Wow, that is one mighty word that will alter the course of your life and the life of a child forever. It is filled with anticipation, excitement, worry, joy, sorrow, faith, and trust. Regardless of how you adopt: social services, international, or domestic (through and agency, attorney, or you identify your own placement), you will need two reports before you can finalize, or legally make permanent, your adoption. The first report, a Pre-Placement Report (Home Study) and a second report referred to as a Post Placement Report (a report after the child has been placed).
That sound daunting, doesn’t it? It is not, but it is important. This process has three purposes:
- Educate and prepare the prospective family for adoption
- Evaluate the capability and suitability of the prospective family to adopt
- Gather information about the prospective adoptive family and prepare a report that is similar to a mini biography of you and how you grew up and your life today. The report generated from this collection of information can be used by the adoption agency/adoption attorney to match you with a child.
The Home Study Process takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete and requires at least one visit to the home where everyone who resides in the home is interviewed. Criminal, sexual offender, and child abuse registries are searched and the results are placed in the home study. If you have been arrested in the past, it does NOT mean you cannot adopt. The charges and circumstances will have to be assessed however, before a final determination can be made. There are items you will need to provide to your home study provider.
- Birth Certificates for all persons residing in the home
- Naturalization Papers if applicable
- Military Discharge Papers if applicable
- Marriage License
- Divorce Decrees (if appropriate)
- Health Statements from your physician for everyone residing in the home
- Tax Return and/or W-2 statements
- Financial Form
- Verification of Employment Letters
- 3 Letter of Reference that are signed by the provider (from non-relatives)
Once your child has been placed, and before you attend your court hearing to finalize your adoption, your home study provider will make a home visit to gather information on how everyone is doing. Are you bonding and attaching with your child? Are the child’s needs being met? How have family/friends responded to the addition of your little one? Is the child growing and developing and receiving appropriate medical care? The information gathered in this visit is used to create a Post Placement Report that is provided to the court along with your Pre-Placement Report, providing the judge with a comprehensive view of this adoption. And then… everyone lived happily ever after!