After making the decision to adopt, the first step in the process is to have a home study completed. All home studies, with the exception of close relative adoption and step-parent adoption, require a home study. Home studies screen the home and life of prospective adoptive parents. There are multiple purposes for having a home study. Home studies are generally to ensure that your home and your family are ready and equipped to adopt a child. Home studies also assist in finding the best home for the child.
A home study involves a social worker, licenced to conduct home studies, coming to your home, having face-to-face interviews, collecting and reviewing documents, and possibly providing parent education. The social worker will discuss things with you such as your personal history, family background, marriage, health and physical history, employment and finances, current family dynamic, the reason you are seeking to adopt, and the expectations you have for the adopted child. You will have to provide documents such as a certified marriage licence, a certified divorcee decree, income verification, medical records or a letter from your doctor, and an auto-biographical statement about your life history and experiences. Clearances in regard to child abuse and criminal background will also be obtained. Your social worker will ask you for several letters of reference.
Once the social worker has had the chance to obtain all of the information and documentation needed, the social worker will write a report which will be filed with the Court as part of the adoption process.
A home study takes approximately 30 to 90 days to complete. The length of time is largely dependent on how long it takes you to gather the requested documentation and comply with the requests of the social worker. In Florida, home studies cost between $1,500 and $2,500.
For more information about a home study in your area, search for a local social worker that specializes in this practice. We will be happy to refer a reputable agency to you if you need one. At Lauren Kingry Law and Love Adoption Life, we work with home study approved families. This is an important step in the adoption process. Give us a call at (904) 723-1406 to speak with an experienced adoption attorney.