestudy #homestudy #adoption #hopingtoadopt
Adoption Home Study #adoptionhomestudy #homestudy #adoption #hopingtoadopt

Home Study 101: All You Need to Know

Adoptive couple being interviewed for their home studyAre you wondering what a home study is? Today, Lifetime Adoption Agency is giving you answers to the most frequently asked home study questions, so you can be fully prepared for it!
 

What exactly is a home study?

An adoption home study is a document that states you can become an adoptive parent. In it is a story of your current life: your family and marriage history, financial state, and health. The home study also includes personal references, your criminal record, a description of your home and neighborhood, and addresses any health concerns. It describes your family relationships, your thoughts on adoption, parenting beliefs, and addresses infertility issues if relevant. It concludes with the social worker’s recommendation that you’re approved to adopt. Sometimes it also designates how many children you may adopt, and of what ages.
 

Are we required to get a home study?

You’re legally required to complete a home study before you can adopt. This is true no matter if you’re adopting through an agency, facilitator, private lawyer, or seeking an international adoption. Prospective adoptive parents must get a home study regardless of their state.
 
If the idea of opening up your life to a social worker sounds nerve-wracking, know that you’re not alone. Many couples worry that they’ll be deemed ineligible to adopt. In our experience, though, it’s pretty rare for a home study to conclude with a negative recommendation.
 

How can I help my spouse get through the home study?

The home study can be a long and tiresome process, with all the documents to collect and return, and visits to schedule, and classes to take. Many adoptive parents say things like “This seems unfair because pregnant couples don’t have to go through all this” at some point during their home study process.
 
If you or your spouse is reluctant and feel like having their lives examined is too much to shoulder, try to shift your thought process around. Work on your home study in pieces, so that you don’t become too overwhelmed. And instead of seeing the home study as a burden, think of it as an opportunity to ask an expert everything you want to know about adoption. You’ll find your Social Worker will be a great asset for you before, during, and after you adopt.
 

Who will perform the home study?

Your home study needs to be written by a social worker licensed your state. Some states require that the social worker is attached to a licensed adoption agency. If you live in Florida, you have the opportunity to have a social worker connected to the Lifetime Adoption Agency complete your home study. You can learn more about Lifetime’s home study services here.
 
If your adoption agency is located in another state, we’ll provide home study recommendations in your state of residence. Lifetime Adoption Agency will only recommend reputable home study agencies with a solid background of experience.
 
Adoptive couple chatting in the kitchen

How much does the home study cost?

The cost depends on your state, the type of adoption you’re pursuing, and your agency. For example, if you’re seeking an international adoption, the home study may cost more. And sometimes there are additional costs when updating your home study at the one year mark, and when there are changes that need to be made. For example, if you move to a new home or if another person moves in with you, your home study would need to be updated.
 
Lifetime Adoption Agency provides home study services at a flat rate with no hidden costs. To get information about our full fee schedule, give us a call at
1-877-383-6847.
 

How long will it take?

Typically, the entire home study process takes around four to six weeks. How long it will take depends on how much time it takes for your background checks to get in, how quickly you submit the required paperwork and your availability for interviews and home visits. It’s Lifetime’s goal to complete your home study within 30 days of acquiring all of the required documents.
 

What is the social worker looking for?

A home study is intended to explore the kind of life you can offer a child. The social worker isn’t visiting to intimidate you; it’s fine if your home doesn’t pass a “white glove test.” They’re not assessing your housekeeping standards and will understand if there’s some clutter. In fact, people living in an Instagram-worthy house might have a hard time adjusting to the chaos of raising a child!
 
You don’t need to have a fully-decorated nursery, baby supplies, or toys yet or even have your home completely baby-proofed. The social worker is simply looking for signs that you’ll be practical, loving, and safe parents.
 

What about after we adopt?

After your child’s birth parents have signed paperwork consenting to the adoption and it becomes irrevocable, you will then apply for finalization. You’ll appear in court before a judge who will formally recognize you as a family. The judge will issue a new birth certificate which lists the two of you as the child’s parents. This court appearance is a simple and joyful ceremony.
 
Before they’ll approve the finalization, judges typically require a social worker to visit you at least once after the child is in your home. Some courts will accept an agency or independent social worker for this post-placement visit, but a few courts require the use of their own social worker. But the post-placement visit isn’t something to worry about; it’s more of a formality and not a test of your parenting skills.

Lifetime Adoption Agency provides affordable home study services in Florida. Learn more by calling us at 1-877-383-6847 or by submitting this short form:



6 Proven Tips on How to Get Your Home Study Done in a Flash

Adoptive couple chatting in the kitchenAs 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.

How to Get Ready for Your Home Study in Florida

We'd love to provide you a home study in Florida!We are happy to provide home study services for hopeful adoptive families living in Florida. Our affordable home studies are conducted by family-oriented caseworkers, making the process seem more like a friendly visit. Keep reading to learn more about getting a home study in Florida from the Lifetime Adoption Agency!

Preparation and communication are key to getting your home study completed. The home study process ends with a written report that the caseworker creates about your family. It will include basic information from interviews with you as well as information from others. Typically, a home study report includes:

  • Financial statements
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Background info about your family, relationships, and social life
  • Daily routines
  • Experience with parenting
  • Info on your home and neighborhood
  • Reasons for seeking adoption
  • References
  • Background checks

The home study process takes about four to six weeks, depending on your availability for interviews, the return of background checks, and how quickly you turn in the required paperwork. Our goal is to complete your home study within 30 days of receipt of all the required documents.

You can speed up the home study process by making sure to provide all of the necessary information accurately. Don’t procrastinate filling out and turning in paperwork, gathering the required documents, or scheduling doctor appointments.

To help you get ready for your home study in Florida, here’s a list of 7 items that you will need to gather:

adoptive couple visit with the home study caseworkerCriminal background check
Every adult in your home needs to complete forms for child protective services and the police check center. You’ll also need to get fingerprint checks from the FBI. Hopeful adoptive parents whose state or federal records show they’ve been convicted of harming children are unable to adopt.

Health statement
A physical exam within the past year is required for all prospective parents, as well as tuberculosis (TB) tests for every member of the household. Conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure won’t typically prevent you from adopting.

Financial report
You’ll need to list your family’s annual income, such as through a paycheck stub, a copy of an income tax form, or a W-2. But don’t worry; you don’t need to be wealthy or own a home to adopt. You should be deemed eligible to adopt so long as you have enough resources to provide for your family.

References
You’ll be asked to provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three or four individuals who can verify the stability of your marriage, your experience with children, and your emotional maturity. Good choices for home study references are close friends, an employer, a co-worker, a neighbor, or a pastor.

Autobiographical statement
You will need to complete a comprehensive questionnaire, which is basically the story of your life. It will help your caseworker understand your family and help them with writing your home study. You’ll also need to submit a guardianship statement in the event that something happens to you.

Copies of legal documents.
Provide copies of marriage licenses, birth certificates, divorce decrees, and other legal documents related to your application to adopt.

Training Certificates
You will need to complete 21 hours of required and approved training sessions available online and in person. A list of options will be provided to you.

If you’re interested in hearing more about our home study services, call us at 727-493-0933. Or, you can complete the short form below!