This post is part 2 in a two-part blog series about the adoption home study. Last week, we left off talking about why home studies are needed in order to adopt a baby. You can see part 1 of this series here: Adoption Home Study – Questions and Answers (Part 1).
Many times, the fact that there will be post-placement home study visits after they adopt comes as a surprise to adoptive parents. This leads into our next question asked by one hopeful adoptive mother:
Question: When do they post-placement visits start? How often are they usually done?
Answer: Once your baby is placed in your home, most states require that a social worker go out to your home at least once a month. They are making sure that the baby is well taken care of, and you have a support system in place. Some states have a minimum of three months’ worth of post placement supervision, and some have more. These visits are needed in order for the judge to approve the adoption. The visits also allow your social worker to help provide you with resources if you’re having a trying time.
Question: How much a part of the home study is an assessment of your actual house?
Answer: Your house doesn’t have to be immaculately clean. The best thing that you can do is show a social worker how you live. Safety is very important. So for example if you have a pool, they’ll be checking to see what things you’ve put in place to ensure the safety of a child. They’ll be looking to see that things like medications and cleaning solutions are locked up. Also, the social worker will want to make sure that your pets are all vaccinated. They are looking at your house to see if it’s safe, not to see if it’s a mansion or to do a white glove inspection!
Question: What if we’re living with our parents while our house is being built? Will this prevent us from adopting?
Answer: It’s important to have somewhere permanent that you’re living. The social worker could go to your new house to check it out; however, the home study can’t be completed until the current residence is secured.
Question: What happens if we move after our home study is done?
Answer: You’ll have to have a new home study written in the new state. Each state has different rules and regulations for the adoption home study, so a new home study is vital.
Question: How do the background checks take place?
Answer: It depends on the state you live in. For example in Florida, potential adoptive couples are sent to a place where they get their hand scanned. The machine runs FBI, state, sexual abuse, and abuse checks. The couple then goes to their local police department to obtain a local background check. There are a number of background checks, and they’re usually done at the beginning of a home study. The social worker can’t start writing your home study until they know that your background checks have cleared.
Question: How are my finances assessed and what does it have to do with the home study?
Answer: In a nutshell, the only thing that’s assessed is the ability to be able to pay your bills and stay out of debt. They want to see that you’re financially stable.
For example, even an adoptive couple making $700,000 a year may have an issue with their home study…if they’re $800,000 in debt. They may have to attend budget education classes before the home study gets approved. Most people however don’t fall into this category though. The social worker just wants to make sure that you’re able to pay for your baby’s needs, take care of him or her, and take them to the doctor when needed.
Do you have a question about the adoption home study process that didn’t get answered in this blog post, or in part 1 of this series? Please call Lifetime Adoption at 1-800-923-6784 or email us with your question.