The dreaded home study. It's required by every state and inter-country agency before someone can be placed with an adoptable child. They cost a few thousand dollars and come with an enormous pressure that sends adoptive parents into frenzies, trying to make their home appear to be perfect. In reality, the most important part of a home study is the interview with the assessing case worker, who will gauge adopters' readiness to start or expand their family.
While a home study will be nerve wracking regardless of how perfect your home is, don't let the name fool you - a home study is more than just inviting someone into your home and daring them to find one spot you missed after mopping and re-mopping the kitchen floor. Home studies are used to determine just how committed an adoptive couple and any of their children are to the adoption process. Many sources say that preparing for a home study is a reflective exercise for an adopter, who can look at his or her potential to run a household as well as . A case worker at a home study is there to ask questions about why an adopter wants to start a family or bring a new member in. They are also there to help educate adopters about adoption or their specific child.
Home studies should be welcoming and professional. No guests should stop by, however, everyone in the immediate family, especially other children, should be present. If an adopter has pets, a case worker may ask if the animal is up-to-date on its immunizations and is well-behaved enough and compatible for a child.
Some agencies also require a psychological test as well, which, while confidential, can be an unnerving part of the home study. It's important to just be true to one's self in those kind of situations, as over thinking things can cause one to act out of character in such a way he or she may regret later.
Advice for home studies vary by source, but there's a general consensus that being honest is the best thing for all parties involved. Sometimes turned down home studies can lead to a realization that can change a couple's perspective and make them more fit for an adoption and the next home study.
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