Many adoptive parents worry about preparing for an adoption home study, and many more can find it a tiring but necessary event. Many prospective parents feel the pressure to create a perfect home environment and present themselves as ideal parents to impress the social worker conducting the study. It is important to remember, however, that social workers don’t expect a faultless environment. They can be more concerned about families trying to project a flawless homelife, since as we all know, when it comes to raising a child, perfect just doesn’t exist.
Parenthood is a process of learning and growing, and all the social worker wants to see is that you are good people ready to be parents with a safe and stable home. Preparing for a home study can be much more simple than many prospective parents make it. Stay calm and consider the following three factors.
Many first time adoptive parents think that the social worker is going to go over their home with a fine-tooth comb in the home study, like a hotel inspector. However, so long as your home is tidy, clean, and homely, something that would make an adopted child feel comfortable, for example, then your home will be more than acceptable. The social worker will expect to see the room that you have designated for a future child, but this does not need to be a fully-decorated nursery. It needs to be an indication that you have a safe, suitable space already reserved for a child.
The number one thing the social worker will be interested in when inspecting your home is safety. To prepare for the home study, you should make sure you have working smoke detectors and that all accessible electrical outlets are covered. If you home has a trampoline or swimming pool, then you’ll also need to make sure you have a plan for making these spaces safe for a child, in accordance with your state laws, such as pool gates. Firearms should be locked away in a suitable gun cabinet, and any cleaning items, chemicals, and pills and medical apparatus should be stored out of reach.
Many potential parents get so wrapped up in preparing their home for the home study that they forget all about the interview. You don’t want to rehearse your answers so much that they become as a script, but you should be prepared for the kinds of questions that you will be asked. Over everything else, it is essential that you are honest. When answering questions, it’s important not to mislead or deceive. Put simply, just be you!
Preparing your Existing Children
If you are parents already and if your children are old enough, the social worker will likely want to interview them. It is important not to coach your children or spoon feed them answers, but you should definitely make sure that they are prepared for the visit. Explain to them why the social worker is coming and that the social worker might want to speak with them. Be sure to use this time to reaffirm to your child that you are not replacing them, but instead adding a new brother or sister to the family.
The adoption process can be long, draining, and a little bit stressful at times. That’s why it is important to relax and focus on your end goal; bringing home a beautiful new child to love and raise.