A few weeks ago I was able to complete a home study update for a family living in the Naples, Florida. It was a great time to catch up with the family and continue in their adoption education.

Homestudy is a term we throw around all the time as it is a part of our daily activities.  But it occurs to me that most people may not know all that is involved in a home study.  If you are just beginning to think about adoption it can sound like an overwhelming term so here is a little break down of what to expect when completing a homestudy.

A homestudy is exactly what it sounds like: a study of your home and family unit. During the homestudy process, you will complete specific paperwork for your agency, background clearances for all adults (12 and older) in the household, medical reports, reference letters, etc.

You will also have individual interviews, as well as at least one home visit. At the home visit, which usually lasts a few hours, you will be educated on the adoption process and your agency’s specific process.

Your social worker will walk through your home and give suggestions on infant and child safety measures for the home. We should emphasize that we are expecting to walk through your home and not Martha Stewart’s home.  Don’t make yourself crazy. Just prepare your home like you would for any other guest.  We love to see our family’s personal style and décor.

Your social worker will see the child’s room during the visit as well. We are not expecting a full blown nursery.  We know that a lot of people wait on decorating for good reason.  We are just looking for the space where you think a nursery could be.

Although you will probably be nervous about the home visit, it can be a wonderful time to get to know your social worker and have many questions answered about the adoption process.

In the state of Florida, a homestudy is valid for one year or one adoption. It is important that your homestudy is up to date and valid, so you are always ready for “the call”. If it comes to a year and you have not taken placement of a child, your home study will need to be updated.

Your social worker will talk you through what is needed to update your homestudy.  Here are some things they will be looking for: updated background clearances, medical reports, and an updated home visit. If there are any changes in the home, employment, or financial situation, we will need to include that information in the update as well.

A homestudy is a big process, but it’s the first step in growing your family through adoption, and it will be worth every piece of paperwork.  Here are a few final tips:

1.      Make a check list and take it one step at a time.

2.      Be you and be honest.

3.      Feel free to ask lots of questions.  Your social worker is there to talk you through it.

Gift of Life Adoptions completes homestudies throughout the state of Florida. If you or someone you know is in need of a homestudy, please contact us at any time.

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