Adoption Answer Book
Building a family is filled with many questions, especially when you choose to build yours through adoption. Finding answers that really work for you is key to finding the success you have been looking for. The Adoption Answer Book explores all the options available to you and gives you the confidence to make it happen.
It addresses all your concerns when wanting to build a family using adoption and all types of adoptions are covered. Learn everything you need to know about:
- Finding the right agency
- Going international
- Seeking second-parent adoption
- Overcoming challenges faced by same-sex couples
- Following a private adoption path
- Raising an adopted child
With sample letters of inquiry, sample agreements and extensive resources including support organizations, adoption agencies, attorneys, relevant laws and international adoption contracts, The Adoption Answer Book is your complete guide to a starting your family.
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June 30, 2007
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Excerpt from Adoption Answer Book by Brette McWhorter Sember
What to Expect when Engaging in a Home Study
Excerpted from The Adoption Answer Book by Brette McWhorter Sember, Attorney at Law (c) 2007
A home study is an evaluation and investigation of prospective parents' histories, backgrounds, home, finances, lifestyle, and parenting abilities. Home studies are required in almost all adoptions.
A home study is done by a licensed social worker. If you work with an agency, the agency may have a list of social workers it works with or may have social workers who are employed by the agency. If you are doing an independent adoption, you will need to find a social worker yourself who can do a home study. Make sure that the social worker you use is licensed in your state.
The home study is probably the most feared hurdle in the adoption process by many prospective parents. In reality, it is not nearly as terrifying as it may sound. A social worker will come to your home, meet you and your spouse (if you have one), and ask you questions about your background. These questions can cover information such as:
* where you were born;
* your family;
* your finances;
* your education;
* your health;
* your job history;
* any previous marriages;
* any previous addresses;
* any arrests or convictions; and,
* other children you have.
The social worker will also ask questions about your lifestyle and personal life. These questions can cover topics including:
? your employment schedule;
? friends and family you spend time with;
? organizations you belong to;
? religious beliefs;
? hobbies and interests;
? smoking, drinking, and drug use;
? medical conditions;
? infertility and any treatments you have undergone or are undergoing;
? why you want to adopt;
? how you plan to make room in your life for a child;
? where the child will sleep;
? child care plans;
? how you will discipline a child; and,
? how you will adjust your finances to include a child.
There is no right answer to any of these questions. The most important thing you can do is be honest. Dishonesty is the biggest mistake you can make because it will usually be discovered and then the social worker and agency will have to wonder why you lied or what else you were not honest about.
In general, the purpose of the questions is to find out if you have a stable lifestyle, if you would be able to raise a child, if you have a support network in place (i.e., family and friends), if you are financially stable and can support a child, if your home is conducive to a child, and if you can emotionally handle being a parent. No parent is perfect, so no one is going to expect you to present a perfect picture of yourself. You can prepare yourself for these questions by simply reading over the list of questions and thinking about what you might say. It is a mistake to prepare a script for yourself--to recite answers you have planned and memorized--but thinking through the questions in advance and coming up with some general ideas about how you will respond can make you feel more comfortable.
The social worker will want to see your home and will be particularly interested in where the child will sleep. Your home does not have to be spotless and it does not have to be childproof. However, it is a good idea to show that you understand the basics of childproofing and explain how you will make the home safe for a child. You may need to meet with the social worker more than once to cover all the information that is needed. Do not become overwhelmed by this process. Some prospective parents spend weeks repainting the house and decorating a nursery. Doing so may make you seem a little overanxious, but it is certainly nothing the social worker has not seen before. Your home should simply be relatively clean and neat. This is not a contest to decide who would be the best parent. The home study is simply a way of making sure you are a decent person who is able to care for a child. The standards are really not as high as you might worry.