How to Prepare for a Home Study

Hopeful adoptive parents are often anxious about the home study. The process can feel a bit intrusive, but remember that it’s all done for the important purpose of protecting children and making sure they’re placed into safe and loving homes.

Here are a few tips for how to prepare for a home study, so you’ll hopefully feel more at ease:

Start Gathering Documents Early

One of the most important adoption home study tips we can offer is to start collecting the required documentation now. This is the first step, and it often takes longer than people anticipate. Families can become stuck at this stage and unable to move forward until it’s completed.

Another tip: Some of those documents include things like references letters and notes from doctors, so it’s a good idea to ask people to start on those sooner rather than later. That way, you won’t be waiting on anyone to finish while you continue preparing for home study step one!

Even if you’re not quite ready to submit a home study application, starting a file and copying all the required pieces of information in advance will save you a headache! Review our document checklist here, or contact a home study professional if you have questions about what you’ll need to submit.

Prepare Your Home

The home visit is something that families are often unnecessarily afraid of and overly preoccupied with. So what do social workers look for in home visits? They’re not going to be judging how carefully-organized your shoes are. Your adoption professional hopes to see a home and neighborhood that can safely accommodate a growing child, and an excited family capable of providing that child with the love and care that he or she needs.

Your home should be reasonably clean and tidy, but we’re primarily focused on your family’s ability to provide a safe, stable, healthy and loving environment for a child. Cleaning the house with a toothbrush isn’t the secret of how to pass a home study for adoption, nor do you necessarily need to have a nursery completely ready to go.

However, you should be able to show us that you’re implementing some basic home safety features before your child arrives, like any new parent. Use this home visit checklist to help you get started with the things parents usually take care of before a child’s arrival. It’s ok if it’s not all done — your social worker mostly wants to see that you’re taking parental precautions, and she may offer some tips.

Reflect Before the Interview

Don’t forget to prepare for the interviews that take place during the home visit by reflecting on how you might answer some common questions, and remember that all household members will need to be present. If you have children that are going to be interviewed, it might be helpful to ask them some of these questions so they can practice talking about how they feel, too.

We understand that these questions can sometimes feel a little invasive, and that can be frustrating, but we need to know how you’re feeling about a range of topics, including your:

  • Childhood
  • Marriage
  • Family relations
  • Daily life
  • Infertility, if applicable
  • Feelings about adoption
  • Parenting styles
  • Plans for the adopted child

Talking honestly with your social worker about these subjects is important. We’ll try to make these interviews as relaxed as possible.

What do they look for in a home study interview? We’re not looking for a “perfect” family. We’re looking for families who love and support one another, have positive views about adoption, have worked together when faced with emotional difficulties, and other healthy qualities.

Keep Your Home Study Updated

Right now, you’re understandably focused on learning how to prepare for a home study, but don’t forget to give us a call any time something major occurs in your life, like a new job, house, or family member, because we’ll need to update your home study for you.

Texas home studies also expire annually, so if you haven’t been placed with a child yet, contact us around the ten-month mark and we’ll do a one-year update prior to its expiration. If you wait until it expires, you’ll risk going “inactive” and prolonging your adoption wait.

That’s why we always recommend staying on top of your updates and checking in periodically to make sure that everything is still current.

Need more tips about how to prepare for a home study for adoption? Contact us at 1 (800) 659-7541. Ready to begin your Texas home study process? Submit your application online.