Prospective adoptive parents wishing to adopt from a foster home or seeking a private adoption must undergo a home study. This process can seem intimidating at first, but understanding how it works can relieve the stress. Knowing more about the home study will enable you to prepare accordingly.
Our Greenville, SC adoption lawyers can walk you through the adoption process from start to finish. We understand South Carolina adoption laws and explain to parents what they can expect.
What Is the Home Study?
Before an adoption can be complete, a knowledgeable and qualified adoption professional must conduct a home study. This step is to ensure that the home into which the child is to be adopted is ready. More specifically, the home study will determine whether the home will be safe, stable, and nurturing to the child.
For many adoptive parents, this step can be a little scary. But once it’s done, and no problems are uncovered, you’re ready to finish the adoption.
As part of the home study, a background and criminal records check will be completed. This is to be expected as the child’s safety must be safeguarded at all times. These checks can take some time, however. It is best to therefore complete them early if possible. A Greenville, SC attorney can explain more about completing the checks and what to know about them.
There are also certain important documents that must be submitted. These include:
- Birth certificates, marriage licenses, and other vital records
- Physician health statement completed in the previous six months
- Financial records, such as pay records and tax returns
- Insurance information (e.g. life and health)
- Information about any pets in the home
- Personal recommendations in support of the adoption
The Interview Process
You can expect multiple interviews as part of the home study. These will be of you and your spouse together, and both separately. During the interview, the adoption professional will want to know more about:
- Your personal background
- Your motivations and beliefs about adoption
- Your home, neighborhood, and community
- How you plan to discuss adoption with your child
- Your plans for childcare
- Your personal strengths and weaknesses
- Details about your parenting skills
- Family relationships and relationships with others
- Any history of child abuse or other criminal activity
- Your personal financial circumstances
- Your religious beliefs
The Home Visit
Your adoption professional will visit the family home at some point. The goal is to ascertain what sort of environment the child would be living in. Some parents worry that their homes must be in perfect condition before the visit.
But mainly, the adoption professional just wants to know more about the domestic arrangement. They understand that homes are not perfect, spotless places. Provided the home is basically safe for a child, that’s all the professional wants to know. Your Greenville, SC adoption attorney can explain more about the home visit and help you prepare.
After the Study
Once the home study is complete, the adoption professional will write a report. This report will detail the professional’s findings and whether you are approved to adopt. You should receive notice of approval or denial within 30 days of the report
The home study is good for one year. If you don’t adopt within that time period, you will need to complete an updated study. You should also expect a post-placement study and contact from a caseworker while the adoption is being finalized. This leads ultimately to the adoption being completed and the matter closed in court.
Helping You With Your Greenville, SC Adoption
Home studies are essential to the adoption process in South Carolina. But they need not be as frightening as many adoptive parents assume. With a proper understanding of adoption requirements, you can be ready for yours.
Are you ready to get started on your adoption? Do you have questions about the home study or other aspects of the adoption? Give Greenville Family Law a call today at (864) 729-3900.