Many pre-adoptive couples are fearful that in order to pass a home study, they need to be perfect. It is not the case, however, and the majority of people who undertake a home study pass. People who have mental illnesses or disabilities are often concerned social workers will automatically exclude from the adopting. In most cases, this is not true, but you may need to take a few extra steps to demonstrate that you are fit to parent.

For those with mental illnesses, you will generally need a letter from the physician or the mental health practitioner who helps you, stating that you are fit to parent. The same goes for physical illnesses or disabilities. The social worker conducting your home study will want to know that you are healthy enough to be a parent, and generally, that your illness or disability does not mean you will have a dramatically shortened lifespan.

There are some exceptions to the rules in international adoption. Some countries will not approve the adoption by couples who have any history of mental illness, taking psychiatric medication, or who are disabled. Some even prohibit people above a certain BMI to adopt. It is unfortunate, but not the case for all international countries from which people can adopt while in the U.S. Talk with your agency when you decide to adopt internationally to choose a country that does not have disqualifying requirements.

Above all else, be honest and forthright with your home study agency, social worker, and adoption agency about any concerns you might have, and any conditions you might have that require you to provide additional documentation. Generally, you will need to have a physician fill out a health history regardless of whether or not you have any identified health challenges. If there is information in that health history that you intentionally withheld from your home study social worker, that could be grounds for not being approved.


Julianna Mendelsohn lives in sunny South Florida where, odds are, it is hot enough right now that she’s sweating just a little, no matter what she’s doing. She is the brains, brawn, blood, sweat, and tears behind and is thrilled to be able to help others build their families through adoption. She is a former elementary school teacher, current MS in school counseling student, Sephora junkie, and the momma via domestic adoption to one lovely daughter.