Adoption Home Study Frequently Asked Questions

You probably have a lot of questions about the Texas home study process. Most hopeful parents do! Below are 10 of the most frequently asked adoption home study questions, and our answers.

If you have any other home study questions, you can contact us here. Or, if you’re ready to get started with your home study application, you can begin here.

1. What is a home study?

The home study is where an adoption professional works with the hopeful adoptive family to assess how emotionally and practically prepared they are for adoption, and to discuss ways to continue to prepare. This is usually done in a few steps:

  • Submitting a series of documents to assist with things like background checks and clearances
  • An in-home visit that includes interviews with the home study professional.
  • Several post-placement visits in the home so the home study professional can ensure everyone is adjusting well before the adoption is finalized.

2. Is a home study required for a private adoption?

A home study, completed with a properly licensed home study professional like Adoption Answers, is required for all adoptions. When you legally finalize your adoption in court, the judge will review your home study records. Again, that legal finalization is a step that all adoptions complete.

However, there are different types of home studies for different types of adoptions. There are varying requirements to be met whether you’re pursuing private, foster, or international adoption, as children may have different needs you’ll need to consider. Make sure your home study professional is accredited for your type of adoption before you begin.

3. What does a home study involve?
Once you have decided the path for your adoption, a home study will need to be completed. If you decide to utilize our services, then we can help you start the process for the home study. Typically, one home visit is required. Texas home studies must meet the following home study requirements:

Your home study worker will also typically ask home study questions about:

  • Your motivation for adoption.
  • Your immediate family relationships.
  • Your feelings about your childhoods and parents. 
  • Your attitude about religion and bringing your child up in a particular faith, if applicable.  Also, the health protection you plan to give a child if your religious beliefs prohibit certain medical treatments.
  • Your feelings, values, and practices in regard to child care and discipline.
  • Your sensitivity to and feelings about children who have been subject to abuse and/or separation from and loss of their biological parents.
  • Your sensitivity to and feelings about birth families, including your expectations about contact with the birth family.
  • Your extended family’s attitude regarding adoption.  How much involvement will your extended family have with the adopted child?
  • Your expectations in relation to the child’s needs and abilities. Your expectations for the immediate and extended future.
  • Any limits of your ability to provide a nurturing environment for the child.  What special needs of the child, background of the child, and characteristics of the child can you not accept?
  • Your experiences with infertility, if applicable (in order to assess if you have unresolved feelings about infertility and to assess if you can accept and parent a non-biological child).

This may all look a little overwhelming at first, but remember three things:

  1. Home studies are there to protect children, they’re not unnecessary bureaucracy.
  2. We want you to succeed, so we’ll always be here if you have questions!
  3. Don’t underestimate the time commitment this step takes. However, if you start gathering your home study documentation as early as possible and stay on top of submitting everything on time, you can get through it in less than a month.

4. What’s the in-home tour like?

Many prospective adoptive parents imagine home tours that involve adoption professionals checking for specks of dust, peeking inside your drawers and other over-the-top scariness. But the tour will just make sure that you have a ready home that can safely accommodate a new child, that you’ve started thinking through basic child home safety practices and other common-sense parenting steps. If you can show that your home and neighborhood is a positive, safe and healthy environment for a child, you’ll be fine.

5. How long does a home study take?
We pride ourselves on our fast service. Normally, we will have a rough draft of the home study to you and/or your agency for review two weeks after the home visit. Of course, this depends on you completing your paperwork in a timely manner. The home study can easily be completed in less than a month as long as you complete the paperwork needed as quickly as possible.

6. How much does a home study cost?

This will depend on the type of adoption you’re completing, where you live and a few other factors. But our home study fees usually range from $775 to $1,275. You can review a detailed breakdown of our costs, and see what type of home study you might need and what it would cost through Adoption Answers here.

7. When is payment due? What is your refund policy? Do you accept credit cards?
The non-refundable application fee is due with the application. The home study fee is due by the time of the home visit. Refunds of the home study fee will be considered on an individual basis and based on where the home study is in the process. We accept MasterCard and Visa.

8. Should I reveal to my social worker any criminal history or substance abuse history?
Yes! This information will be revealed and it is best to deal with it in an upfront and honest manner. Depending upon the nature of the offense or the substance abuse history, it is very likely that you will still be able to adopt. The criminal offense or the substance abuse history must be addressed in the home study process.

9. What if I only need an update or post-placement visit?

No problem. We can complete a number of services outside of the standard full home study, such as home safety visits, stepparent home studies, updates to an existing home study (regardless of whether or not we were initially involved) and more. You can review our fees for some of those services here, but for more detailed information please reach out for a personalized consultation.

10. How long is a home study valid?

A current home study in Texas will remain valid for 1 year before it’ll need to be renewed, if you haven’t been placed with a child in that time. We recommend starting annual updates around the 10-month mark to avoid becoming “inactive” due to an expired home study.

Don’t forget to call us any time there is a major life change like a new job, residence or an addition to the household so we can update your home study for you. Learn more what goes into updating your home study here.

If you have any additional questions about the home study process, please call us at 1-800-659-7541. Or, if you’re ready to begin the home study process, you can apply online here.