Deciding whom you will use as a reference in your adoption home study can be a tough call. Hopefully, you have many people in your life who would be ready and willing to give you a glowing reference. Your adoption agency will typically have a set number of references they require, usually following the law for whichever state your adoption takes place in. They may also ask that some of the references not be family members. Many times, the number of references can vary, averaging at four total.

Who Knows You Best?

Who are the six people in your life who know you and your partner (if applicable) better than anyone else? They have known you for more than two years and have seen you at your best. Take that list and pick the four people from that list who you know would support you through your adoption and throughout the child’s life. Be sure to choose references who know your partner to some degree, as you want as much support garnered as possible.


When choosing your references, it is also important to pick based on personality. If you have a friend who adores you but is incredibly shy, short with their words, and does not do well putting pen to paper, he or she is likely not the best choice to convey all your positive attributes to your agency. Additionally, if your sister would do a great job highlighting your shining moments but you worry she would never turn in paperwork or return a call, well—you get the picture.


Pick people who love you, who know you well, and who are responsible and good with words. For variety, choose some people who have known you for only three years and some who have known you your whole life. Choose those who have seen you at your worst but who will talk about your strength in those times. Your references should highlight you and your partner and be able to paint a picture of the type of parent you will one day be or already are. Choose those who will highlight you well and handle the reference task with expedience.

To learn more about home studies, click here.


Written by Lita Jordan