View Full Version : HOME STUDY INFO

01-25-2004, 03:16 PM
Let's share experience, cost, if you liked your agency you hired to do this etc...
Most important questions asked, any suprises...and any advice to those who are starting the process...

I have yet to have my homestudy conducted. due to it being good for one year without having to pay for an "update" we are waiting till June to have ours done hopeing to travel in April of next year!!!

But I already have some advice...
I contacted two agencies. One was an agency NathansonsadoptionService (great) and another that was a women who does work with Christian Ministires. So many people hire and pick their SW based on how much it cost. Actually the one I liked best is slightly cheaper to use.

But the other gal to me was so not right for me. I say Interview who you hire first!!!! She per a conversation told me she doesn't approve two children, she thinks that it is best for folks to bring home one only. I don't mind her opinion BUT I do mind someone with that opinion when it will totally effect us, in other words her not approving two means we can't get two no matter what our resources are. That is playing "god" to much to me...and I feel like I'm a big girl and know what I want and think what I can handle...

Here is another site (I don't know them) but wanted to share their questions that they ask...
AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

01-26-2004, 01:09 PM
Everyone says before you do your homestudy - "Don't worry, it's no big deal." I could not possible believe that's true, and now I'm on the other end, saying "Don't worry, it's no big deal."

Now, I loved our social worker. He used to work for the county, taking children out of dangerous situations, so he loved now going into homes where people were preparing madly for children who woulldn't be arriving for at least a year and were worrying about every last detail.

For me, the hardest, and longest part, was the history portion (I have crazy family). My husband took 10 minutes, I took nearly and hour (and he still managed to combine two stepmothers into one! I asked my husband if we should have it changed and he said that it was probably easier for me to remember his story than it was for him to remember mine! LOL). Anyway, what he was concerned with was that I recognized the craziness, and would take steps to protect our child from it.

We filled out a HUGE questionnaire ahead of time and I highly recommend asking if your social worker does this. It allows them to narrow in on the areas they really need to address and keeps you from having to spend valuable time reciting the closest hospital, distance to the fire hydrant, and number of smoke dectectors!

01-26-2004, 03:44 PM
We used the Barker Foundation for our homestudy. They're a well-established agency--in fact the oldest in DC. They require two pre-adoptive meetings with a group of people considering adoption. These were led by two social workers. We had reading assignments and then discussed them with the group. Also the social workers played video tapes related to adoption and we discussed those.

Then Barker does six meetings with a social worker. Two of those are one on one for each spouse. (For singles there's one less meeting.) The first ones were at Barker's office. We talked about background, parenting and adoption. We are adopting from China so we also talked about the importance of culture and the difficulties of transracial adoption. The hardest part was getting our family histories straight. (They are similar and confusing--military brats.) At the second to last meeting she said that we would be good parents, which was a big relief as I took it to mean we would be approved.

The last visit was to our house. Despite the previous encouraging words, I was very nervous and cleaned like a maniac--I actually insisted on painting the dining room the weekend before she came. She came in the morning so I offered coffee, juice, cranberry bread and fruit. She drank one small cup of coffee, gave the house a quick look-over and left after about 1/2 hour.

We chose the Barker Foundation before we decided on China. They network with Wide Horizons for Children for their China program so that's who our China agency is. I don't think this is necessarily the usual order of decision making, but it has worked for us.

We felt comfortable with the Barker Foundation because they conveyed how important it is to them that everything be done in the most correct and ethical way possible. They also seemed, and have proven, to be very organized and on top of things. These two things are very important to us. This route was a little more expensive than some other options, but Barker also includes more services in the way of dossier preparation than some of the less expensive options. We've been really pleased with our choice.

01-30-2004, 12:41 PM
Catherine, we're a WHFC family too!

Neve, We live in a state where our agency has an office, so our assigned social worker with the agency also did our homestudy. We did a total of 4 meetings with our social worker: one together at her office, one each separately at her office, then the last one together at our home. Then we had a group session that was two evenings (we could have done one full day rather than the two, but the timing worked better for us...plus it gave us a chance to discuss the topics and ideas between the sessions and not be overloaded with info).

Like everyone says - relax, it is much easier than you anticipate it to be...easier said than done, though - I was nervous, especially for the home visit. Everything went really well, though! Actually when it was all completed, my husband and I looked at each other and said "that's it?" I don't know why, but we thought it would be much more of a challenge. The hardest part was the writing of the autobiographies, but is was also very interesting from a self-discovery standpoint. To actually put words to paper about feelings and thoughts I've had forever was a great experience.

Best Wishes!

01-30-2004, 01:21 PM
Okay with Korea you actually don't have a choice of homestudy agencies, (unless you are working with a waiting child) once you pick your agency (based on the state you live in) For example for NC the two biggest agencies to use for Korean adoptions are ASIA and WACAP. If you use ASIA then Lutheran Family Services is your homestudy agency (or Family Services if you are in the Western Part of the state), if you use WACAP that Catholic Social Services. Korea is sort of unique in that way so there isn't anyone to interview or questions to ask unless you really aren't sure that which placement agency you want to use. Personally in the end it didn't matter to us because we would have probably ended up with the same homestudy agency anyway and our social worker is wonderful.

Unlike many other states homestudies in NC are valid for 18 months for international adoptions (probably are for domestic ones also but I just know for sure with IA)

In the end homestudies are so state dependent in terms of requirements, I think one of the biggest things to remember is not to freak out if you read about someone who lives in a different state from you and is adopting from another country (or doing a domestic adoption when you are adopting internationally) needing or doing something different from you. For example some states require AIDS/HIV testing of the parents others don't. Some countries require x number of meetings so the social worker will meet on different occasions with each parent. Some require that certain adoption classes be taken before a homestudy is written. The list goes on and on. So when you are reading the web, don't assume that you should be doing something or have a certain piece of paper or need to have something special in your home just because someone else does

Kimberly H
01-30-2004, 01:39 PM
Neve, a friend at work recommended her agency and social worker and we ended up using both of them. Our agency is out of state so we had to choose a homestudy agency/sw of our own.

Other people get touchy-feely and education, we got exactly what we asked for - a great homestudy for the INS/China and a baby! The lady we used is very short and opinionated - well-connected in the state and national Republican party and that's not our style at all. It's just funny that I'd send a 1 page email with a question and I'd get back one sentence. This didn't bother me but since then I've spoken with another family who couldn't stand her. We'll never be best friends but she wrote a great homestudy and we'd use her again. She was fast too!

Like everyone has said - don't sweat the home visit! I'm no housekeeper and was frantic. I threw on some nasty clothes to pick up the snacks from Atlanta Bread Company and drop the dogs off at my mother-in-law's house while DH put Carpet Fresh on the master bedroom carpet and was supposed to take a shower. I get back with DS#1 and there are the social workers! YIKES! No vacuuming had been done, I'm covered with dog hair and our house is still looking MIGHTY lived-in. I could've died.

Our first meeting was at a picnic she throws every year for prospective and adoptive parents, then we stayed the night (they're 3 hours away) and the second meeting was in the hotel lobby. The 3rd was our home visit and the 4th was when I picked up my homestudy.

If we decide to adopt again, our 12-month postplacement report will be our home visit for #2 also.