How to Prepare for an Adoption Home Study
Adopting a child is an exciting and life-changing decision, but it can also feel overwhelming and complicated. You may be wondering what the process is like. In this blog post, we will walk you through the steps, what we expect, and how to prepare for an adoption home study.
What is a Home Study?
Here at ACI we like to say the home study is both a process and a document. The goal of the home study is to evaluate prospective adoptive parents’ ability to provide a safe, loving and supportive home to an adopted child. It consists of multiple interviews and a home inspection. It also provides an opportunity to educate families on different adoption-related topics to ensure they can meet the needs of their child.
- Initial Application Interview: Before the home study process begins, prospective adoptive parents will participate in an interview with a program supervisor to ensure they are eligible to adopt. Topics discussed include medical history, criminal background, and adoption/parenting philosophies.
- Paperwork: Adoptive parents will need to complete a significant amount of paperwork before proceeding to the home study. This includes background checks, medical exams, financial information, and references.
- Training: Training is an important part of the home study process and helps prepare adoptive parents for the unique challenges and responsibilities of raising an adopted child.
- Interviews: The assigned Home Study Worker will conduct both joint and individual interviews with the prospective adoptive parents. All children or other household members will be interviewed as well. These interviews will cover a range of topics, including family history, parenting philosophy, history of loss and trauma, marriage/relationship dynamics, work history, and lifestyle.
- Home Safety Inspection: The Home Study Worker will complete a walk-through of your home to ensure it is safe and appropriate for a child. Homes must meet the Illinois DCFS Part 402 Licensing Standards for Foster Family Homes.
- Written Report: After conducting interviews, training sessions, and a safety inspection, your Home Study Worker will prepare the written Home Study report. Before finalization, families will be given the chance to review the document for accuracy. The report will include a recommendation for adoption, specifying the desired age range, gender, race/ethnicity, and medical conditions.
Tips for How to Prepare for an Adoption Home Study
- Be honest and open: It’s important to be honest and open throughout the adoption process. While the interviews may feel intrusive at times, it is conducted to ensure children are placed with families who are best able to meet their needs. Disclosing sensitive or difficult information allows us to better support and prepare you throughout this journey.
- Ask questions: The home study process is an opportunity to reflect, learn, and prepare for your adoption journey. You are not expected to be an adoption expert or fully prepared for parenthood from the start. We are here to support you through this process and welcome your questions and feedback.
- Clean your home in preparation for a thorough walk through and safety inspection. Review the Adoptive Home Safety Checklist and DCFS Part 402 Licensing Standards to ensure your home meets all safety requirements
- Complete all required trainings and be prepared to discuss what you learned
- If additional paperwork was requested, have it completed and ready for your worker
- Be yourself: Finally, remember that the Home Study is about getting to know you and your family. Be yourself, relax, and be honest. We are not looking for perfect families, but rather families who can provide a safe, stable and loving home for a child
The home study is a crucial step in the adoption process, and it can be intimidating for prospective adoptive parents. However, it is important to remember the Home Study Worker is not there to judge, but to ensure you can provide a safe and loving home for a child. We hope this guide is helpful as you begin the adoption journey. For more information on ACI programs, we encourage you to attend one of our monthly Program Introduction Meetings.