While there are many parts of the adoption process that are stressful, there is nothing more talked about with disdain than the infamous home study. Not only is the process of preparing for the home study overwhelming, but there can sometimes be a feeling of, “why do we have to go through this?” I remember thinking during our home study that people have children every day without going through this kind of scrutiny. Why can’t a background check and a few references be enough?
Aside from the common sense of complying with adoption laws and legalities of the process, the home study process ensures that children are placed in safe homes while also ensuring that prospective parents are prepared for all that comes with adoption. It is important to remember that the home study is necessary. Just as the questions answered and concerns addressed before bringing a child home. The social worker does not want to “fail” any family, but rather make sure that the couple is ready to take on the responsibility of a child and any special considerations that come with it.
A home study is necessary for many reasons, but it is especially important when the child is older. The child comes with a full history of relationships and needs, just as any child would. With this, a home study is a time for the social worker to ensure that that the couple can meet the child’s particular needs and that the home is suited for him long term. It also gives prospective parents time to be educated on the needs of the child as well as adjustments that will need to be made in preparation to bring the child home.
A large part of the background check will revolve around the 18 and above adults living at home, a safety audit of the house, as well as interviews with members of the family regarding a multitude of parenting and adoption topics. The safety audit tends to be the most well-known phase of the house study process. All of these aspects of the home study are the ones that often make people wonder why every parent shouldn’t have to go through this process before having a child. However, adoption is set apart as a unique situation.
Regardless of the age of the child, there is a loss with adoption. A child is leaving his biological family for a whole new world and, potentially, culture. It is only fair to the child that we have a system in place to ensure that he enters a home fully prepared to care for him.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/.