Adoption Home Study Tips

Getting ready for your home study – some tips!

Here are some of the things you’ll want to do to get ready for your home study.  Here’s how it works when I conduct a home study.  The basic process starts with an initial meeting in my office.  During the meeting we go over the packet of information you need to complete. You’ll then get started on things like your social history and financial forms.

You’ll be completing criminal background checks and a Department of Children and Families child abuse records checks for all adults and children in the home. If you have arrests from your past, please be honest about them. There are some crimes that can prevent you from adopting, so you should ask your provider if you’re concerned about that.  Past crimes may not be held against you, but you should be prepared to talk about them and about how you’ve changed. You’ll also need to get copies of any arrest reports or court records regarding past arrests or required treatment.

You’ll typically need to provide a local background check (from a Sheriff’s Office or Police substation) for each county you work and/or live in. You’ll also need to complete fingerprinting for FBI and FDLE criminal background checks. The fingerprinting is typically done via a digital “Livescan” fingerprinting machine – no more ink on your fingers!

I always recommend that my clients complete their background checks, DCF screening and medical clearances as soon as possible, as these can cause a delay if not completed quickly.

We will schedule a joint interview with you and your spouse about your relationship, your marriage, your parenting ability, why you want to adopt and your knowledge of adoption. I will also complete individual interviews with each of you about your family, education and work experience. If you have children, they will also be interviewed about the adoption (depending upon their age).

Home visits are required, and when I come out to your home, please make sure that all family members are present. Your home will be inspected for safety and to see if you are ready for a new family member. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, that your smoke detectors work, that cleaning chemicals and medicines are safely stored, and that hazardous areas like stairs and pools are safeguarded. If you have pets, you’ll need to provide current shot records. If you own firearms, you’ll need to show that they are stored safely. Posting an evacuation plan for your house and 9-1-1 and Poison Control telephone numbers are also recommended.

You will need to complete a medical screening, provide financial records, and provide proof of employment. Talk to family and friends about your adoption, because you’ll also need letters of reference. When you start your home study, be sure to get out the requests for reference letters right away. You may want to remind the people you ask on a regular basis. I’ve had home studies get delayed because a family member forgot to complete their reference letter.

If you’ve been married before, you’ll need to provide a copy of the divorce order. You’ll need to provide a copy of your marriage license and birth certificates for all family members.

If you’ve had a prior home study, I will need a copy of that, preferably directly from the prior provide (if possible).

I am an independent professional, so the home study I create is yours to use with any agency or attorney you work with. Home studies are good for a year and can be updated as needed. If you need an update, please reach out to me and I will be happy to set that up.