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The Adoption Home Study: Preparing and Surviving

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When you first start thinking about adoption most people face a mixture of emotions–excitement, confusion, and fear. And one of the most fearful parts of adoption is the adoption home study.

One of the best antidotes for fear is information, so we asked our friends at Children’s Connection to explain the adoption home study process.

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Starting on your adoption home study may seem overwhelming! It’s common to think that you have to be “picture perfect” in order to “pass” a home study. The purpose of the adoption home study is to document your background and home life. Rather than seeking to “inspect” you and your home, your adoption social worker is there to help you think through the process of adding a child to your household and wants to help you be successful throughout your home study and adoption!

Information Needed for an Adoption Home Study

As part of the adoption home study process, you will be asked for specific information that the social worker will need to complete the home study. Each agency, state, and type of adoption may need different things so wait until asked, but be prepared to provide:

  • Autobiographical information
  • Information regarding your relationship with your spouse (if you are married)
  • A fairly extensive application form
  • Identification
  • Health statements
  • Income and employment statements
  • You may need to provide information regarding your bills, debts and assets
  • Letters of reference
  • Contact information for several character references and extended family members
  • Photos of yourself, your family and your home
  • Copies of diplomas
  • Reports from previous adoptions or foster care placements
  • Letters from counselors or other professionals you’ve seen
  • Pet records and/or a letter from your veterinarian
  • A sketch of your home
  • Adoption education may be required as part of the home study process
  • A psychological assessment may be needed in some situations.

Background Checks for an Adoption Home Study

Criminal history records and child abuse or neglect record clearances will be conducted on all household members of a specific age (usually 18 or older) who live in the home, and may also be needed for children who live elsewhere but who are in your home regularly and on frequent visitors to your home.

Home Visits

Due to varying requirements, there will be one or more interviews and home visits that are necessary. Plan on all household members, including anyone who may or may not be related to you but who resides in your home, attending at least one home visit. Your adoption social worker will need to see that your home is a safe and healthy environment for a child, not that you have the nicest décor or the best furnishings. Homes that are well loved, but show some wear from everyday family life are usually well-suited to adoption.

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Head over to to read the rest of this insightful guide!