We at Utah Adoption Specialists are committed to help prepare couples to become parents and have a family through adoption.  Sometimes, it may seem like this is not fair!  An adoptive couple goes through a great deal of paperwork; forms to complete, documents to gather and releases of information to complete, adoption education to

attend, and several interviews in preparation to getting your home study completed.  Sometimes, an unaware person assumes that

a “home study” simply means someone comes to see your house to make sure it passes for them to be approved to adopt.  While part of the home study is indeed a lengthy home safety checklist, that is only a small part of the home study summary in the end.  Your home study is an in depth look at your family from several different angles to help your adoption professional understand your readiness to become parents and to adopt.  We send reference letters, and ask others about your strengths and weaknesses, your marriage, your interaction with children and other questions, we get a financial report and a copy of your most recent tax statement.  We get medical reports for each of the parents and any children in the home.  We discuss current and past medical history, mental health history, previous marriage history if applicable.  We want to know who you have selected to be guardians for your children if something happened to you and you were unable to fulfill your responsibilities as parents.  We ask about your parenting methods and how you discipline, do you plan to use corporal punishment?  How do you feel about birth parents?  There are lengthy questionnaires to fill out… a home study can be overwhelming!  We will talk with you about adoption and openness and try to educate you and help you understand adoption and help you be prepared to adopt.

When I am working with a new couple, in preparation for what they are about to embark on, I like to make an analogy about adoption and flying on an airplane.  This analogy was told to me by a supervisor early in my adoption career when I worked at an agency.

When you are boarding an airplane, you get on with a certain level of confidence that you have a pilot who has been trained to fly that airplane, and not only that, but that he or she knows how to handle emergency situations.  You trust that that airplane has been thoroughly inspected.  They have checked every rivet and bolt.  They have filled the fuel tanks, they have checked the tires and the landing gear.  If you are observant, you might see a pilot out on the tarmac with the airplane looking at the airplane himself.  Once you are on the airplane, you observe that the flight attendants double check with the people seated on the emergency exit rows to make sure they are capable to do what needs to be done in case of an emergency.  They go over the safety features of the aircraft and remind you to put your own oxygen mask on first should they drop.

A home study summary is like that process for adoption.  Your home study will be sent to a judge when you have been placed with and it is time to finalize.  That document is something that the judge reads to become familiar with a family coming to their court to finalize.  It is like the process that happens before an airplane is cleared for takeoff.  The aircraft is deemed safe and is cleared to take off.  A judge reads a home study and the post placement report to help them have the confidence that this family is safe, this family is stable, these parents are loving, these parents are prepared to teach values and help a child grow to be a happy and productive member of society.  This marriage is strong and healthy, so this child will have a chance to grow up in a happy, stable family.  When a judge finalizes an adoption, they only do so after terminating the rights of the child’s biological parents.  That is a weighty responsibility.  When we send a copy of your home study to your attorney, or your agency we work hard to provide a home study which will be a testament of the strength and health of your family.

We hope that this helps you understand the importance of the home study, and feel better about all of the work that is involved for an adoptive family as they prepare to adopt.  Your caseworker is your advocate and is here to help you get through this journey of adoption successfully.

Adoption is a wonderful and beautiful thing.  It is not for the faint of heart!  We appreciate the opportunity to work with families in preparing them for that wonderful journey!  Bon Voyage!

Koleen Popin, SSW