Many prospective adoptive parents find the home visit portion of the adoption process to be very intimidating, but in reality it isn’t something to stress over too much. It is important to remember that the case worker is not coming into your home to look for dust in every nook and cranny — they’re simply there to ensure you can provide a safe environment for a child.
Before the Visit
The home study process actually starts well before the home visit itself, with lots of paperwork. You will need to turn in copies of birth and marriage certificates, and in most cases background checks will be run. You may also be asked for financial and medical records.
In addition to these items, you may be asked to request character references. These can be from friends, family members, or work colleagues.
Prepping Your House
Before the case worker comes out to your house, you’ll want to make sure it’s safe and clean. The guidelines that the case worker will be checking for varies by state, so take the time to look up your state requirements, but some of the basics include:
Working locks on all doors and windows
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Any pool is gated and locked
Well maintained stairway railings
Disaster plans prepared
Appropriate bedroom space
Please be aware that this isn’t a one-time pass or fail — if there are items that need to be addressed, the case worker will let you know what needs to be changed, then return at a later date to assess the changes.
During the Visit
It is important to be open and honest during your home visit. Even if there is something you are worried about causing issues with the adoption, being honest and upfront about it will show that you are not trying to hide anything and will work in your favor.
If your interviews are being conducted during your home visit, be prepared for some questions that may seem a bit invasive. You will have to answer questions about your childhood, your relationship, your family, and many other aspects of your life. You will also have to answer questions about your parenting style, so that’s a good discussion to have with your partner ahead of time.
In the end, the only thing the home visit is about is making sure your home is safe for a child; as long as you have done your best to provide that and are willing to make any requested changes, your home visit should go smoothly and you’ll be on to the next stage of the adoption process!