The adoption home study process can vary depending on the agency, state and circumstances of the child you are trying to adopt, but on average, it takes approximately three to six months to complete. To ensure that the process does not take longer than necessary, here are a few things you can do before the home study even begins:
Take personal inventory
Decide on the type of child who would fit into your home and your life long before the home study process begins. The needs of children from licensed public agencies differ from children in private agencies.
"Individuals who wish to utilize the services of a licensed public agency should be fully aware and educated about the fact that these children need a little extra support, since they have likely been removed from their homes due to abuse and/or neglect." advises Sylvia Cordova, LCSW,County of Orange, California. "Prospective parents should determine whether or not a licensed public agency will meet their specific needs and desires prior to beginning the home study process."
Talk to someone who has navigated the same journey you're about to make. Look into support groups, join message boards, and talk to other parents who have gone through the process.
The home study involves a lot of paperwork, so get copies of credentials such as your birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, proof of insurance coverage and employment information. Gather documents that verify income, debt and other financial details.
Prepare an autobiographical statement, summarizing your life story. It should include a short account of how you got to where you are and of any major life events you have encountered -- all with the purpose of helping the social worker better understand your family.
Next page: More tips to prepare for the adoption home study