The Home Visit

womanYour social worker will probably conduct several interviews with you during the home study process, perhaps one or two in the agency office and at least one in your home. You will discuss the topics addressed in your autobiographical statement, and the social worker will ask any questions necessary to clarify what you have written. In the case of couples, some agency workers do all the interviews jointly, with husband and wife together. Others conduct both joint and individual interviews.

An important point: The worker is not visiting your home for a white glove inspection! He or she simply needs to verify that the child will be entering into a safe and healthy environment and whether you have thought ahead as to how you are going to accommodate the new family member. There may be a requirement that you have a working smoke alarm (which is a good idea anyway) and an evacuation plan in case of an emergency. The latter is not something many people have, so you might want to develop one ahead of time.

The worker may want to see the child's bedroom and all the other areas of the house or apartment, including the basement or backyard.

Some tips for the home visit:

• Do not clean the whole place from top to bottom, unless that is the level of housekeeping you always maintain. A certain level of cleanliness is necessary, but lived-in family clutter is expected. Most social workers would worry that people living in a picture perfect home would have a difficult time adjusting to the clutter that a child brings to a household. Instead use this visit as one more time to build on the open and honest relationship you are developing with the worker


• It is natural to be nervous! But most often the worker wants to help and approve you if you have already reached this point of the home study. You are not expected to reveal every intimate detail of your life, nor are you expected to be perfect. In fact, perfection would probably raise eyebrows.

• It is much more important to be honest, be yourself, and present a true picture of your family history and family functioning. Social workers know that every individual is a combination of strengths and weaknesses, which makes each person unique.

• If you had a difficult childhood, experienced financial problems, quit a job in anger or have some other skeleton in your closet that you think might disqualify you, chances are, if you discuss it openly with the social worker, it will not present a problem.

• It would not be wise to be deceptive or dishonest or for the documents collected in the home study to expose an inconsistency in what you have presented about your family. This would betray the social worker's trust, which would harm your chances and may even cause the termination of your home study.

If You Already Have Children

If you already have children -- by birth, adoption or both -- they will be included in the home study in some way. Older children may be invited to one or more of the educational sessions. They might also be asked to write a statement describing their feelings and preferences about having a new brother or sister. Younger children might be asked to draw a picture showing their thoughts on the subject. Children of all ages will probably be met and/or interviewed by the social worker at least once.


The social worker may ask the children (and you, too) how they do in school, what their interests and hobbies are, what their friends are like and how they get rewarded or disciplined for good or not-so-good behavior. But the emphasis will more likely be on how they see a new child fitting into the family and whether they are prepared to share you with a new sibling. A new sibling means sharing time, attention, television channel selection, the bathroom, the prized seat at the kitchen table, the window seat in the car and the many other elements of family life on a daily basis.

Input from the children is usually quite important in the overall assessment of a family's readiness to adopt a child. Their feelings need to be considered and their reaction to the adoption needs to be generally positive. The social worker will want to make sure that a newly adopted child will be wanted and loved by everyone in the family from the start.

Source : National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

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