Our agency professionals provide home study services for hopeful adoptive parents who reside in Florida. Home studies can feel overwhelming, so my main tip is to be yourself! That’s who the social worker is trying to get to know. Family-oriented caseworkers conduct our affordable home studies, making the process seem more like a friendly visit from a friend. Keep reading to learn more about getting a home study in Florida from the Lifetime Adoption Agency!
Our home study providers are here to help you through the entire home study process, guide you, support you, and answer any and all questions you might have. We want to see you succeed on your adoption journey, so we go the extra mile to ensure the process is as smooth and pain-free as possible. You’ll receive non-judgmental support and encouragement along the way.
Information in a Home Study
Home studies require adoptive parents to provide a large amount of information and documents, but rest assured, your home study provider will do everything they can to make the process as stress-free as possible. We designed our application process to make things less complex and confusing for prospective adoptive parents.
Preparation and communication are vital in getting your home study completed. The home study process ends with a written report that the caseworker creates about your family. It will contain basic information from interviews with you as well as information from others. Typically, a home study report includes information about your:
- Family, relationships, and social life
- Daily routines
- Experience with parenting
- Home and neighborhood
- Reasons for seeking adoption
- 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.
Adoption home studies typically require medical check-up forms, veterinarian records, background checks, and personal references. Give yourself plenty of time to make and keep those appointments for yourself and your pets. Give your best friend, neighbor, cousin, and pastor plenty of time to write those glowing reference letters. They’ll need the extra time to describe just how awesome you are!
Once you submit your home study application, below is the list of documents to start gathering. You’ll give these directly to the home study provider at your home visit:
Criminal 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prepare for Your Interview
Many hopeful parents worry about the interview aspect of their home study. The social worker will not come to your home for a “white glove” inspection. Instead, they are checking to ensure the child you adopt will enter a safe, healthy home. If she notices something of concern, she will advise you and provide plenty of time to make the necessary changes or adjustments.
To start, write down all of your questions. Sticky notes, legal pads, the napkin from last night’s takeout, whatever you have handy when a thought strikes! You will likely have a million questions and forget them all the second your provider pulls into the driveway. Likewise, take notes while your provider is there. You’ll be able to refer back to them as you continue through the adoption process.
Being on the receiving end of a home study interview can be nerve-racking. Every hopeful adoptive family will need to answer adoption interview questions from their social worker during their home visit. Although every home study interview is unique, there are several questions you can expect to be asked, such as:
- Why do you want to adopt?
- How is your job security?
- How would you describe your personality?
- Tell me about your relationship with your spouse.
- What was your childhood like?
- What is your relationship with your parents?
- How do you think your upbringing has shaped you?
- What is your life like today?
- What is your community like?
- What is your plan for school?
- What do you think your parenting style will be like?
- What are your hopes for your child?
The social worker will speak to you both together and one-on-one. They will ask questions to gather a complete look at you and your life. The social worker must ensure you are in a good position to adopt a child and ready for the commitment. Talk with your spouse and your family to practice answering the example questions above.
Your Home Study in Florida
When the home visit is over and your Florida home study report is complete, you’ll sit back and wonder why you were stressing out. Take a moment and reflect on why you started this journey. You’re ready to become a parent, and you can face this hurdle with confidence, knowing that Lifetime Adoption Agency has your back every step of the way.
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!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on June 11, 2018, and has since been updated.
Linda Rotz, CWCM-S, CWCM-Trainer, ACC, is the Director of Adoption Services at Lifetime. Linda has worked in the field of adoption for 20 years within the child welfare/foster care system in Florida. She has degrees in Mass Communications and Human Development, and completed graduate studies in social work.
Due to her extensive expertise, Linda was called upon to write adoption procedures and training materials in Florida. She is certified as an Adoption Specialist, Child Welfare Case Manager Supervisor and Child Welfare Trainer in the state of Florida.