The thought of preparing for a home visit is something that makes even some of the most confident and qualified adoptive parents feel nervous. It’s a major step in the adoption process, but don’t sweat it – we’ve got you covered on what to expect.
What can you expect when your social worker conducts your home visit?
- A tour and inspection of your home: Yes, you’ll feel good if you’ve tidied and cleaned and made your home sparkle, but you don’t need to worry if you haven’t attained domestic perfection. What the social worker is looking for is to see your general living spaces, bedrooms, and to know that it’s a safe environment for a child to be in. For instance, if the social worker notes that you should get a fire extinguisher or baby proof certain areas, the goal is for the social worker to point it out to you so that you can take certain steps before the next home visit. Guidelines for each home visit vary by state, but most don’t require that you have a child’s bedroom setup before this visit.
- An in-depth interview: Here, too, your goal should not be to worry about fitting into a cookie-cutter image of what a perfect adoptive family might look like. Rather the interview is an opportunity for your social worker to get to know your family better. Some of what they’ll want to learn is more about your family biography, your own history as a child, your experience with other children and your parenting style, your values, your traditions, if you’ve had infertility issues and how you’ve worked through them, and a whole wealth of other topics. The major goal here is for the social worker to better understand your family dynamic and why you’re motivated to adopt. They will also want to learn more about what you know about adoption, including your general understanding of adoption and the specific steps in the process. The social worker may also recommend certain adoption training classes that will help prepare you to parent – including cultural diversity classes to help prepare you for raising a child of a different background or race. If you have a partner, you’ll be interviewed together, and in some states you may be interviewed separately too. Anyone else who lives in your home, such as another child or a grandparent, will also be interviewed.
Again, despite the fact that this is a big step in the adoption process, you shouldn’t be too worried. The social worker’s major goal here is to make sure that you’re ready to become a parent. Not only are they there to evaluate your family’s suitability for adoption, they’re also there to help prepare you for it. So the best thing you can do is be honest, be open, and be yourself. This is just one step among many that will help prepare you to welcome a child to your family. You’re working toward that happy ending, and this is just one moment along the way.
- “Parent-to-parent: Preparing for the adoption home study visit.” Adoptive Families. Adoptive Families. Retrieved September 12 2018. https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-process/parents-share-preparing-for-the-adoption-home-study-visit/.
- “The adoption home study process.” Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau, October 2015. Retrieved September 12 2018. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/f_homstu.pdf.