All prospective adoptive parents are required to complete a “home study” before they can be approved to adopt in Massachusetts. An adoption home study is a two- to three-month long process that allows your adoption agency to better get to know you, your family, and your home. It is also a great opportunity for you to get to know your counselor and ask questions about the adoption process.
A home study can only be carried out by a social worker that is licensed in Massachusetts, such as the ones at Adoptions With Love. If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, we will first meet you in our Massachusetts office. We will walk you through the initial adoption requirements, and then schedule a series of interviews and visits to your home. During these planned visits, we will become acquainted with your family members, your household, and your community.
After a series of interviews, planned visits, and background checks, we will determine if you meet all the Massachusetts adoption requirements, and if you can provide a safe, stable, and loving home for a child.
While this may sound intimidating, the goal of an adoption home study is to educate you about parenting through adoption, the adoption process, and to ensure you are ready to provide that child with the best possible home. We will educate you on adoption, parenthood, and what to expect upon welcoming your baby home.
In this blog, we provide ten tips on how to get ready for your family’s adoption home study.
- Be prepared to complete any necessary paperwork. Gather all the required documents beforehand if you can. Your adoption agency will have a list of required documents you will need to submit as part of the application process. These documents might include letters of recommendation, birth certificates, family medical histories, financial documents, and more. Ask your adoption counselor which documents you can prepare ahead of time, to help move the process along.
- Ensure your home meets the safety regulations required to adopt a baby. Your adoption counselor is there to ensure you can provide a safe home for your child. This means having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level, an accessible fire extinguisher, and adequate space for the child to stay and sleep. Note that you do not have to have a nursery set up at the time of your home visit, you simply need to show that there will be space once the baby arrives.
- Know that your home does not need to be “perfect.” At Adoptions With Love, we often hear from waiting families who are nervous about the home visits. We know that no one is perfect, and we want you to know that your home does not have to be, either. As a hopeful family, know that your adoption counselor is not there to see if you have the best possible home in the world. Rather, she is there to make sure everything is safe, stable, and ready to bring in a child.
- You do not have to be wealthy to adopt. One part of the adoption home study will evaluate your family’s financial stability, it is also important to know that you do not need to be rich to adopt a baby. You just need to be financially, emotionally, and physically able to meet your child’s basic needs.
- Think about your parenting philosophies. Before the home study visits begin, it is important to think about the type of parent you hope to be, and how you plan to parent your child. If you have a spouse, start having these conversations now. Ask one another about your beliefs. Think about what challenges you might encounter as a parent, and how you hope to handle them. As part of your adoption home study, we will talk about your parenting philosophies, your parenting style, and your hopes for raising your child.
- Think about your motivation to adopt. Why do you want to grow your family through adoption? Why do you want to become a parent? During your home study, your adoption counselor will ask about your reasons for wanting to adopt. If you have experienced infertility, your social worker will explore with you what you have been through and why you have chosen adoption to build your family. She will also ask about your feelings regarding adopting a child.
- Consider your long-term adoption plan – What kind of relationship do you hope to have with your child’s birth parents? Before your adoption home study, try to think into the future. Think about your hopes for the adoption overall. Will your child have a relationship with his or her birth parents? Are you in touch with the birth mother, to ask any questions about your child’s medical or family history? Do you hope to send updates of your child to the birth family from time-to-time? At Adoptions With Love all adoptive parents agree to at least a semi-open adoption (which involves sending letters and pictures).
- If you have other children, expect that they will also be involved in the adoption home study. In Massachusetts, the home study process includes you (the adoptive parents) as well as any household member. If you have other children, we will take some time to get to know them and to get a sense of the family compatibility and relationships in your home.
- Come up with a list of your own questions. Not only does the adoption home study allow us to get to know you, it also provides a great opportunity for you to get to know us. During the home visits and interview stages, we encourage you to ask us questions about the adoption process.
- Participate in pre-adoption group sessions. As part of the home study process at Adoptions With Love, all prospective adoptive parents are required to participate in a two-session pre-adoptive group. In this group we explore why expectant/birth parents choose adoption, as well as explaining adoption to your child and friends and family. If you have not parented a child from birth, you will also be required to attend a baby care class taught by a nurse.
At Adoptions With Love, we want you to succeed in growing your family through adoption. We hope to find the best possible home for each child, and also want to ensure that you find the best possible fit for your family. If you are a hopeful Massachusetts parent and ready to start the adoption process, know that we are here for you. Contact us at 617-964-4357 to learn more.
If you’d like to learn more about the Massachusetts adoption process, please download our free guide below!