The laws of every state require all prospective adoptive parents (no matter how they intend to adopt) participate in a home study. This process has three purposes: to educate and prepare the adoptive family for adoption, to gather information about the prospective parents that will help a social worker match the family with a child whose needs they can meet, and to evaluate the fitness of the adoptive family.
The home study process can be a source of anxiety for some prospective parents, who may fear they will not be "approved." It may be helpful to remember agencies are not looking for perfect parents. Rather, they are looking for real parents to parent real children. With accurate information about the process, prospective parents can face the home study experience with confidence and the excitement that should accompany the prospect of welcoming a child into the family.
Description of your childhood, how you were parented, past and current relationships with parents and siblings, key events and losses, and what was learned from them.
Routines, such as a typical weekday or weekend, plans for child care (if you work outside the home), hobbies, and interests.
Information about your religion, level of religious practice, and what kind of religious upbringing (if any) you plan to provide for the child.
Your current educational level, satisfaction with your educational attainments, and any plans to further your education, as well as your employment status, history, plans, and satisfaction with your current job.
Your past experiences with children (e.g., your own, relatives' children, neighbors, volunteer work, babysitting, teaching, or coaching), in addition to your plans regarding discipline and other parenting issues.
There will be a section on specific adoption-related issues, including why you want to adopt, feelings about infertility (if this is an issue), what kind of child you might best parent and why and how you plan to talk to your children about adoption-related issues.
If you are married, the report will cover your history together as well as your current relationship (e.g., how you make decisions, solve problems, communicate, show affection, etc.). If you are single, there will be information about your social life and how you anticipate integrating a child into it, as well as information about your network of relatives and friends.
Description of your neighborhood, including safety and proximity to community resources.
The home study report will conclude with a summary and your case worker's recommendation. This will include the age range and number of children for which you are being recommended.
You will also be asked to provide copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses or certificates, and divorce decrees, if applicable. You will be given the opportunity to read the home study report and make any corrections to it before it is submitted. Your home study report is a confidential document and will only be shared with your permission. Typically, only USCIS, your placing agency, and you will receive copies.