If you’re considering an adoption or you’ve already made the decision to adopt, you might already be aware that you need to complete a home study for adoption in North Carolina. The home study can make any prospective parents nervous at the thought of other people coming into their home to evaluate their family and their life.
In truth, the home study doesn’t need to be scary or stressful. A home study is a routine procedure to ensure that prospective parents can take care of an adopted child. Here’s what you need to know about a home study in a North Carolina adoption:
What is a home study in a North Carolina adoption?
A home study is a process where adoption professionals investigate and report on the appropriateness of an adoption. The investigation looks at all of the circumstances surrounding the prospective placement. The investigator produces a report with a recommendation about whether the proposed adoption is in the child’s best interests.
A home study is a routine procedure in almost every North Carolina adoption case. It allows the court to gather and evaluate information that may be helpful to determine whether or not the court should approve the adoption.
Adoption professionals want to approve your home study
Even though you have to produce a lot of personal information during your home study, remember that the courts see adoptions as good for children. The professionals who conduct your home study want a reason to approve you for adoption. You don’t have to be rich to adopt, and you don’t have to be in perfect health. The courts just want to know that you’re able to provide for the child you want to adopt.
If you have concerns about your home study, our North Carolina adoption attorneys can help you address information that the court might see as problematic.
What does a home study involve?
There are three steps to a home study: documentation, home inspection and interviews. You must document your marital status, income and criminal history. The person who conducts the home study compiles all of the information for the court and makes recommendations to the court.
Paperwork and documentation for an adoption home study
The first step in your home study is gathering the paperwork that documents your personal situation. The paperwork helps verify information that you provide about your family. Some of the documentation that you may be required to provide for your home study includes:
- Marriage and divorce records
- Verification of income including tax returns and pay stubs
- Health information including a recent physical for both parents
- In-depth documentation for any significant health issues
- References that speak to the stability of your family situation and your experience with children
- Background checks for all adults in the household that may include fingerprinting
- Military discharge records
- Veterinary records if you have pets
- Education records
- Birth certificates
Interviews for an adoption home study
The person who conducts the home study interviews each member of the family. They interview both parents together if you’re married, and they also talk to each spouse individually. You can expect them to ask you about many different topics that are all meant to provide insight into your personal life including:
- Daily life routines for each member of the family
- Social life
- Parenting experiences and experience with children
- Information about the home
- Information about the neighborhood
- Reasons for choosing adoption
- Physical health history
- Mental health history
Home inspection for an adoption home study
The person who conducts the home study makes two or three visits to your home. They want to get a feel for how the family functions. They walk through your home. They might also use the time to conduct interviews.
What if there’s unflattering information in my personal history?
If there are facts or characteristics that might stand in the way of your adoption, there are things that you can do to address them. First, our team can help you evaluate the issue to determine if it’s really a problem. Even serious health problems may not stand in the way of your adoption if there’s no impact on your ability to care for a child.
If you have medical problems that might shorten your lifespan, there are still ways that you can show your fitness for adoption. You might need to show that you have estate planning and a guardian willing to step in if something happens to you. You might need to have life insurance and show that you have health insurance to cover your medical costs. Our attorneys can help you respond to information that may be problematic. We can provide you with a realistic evaluation based on our experience so that you can take the right steps to make your home study successful.
How long does an adoption home study take?
An adoption home study takes several months. You can make the process faster by having your paperwork in order. It’s important to work with an experienced North Carolina adoption attorney like Bobby Mills in order to ensure that you gather the exact paperwork that you need in order to meet the requirements.
How much does an adoption home study cost?
The costs of your adoption home study vary. If you’re adopting a child who is in state care, there may not be costs or the costs might be very low. You may also qualify for reimbursement of costs including legal costs. If you’re pursuing a private adoption, your costs may range from about $1,000 to about $3,000. The costs vary based on the agency you choose and the specific circumstances involved in the adoption.
How to prepare for a home study
To prepare for a home study, it’s important to talk to your family about your reasons for wanting to adopt. It’s a good idea for each member of the family to share how they feel about the adoption. Prospective parents should talk about parenting styles, discipline and other parenting issues. Talking about these questions before you talk about them during the home study can help ensure that you’re all on the same page about the adoption and the adoption process.
Preparing for your home study
A home study is a significant part of any adoption. Even though it’s a big process, it doesn’t have to be daunting or stressful. Knowing what to expect and how to address information that may be problematic can help you make your home study process a smooth one. Bobby Mills can help you understand the elements of a home study, along with all the other complexities and processes involved in adopting a child. Call us today or fill out our online contact form to get started!