Written by Angela Jackson, Director of Adoption Operations and Quality Assurance

In last week’s blog, we looked briefly at the elements of the home study process. This week we will answer some frequently asked questions regarding a home study.

1) How long does a home study take?
A home study takes approximately 3 months from the time a social worker is assigned if all documents have been completed and received. Prior to the social worker assignment, there are documents that the family must submit with each family being different in regards to how long it takes to complete all their documentation. A home study cannot be finalized until all documents and especially clearances have been received.

2) How much does a home study cost?
The cost of the home study depends on what type of adoption you are doing and what state you live in. For Carolina Adoption Services the fee for a domestic home study is $1,800 and for an international home study $2,000. In addition to the fee for the home study, there are additional fees, which include a pre-application fee, education fee, fees to request clearances, and a coordination fee if Carolina Adoption Services is not your placing agency.

3) How long is my home study valid?
Home study validity periods vary by the state you live in. In NC, home studies are valid for 18 months, in SC, they are valid for 12 months and in Virginia, they are valid for 3 years from finalization date. If you have not received a placement of a child before the expiration date, a home study update will be required. If you are doing an international adoption, the home study has to be updated every 15 or 18 months depending on whether you are adopting from a non-Convention or Convention country.

4) What might disqualify our family from being approved?
Aside from criminal history/child abuse history or overriding safety concerns that would preclude agencies from approving a family, the social worker will thoroughly assess the family’s readiness and ability to provide a permanent loving home for a child. Agencies are not looking for perfect parents or families but are ensuring that the family has proper motivation, preparation, and ability financially, emotionally and medically to parent a child.

5) If we have children at home already, will they be involved in the home study process?
Yes, your children will be included in the home study in some way depending on their age and ability to communicate. The social worker will want to meet all children and assess their feelings toward adoption if age appropriate, their interests and personalities, and how a new sibling would fit into the current family system. Children’s input is important in the overall assessment of the family. The social worker will want to make sure that all members of the family, including children, will love and welcome another child joining the family system.

Check out next week’s article: The Home Study