Laughter, Tears, and a Bagel: The Homestudy Process

We recently completed our second Homestudy.
It was So much faster this time around because
1) i knew exactly where to go to get everything (background checks, fingerprints, birth certificates, etc)
2) we used the same agency and our agent knows us so we are not starting from scratch again

before we did our first homestudy, i thought a homestudy meant that someone would come into our home and look around and mark things off on a clipboard about why we were or were not capable of raising a child in said home.
i thought that they would check the ceiling fan for dust, the nursery for the correct breathable bumper, the fridge for something other than condiments, the titles on my bookshelf for the proper cultural and educational references, etc…

the idea of that homestudy was incredibely intimidating to me.

the actual homestudy is much less about assessing your HOME and much more focused on assessing YOU and YOURS.

which was actually much scarier to me.

Our homestudy consisted of a joint interview, followed by two individual interviews, and a final interview at our house.

my individual interview was at a Panera restaurant and it was two and a half hours of talking about the most personal things in my life.
the guy “working” at the next table, 2 feet away from us, had no idea what he was getting into when he sat next to us.
life story and then some.

it was intense.
i laughed. i cried. i ate a bagel.
and very much worried that we might not pass this homestudy Because of my interview.
not because of anything i did or did not say.
but because it’s just an intense circumstance and i hate being out of control.
note: if you are a control freak- adoption will break you.
(just in time for your kid to show up and do it again – for the rest of your life)

my husband, also a control freak, freely admits that he hates the homestudy process.
He feels that it is incredibly invasive.
it kind of is.
it’s hard to put it all out there for a stranger. to judge.
who will then decide to approve you to move forward with adoption or not.

when it was time for our agent to do the home assessment part – she did not check Any of the fears i listed above.
obviously.
she basically made sure there was running water, no exposed electrical wiring, smoke alarms, and a fire extinguisher.

we passed.

this time around – the interviews were more about the last two years as parents and such.
way less intimidating. way less intense.
our social worker felt more like a dear friend and ally, rather than a complete stranger holding the key to all of our hopes and dreams.

and we passed again.

When i mention now that we completed our homestudy, i often get a lot of questions about what exactly that Means happened.
so to give you a better understanding of the homestudy process here is our agency’s Homestudy document checklist:

Initial Documents
*Homestudy Agreement – this is a document per our particular agency (Varies)
*Disclosure Statements – Duty of Candor and Personal History Questions
*Child Abuse Clearances – From your current state
*Social Services Agreement – again per our particular agency
*Client Grievance Procedure – per our agency
Personal
*Autobiographical Questionnaire each – 35 questions such as: Describe your childhood, etc.
*Birth Certificates
*Marriage License
*Divorce Devrees – if applicable
Background Checks
*Background checks – Local Sheriff clearances and Federal checks – including fingerprinting
*Other State Child Abuse Checks – if you’ve lived in a previous state within 5 years
Financial
*Monthly Income and Expenses – detailed list of current budget and expenses
*Financial Statement – List all Assets and liabilities
*Employment Verification – the employer must send a letter regarding salary & work history
*Most Recent Income Tax Return
Medical
*Medical Reports for Husband, Wife, and current Children – physical exam with blood work
*Proof of Health Insurance
*Psychological Evaluation – if applicable
Prep for Home Visit
*Fire Extinguisher
*Pet Records
*Storage of Guns – if applicable
Preparation
*Guardianship Statement – signed also by appointed legal guardians
*Domestic Adoption Education Agreement – a list of educational adoption books to be read
*Training Certificates – online course certificates for 3 particular adoption subjects
Other
*Previous Homestudy
(Previous Post-adoption reports
*References – sent directly to three people of our choosing

i hope that’s a better understanding of that word – homestudy – and please know that each homestudy is different, depending on your agency – but this is the gist of it.
the next step is waiting with our Placement agency.
but that’s a whole other post.

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One thought on “Laughter, Tears, and a Bagel: The Homestudy Process

  1. YAY!!!!! I am so thankful that you wrote this out for 2 reasons: one, so I can know what all you’ve been working on to get this accomplished and two, so I have a better picture of what might be in store for us if/when… =)

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