As prospective adoptive parents go through the adoption process and complete all of the requirements, a question we are often asked relates to adopting while renting a home. Many prospective adoptive parents who are not homeowners are concerned they won’t be able to adopt or connect with a potential birthmother if they are renting. In this article, we will discuss all things renting and adoption and give you some bonus tips on successfully completing your home study.
Can you adopt if you’re renting your home?
Yes! It is actually a common myth that families who do not own a home cannot adopt. Much like adoption, home ownership is a personal choice, and it is not a requirement for being legally able to adopt. The same answer also applies if you live with extended family. Something to keep in mind is that you will have to produce documentation in your home study that provides proof of your monthly housing payment, whether that is a mortgage or rent.
At Angel Adoption, we have helped many families who rent their home successfully finalize an adoption. Home ownership does not determine whether or not you can be a good parent to a child, so if you are a renter interested in adoption, do not be discouraged! Ultimately, what the home study social worker and the courts are looking at is whether your home is safe, your financial situation is stable, and you demonstrate the ability to properly care for a child.
A safe environment is key.
Whether you rent or own your home is not an issue when it comes to adoption. What is important is that your home is a safe environment for a child to grow and thrive. Here are some things you can consider as you are getting closer to going through the home study process:
- Designate a separate bedroom for the child.
- Lock up hazardous items that could harm a child if not secured, such as weapons, cleaning chemicals, and prescriptions.
- Start childproofing your home, or have a plan in place for childproofing.
- If you are renting an older home, inquire if any lead paint has been used. If so, it will need to be removed for the health and safety of the child.
- Ensure your windows are secure and have screens.
- Make sure your home meets all fire codes and regulations and that you have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.
- Inspect the whole property, including your yard, for any potential hazards.
- If your home allows pets, ensure they are up to date on their vaccinations.
What if I have to make modifications to my home to pass the home study?
There are certain things that make a home safer for children, like installing gates or fences where they are needed. If you are a renter, making modifications to your home can be a bit more difficult, but it is not impossible. We suggest talking to your landlord or property manager to let them know you are adopting and need to make modifications to the home for it to be a safe environment for a child. We also suggest connecting with other adoptive families in support groups or online who are renters so you can learn some renter-friendly tips for success!
Home Study Tips
Renting isn’t the only question that prospective adoptive families may have about the home study and other aspects of the adoption process. The home study is a critical part of the adoption process that screens a potential adoptive parent prior to an adoption. This step in the adoption process is required by law and is one of the initial steps that allow you to move forward. Here are some helpful tips that can help you throughout the home study process:
- Begin gathering vital documents and records, including birth certificates, tax records, proof of income, medical records, and personal references.
- Be open and honest throughout the entire process. Don’t tell the social worker what you think they want to hear. Answer every question they ask truthfully and completely. Keep in mind that this is an opportunity for the social worker to really get to know you and your family.
- There’s no doubt that the home study can feel invasive for prospective adoptive parents. If you start feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by this aspect of the process, remember that the home study is put in place to protect children and ensure they will have the best possible environment to grow in.
- Get ready for the interview with the social worker and be prepared to answer questions about your reasons for adopting, your finances, medical history, relationship with your partner, and parenting style.
Highlight your home in your adoption profile.
After you have successfully completed the home study, you will create a profile that will allow you to be presented to potential birthmothers. Something that all prospective adoptive parents should do is to highlight their home and neighborhood on their adoption profile. This allows the birthmother to see where her baby could call home. For example, the birthmother could be looking for an environment where her child will be exposed to diversity, educational opportunities, and other enriching aspects. Showcasing your home, regardless of ownership status, can help connect you to the right birthmother. Here are some of our other tips for creating an impactful adoption profile that will help you connect with a birthmother.
As you move through the adoption process remember that a home full of love, whether it is owned or rented, is the most important piece when it comes to welcoming a child into your family for life.