All adoptive parents must undergo a home study. This is one of the major parts of the adoption process. For many adoptive parents, the home study is also the most anxiety-inducing. Summarizing, the home study is comprised of a series of documents, visits, and interviews; it is during the home study that we determine whether or not your family is ready to adopt a child.
A case worker visits your home to learn more about you and your family. This is your chance to explain anything about yourself.
Before you get nervous, remember this: we want this to work out, too! We want every child to have a loving family.
We aim to make the home study educational and enjoyable. It’s a big part of an exciting journey toward becoming adoptive parents.
What Is a Home Study?
The home study involves several steps and culminates in a report prepared by your case worker. This report is referenced throughout the adoption process by the adoption agencies, attorneys, courts, and state offices. The entire process usually takes about two months, and you can help speed it up by gathering and preparing your documents quickly and responding to requests and updates in a timely manner.
Once completed, the home study is valid for 12 months; if you haven’t had a child placed with you in that time, you will need to update the home study.
3 Things That Happen During a Home Study
After you submit your initial application, we’ll review it and ask for additional documentation. These documents include (but aren’t limited to):
- Addresses for the last 28 years
- Copies of marriage and divorce licenses
- Copies of birth certificates for all family members
- Copies of death certificates for your spouse or children, if applicable
- Copies of driver’s licenses, social security cards, passports, and/or naturalization papers
- Medical records and proof of medical insurance
- Financial statements and copies of income tax filings
- Three reference letters
You will also need to submit child abuse and criminal clearance forms.
Additional forms may be required that are specific to your type of adoption and any additional services you may request.
2. Adoptive Parent Training
As per the requirements in New York, you’ll receive 10 hours of adoptive parent training and attend a baby CPR course. Local and online course options are available. This is designed to help you feel empowered and prepared as you transition into parenthood. You will submit proof of this parent education to be included in your home study report.
3. Visits and Interviews
Your case worker will visit your home and interview each member of your family, including your older children. Young children will be observed, but not interviewed. Just be yourself! Your case worker is not trying to trip you up during your discussions; he or she is just getting to know you and what your family life is like.
After the Home Study
When the home study is complete, you can get pre-certified to adopt a child. This is a recommended pre-adoption court process in New York. Your attorney will file paperwork and your agency will submit the home study along with child abuse and criminal clearances.
At that point, you’ll be ready to locate your child! You’ll create an adoptive family profile which will be reviewed by the biological families until a match is found.
The home study is incredibly important. It’s how we ensure each child is placed with a family that is prepared to provide a safe, healthy, and stable environment.
At Adoption Choices of New York, we’re committed to making the adoption process as clear and simple as possible, and that includes the home study. We’re here to guide you and answer your questions before, during, and after the adoption. If you have any further questions about what happens during a home study or why it’s an important part of the adoption process, please contact us!