Ever wonder how they determine that a couple is "qualified" to adopt? Want to know how exactly they check us out? I was thinking this weekend that lots of people might not know exactly how hopeful adoptive parents are checked out before they adopt a baby. Then I thought that would be really important information for you or anyone you know who might be considering adoption!
So, I thought I’d try to explain the process in this post! The adoption home study process is totally exciting and completely stressful for a hopeful family. Exhilarating because it’s the beginning of the process and you have lots and lots and LOTS to do! Stressful because you know all your adoption hopes and dreams rest on other people’s evaluation of very personal things about you. You worry about whether your house is clean enough, whether they'll look in THAT closet and whether your social worker will like you! Very few people have their lives examined so very closely. I’m happy and relieved to say we passed with flying colors!J
As hopeful adoptive parents, we’re completely and thoroughly screened in a “home study” process that is conducted by a licensed adoption agency. Our agency is here in Maryland and does adoption home studies for the DC, MD & VA area. The home study process begins with a phone call, a meeting and LOTS of paperwork! An adoption home study is basically a very thorough evaluation of our character, the stability of our marriage and our financial stability. They also evaluate our lifestyle and neighborhood, our readiness for a child and our medical histories. The home study process requires FBI and State background checks and Child Protective Services (CPS) clearances to check their databases and verify that we have no record of criminal activity or child abuse.
There are other checks as well. The County does a home inspection of our house. Another form and signature! The local Fire Department has to do an inspection as well. Yep, another form, another signature! Even our pets, Shorty and Syd, have to have proof of proper County pet licenses and shots! We also had to have thorough health physicals, including TB and HIV tests. Oh, and more forms and signatures from our doctors!
After all the paperwork is completed and reviewed, we had several meetings with our social worker, at our house. Her job as a social worker is to help us understand more about the overall adoption process, answer our questions, gain information about us and to make sure our home is a safe environment for a child. We spent time talking about our hopes to adopt and she “interviewed” each of us to write our life history. (that was totally fascinating, BTW) In a lot of ways, it was a really interesting part of the process!
We also had to complete a certain amount of education on adoption and parenting. So we took some classes at various training centers and even a couple online.
But the process continues even after we finally receive a placement and bring a beautiful baby home! They want to make sure that everything is going well and the baby is happy and healthy after we bring him or her home! So, the social worker will continue to monitor what’s going on and will do several post-placement visits…
That’s the adoption home study process in a nutshell! I hope it helps a little to understand how adoptive parents are evaluated and that it also helps you to feel more comfortable if you're considering adoption for your child.
We’re happy to say that we have an approved Maryland home study (3 years in a row now) and are ready to accept a placement at any time - even today!
WE ARE READY! J