The home study is a required, legal document used by a court to help determine the suitability of prospective adoptive parents. There are many required documents that must be reviewed as part ofthe process. Adoption Option, Inc. tries to make this process as "painless" as possible and compares the home study to a "This is your life ... " report. The home study process involves a series of interviews that takes place both in the office and in the prospective adoptive parent's home. Adoption Option, Inc. believes that couples are entitled to a copy of their completed report.
Requirements to complete a home study
- Copies of Birth Certificates for husband, wife, and children in the home
- Copy of Marriage License of applicants
- Copies of Divorce or Annulment Decrees from all previous marriages
- Copy of Armed Service Discharge papers DD214
- Financial/insurance information (handouts will be provided during the study for the couple to complete
- Monthly budget
- Copies of the first two pages of the most recent Federal Income Tax Return
- Current letters from banks regarding handling of checking account(s)
- Current medical reports signed by the physician for all members of the household (for international adoptions, an HIV test may be required on all parties in the household 18 years old and older)
- Letter from counselor if anyone in the home has had counseling or drug/alcohol treatment
- Four letters of reference (should include how long they have known each of the couple, what their association is; i.e., friend, neighbor, etc. and why they think the couple will be good parents. One of the four may be from a family member. References may be contacted by Adoption Option, Inc.
- Letter(s) verifying employment
- Criminal Record Check - State and FBI checks are required for Adam Walsh regulations. Forms and instructions will be given during the home study. This applies for both domestic and international studies.
- Child Abuse and Neglect Screenings -
- For domestic home studies, Child Abuse and Neglect Screenings are required for everyone residing in the home ages 11 and older and are required for every state resided in for the past 5 years. Forms for MO and KS will be provided during the home study and assistance in obtaining screenings in other states will be given.
- For Hague International home studies, clearances must be completed for each state or country resided in since the age of 18. College students residing out of the home must also be screened.
- For Non Hague International home studies, Child Abuse and Neglect Screenings are required for everyone in the home ages 18 and over for every state or country resided in for the past 5 years.
- Birthparent letter and pictures of couple (Agency adoptions only)
- Proof of residence (international adoption only). Examples mortgage payment receipt, deed, lease agreement
- Signed releases may be requested if additional information is desired
Prior to starting a home study it is important to read the required books.
For domestic home studies:
- Key To Parenting An Adopted Child, (Second Edition - Lancaster)
or The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice For Building A Healthy Adoptive Family, (Schooler and Atwood)
- Making Room in our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties Through Open Adoption, (Duxbury)
or The Open-Hearted Way To Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, (Holden)
- Becoming a Family, (Eshleman)
or Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, (Eldridge)
For international home studies:
- Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft, (Hopkins-Best, Mary)
- Becoming a Family, (Eshleman)
- Practical Tools for Today's Parents, (Gray, Deborah)
For Transracial Adoptions:
- Inside Transracial Adoption, (Steinberg & Hall)
or I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World, (Wright)
- Online Class: Conspicuous Families Course
These books may be purchased at area book stores or online.
For Hague International home studies, 10 hours of education must be completed and certificates obtained. Adoption Learning Partners and Heart of the Matters Seminars are an excellent sites to complete this requirement.