A home study is a comprehensive study of the prospective adoptive couple to determine their ability to adopt a child. In a direct placement adoption, this assessment must be done by a licensed adoption agency. In a relative adoption or a step-parent adoption, this assessment may be completed by the court.
The elements of the preplacement assessment are detailed in the adoption statute and administrative rules. The licensed adoption agency or the court must review the prospective adoptive parents’ suitability to adopt, including review of such things as their home, health, employment, finances, and beliefs about discipline and parenting. It will also include a criminal background check and history of domestic violence and child abuse. They ask about family and social supports, religion and the like. Fingerprints are done and a there is a check of criminal records and past child protective proceedings reports. Certain offenses prohibit the placement of a child with a prospective adoptive parent. Please ask if there are concerns regarding this.
Even if there is an element in your past about which you are not proud, be honest about it and show what has been done to address the situation.
A home study is good for one year and may be updated annually after the initial study is done.