When it comes to adoptions, most people are fearful of the home study process. The home study is a series of interviews by a social worker to determine if the parents are a good fit for adoption. However, the part that most parents fear is the actual home visit portion of the study, in which the social worker visits the home of the prospective parents. Though home studies can be intimidating, there are many myths surrounding them that unnecessarily add to the fear and anxiety that couples face.
Myth #1: The social worker is there to try to find something wrong with you so you cannot adopt.
In fact, the complete opposite is true. Social workers are there to make sure adoption is the best fit for your family and the baby. They want to see babies placed in homes. Many people report being surprised at how kind and genuine the social worker was in the home study process. Others report that their social worker became part of their support system throughout the adoption process.
Myth #2: Your home must be perfect.
Social workers would like to see that you live in a reasonably clean home that is free from basic hazards. It is a good idea to clean your home just as you normally would when having guests, but it should not appear as a sterile environment. The social worker will not be checking bathroom cabinets, nor rummaging through the junk drawers. They will not be searching for a missed particle of dust on a high surface or a fingerprint on glass. Your house should look like people actually live in it, especially if you have existing children. It should be tidy and clean, but not perfect. In fact, when a social worker comes across a “white glove” home, they could think that family may have a difficult time adjusting to the untidiness that a child can bring into a home. Many people overlook simple things like safety. Make sure your smoke alarms are installed and have working batteries and no hazards are left out, such as medication and firearms.
Myth #3: Your family must be perfect.
Your social worker is not perfect, and they do not expect your family to be either. The most important thing is to be 100% honest. Under no circumstances should you be deceptive. Work towards building a relationship of trust with your social worker. It is great to be open and conversational.
Myth #4: If you have a criminal history, you will automatically fail.
It is imperative that you be open and honest with both your social worker and the adoption agency you’re working with. If you made a mistake ten years ago, tell your social worker and explain the situation. If you have a misdemeanor charge that is reasonably explainable, it is unlikely to affect your adoption process; however, if you have a felony charge or any crime involving children or illegal substances, it is unlikely that you will qualify for adoption.
Home studies can feel intrusive and uncomfortable for many people. It is normal to feel nervous as you take this large step in the adoption process. By being aware of what to expect in a home study, it should relieve some of the anxiety. Just remember, people successfully adopt children every day. Once you hold your baby in your arms, it will be well worth the discomfort of going through the home visit.