Today’s post is written by one of CPO’s favorite home study providers, Julie Likens. This is great information for prospective adoptive families, but it’s also good for birth families to know who thoroughly our adoptive families are “vetted.” Julie’s contact info is included below in case you are interested in using her services.
Having spent years doing adoption home studies for several agencies, attorneys, and many families, I have met a lot of couples that are confused about what an Adoption Home Study is! When embarking on the road of adoption, many couples are just told they have to do it—whatever “it” is. So, what is it? Will someone come in with white gloves on to make sure my house is clean enough? Will the paperwork ever end? What should we expect?
When I have explain an adoption home study to clients, my favorite way to explain it is to say it is a report where we put the couple’s life on paper to give the judge and the courts a peek inside what the family is like. Yes, there is a house assessment where we walk through the house to make sure everything is safe for a child (usually no white gloves required, though!). Yes, there is a mound of paperwork that can feel overwhelming at times. As a home study provider, my whole goal of going into a home is to be the eyes and ears of the courts. I want to make sure the home is safe for a child and one where the adoption is anticipated to be successful. I desire to have open and honest conversations with the couple and family, where I can accurately describe the family on paper. A great thing to remember is that the home study provider is on your side and wants to see you be successful in your adoption journey if at all possible!
Every home study provider may do things a little differently, but each provider will go through several steps with the family. First, there will be a LOT of paperwork! But it can be accomplished! Second, there will be at least two visits with the family for interviews. At least one of these visits will take place in the home, where the home study provider can do a house assessment to ensure safety of the home. (Note: If you have any weapons, make sure you have a way to lock them and ammunition up separately- super common concern!) The provider will collect the paperwork, conduct the house assessment, interview everyone in the home, and eventually write a report that is typically at least 8 pages long that will go to the attorney, agency, courts, and judge. Once the home study is approved, the family has passed this legal requirement to have a child placed in their home!
Julie Likins, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Adoption Home Study Provider