How to Prepare for Adoption Home Study: Home Study Checklist

what is adoption home study

If you are in the process of adopting a child or considering adopting a child, you may want to know how you can prepare for and pass the adoption home study. How do you prepare for adoption home study?

To prepare for your adoption home study, you will want to be proactive in making sure your home meets all requirements both inside and outside of your home. Have all required documents ready to provide, and rehearse how you will answer many questions you will be asked.

Although the adoption home study process varies state-to-state, the steps involved are basically very similar.

We will cover the following in this article:

What is Adoption Home Study?

Adoption home study begins after the prospective parents have completed their training courses and application.

The home study provider will ask you to fill out an application as well as provide you with an information packet.

It is in your best interest to get your application processed in a timely manner to avoid any unnecessary delays in the typically lengthy home study process.


Related Article: Discover more about adoption than you thought you already knew by visiting What is Adoption? Full Resource.


During your home study, you will be asked to provide personal documentation such as but not limited to your birth certificate, marriage license, financial records, and medical records.

You will be doing yourself a disservice if you wait until the time you are asked for these items to try to find them.

If you cannot find your birth certificate, for example, you will need to request a new copy from the state agency that handles birth certificates.

Not being prepared in advance can create even more delays in the already long adoption home study process.

Keep in mind that many states will only accept home studies from licensed professionals, so verify that the adoption home study provider that you have chosen meets your state’s requirements before proceeding with your home study.

There will be several in-home visits by your home study social worker. This may feel a bit invasive, but not to worry.

Your social worker wants and will try to make you feel as comfortable as possible, as they understand how uncomfortable the adoption home study process can be for prospective parents.

One in 25 U.S. families with children have an adopted child.

According to the U.S. Census, about half of these have both biological and adopted children.

Your social worker will want to conduct individual interviews with each person in your household. This includes unrelated residents residing in your home.

A background check will be required by all adults living in the household, including adult children that may still be living at home.

You will also be asked to provide character references from people that you know to help your adoption home study social worker learn more about you and your suitability to raise a child.

A safe and clean home is of very high interest to your social worker. Preparing your home for child safety and cleanliness is extremely important.


Related Article: Open adoption is the most common type of adoption today. Visit What is an Open Adoption? Advantages of Open Adoption to become familiar with what open adoption means and how it differs from the closed adoptions of yesterday.


Do not worry, however; as they will not be going through your lingerie drawer, nor will they walk around with a white glove inspecting for dust.

Basic common-sense cleaning, perhaps the type of cleaning one would do that is often referred to as spring cleaning would be recommended.

It’s normal to be nervous about what seems like an invasion of your privacy. You will feel as though you are under a microscope with nothing left undiscovered of your personal life.

It is important to remember that your adoption home study provider is on your side and will be looking for reasons to approve you rather than to deny you.

With so many children in need of a loving home, your home study provider will guide you in efforts to help you succeed in your adoption journey.

They are on your team, so always be polite and know they are rooting for you.

Adoption home studies end with a written report that is generated by the home study social worker that covers details about the prospective parent’s family.

This report is based off of interviews, as well as third party information such as character references, as well as other things that may apply.


Related Article: Although open adoption is the most common form of adoption today, it does not come without some drawbacks to consider. Pros and Cons of Open Adoption: Things to Consider covers a multitude of things you will want to go over to prepare yourself for the ins and outs of open adoption.


Information generally included in the home study report:

  • Parenting backgrounds and experiences

  • A families’ daily routines

  • Reasons for the desired adoption

  • How ready the prospective parents seem to be

  • The types of children the family can parent most effectively

  • Family background

  • Financial documentation

  • Character reference check feedback

  • Home inspection information

  • Background check results

The below publications by Child Welfare Information Gateway help explain the home study process:


Related Article: Let’s face it, adoption is expensive even when working with a reputable adoption liaison that is not trying to take advantage. The Cheapest Way to Adopt a Child: This Makes Sense is an article I enjoyed writing that covers a wonderful way to adopt a child through the foster care system that costs next to nothing.


How Long Does Adoption Home Study Take?

Understandably, you are anxious to get through the adoption process and are wondering how long does the adoption home study take?

Adoption home studies can take between 90 days to 6 months. This timeframe often depends on how prepared you are in providing the requested documents and filling out all required forms. The more prepared you are, the faster the process will be.

Knowing that the adoption home study process can take what seems like a very long time, you will want to be prepared in advance to help this process go as efficiently as possible.

Waiting until the adoption home study process to begin to find out what you will be required to provide will only delay your process, as you may not have what is being requested of you.

There are things you should start doing now to ensure your adoption home study goes as smoothly and as quickly as one would hope.

Let’s dive into the ways you can empower yourself and be on top of things so that when the home study process begins, you will feel a bit more relaxed.

