Hopeful adoptive parents shake hands with a home study providerIf you’re hoping to adopt, you’ll need to complete the home study process before an adoption professional can help you welcome a baby into your home. The home study makes sure the homes of hopeful adoptive families are safe and abide by state adoption laws. Many hopeful adoptive parents wonder how the adoption home study process works, as well as how they can expedite things.
As one of the first steps in your adoption, the home study may bring up many emotions, from the excitement of beginning the adoption journey to feeling nervous about the process. The adoption home study usually includes a complete background check, paperwork, and documentation. A social worker will visit your home and interview all members of your household.
While this might seem like a lot, we’ve seen people get through the home study process smoothly and quickly by following the six tips I’ll share in this article.
First of all, both of you must be committed to your adoption. Your home study provider’s goal is 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 to adoption, the other tends to procrastinate about finishing the necessary paperwork and setting appointments.
Here are 6 proven tips to get your home study done in a flash:

1. Obtain a list of needed documents

Ask your home study provider for a list of all the documents you must provide. Since some of these required documents may take you additional time to obtain, it’s wise to start working on those first.
As an example, you’ll need to provide copies of your marriage license and birth certificates. If you don’t have these documents, requesting copies might take some time. 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 immediately so they don’t hinder 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 in the home study 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 inform them 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 a hold-up to completing a home study.
Adoptive couple chatting in the kitchen about to get their home study documents done

4. Reserve time in your schedule

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.
Consider setting aside two hours each day to power through your needed items.

5. Read a checklist

Once you finish 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. Studying a checklist 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

Your social worker will give you an opportunity to fix any potential safety hazards before finishing their report. Even so, taking care of all safety hazards before their initial visit will expedite the overall process.
BONUS tip: Find a home study provider accepting 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. As you can see, the ability to complete paperwork online makes the adoption home study process happen much more quickly!

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.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

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.