Home Study for Adoption FAQ
My state makes me undergo a "home study" to see if I'm fit to be a parent. What should I expect?
States take their role of protecting children very seriously, and typically require prospective parents to undergo some sort of investigation prior to adoption to ensure that the parents are fit to raise an adopted child. This investigation is typically done by an agency worker or a social worker, who will review the home life of the prospective parents and create a report assessing the home. Many states then forward this report to the court for evaluation, but some states simply allow a social worker to evaluate the report. Here's what will usually be included in the report:
- Financial situation
- Marital situation
- Other children
- Physical and mental health
- Criminal history
The role of the home study report in the adoption process has grown in recent years, and instead of being a simple analysis of the potential home, it has become a launching point for counseling and education for prospective parents. For example, if the prospective parents already have biological children, many states will use the home study report to discuss how to integrate the adopted child into the biological family, when to address the issue of the child's adoption, etc.
I'm anxious that I may receive an unfavorable home study report, can I do anything about it?
Don't be surprised if there are some things you disagree with on the report. As long as those potential issues don't prevent you from adopting, it's usually best to simply discuss them with the social worker and try to resolve any issues in a cooperative fashion. However, if you receive an overwhelmingly unfavorable report, most states do allow you to contest the report or appeal any unfavorable ruling.