Adoption is….For many families looking to adopt, the first thing in adoption is the homestudy.
We’ve had our fair share of adoption homestudies and homestudy updates. Each one has been different due to our social workers and agency being different. We’ve also adopted internationally from a non-Hague country and we are now adopting from China, a Hague country. The homestudy process seems intimidating at first and telling a total stranger all your business can be…weird. Some agencies ask everything from your finances to your sexual compatibility with your partner (whaaaat?) so it’s best to be prepared.
Stay Organized With Paperwork
There will be tons of forms, documents you need to obtain as well as receipts or tracking numbers to save. Get a big accordion style file folder or another system with tabs where you can keep all documents. Make a list of everything you need to get and check off your list as you do. There is something satisfying about crossing things off the list.
Find Out Safety Requirements
This will vary by state, type of adoption and even social worker preference. I always ask ahead of time what needs to be done during a home visit. Our medicines and cleaning supplies are locked away, we have a fire extinguisher in our kitchen and we already have plug covers. Not much more was needed, but your social worker will not mind letting you know how to prepare. A safe home is more important than scrubbing those baseboards obsessively.
Tell Your Story
Most likely, you will be asked a lot about your life, why you are choosing adoption and about your own family relationships. It’s good to think about these questions ahead of time and that will make the visits go by easier. Be prepared to talk about your marriage, children, your parents and siblings as you go further in the process. Your social worker wants to get to know you in order to understand your motivation for adoption and also to complete the education piece that some types of adoptions may require.
If there is an aspect about adoption you are not sure about or want to learn more, it’s best to ask your social worker. They can be a great source of local resources and connecting you with experience adoptive families to learn from and to form friendships with.
As intrusive as the process may seem, it is meant to protect children and prepare you for adoption. Many families have gone before you and passed their homestudy. Most likely, you will too. You should be working together with your social worker and figure out the best path for growing your family through adoption.