Today is the 15th day of National Adoption Month!
See the rest of the Adoption Month posts here.
This week I am answering questions about the private domestic infant adoption process and our experience.
Today, I’m talking about home studies!
First of all, what even IS a home study? A home study is the process of someone coming to your home to evaluate you, your family, and your household, to see whether or not you are approved to place a child in your home.
For domestic adoption, the home study process is for the agency and for the state to give approval. The requirements vary from state to state, but here’s what ours looked like:
- We had to provide financial documents (spreadsheets with our assets & liabilities, pay stubs, tax returns, etc.).
- We had to have our employers do a verification of employment.
- We had to provide proof of health and dental insurance.
- We had to be fingerprinted through the FBI.
- We had to do a background check with the state.
- We had to have our doctors fill out a form after our physical saying we were healthy.
- We had to have a TB test.
- We each had to fill out a form that asked questions about our personality, family history, etc.
- We had to have a letter from our pastor.
- We had to have four friends fill out reference forms.
- We had to have our veterinarian write a letter.
- We had to take a CPR/First Aid/AED class that included infant CPR/First Aid/AED.
- We had to have 10 hours of training on adoption issues (that’s when we attended the Closure screening I talked about, read the Dear Birthmother book, etc.).
- Our adoption counselor came to our house to interview us together about the things we’d already turned in, about our intentions on adopting, etc.
- Our adoption counselor came to our house a second time to interview us each separately about our backgrounds, histories, families, each other, etc.
- Our adoption counselor came to our house a third time to go through our house to check it for safety issues, enough space to bring a baby home, working smoke detectors on each floor of the house plus one in each bedroom room, a fire ladder in each bedroom, and a special kind of fire extinguisher. We had to have a fire escape plan for each room in the home (with two ways to get out for each) a plan for locking up meds, chemicals, etc. once the baby arrived.), and a gun safe if we chose to have guns in the house (we don’t.)
So yeah, it’s intense.
I have heard from friends going through the foster care home study process that it’s even more strenuous. I’m not sure if that’s because the potential kids that will be placed with them are older and therefore you can’t just say “oh yeah we’ll lock up the Vicodin when the time comes” but you actually have to do it, or that there are different requirements all around for foster care, I’m not sure.
Okay, so we didn’t really have anything to worry about as far as being approved, but even so it was a super stressful and worrisome process. It was even discouraging at times, feeling like “people who choose to have kids biologically just HAVE them, but we are choosing this route and they’re picking us apart!” It was especially hurtful during this time to hear about pregnancies that were unwanted. I’m sure it’s 10,000x worse for parents going through infertility and miscarriage, but for me this was the hardest part of the adoption process.
Once ALL that stuff was done, we just waited to get approval from the agency that we were good to go. The next step was being on the list of “waiting” parents! I’ll talk about that in Friday’s post!
Thanks for reading!
Just a reminder that while I pre-write posts for the most part, this week I am writing in real time; if you have any questions you’d like me to address this week, I’d love to answer them. Please fill out the contact form and let me know your question! Please also specify if you’d like your name kept anonymous.