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  • Writer's pictureDawn & Jason Wright

Adoption Home Study Stress? 4 Simple Steps To Getting It Done

This is what some people feel like when they think of the adoption process. The paperwork alone is often stated as the reason some families don't adopt.

I want to take that fear away and help you understand more about what is involved in a home study. I am going to break it down into 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Photocopy

Step 2: Gathering Information

Step 3: Background Checks

Step 4: In-Depth Interview

Step 1: Photocopy

You will need to make good quality copies of the following:

  • Driver's licenses

  • Last 2 years of tax returns

  • Health insurance card (or letter from them stating a child you adopt will be covered)

  • Social Security cards

  • Pet vaccine records

Whew - that isn't so bad. You just find these things and photocopy them!

Step 2: Gathering Information

Next you will have to fill out your Home Study agency's application (Including items such as family budget, any possible criminal/arrest record, code of ethics agreement etc.) All of these are easy to fill out and sign.

**Note: Just because you have a record of some kind doesn't mean you are automatically denied a home study. Please ask your agency! Just be open and honest about it.

You will also need to gather the following:

  • Order certified birth, marriage and divorce certificates (some states allowed these to be photocopied). If you do need to order them - no stress, you can do this easily online at

  • References - from your employer asking them to verify your income, from co-workers, from family and friends, and pastors asking them to share with the agency more about who you are and about parenting skills.

  • Physicals from your doctor to show that you are physically able to care for a child (It doesn't mean your health has to be perfect, but that if a child is placed in your home you are capable of caring for them. If you are worried a health ailment would keep you from passing a home study simply ask your home study provider before signing on to do a home study. Be honest and open about it.

**Note: Some agencies require you to read or complete online classes that help prepare you for the different parts of the adoption process or other adoption related information. This is dependent on state and agency.

Step 3: Background Checks

You will need to get the following background checks completed:

  • Local Level - your county law enforcement (Police or Sheriff's department). This is very simple and really no big deal.

  • State Level - Child Abuse background checks (which may be multiple states). This is usually a form you fill out with your agency.

  • Federal Level - FBI background check which includes scanning your fingerprints. Some states have a machine they do this on. Some you have to go to a police station to get fingerprinted and you send those cards off to the FBI.

Step 4: In-Depth Interview

The last part is the interview which has most of us cleaning our homes like Better Homes and Gardens was coming to do a photo shoot! Yes you should tidy up and make your home presentable, but social workers don't bring white gloves to check for dust. They are looking for overall safety of your home, such as checking on:

  • Smoke detectors

  • Gates around pools

  • Correct weapon storage

The other part of the interview is asking both husband and wife, and your older children (if you have any) some questions. Now this can be a nail biting time for some people, so let me take the mystery out of it. They simply ask things like:

  • How you met your spouse

  • How you solve arguments

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses

  • How you grew up

  • What discipline was used in your home, and what discipline you plan on using or are using currently

These questions are all to create a 10-20 page document about your family. Social workers want to be sure that your family is a safe environment for an adopted child, and that you are prepared as a family for an adoption.

So there you have it! All the mystery is gone. YOU CAN DO IT!

As adoption consultants with Christian Adoption Consultants we are here to offer guidance, support, and suggestions to make your home study process as smooth as possible, in addition to recommending wherever possible reputable and trusted home study agencies in your state.

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