What is a Home Study?
A Home Study is an evaluation of the adopting person(s), their home and surrounding environment, and much more. Remember, as you read on, that not all Home Studies are of the same quality and they are often very different in terms of thoroughness. As a birth parent, you should make sure that any family you consider placing your child with has a comprehensive Home Study completed by a specially trained professional. A Home Study is very different from just a set of pictures and descriptions that you typically will find on an internet website.
As far as you, as the birth parent is concerned, the primary purpose of the Home Study is to assure you of the quality of the family and their home and help calm any concerns you might have about who is going to be caring for and raising your child. The Home Study is also done so that any intermediary, agency, and ultimately a judge can be assured of the fitness and suitability of the prospective adopting parent(s). A Home Study is used both an agency adoption or private adoption
What are other things You may Want to Know about the Home Study?
The Home Study gives the person or agency conducting the Home Study the information they need to determine whether or not they can assist the adopting family in the adoption process. Most adopting families look upon the Home Study as a challenge or a type of test. Because there is so much at stake, they are afraid of "saying the wrong thing" and they may try to give the answers that they think the evaluator wants to hear. They are fearful of "blowing their chances" if they cannot make themselves look good in the home study. A competent Home Study, like that done by our Agency, will look past the adopting family's nervousness and their desire to "look good" and will truly get to the bottom of what the family is all about and what kind of parents they will really be.
The standard operating procedure for a Home Study is to collect detailed background information on the family, e.g., personal history, financial records, medical history and records, state police and state child abuse clearances and personal and work references. Then the home study evaluator will meet with the family alone, or many times with a group of other families. The evaluator will ask questions, discuss various aspects of the adoption process and answer the family's questions. Following the evaluation, the evaluator prepares a Home Study report including their findings, conclusions and recommendations. This Home Study Report is later submitted to state and local officials as the adoption process proceeds. A Home Study can be done by a court appointed evaluator, a social worker, an official of the state child welfare system, or a licensed adoption agency.
So much for the "standard procedure" described above. A really good and thorough Home Study will include much, much more. For example, it will also include a FBI clearance, multiple interviews with the adopting persons together as a unit and also individually. It should go into their child rearing outlook, what they plan to do about religious training, their outlook as it relates to public and private schools and about higher education. What goals do they have in mind for the child. What and when will they tell the child about adoption and about the birth parents. How do they feel about an open adoption, meeting the birth mother or birth father, and much, much more.
In fact, the Home Study process that our agency, Adoption Services, uses is completed by Dr Berger, who is a PhD Psychologist with over 40 years of experience. It takes about 15-20 hours of time to complete the process. We are extremely careful about who we approve and, as a result, with about 1000 adoptions completed, we have never, ever, had a child abused, abandoned or neglected.
Below is a very small sampling of some of the many questions we ask our families.
What kinds of Questions are asked in an Adoption Services' Home Study?
Note that with our agency, Adoption Services, the questions below are just a few of those asked during multiple interviews and multiple hours spent with each adopting person.
What are the reasons for adopting a child?
Why are you unable to have children of your own? What have you tried before seeking to adopt?
What is your lifestyle? How will a child fit into it? Or change it?
How do you feel about fathering and mothering a child that was not born to you?
What kind of child do you want to adopt? Why are you interested in one type as opposed to other types of children available?
At what age will you be telling your child about adoption and that they are adopted? How will you tell them?
What information will you share with the child about their birth parents and their background? When will you provide this?
How do you feel about a psychologist coming into your home and evaluating your "competence" and ability to be a good parent?
Have you any anger or frustration at not being able to have children of your own? How have you dealt with this?
Do you and your spouse share the same views on adoption?
What are some of the goals you see for your adopted child? How do you plan to help the child reach these goals?
If you already have a child or children, what have you told them? How do they view the adoption?
If you have no other children, what do you know about raising a child? What family or community resources are available to help you?
Will both parents be working? Who will care for the child during the day?
What does the rest of your family (your parents, sisters, brothers) think about the idea of adoption?
How did your parents raise you? How did they discipline you when you did things they didn't like?
What discipline techniques do you plan to use with your child? Do you plan on "spanking" your child or using physical punishment?
How did you meet your spouse? What attracted you to each other?
Do you have many friends? How long have you known these people? What do you look for in a friend?
What are your religious practices? What role does religion play in your life? What role do you expect it to play in the life of your adopted child?
What is your financial situation? Do you have life insurance? How much? Do you have medical coverage? What kind?
Will your medical insurance cover any of the medical costs of the adoptive child?
Do you have adequate financial resources so that your child will be able to get advanced education?
Are you willing to provide pictures and updates on the child's development to the birth mother and/or birth father? Will you permit the child to receive gifts and cards from the birth parents?
If you are adopting trans-racially, what special problems do you think a child might face in your family, school system, or community? What special community resources are available to you and your child?
Remember, the above is just the beginning and many more questions are asked, documentation received, and the answers carefully evaluated.
Where Can I Find Additional Sources of Information?
Adoption Services has extensive experience with all types of adoptionincluding both open and closed adoption. We are able to help you find just the right adoption family regardless of the state in which you reside.
Please visit our home page to read about our commitment to assist you and other birth parents as well as adopting persons.
What to do if you need more Help?
The professional staff at Adoption Services is available to talk with you and provide help. Adoption Services is a fully licensed non-profit adoption agency that helps birth mothers living in any state in the U.S. Adoption Services has helped over 9000 birth parents and families. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you want our guidance or help. We can make sure your child is placed with the perfect family, your rights are protected, and that you receive all the financial assistance, medical and other types of help that the law allows. There is never any fee to you as a birth parent whether you work with our agency or decide to look elsewhere. Please visit the link "Ways we can help you".
We Can Help a Birth Mother Living in Any State
We are licensed in multiple states and are able to help a birth mother, birth father, and adopting family living in any of the 50 U.S. states and even U.S. citizens (birth parents and families) that are living in other countries.