No one wants to think of the possibility, but occasionally, a potential adoptive family may end up failing the home study.
The purpose of a home study is to investigate the appropriateness of the home and the potential adoptive parent’s fitness to adopt.
The study will examine the following factors:
- The ability the potential adoptive parents have to provide financially for the child, as well as their history of providing financial support for other children;
- The age and health of both adoptive parents;
- The length and stability of the marriage or relationship between the adoptive parents;
- Any past disturbances that may have occurred within the immediate family of the potential adoptive family, including divorce, death of spouse or child, any history of child abuse, etc.
A home study investigation and report is required to be completed within 90 days after an application for adoption certification has been officially accepted. The court will then receive the home study and certify the applicant as acceptable or unacceptable to adopt children, based on the report.
This determination must be made within 60 days of receiving the agency’s home study.
When a home study is denied, the applicants will receive written notification of the denial, as well as an explanation on what they can do to petition the court for review.
1. Felony Conviction
If one of the parents wanting to adopt have been convicted of felony child abuse or neglect, offenses involving drugs or alcohol abuse or domestic violence, adoption is normally prohibited.
Before the home study begins, both potential adoptive parents will be subject to background checks to determine if either have been convicted of one of these felonies.
If either parent has minor convictions in his or her background from youth, that will normally not be held against that person so long as he or she is honest and discloses them before the home study starts.
2. Investigation of Other Family Members
The home study also investigates all family members in the potential adoptive family’s home. Every adult who lives in the home is subject to a criminal background check.
Depending on what is discovered in that person’s criminal background check, the adoption could run into some roadblocks or even a denial of the home study.
3. Health Issues
Another reason a denial of the home study may be given is if either of the adoptive parents suffers from a life-threatening illness or disease.
An adoption agency is not going to want to approve a family if there is any serious concern that one of the parents is not going to be there forever for the child. Serious illnesses can also impact the home dynamic and the ability that person has to parent the child properly.
Likewise, if either parent suffers from a psychological disorder that could impair his or her quality of life or ability to parent the child, the home study could be rejected. If the parent does suffer from a psychological illness but is in regular therapy and on medication, if he or she has a letter from the therapist or prescribing physician regarding this treatment, any issues may be fine.
In all home studies, the adoptive parents are asked to disclose any medications that they take, and it is important that the parents be upfront about this and not hide anything as that would raise red flags.
If a medication is for a serious physical or psychological illness, simply include a statement from the doctor about this medication. Honesty is always best when it comes to any part of the home study.
4. Financial Troubles
The prospective adoptive parents will also be asked to give a detailed account of their financial situation. The adoption agency is not asking that the parents be rich necessarily, but they do have to be capable of providing financially for the child.
If the parents are in serious financial trouble, this could end up being a reason for failing a home study.
5. Lack of Honesty
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to working with an adoption agency on a home study. If they discover that either parent made any omissions or lied during the process, this could result in the home study failing.
Do not lie about anything, especially questions regarding criminal background, medical history or finances as this can result in a denial.
It is also important that the parents work with the home study worker and not be uncooperative in the process. If the social worker feels like the family is not cooperating, this could also result in a denial.
If You Are Thinking Adoption, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today
At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand just how stressful the adoption process can be. We’re here to help you find the path to adoption that’s right for you. Every adoption is as unique as the adoptive parents themselves, but the journey doesn’t have to be harrowing.
We specialize in Arizona adoption law, and we have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help you welcome your child into your loving home. Contact us at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.