If you're thinking about adopting a child, the words "home study" may sound threatening. Current state laws require that before adopting, a person must be approved by a child welfare authority. The home study is one stop along the way. It is an evaluation of the would-be adopter's likely fitness as a parent.
A home study is bound to make any healthy, sane person nervous. It feels like you're letting a stranger snoop around your home, bank account and personal files. So, if you expect a home study in your future, please accept these Parent Soup tips as a friendly reminder to set your gaze on your goal: the family you want to become.
1. Talk, talk, talk.
Explore with your partner the details of your plans to adopt and raise a child together. Take turns role-playing the social worker, quizzing your decision. If you plan to adopt alone, find a friend with whom to confide and fully examine your thoughts and emotions. Become as certain as possible that you do, indeed, want to adopt.
2. Research agencies or social workers.
The best way to find the right agency or social worker is to ask people you know for referrals. But you can also look in the Yellow Pages under "Adoption." Or check Parent Soup's State-by-State Guide to Adoption Resources.
3. Gather your facts.
Track down such forgettable items as previous addresses where you've lived. And put your hands on recent years' financial statements. Be aware that if you have ever been arrested for a violent crime, your chances of being approved to adopt decrease significantly.
4. Think about your life. You have to write your autobiography. Remember, child welfare is not looking for a literary masterpiece. What they want is an idea of the type of parent you'll be, how you were raised and what influenced your growing-up years. Tell the truth, and keep it simple. You do not need to divulge every secret about your personal life, but you can describe what makes you you.