It’s completely understandable that the home study is one of the hardest parts of the adoption for a lot of people; it’s not necessarily difficult, but it does require some preparation. The actual home visit is not as invasive as many think, but it does help to take some time to make sure you have everything that the inspector will be looking for. Below are a few tips on how to prepare for your home study.
Talk the Talk
A home study is more than just someone looking around your house; it also involves an interview process to determine that you are fit to adopt. The social worker will ask you a number of questions. Many of these may be easy to answer — about your experience with children or your work history — while others may be a little harder.
The social worker will likely ask you a number of questions about the adoption itself. Do you have a gender preference? Are you open to interracial adoption? Do you want an open or closed adoption? Are you willing to adopt a child with special needs? How do you plan to parent your child? If you are adopting with a spouse or partner, it is important to discuss these things with them ahead of time so that you can be confident when answering these questions.
Focus on Safety
While it is important to have a clean home when the inspector comes, it is more important to make sure you can show the safe environment you have for a child to live in. Check your smoke detectors and make sure they are functional and have good batteries. Have any firearms stored safely, and keep cleaning products stored somewhere a small child could not access them. If you have a swimming pool, be prepared to explain how you will keep the child safe.
The inspector will also ask to see the room the child will be living in. This room does not need to be a decorated nursery; they just need to be sure the room is a safe environment for a child.
Don’t Forget the Pets
If you have cats or dogs in the home, you may need to answer a few questions about them. The social worker may ask if they have a history with children, and what kind of training they have. They may ask what you will do if the child you adopt turns out to be allergic to the pets you have. Lastly, you will need the pets’ vaccination records, and possibly a letter from your veterinarian that states they are in good health.