7 Steps to a Good Home Study
Some things in life can’t be prepared for, but a Home Study is not one of them! One of our adoption specialists shares some great advice and important steps for a family beginning the process of a successful adoption.
- Get It! Educate yourself on why a Home Study is necessary—because people are going to ask, and it makes the process easier. It feels invasive, uncomfortable, and most parents don’t have to go through such strict protocols in their journey to become parents, so it may feel unfair. But remind yourself, it’s all about the well-being of children.
- Be Honest! Most people worry about what will be discussed in the Home Study and published for the eyes of the court and others. It’s a scary and vulnerable situation, to be sure; but often the only thing you have to fear is non-disclosure. Don’t be afraid to tell your “stuff.” What I’ve learned is that most people who read a Home Study appreciate both the honesty and humanity of adoptive families.
- Get paperwork done! During the process, your adoption specialist will need copies of your personal paperwork including: birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and your marriage license. Make sure you know where they are or order a new copy. You and your spouse will also need to make appointments for physicals and provide updated health records. Your home will also be inspected, so it will be important to have your well and septic inspected. Your references will need to complete paperwork. Call them and make sure they get their forms returned quickly.
- Be Flexible! Scheduling hours of interviews can be daunting. In order to keep them manageable, be prepared to arrange your calendars accordingly. Some specialists may have availability on evenings or even an occasional weekend, but don’t count on it. These are important appointments, equal to doctor visits. You may need to take time off work for them.
- Start Talking! Many potential adoptive couples avoid conversations about adoption in order to avoid questions-that is totally understandable! But, there are some people, namely your closest supporters, who need to be in on the conversation. Part of the Home Study will focus on your support system, how they feel about your adoption and to what degree they will help you. You won’t know that, until you ask!
- Start Reading! Most agencies have training standards. They may be flexible or very specific, but typically training hours will be documented in a Home Study. So, get a head start. Start reading literature on adoption, openness, childcare basics, health and medical issues, attachment and bonding, talking with children about adoption, and transracial/transcultural adoption.
- Be Yourself! I suppose this list opens and closes with nearly the same step. Being honest and being yourself are two sides of the same coin. Openness and authenticity throughout the entire process will ultimately lead to the most successful match for you and your child.
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