The entire process will be less stressful knowing what is expected moving forward.

How to Prepare and Pass an Adoption Home Study

Preparing for your adoption home study is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth, timely process. Yet, how to do you prepare and pass an adoption home study?

To prepare and pass your adoption home study, have all required documents ready in advance. Childproof your home for the safety of the child, and give your home a deep cleaning. Anticipate questions you may be asked and prepare for your responses, fulfill all requests promptly, and always be polite.

Let’s start with what documents you will want to dig up.

For each member of the family, you will want to located and have on hand things like your driver’s license or another form of photo ID.

If the individual living in the home does not drive and does not have a driver’s license, an ID card may be obtained by visiting a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Make sure that you have a copy of birth certificates and social security cards for all members of your household, as well.

If you are in need of a misplaced social security card, contact your local U.S. Social Security Administration for a new card.

To request a copy of a birth certificate, contact you state’s Vital Records office in the state in which you reside in. Give them a call or send them an email to inquire how to proceed with your request.

Tax records will be required, so make sure that you work on getting access to those. How many years back will depend on your state requirements and the home study provider you are working with.

It is suggested to have more information than not enough. If you do not have tax return records on hand, either contact the tax facilitator that you used to process your taxes, or reach out to the IRS for transcripts of your tax information.

Medical records will be requested, so have those available. If it has been a while since your last complete physical, make an appointment with your doctor so that your medical records are up-to-date.

Immigration documents will need to be provided if applicable, as well as proof of citizenship.

Contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services if you wish to confirm you have everything you need to be in good standing.

Part of the adoption home study involves ensuring you are financially fit to raise a child. You are not expected to be wealthy or on the higher end of the income scale, but you do need to be fiscally fit.

If you are more than capable of paying your housing and monthly expenses with money left over to care for a child, then you are on the right track.

About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Have ready your proof of income, as well as documentation from your employer as to your length of employment to show your level of stability.

If you or someone in your household is not up-to-date on immunizations, now if a good time to get caught up.

This can be accomplished during your complete physical. If you have children currently in the home, verify with their pediatrician that they are caught with their shots.

And yes, even your pets will likely be required to be current on their vaccinations, especially their rabies shots. Reach out to your vet’s office to confirm when the next set of vaccinations are due. Visit American Veterinary Medical Association for more information.

One thing you will want to get started on as soon as possible is your autobiographical statement, otherwise knows as your autobiographical story.

An autobiographical statement is basically a story of your life and will help your adoption home study provider understand you better, as well as assist them in writing your home study.

Get specifics from your adoption agency as to the desired length of your story as well as what topics you should cover.

Now let’s address preparing your home for inspection. Doublecheck that you have all necessary smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors all with new batteries. Are your heating an cooling systems working properly?

Make sure that you have a first aid kit with all of the necessary basics. Are your appliances running and safe to use?

Childproof all sharp edges such as furniture. Are all windows and screens locked and secure? Also, each set of stairs must have a gate.

Buy and apply covers for all electrical outlets. Ensure that firearms are locked and out of reach. And we had better hope that there is no led paint in the home. If you have a deck and or a pool, install guardrails and ensure your yard is safe.

There are also several standard questions you will want to prepare yourself for which are in the checklist below.

Give these questions some thought and think about how you would respond if asked about any of these topics.

Adoption Home Study Checklist: Be Prepared

We have put together an adoption home study checklist to recap the things you will most certainly want to address in preparation for the adoption home study process.

Use this checklist to feel more in control of what you need to do to prepare for your adoption home study.

An adoption home study checklist is an organized way of keeping prospective parents on track with the requirements of the adoption home study process. The adoption home study checklist includes a list of the documents to have ready, how to prepare for your home inspection, and so much more.

Below is your adoption home study checklist:

Documentation

  • Driver’s license and/or government-issued ID

  • Birth certificates

  • Social security cards

  • Tax records

  • Medical records

  • Immigration documents – Proof of citizenship

  • Proof of income

  • Something in writing from your employer showing your length of employment

  • Immunizations up-to-date

  • Pet vaccinations up-to-date

  • Autobiographical statement

Home Inspection Readiness

  • Smoke alarms and new batteries

  • Carbon monoxide detectors and new batteries

  • Working heating and cooling systems

  • Stocked first aid kit

  • Safe and working appliances

  • Childproof sharp corners such as on furniture

  • Locked windows and screens

  • Gates on stairs

  • Cover electrical outlets

  • Firearms locked and out of reach

  • No led paint

  • Guardrails on decks and pools

  • Safe yard

Topics to Be Ready to Discuss

  • Reasons for wanting to adopt a child

  • Your views on parenting

  • How was your childhood, and would you parent differently

  • What do you hope for your adopted child

  • What do you know about the adoption process

  • How do you feel about cultural diversity

  • How would you handle transracial family dynamics

  • Are you educated on what to expect adopting a child who has gone through the adoption process (especially an older child who may have trauma issues, etc.)

