A homestudy is much more than a background check on you and members of your family. It is a way for your social worker to get to know you; to educate you about adoption and how it affects children and families; and to prepare you to parent a child who brings experiences, ideas, and expectations that might be different from your own.
Everyone must complete a homestudy. The process can take from three to six months, depending on the agency, the social worker and the prospective parents’ cooperation.
Find out costs and requirements for homestudies and parenting classes
Homestudy requirements vary by agency and by state, so you need to ask for a list of the items your agency needs to complete the process, such as birth certificates, licenses, personal references, background and criminal checks, and proof of recent physical examinations.
Costs for a homestudy also vary, depending on the agency type. Public agencies often charge little or nothing. Private agencies typically charge between $500 and $2,000.
The length of time a homestudy is valid is determined by your agency and your state. Homestudies typically last one year and can be renewed on an annual basis thereafter.
ADOPTION PREPARATION AND PARENTING CLASSES
Many agencies offer, and sometimes require, group classes for adoptive families. Even if your agency does not require a training course, you should consider taking this opportunity to learn more about the ages and stages of childhood, the dynamics of abuse and neglect, adoption issues, and parenting children who are adopted. The classes provide a forum for you to discuss any questions and concerns you have about the process.
It is important that you be familiar with the kinds of issues that arise when a child or sibling group joins your family. For example, older adopted children may have unique needs and life experiences that will affect their interactions with you, new siblings, and new classmates.
Once you have completed the classes and homestudy, you will be licensed or certified to adopt.
Only 38% of Americans believe a single parent raising an adopted child can definitely provide a healthy and loving environment.1
One-third of children adopted from foster care in 2011 were adopted by single parents or unmarried couples.2
1Source: National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, July 2013. Commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive.
2 Source: The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, AFCARS Report 19, FY 2011 Estimates (July 2013).