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Preparing to adopt? What to expect from the home study

If you are hoping to welcome a child or infant into your home through adoption, you should know that there are numerous steps to the process. 

For instance, most prospective adoptive parents in Pennsylvania will undergo a home study prior to adoption. The home study is the process through which a child agent or licensed social worker inspects a home to ensure it is safe and clean. Below are some tips to help you prepare for an upcoming home study.

Top priorities

The purpose of a home study is to determine whether you and your home are ready for adoption. When it comes to questions they might ask you, be prepared to openly and honestly discuss:

  • Why you want to adopt
  • How what your feelings are about adoption
  • What your marriage is like (if you are married)
  • Personal details about any and all adults living in the home
  • Your approach to problem solving and dealing with pressure
  • Your family and support system

When it comes to your home, don't worry about it being perfect or lavishly decorated. Instead, be sure it is safe and clean. This can mean having:

  • Age-appropriate safety measures in place (baby proofing)
  • Functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Locks on entrances to the home and windows
  • A separate sleeping space for the child
  • No evidence of accessible firearms, drugs or other dangerous items

Less important details

Again, your home does not need to be perfect to adopt. During home visits, the focus is on learning more about you and the environment into which you would bring a child. As such, you don't need to worry so much about having spotless carpets, a finished nursery or matching furniture.

Spending too much time focusing on less important details that likely will not be a factor in to your evaluation can just cause more stress for you. As such, try to prioritize the most important elements and think about questions you might have yourself. If you do have concerns about the home study, an attorney can help you address potential red flags.

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