  • Be ready to discuss your job

It would be wise to address the above checklist as soon as possible. The more on top of your game that you appear to your adoption home study caseworker, the better off you are.

Being prepared and organized will help you shine.

Remember that even though the home study process may feel a bit intrusive, there will be a day when it will be over.

Keep your eye on the prize and know it will all be worth the time and effort in the end.

Adoption Home Study Providers Near Me

Adoption home study providers near you are listed below, courtesy of 1-800-HOMESTUDY:

Alabama

Kathie L. Butler, LCSW, PIP
256-534-6091
E-mail: klbutler888@bellsouth.net
Coverage: North Alabama

Conner Adoption Support Services
Rebecca Conner LICSW, PIP
205-310-0581
E-mail: conneradoption@gmail.com
Coverage: Entire State

Alaska

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in Alaska.

Arkansas

American Adoptions (AR)
800-236-7846
Email: homestudy@americanadoptions.com
Coverage: Entire State

California

There are a multitude of locations in the state of California. Please visit
1-800-homestudy for an adoption home study provider in your particular area.

Connecticut

Rainbow Adoptions, Inc.
860-677-0032
E-mail: rainbow03@sbcglobal.net
Coverage: Entire State

Adoptions from the Heart (CT)
860-657-2626
E-mail: DevinC@afth.org or AlyseW@afth.org
Coverage: Entire State

Delaware

Adoptions from the Heart (DE)
302-658-8883
E-mail: DanielleG@afth.org,EmmaC@afth.org
Coverage: Entire State

Florida

American Adoptions of Florida
800-236-7846
E-mail: homestudy@americanadoptions.com
Coverage: Entire State

Georgia

Home Adoption Studies, Inc.
404-447-0414
E-mail: staff@homeadoptionstudies.com
Coverage: Entire State

A Adoption Advocates of Georgia
770-778-2751
E-mail: adoptionadvocatesofga@yahoo.com
Coverage: Entire State

Adoption Resources & Counseling, Inc.
678-860-0849
E-mail: info@myadoptionresources.com or archomestudy@gmail.com
Coverage: Entire State

Hawaii

Hawaii International Child
808-589-2367
E-mail: adopt@adoptionhawaii.org
Coverage: Entire State

Idaho

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in Idaho.

Illinois

Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s Services
847-870-8181
E-mail: astefani@hopefulbeginning.org or jalfano@hopefulbeginning.org
Coverage: Please call for coverage details.

ABC Counseling and Family Services
309-451-9495 Ext. 108
E-mail: luisa@abccounseling.org
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.

Adoption Center of Illinois
773-334-2300
E-mail: rkidd@adoptillinois.org
Coverage: Entire State

Indiana

Protect Our Children, Inc.
317-927-7159
E-mail: protectourchildren@pocinc.org
Coverage: Entire State

All Blessings International (IN)
270-684-2598
E-mail: raven@allblessings.org
Coverage: Entire State

Adoption Bridges of Kentuckiana
502-585-4369
E-mail: jbarkley@adoptionbridges.org or askabok@yahoo.com
Coverage: Entire State

Iowa

Adoption Associates of Iowa
515-965-2940 or 515-249-3403
E-mail: pearceadoptions@gmail.com or bittings6@msn.com
Coverage: Entire State

Kansas

American Adoptions, Inc.
800-236-7846
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: homestudy@americanadoptions.com

Kentucky

All Blessings International (KY)
866-543-7459
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: Jennifer@allblessings.org

Adoption Assistance
Phone:
859-236-2761
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: adoption@adoptionassistance.com

Adoption Bridges of Kentuckiana
502-585-4369
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: jbarkley@adoptionbridges.org or askabok@yahoo.com

Louisiana

Jewish Family Services
504-831-8475 Ext. 133
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: Teri@jfsneworleans.org

Maine

Acadia Adoption Center
207-267-8110
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: info@acadiaadoptioncenter.com

Adoption Partners of Maine
888-635-6935
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: support@adoptionpartnersofmaine.org

Maryland

Adoption Resources
800-533-4346
Coverage: Contact agency for More Details
E-mail: info@adoptionresources.org

Adoption Resource Associates
617-492-8888
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: adoptara@aol.com

Adoption Options (MA)
800-337-6513
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: tmcavoy@jfsri.org

Massachusetts

Adoption RHow to Adopt a Child in Arkansas: Requirements to Adoptsources
800-533-4346
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: info@adoptionresources.org

Adoption Resource Associates
617 492 8888
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: adoptara@aol.com

Adoption Options (MA)
800-337-6513
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: tmcavoy@jfsri.org

Michigan

Child & Parent Services
248-646-7790
Coverage: Lower Michigan please contact for coverage area.
E-mail: cathyeisenberg@aol.com

Keane Center for Adoption
313-277-4664
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: info@keaneadoption.org

Morning Star Adoption Center
248-483-5484
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: msac-mi@att.net

Minnesota

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in Minnesota.

