You’re expecting a baby and considering adoption for him or her. But you worry about your baby’s future family. What will they be like? How will they treat your baby? Will they raise your baby the same way you would?
Adoption agencies strive to find the most suitable family for your baby. Agencies determine the family’s eligibility through a thorough home study. Through a home study, licensed social workers visit the prospective family in their home. The social workers interview the family members, examine their home, and even look at their finances.
Here’s what social workers look for in a home study and how this process can benefit you.
Safety and Security
Adoption agencies want to ensure that your baby is placed in a safe home. That’s why social workers conduct a background check on all adults living in the prospective family’s home. A background check brings up any criminal records, including records of child abuse, substance abuse, and domestic violence. A criminal record can disqualify someone from adopting.
Social workers also investigate the prospective family’s house, making sure it’s a safe environment for a child. They’ll check for things like the following:
- Pools are covered
- Any firearms are stored
- Smoke alarms work
- Cleaners and poisons are locked out of reach
- Window cords are out of reach
Social workers also make sure the prospective home has adequate space for the child to sleep and play.
Parenting is not an easy task, and adoption agencies want to make sure prospective parents are ready for the task.
Social workers will interview the parents. They may ask them about how they were raised, their personal parenting style, and how they handle stress. They may also ask about their experiences with children. If they do not currently have children, perhaps they have grown up with children, babysat others’ children, or worked in childcare.
The relationship between the prospective parents can also determine their parenting capabilities. Social workers may ask about how they solve problems or make decisions together. If the adopting parent is single, social workers will ensure they have an adequate support network of family and friends.
Many agencies train prospective parents about how to address the needs of their adopted children.
Social workers want to make sure prospective adoptive parents can take care of your baby’s health needs. They will make sure the family has health coverage for themselves and the baby.
They also want to make sure that the parents have good enough health to take care of a child. The parents must have physical exams during which the doctor declares them healthy and able to care for a child. If prospective parents have serious health problems that affect life expectancy, they may not qualify to adopt.
Prospective parents will need to verify their income, their savings, and their debts. The parents don’t need to be wealthy, but they do need to prove that they have the financial means to care for a child. If they plan to adopt a child from another country, some countries require them to have a certain income level.
Social workers may also question prospective parents about their education level, their employment status, and their future employment and educational plans.
To further determine the family’s eligibility, social workers will also contact several friends or neighbors of the prospective parents. They’ll ask about the prospective parents’ feelings about adoption. If the prospective parents have children living in the home, the social workers will want to know how they’re going to talk to their children about adoption.
Along with determining a family’s eligibility, a home study can help social workers and adoption agencies match the right baby to the right family.
Social workers may look at factors such as:
- Parents’ daily routines
- Parents’ social life and support system
- Parents’ religion and how they practice their religion
- The surrounding neighborhood and community
Most adoption agencies allow you to express your preferences for your baby’s adopted parents. For example, you might want to make sure your baby is raised in a family that practices the same religion you do.
Adoption agencies have prospective parents write a profile describing their personalities, lifestyle, and interests. These profiles can help both you and the agency find the right parents for your baby.
Benefits of a Home Study
A home study is a huge benefit to both you as a birth mother and your baby. This comprehensive investigation helps place your baby with parents who are safe, healthy, financially stable, and prepared to care for a child. Perhaps you can’t provide the home you want for your baby at this stage in your life, but you’ll have the confidence that your baby’s adoptive family can provide the love, comfort, and stability you want for your baby.
If you are expecting a baby and want to learn more about the adoption process, contact a birth-mother specialist at A Child’s Dream.