Before a family can become certified to adopt, a home study must be completed. The idea of a home study can strike a nerve in any potential adoptive families’ minds. Many want to know whether any preparation can help make the home study process go smoothly.
Understanding the Study
In the State of Arizona, the home study is completed by an authorized agency or division. These home studies normally include three different components: accumulating all of the documentation needed, the interviews, and the home inspection.
The home study must be completed within 90 days after the official application for adoption certification has been accepted.
After completing all three of these steps, the social worker who is completing the home study will put together a report, which will detail the social history of the adoptive family, their financial situation, religious background, health issues, and any court actions that involve the potential adoptive family.
Get All Documentation Together
Getting prepared for the interview is important, especially when it comes to getting all documentation accumulated to hand over to the social worker.
Certain important documents will need to be handed over to the social worker, including the birth certificates for the adoptive parents, marriage certificate, financial statement, and a doctor’s statement regarding each potential adoptive parent’s health.
Additionally, all adult members in the house will need to certify whether they are facing trial for a crime, have been convicted of a crime, especially one involving a child. They will also need to submit state and federal criminal record checks, which can take some time to get certified copies.
Unless the adoptive family has all of this information handy, it can take a little while to get it all together. This step is one of the biggest parts of the home study where the adoptive family can do the legwork ahead of time to shorten the time it takes.
Get the paperwork together and ready to go so that the social worker simply needs to receive one folder with everything in it to get thing started quicker. The sooner the documentation is submitted, the sooner the next two steps can take place.
The Interview Process
Another common question is whether the adoptive family can prepare for the interview. Arguably, this part of the home study is the most important because it is when the social worker will truly get to know the potential adoptive family.
The social worker will interview the prospective parents, as well as other key family members in the household. Most of the information will be biographical information on each parent, questions regarding the family’s motives and attitude regarding adoption, as well as their values, traditions and other important aspects of the family’s home life.
In terms of preparation, the adoptive family simply needs to review the questions that will likely be asked and practice answering them, if that takes some of the anxiety off of their shoulders.
However, at the end of the day, it is important that the interviewees be authentic and sincere in their answers. The court will be able to tell if the parents are being less than honest, and that will only cause issues with the home study in the end. Honesty is the best practice, and not much preparation can be done for that, if it is needed at all.
The Home Inspection
The part of the home study that tends to cause the most anxiety with adoptive families is the in-home visit or inspection. After all, they are letting a complete stranger in their home, to evaluate and report to the court the status of the family’s home and home life.
The key in preparing for the home study is to make sure that all safety hazards are corrected before the visit occurs. Do a thorough review of the home for faulty smoke alarms, broken window screens or faulty locks on windows and doors.
Depending on the age of the child being adopted, other safety measures may need to take place, especially if the child is young. Normally, these safety hazards are already addressed before placement occurs, but it does not hurt to do another review.
Are covers on all electrical outlets? Are toxic cleaners or other medications or chemicals kept out of reach? If the child is young and just now walking, make sure that gates are in place for the stairs and that the gates are secure.
The social worker will also want to see how stable and loving the home environment is. He or she may want to observe the child and family interacting in the home. This part requires no preparation, however, since the purpose is to observe the natural interaction between the family.
Once the home study is complete, it will need to be submitted to the court prior to being certified to adopt. The family will have a chance to review the report and will be notified in the very unlikely event any issues come up in the report.
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.