A home study can feel really daunting for future adoptive parents. It feels like someone is coming into your home and asking you personal questions in order to decide if you are fit to parent. Potential adoptive families can feel like one wrong answer or one thing out of place in the home may disqualify them from being parents.
I hope that this post can give you some helpful and encouraging tips for you as you prepare for your home study.
1. Remember that they want you to succeed.
The purpose of the home study is not for you to fail. It is designed to give your adoption agency a clearer picture of who your family is so that they can better represent you as you pursue your child. The home study worker is not out to catch some tiny error in your life story and then prevent you from becoming a parent.
Of course, if there are glaring concerns about a particular home, these concerns will be raised through the home study worker. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, you will pass your home study just fine. So don’t sweat it!
2. Be prepared to answer personal questions.
You will probably be asked questions about your childhood, your family growing up, your marriage (including some questions about intimacy in your marriage), past abuse, criminal history, mental illness, etc. Be completely honest.
I know it can be really awkward to share the most intimate details of your life with a complete stranger, but it is imperative that you tell the truth. Having a history of being abused in the past does not disqualify you from being an adoptive parent. But it is important that they know the truth.
Be prepared to answer questions together as a couple (if you are married) and also individually. If you have older children in the home, they may be interviewed as well.
Again, they are not out to make you fail. If there is a major concern, they will let you know. But your agency just wants to know the truth about who you are and what your life experiences have been. Your personal experiences are going to better equip you for parenting your child. Areas that you see as weakness may be considered strength. So just tell the truth and don’t be ashamed of your past.
3. A tidy house is good.
Of course you want your house to be clean when you have your home study. But your home does not have to be perfect by any means. The home study is not a critique of your decorating style. Clean it, but don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect.
Check around to make sure that all chemicals and medications are out of reach of a child (in Texas, medications have to be locked up). Empty your trash cans and put outlet protectors in the plugs.
One of my main concerns before our home study was whether we needed to have a room entirely set up for our future child or not. I have since learned that they want to see where your child will be sleeping and the bed or crib that you have for him/her. But you don’t have to have clothes, diapers and toys ready to go yet.
4. It’s ok to ask questions.
As I said earlier, the main purpose of the home study is for your agency to get to know your family better. The home study is also a great opportunity for you to express concerns or ask questions. It might be helpful to make a list of questions ahead of time so that you don’t forget.
Take a deep breath. You are going to make it through your home study. And when you do, you will be one step closer to meeting your child.
Had your home study already? What was it like? Was there anything you weren’t prepared for? I’d love to hear your experiences! Please share in the comments.
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