What is an Adoption Home Study?
An important part of the process leading up to adopting a child is the adoption home study. Because of the length and thoroughness of home studies, you may feel overly burdened and like your privacy is being invaded. But, it is important to keep in mind that the home study is a tool to ensure that your adoption will be a successful one for both you and your adopted child.
What Does a Home Study Include?
An adoption home study is a document written by a home study worker about the prospective adoptive parents. It includes information gathered from interviews with each family member living in the prospective parents' house. The interviews will likely be fairly exhaustive and may take some time to complete. Typically, the interviews occur in the prospective parents' home.
In addition to the interviews, the caseworker will examine the condition of the home to ensure that it will be safe for a child in which to be raised. The information about the prospective parents includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Family background;
- Education and employment history;
- Daily life routines;
- Experience with children;
- What the home is like; and
- Reasons for the interest in adopting.
Each prospective parent must provide his or her medical history. Usually, minor health issues do not present a barrier to adoption. However, more serious health problems may require a prospective parent to form a legal plan, which provides for how the child will be cared for in the event of the adoptive parent's death. In some cases, a major health issue will prevent a person from adopting a child.
A criminal background check must be submitted too, though a past record does not necessarily disqualify an individual from being allowed to adopt. Additionally, financial information is required. Prospective parents may be asked to provide financial documents, like an income tax return or pay stub. However, wealth is not a requirement for adoption. Rather, the interest in one's finances is only to ensure that he or she will be able to adequately provide for the child.
There may also be a request to provide copies of various legal documents, such as a marriage license and birth certificate. It is possible that some of this information will be shared with the biological parents. Therefore, prospective parents should ask what, if any, information will be shared prior to providing sensitive personal information.
The entire home study process may take between three and six months and cost several thousand dollars.
Help Growing Your Family
The process for adopting a child may seem overwhelming, but do not be discouraged. Many Americans each year successfully complete adoptions of children from all over the country and world. If you are considering adopting a child, or just have questions related to adoption, please contact our Illinois family law attorneys today to schedule a consultation.