What is a Home Study?

Posted on: September 30th 2015


Home study
A home study helps adoptive families think about what kind of adoption they want to pursue.

When you’re considering adoption, you know that there are a number of steps that you need to go through to complete that adoption. You need to find adoptive parents who are a match for your values, think about your child’s needs and the birth, and make an adoption plan to see you into the future. While you’re considering all of this, your child’s prospective adoptive parents are busy too. One step that they need to go through is the home study. What is a home study and why does it matter to you?

What is a Home Study?

When an individual or a couple wishes to become adoptive parents, they need to participate in a home study. They might be working through an adoption agency or an adoption law firm, but they all need to go through the home study process. The process involves education and gathering information about the prospective parents, including background checks and fingerprinting. It often involves orientation meetings, adoption coursework, and meetings in the parents’ home. On average, the process takes between two to three months to complete.

Home study
Home studies can help you ensure that there’s a match by clarifying information about the adoptive family.

Why Home Studies Exist

A home study has several purposes. It’s an opportunity for an agency or other organization to provide information and look at each family’s interests and needs. Some families may want to pursue international adoption, some might be interested in adopting foster children, and others might want to adopt an infant. An adoption home study can help clarify what type of adoption and what sorts of needs a family is willing to consider. This is important as it helps ensure that each family makes the choices that is right for them.

The study also helps the agency or law firm understand the parents well so that they can all ensure that they make the best possible match between the birth family and the adoptive family. During the home study, adoptive parents will be asked questions about their reasons for adopting, their expectations, their family and personal histories, their parenting, their income and education, and their physical and home environments. All of these factors help make a good match between the birth family and the adoptive family. For example, a home study can pinpoint a family who’s keen to parent a child with extra needs and has the physical location, income, and family to support this.

Who Needs a Home Study?

In general, prospective adoptive parents need to have a home study. However, if you are considering adoption with a relative, your relative may not need to complete a home study that is as intensive or as long as those required for non-relative adoptions. However, this varies from state to state. Your relative can check with an adoption attorney or agency to determine whether or not their family needs to participate in a full home study process.

More Information

I am available to talk with you and answer your questions whether you have decided on open adoption or not.  I am an attorney and a birth mother and have been in your shoes.  Feel free to contact me anytime.

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Images Courtesy of Family Formation: Client photos printed with permission.