Image

Archive for Adoption home study

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!



Surviving the Adoption Home Study

adoption home study visitWe recommend that you use your adoption home study as a way to learn even more about adoption. You’ll need to get a home study no matter where you live, or where you plan to adopt. An adoption home study is a document that shares the story of your life: your health, your family and marital history, and your finances. It also contains a description of your house and neighborhood, references, and info about any criminal record or health concerns.

For many hopeful adoptive couples, the idea of opening up their homes and lives to a stranger puts them on edge. A common worry about the home study is that it’ll find you ineligible to adopt. The truth is, it’s uncommon for a home study to end with a negative judgment. Even though you might feel that the process is invasive, remember its goal is to ensure children are placed into loving homes.

So what exactly is an adoption home study? It’s social worker’s written evaluation, based upon interviews they’ve had with you during at least one in-person visit to your home. Your home doesn’t have to be child-proofed, contain a finished nursery, or a separate bedroom for the baby before the social worker’s visit. They will want to know, however, how you plan to accommodate your precious arrival.

Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida provides home studies. Learn how we can help you with this aspect of your domestic adoption!

Just give us a call at 1-800-9-ADOPT-4 or learn more about our home study service here.

In the video below, our Founder and President Mardie Caldwell shares about the adoption home study service we provide to adopting families:

Adoption Webinar for Hopeful Parents: Your Adoption Questions, Answered

Adoption Webinar: Adoption Questions AnsweredAsking questions is the best way to start learning more about domestic adoption. If you’re hoping to adopt a baby or child, it’s important to learn about all areas of the process. Adoption questions also help you learn how adoption looks for the different parties involved.

We recently hosted an adoption webinar to answer adoptive parents’ questions live. No matter where you’re at in your adoption planning, you’ll have lots of questions. The answers featured on this webinar will help you prepare to adopt safely and smoothly. In this adoption webinar, our hosts answered questions covering a range of topics such as:

  • Gender-specific adoptions
  • How old is too old to adopt
  • Adoption profiles
  • Home studies
  • Your first steps to adopting
  • What birth mothers are seeking in adoptive parents
  • The adoption tax credit

Lifetime Adoption’s adoption experts covered as many questions as possible! To listen in to the recording, visit AdoptionTeleconference.com.

If you have adoption questions, call for one-on-one assistance and guidance as you pursue your adoption dream: 1-800-923-6784. Or, you can begin the process by helping us learn more about your personal adoption goals by applying online.

Adoption Agency Home Study

If you have just started your adoption journey to adopt a baby or child, you may have heard and read about the adoption “home study.” The home study is a requirement in order to adopt. It includes a report of your family, your daily life, as well as an assessment of where you will raise your child.

As a full-service adoption agency, Lifetime Adoption Agency provides this integral adoption service as you prepare for your domestic adoption. In this video, Lifetime Adoption Agency’s President and Founder Mardie Caldwell describes our agency home study service:

The agency home study is conducted by one of our licensed social workers. They will train and educate you as you prepare for your journey to adoption. The licensed social worker collects information about the prospective parents for the report. Information compiled includes your finances, criminal background checks, work, health, parenting styles, and your ability to care and love for a child that is not of your body, but comes to you through adoption. The social worker will also include in the home study a few visits to your home. These visits mainly are done to make sure that your home meets state licensing standards for safety.

If you have questions or would like to employ our home study services, please call Lifetime Adoption Agency at 1-800-923-6784 or send us a message.

5 Adoption Errors to Dodge

adoption errorIn our nearly 30 years in the field of domestic adoption, we’ve seen and heard of every kind of error you could imagine in adoption. Some errors were made out of inexperience, but others were the caused by stubbornness or adoptive couples procrastinating.

It is our hope that by sharing some of these mistakes here that you won’t make the same missteps. By following our guidance, your adoption journey can be void of these errors, and filled with more peace and calm without guilt or regrets.

Below are the 5 adoption errors to dodge, and how you can correct yourselves if you’ve already made the error:

    1. Not reading your adoption agreement or contract

      If you have a contract that hasn’t been read, make sure to read it now, if your adoption is not complete. Ask questions of your adoption professional. It is not too late!
    2. Making decisions from your heart and not your head and heart together

      If you have already made decisions with your heart and have heartache to show for it, learn from it. Next time, take a deep breath and look at all sides of a situation before you jump in or commit.
    3. Giving money to a birth mother without checking with your adoption professional

      If you have paid a woman posing as a birth mother or one that was considering adoption and you just thought it would be ok to pay a few expenses, learn from this. In some states expenses are illegal and you don’t want to do anything to jeopardize your adoption finalization. When in doubt, ask.
    4. Putting off getting your home study complete

      Many adoptive parents put off getting their home study done (or updating it). This causes them to miss out on opportunities to adopt. They find out it is going to cost more to get it done when they needed it done “yesterday”. If you have a home study that was completed more than 12 months ago, contact your home study provider to see when it expires, and document this in your calendar. If it is expired – ask about the home study update process and cost, and then make a point of getting it done within 30 days.

    5. Going back on your word about contact with a birth mother after your adoption is final.

      If by chance you have forgotten to stay in touch with your birth mother, now is the time to consider: where you would be without her? Take time today to send an email to your birth mother or to your adoption professional to forward. A great way to say ‘thank you for making us a family’ is sending a simple message with a photo. Doing so isn’t taking away your role as parents, it’s respecting your child and how they came to be yours through their first family. You will be blessed by honoring your commitment.

Get Your Adoption Home Study Done with Lifetime Adoption

If you have just started your adoption journey to adopt a baby or child, you may have heard and read about the adoption “home study.” The home study is a requirement in order to adopt. It includes a report of your family, your daily life, as well as an assessment of where you will raise your child.

As a full-service adoption agency, Lifetime Adoption Agency now offers this vital adoption service as you prepare for your domestic adoption. In this video, Lifetime Adoption Agency’s President and Founder Mardie Caldwell describes our adoption home study service:

 

If you have questions or would like to employ our home study services, please call Lifetime Adoption Agency at 1-800-923-6784.