HAVE YOU BEGUN YOUR HOME STUDY?? This is one of the first questions anyone considering adoption will most likely be asked. Some adoptive parents don't know what a home study is, others may have questions on how to find a social worker to complete their study while others may have begun the process and are excited to be matched with a child. No matter which category you fall into, a home study is a very important first step to beginning an adoption.
1. What is a home study? Although every state has slightly different requirements for a home study the overall purpose is the same. A home study ensures that an adoptive home is a safe physical and emotional environment for a child. The adoption home study is a detailed written report of your family. compiled and prepared by a social worker. This can take three to six months to finish. The home study requires adoptive parents to gather different documents, answer several questions and explore their reasons for adopting. Through a series of visits and interviews the social worker can get a complete picture of who you are and what life is like in your family. The adoption home study is a part of the decision making process for both the prospective family and the workers and therefore a very important first step in the adoption process.
2. Where can I find a social worker in my state? A home study for adoption must be completed by a social worker licensed in his or her state and also must be working for a Hague accredited adoption agency. A list of these agencies can be found through this link (listed by state):
3. Why is a home study an important first step? Many families see a child on our blog or other advocacy site, fall in love and want to adopt them immediately. They want to do everything as fast as possible to ensure this child is matched with them. It is a good desire to want to bring a child home as quickly as possible so they are not in an orphanage any longer than they need to be. However, what families need to know is that if they do not receive a favorable home study, they cannot adopt. By falling in love with a child, having them matched to you and proceeding without having even talked to a social worker about the child you envision for your family, you are putting the "cart before the horse." A social worker will help you explore the age, gender, special needs if any of a child and also prepares the parents for realistic expectations regarding their adoptive child.
We at Wasatch put the child first. It is not in the child's best interest to have a family make a quick, uninformed decision with regard to a child that will come to live with them forever. There are times a decision may need to be made fairly quickly and steps taken to match the child but at the very least Wasatch wants the family to have communicated with a social worker and shared with them their plans, any issues that could be a problem and feel confident the social worker will approve them and have started the application process with them.
A home study is not meant to be scary. It is meant to be a helpful process to ensure both the parent and child have the best outcome possible.