Missouri

American Adoptions, Inc.
800-236-7846
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: homestudy@americanadoptions.com

All Blessings International (MO)
417-485-4488
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: emily@allblessings.org

Montana

Sacred Portion Children’s Outreach
406-586-5773
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: brandiscott@sacredportion.org

Nebraska

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in Nebraska.

Nevada

Premier Adoption
800-876-0187
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: info@premieradoption.org

Adoption Choices of Nevada
702-221-2400
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: lburak@adoptionchoicesofnevada.org

New Hampshire

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in New Hampshire.

New Jersey

Adoptions from the Heart (NJ)
856-665-5655
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: janf@afth.org or christopherP@afth.org

Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children
212-400-8150
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: info@spence-chapin.org

New York

Dr. Judith S. Lee LCSW
212-957-3938
Coverage: Please contact for coverage area.
E-mail: drjudithlee@hotmail.com

Adoptions from the Heart (NY)
800-355-5500
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: JennaS@afth.org or OliviaS@afth.org

Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children
212-400-8150
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: info@spence-chapin.org

North Carolina

NC Homestudies, LLC
704-910-0962
Coverage: Entire State of North Carolina
E-mail: info@nchomestudy.com

Triangle Adoption Services
919-906-0270
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: susanbrownlcsw@gmail.com

The Datz Foundation of North Carolina
704-491-1606
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: info@ncadopt.com

North Dakota

Catholic Charities, ND
701-235-4457
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: khaycraft@catholiccharitiesnd.org

Ohio

Adoption Circle
800-927-7222
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: carrie@adoptioncircle.org

Oregon

Boys and Girls Aid
503-222-9661
Coverage: Entire State of Oregon and entire region of Southwest Washington
E-mail: cpartain@boysandgirlsaid.org

Pennsylvania

Adoption Related Services, Inc.
717-227-9560
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: info@adoption-related-services.org

Families United Network, Inc.
717-492-9338
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: shareza@families4kids.org

Caring Adoption Associates
484-494-0235
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: mfischermsw@hotmail.com

Haven Adoptions, Inc.
800-716-8220
Coverage: Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County, Lancaster County, Lehigh County, York County, Adams County, Cumberland County, Lebanon County, Berks County, Northampton County, Luzerne County, Lackawanna County, Carbon County, Monroe County, Schuylkill County, Dauphin County, Columbia County
E-mail: info@havenadoptions.com

Rhode Island

Adoption Options (RI)
401-331-5437
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: tmcavoy@jfsri.org

The Adoption Home Study Service Agency
401-434-1353
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: linkstoadopt@aol.com

South Carolina

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in South Carolina.

South Dakota

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in South Dakota.

Tennessee

Adoption Promises
615-212-8685
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: joanne@adoptionpromises.com

Adoption Assistance
859-236-2761
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: adoption@adoptionassistance.com

Love and Hope Adoptions
615-663-6764
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: marian@loveandhopeadoptions.org

Texas

American Adoptions of Texas
800-236-7846
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: homestudy@americanadoptions.com

Adoption Answers, Inc.
Phone:
817 729 4378
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: homestudyforms@gmail.com

Children’s Connections, Inc.
800-456-4862
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: adopt@childrensconnections.org

S.A.F.E. Project
832-244-7428
Coverage: Contact organization for details.
E-mail: myrei@safeproject-tx.org

Adoption Choices of Texas
855-304-4673
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: adoptiveparents@adoptionchoicesoftexas.org

Utah

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in Utah.

Vermont

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in Vermont.

Virginia

Loving Families
703-370-7140
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: LovingFam@aol.com

Washington

Your Adoptive Family
206-408-7219
Coverage: Contact agency for more details.
E-mail: jilldz@youradoptivefamily.com

West Virginia

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in West Virginia.

Wisconsin

Adoption Choice
414-276-3262
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: Jaime@adoptionchoiceinc.org

Adoptions of Wisconsin
608-821-8220
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: info@adoptionsofwisconsin.com

Adoption Option Wisconsin
414-828-2549
Coverage: Entire State
E-mail: amy@adoptionoptionwi.com or lara@adoptionoptionwi.com

Wyoming

Please contact 1-800-HOMESTUDY for more information. Currently no qualified home study provider found in Wyoming.