Home Study Checklist
How to Prepare for the Home Visit, Interviews and More
You can successfully complete the home study for adoption without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
We know — that sounds crazy to many hopeful parents preparing for the home study. There’s a lot required of you, and it can seem like too much to handle. But with the right preparation and guidance, you can do this.
The home study for adoption is a source of stress for many adoptive families because of how all-encompassing the process can seem. Your whole life is on the table for someone else to review. That can feel scary and invasive. You’re required to track down documents you may not have seen in years and answer questions that could make you feel uncomfortable. It’s not surprising that many families find this intimidating.
American Adoptions’ home study checklist will set you up for success. You don’t have to feel anxious or uncomfortable. The home study, as challenging as it may seem, can be another smooth step on your way to an adoption placement — and this adoption home study checklist will put you on the right path. For more detailed questions outside of this general home study checklist, you can always call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist.
What Is the Adoption Home Study?
The home study is a review of a hopeful adoptive family’s lifestyle, living situation and adoption readiness. This review is conducted by a licensed social worker who is typically part of a larger adoption agency or other social work organization. During the home study, the social worker will review necessary documents, interview the family and conduct a home inspection. The social worker will write a home study report that is sent to state governments, courts and the adoption agency the parents are working with. This report will be referenced at the adoption finalization hearing to ensure that the placement is safe for the child. Typically, the home study is the last step of the process that a family must complete before their profile can be shown to prospective birth mothers.
Adoption Home Study Checklist by State
Adoption laws are enforced at the state level. Each state has different expectations and requirements for every step of the process, including the adoption home study. To help families navigate all of the different standards, we created a guide for every state. You can look up your state and find a basic home study checklist specific to where you live.
Keep in mind that when you work with a national agency like American Adoptions, your home study may need to meet additional standards beyond your state’s requirements. Our agency will review your home study to make sure it meets nationwide standards; this will prevent potential delays later on in the adoption process and help ensure you will be eligible to adopt your child, no matter what state he or she is born in.
In the meantime, learn about some common items on most states’ home study adoption checklist below.
General Home Study Checklist
While you will most likely find some unique details in your state’s specific home study checklist, there are many aspects of the home study that are the same across the country. You can rely on this home study checklist to help you cover the basics — just make sure to check with your home study worker to determine what other requirements you may need to meet. We’ll cover the basic documents you’ll most likely need, tips for preparing your home and a few of the interview questions you are likely to be asked.
Home Study Forms and Documents
The social worker conducting your home study will need to review a variety of documents at the beginning of the process. One of the best ways a family can prepare for the home study and help speed up the process is by collecting these documents and home study forms ahead of time. While your social worker may ask for something that isn’t on this home study checklist, you can get a head start by gathering the following:
- ID (like a driver’s license)
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- Marriage certificate (if married)
- Proof of citizenship or proof of legal immigration
- Proof of income
- Proof of employment
- Medical records
- Immunization records
- Pet vaccination records from the vet
- An autobiographical statement
Adoption Home Inspection Checklist
The home study involves an inspection of a family’s living situation to make sure it is safe for a child. You can ask your social worker for an adoption home visit checklist ahead of time. Preparing your home before your social workers visits can make this process much smoother. Each state has different points of emphasis when it comes to the home inspection, but this social worker home visit checklist will touch on the major points across the country:
Functioning smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Gates on stairs
Covered electrical outlets
Secure, locked windows with screens
A first-aid kit on hand
Any firearms out of reach and locked up
Functioning heating and cooling
No lead paint
A safe yard, with proper guardrails around any decks or pools
Safe, functioning appliances
Child-proofed corners on furniture
Finally, your social worker will interview all family members living in the house. This helps the social worker get to know you and allows her/him to assess how prepared you are for an adoption placement. Each interview is different, but you are likely to hear questions such as:
What is your motivation to adopt?
What is your parenting style?
How has your own childhood affected the way you see parenting?
Tell me about your marriage.
Tell me about your job.
How much do you know about the adoption process?
Have you learned about the unique aspects of raising a child who comes home through adoption?
What are your thoughts on cultural diversity?
What is your approach to potentially having a transracial family?
What are your hopes and dreams for your child?
Why do you feel adoption is right for your family?
Throughout the document review, home inspection and interviews, it is important to remember that this whole process exists to protect children. At some points, it is common to feel frustrated. You may feel cornered by questions, or like the home inspection is too invasive in your personal space. But, this process is necessary. It ultimately protects children and ensures safe placement. You can be prepared for success by remaining flexible and following this home study checklist.
Talk to Your Adoption Specialist About a More Specific Home Study Adoption Checklist
Along with following this adoption home inspection checklist, the best way to prepare for a successful home study is by working with a knowledgeable, helpful adoption specialist. At American Adoptions, our specialists are experienced working with families all across the country. They can give you specific guidance about the unique nature of your state’s adoption home study. We also help connect families with adoption home study providers so that they don’t have to go out and do all the research on their own.
If you’d like to speak with an adoption specialist about your home study today, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time. You can also request more free information about adoption online, or learn more about the home study at 1-800-HOMESTUDY.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.