Home study requirements vary from state to state, and also may be different depending on the type of adoption you are pursuing: domestic, international, or through foster care. In general, your home study agency and social worker are your main point of contact if you have questions about what your home study requires. Many pre-adoptive parents are concerned that the home study is designed to “trick” them, or that home study social workers are looking for a reason to disqualify you. In fact, home study workers have often worked in other areas of the adoption world and are well aware of the need for good homes for children in this country. They do not take any pleasure in “failing” someone, and in fact to “fail” a home study entirely is very rare. They want to see you succeed and can be a great source of support throughout the journey!
If you are interested in learning more about the home study before you begin, there are some online resources that can be of assistance. If you are interested in adopting from foster care, adoptuskids.org has resources that lay out the basics of the foster care home study. If you are interested in adopting internationally, the state department’s website (travel.state.gov) has a link with home study requirements with a basic outline of home study requirements for both Hague convention and non-Hague countries. Additionally, adoptionlearningpartners.org is a great website with many resources for pre-adoptive and adoptive parents, including webinars and presentations about the home study process. Adoption.com is also the world’s largest online adoption website, and it contains tons of information regarding all topics of adoption and foster care.
If you are adopting for the first time, don’t think you have to start your home study already knowing exactly what is expected of you. Your home study agency will provide you with all of the information you need. If possible, try to talk to a few different home study agencies before deciding who you will work with. Finding someone who is receptive to your questions and who you feel comfortable working with is important!