Virginia residents considering adoption know there are many steps in the process that must be followed to ensure a successful adoption. One of the most important steps is the home study. If you are thinking about adopting a child, or already involved in the adoption process, a successful home study is vital.
A home study is a complete and thorough evaluation of you, any of your family members and your household. The purpose of a home study is to confirm that your household is safe, appropriate and ready for the introduction of a child.
Three phases of a home study
The home study process involves three phases:
- Documentation phase
- In-home visit phase
- Home inspection phase
As the home study process gets underway, you will need to gather several important documents. These include your birth certificate, driver’s license, a physical and mental health statement and any marriage licenses. Be prepared to provide financial documentation, such as proof of income and tax returns or information. This phase may also involve formal background checks and required classes.
The in-home visit phase is exactly what it sounds like. A social worker will come view and inspect your home. Expect the visit to take between 2 to 4 hours and to answer detailed questions about things like your daily life and reasons for adoption.
The home inspection phase is similar to the in-home visit phase, with a specific focus on the safety of your household. A social worker will again visit your home and concentrate on any potential safety issues.
The adoption process can be complex and preparing for and participating in the home study can cause a prospective adoptive parent anxiety and stress. A qualified family law attorney can be a great resource during this time, available to answer questions and make sure all steps are followed correctly.