The Importance of the Adoptive Family Screening Process
There are many details to consider when choosing an adoption agency. As you begin the adoption journey, you will want to find professionals who are licensed, trustworthy, and committed to you at every step of the way. You want to choose an agency that is also fully committed to finding the best possible home for your child. How will you know that your child will be placed in a safe, loving, and supportive family? Which adoption agency can ensure the stability and security for your child?
The safety, security, and happiness of your child are very important to us. That is why, at Adoptions With Love, we prescreen and assess all of our adoptive families through a comprehensive series of home visits, interviews, background checks, medical checks, income evaluations, and more. This thorough screening process is known as a ‘home study,’ and is a crucial component of the adoption process.
In most states today, only a licensed adoption agency or licensed adoption social worker can complete a home study. Before you select an adoption agency, ask their staff about the typical screening process for adoptive families. Do they have professionals trained to conduct home studies? If so, how long is the home study process? What are the requirements for that process?
If you choose to make an adoption plan with Adoptions With Love, we want you to rest assured that your baby will be supported and cherished in his or her adoptive home. To ensure that we match your child with the best adoptive family, we conduct a two-to-three-month long home study. Over these initial months, we get to know each prospective family to confirm they are emotionally, physically, and financially prepared to raise a child. During the initial stages of our home study process, we:
- Conduct a series of criminal background checks including an FBI check, a sex offender registry search, a review of state criminal records, and a search of child abuse/neglect reports.
- Evaluate the waiting family’s medical history to ensure that family members are all in good health and fit to raise a child to adulthood.
- Confirm a family’s financial stability by carefully reviewing their income statements and tax return forms. Adoption is a lifelong commitment, and it is important to ensure that they are financially prepared to provide for a child for at least 18 years.
- Require personal letters of reference to gain an outside perspective on the family and understand how others believe they will succeed as parents.
After this initial review, a trained social worker at Adoptions With Love schedules a series of personal interviews in the office and visits to the home of a prospective family. Through this ‘home study,’ we are able to see each family in their natural environment, and judge how prepared they are to bring a child into their lives. We make certain that their home is a safe and warm environment in which to raise a child. During these visits, we check the home to make sure it meets safety standards, and also review the neighborhood to assess the community, its security, and the educational opportunities for a child in the area.
The extensive interviews allow us to get to know each potential adoptive family. In these interviews, a licensed agency social worker meets with the prospective parents, with the family as a whole, and with each family member one-on-one. These meetings tell us a great deal about the family and their reasons behind adopting. We gain a sense of the stability of relationships within their home, the family’s parenting philosophies and experience, and their plans once they do become parents. We also aim to get a sense of their motivation to adopt a child, as well as their feelings surrounding openness in adoption.
As part of the home study process, each prospective family is required to attend a pre-adoptive group at the agency. This group is facilitated by a licensed social worker. In this group the families discuss all aspects of adoption including meeting their child’s biological parents, maintaining a relationship over the years, talking to their child about adoption as well as a multitude of adoption-related topics. If a family has not raised a child from infancy, they are required to attend a baby care class. This class is taught by a nurse. They are taught everything from changing diapers to safety issues.
The in-home visits do not end once the adoption takes place. Over the six months following the adoption, Adoptions With Love conducts regular post-placement visits to ensure that a child and family are all comfortable with their new situation.
As you consider potential adoption agencies, ask them about their relationships with their adoptive families. How well do they know each waiting family? How much time have they spent with the family? Do they speak on a regular basis? It is very important to find an adoption agency that builds and maintains relationships with each and every one of their adoptive families.
As a licensed, not-for-profit adoption agency, Adoptions With Love takes great time in getting to know each prospective family over a several-month period. By doing so, we can ensure that each baby is matched with a family who can meet his or her needs in a loving, healthy, and safe environment. If you would like, you can Meet our Families, too!
To learn more about our home study process, or to get started on an adoption plan for your baby, call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731. If you are still researching adoption agencies, download our free guide below to learn what you will need to consider throughout the process.