This is the time for your agency to get to know you and for you to get to learn more about adoption. Use it to your advantage! It will benefit you to consider and discuss the various topics that may be covered so that you are not caught off-guard.
Your worker will have 1,000,001 questions for you, but you should also be prepared with your own questions. Some to consider:
How long will this process take?
When will I learn more about the child/ren I will adopt?
What recommendations do you have for me based on what you have learned?
Where can I learn more about adoption?
The Narrative/Home Study Document
Each agency will have their own format for the Adoption Home Study, but in general, most will want to know your:
Motivation to Adopt
Is Adoption your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice? What do you hope to gain/give through adoption?
The good and the not so good- they want the truth, not what you think they want to hear.
Education and Employment
What are your values regarding education and what is your work ethic?
Medical and Mental Health
Past and current treatment
Stability: financial and otherwise
Proof of income. You need not be a millionaire to adopt, but the agency will not want to send you into a financial tailspin either.
A day/week/month in the life of you!
Have you parented? If so, how? If not, what is your experience with children?
Strengths/Needs. How do you handle challenges/stress? What is your attachment style?
Dating? Long-term relationship? Married? Divorced? What are those relationships like?
Views on Adoption
Open vs Closed? How will you handle normative adoption related issues as they arise?
The Walk Through
No white gloves y’all! The home study assessor will want you to point out the safety features of your home, however. Where are the smoke detectors? Fire extinguisher? Safety locks? Cleaning supplies? Medication? Where will the child/ren sleep? Your worker may need to take pictures of your home for the file.
Be honest and be you! There is nothing worse than a bland, boring, cookie-cutter home study that says nothing about you. Some families feel that they are not ___ enough. Rich enough, active enough, smart enough, experienced enough. There are so many factors about the matching/choosing process that you may or may not be made aware of. A birth parent or agency may be drawn to an adoptive parent who has experienced the “downs” in life because then that adoptive parent can relate. I find that the most successful families are the ones that are stable enough, loving enough, and flexible enough.
I typically allow my families to review their home studies before submission for approval. I want the family to read what has been written about them and have the opportunity to correct, add to, or question what is in the document. I also advocate for families to receive a copy of their home study after it is approved. While this is suggested, not all agencies agree. There is no harm is asking though, right?