View Full Version : Sensitive questions regarding home study

07-02-2004, 11:04 AM
Ok, we are beginning the researching aspect of adoption and one of my fears is divulging information about my family. On my side, there are several mental illness cases. Will this affect whether or not we can adopt? Also, and this is something I hesitate to talk about, but my doctor put me on an antidepressant after Lauren was born. Will this be an issue?

mommy to Lauren 12/5/03

07-02-2004, 11:16 AM
Lana - You must have just posted this as I opened the forum! I can't answer your questions. I am adopted, but never been through the process myself, so I can't answer. I do know that my parents had a family history of mental illness in their families and it didn't stop them from adopting both my brother and I, but obviously, that was many years ago! I just wanted to say that I hope none of that affects your ability to adopt. If you are a loving, secure family who can afford to raise a child, financially and emotionally, then that's what should matter. I also think, having worked in mental health, that those who are not severly impaired and who are actively receiving and participating in treatment (ie - taking meds if you need them, etc), then you should still be considered. There are many other things to look at when determining if a family is a good one. But again, that's a layperson's viewpoint. Good luck to you!

07-02-2004, 11:22 AM
I would not keep anything a secret from your social worker but mental illness in your family will not prevent you from adopting. The social worker might make a note of it but it probably won't even be written in your home study. Your home study has mostly your relationships with your family and how you grew up. To be honest, if we really checked out all our family members, there is probably some mental illness in everyone's family somewhere. I have been thru 2 homestudies and the things that I obsessed about were not a big deal. They want to make sure you understand adoption and the issues surrounding that and make sure you are ready for a family. They really don't judge. Homestudy agencies provide you with a wealth of information to read and digest. They are advocating for the child but they do want to help you in quest for a family.

07-02-2004, 11:28 AM
Dear Lana:
Our home study went very well and we had to divulge that I was on an antidepressant but it didn't discourage our Social worker because when you get your physical, if you decide to divulge that information, the doctor can write that it well compensates you and there are no problems. The way questions were posed to us, we could choose how to word our answers. We were not specifically asked if there was a history of mental illness in our family. We were asked about illness in general. Your recommendation letters will play a good part in your Social Workers assessment of you. Our letters made it very clear that our friends did not hesitate to recommend us as parents and they pointed out our strong points.
Good luck with yours!!!

07-02-2004, 11:35 AM
Thanks! That makes me feel much better! I do not consider the fact that I am on an antidepressant to be a liability at all. But, I know that depression can still be a somewhat taboo and misunderstood issue.

Maybe I'll tell my husband that the physical requires a body like the cover of Men's Health! That out to get him to the gym!

mommy to Lauren 12/5/03

07-02-2004, 12:23 PM

This is all based on just our experience--I'm totally a layperson on this.

We were only asked about the health of immediate relatives--mother, father and siblings. None of those people have mental illness for us so the topic didn't come up. It is my general impression that if it had, the social worker's only concern would be how it would effect the child. So I would have expected questions about the type of mental illness (any reason to be concerned about violence, etc) and how we would deal with it in the context of the child (for example, child not allowed to see person with violent tendancies or would always be supervised with person if they weren't reliable due to the illness).

As far as one of the prospective parents being on an antidepressant, I would think it would be okay. Our agency emphasized that they fully supported adoption for people who had had therapy, etc. I would think the social worker might want something from your doctor indicating that the medication (if you are still on it) fully treats you and that your condition will not impair your ability to parent.

This might be a topic you raise in interviewing agencies. I think you should be able to find an agency that supports your desire to adopt and doesn't see these issues as a barrier.

07-02-2004, 01:22 PM

Like everyone has said, just be honest! Don't bother going into all your family skeleton closets unless they ask! My mom is crazy as a loon ;) but I had 2 amazing sisters who pretty much raised me so rather than focusing on my mom's craziness, I focused on their love and support for me as a child and their parenting skills as models for me as adults.

I was on anti-depressants for a short time after a miscarriage. I mentioned it to my social worker and she had no concerns at all. We're all human and many of us have gone through a lot to get to be parents!

Some countries might require additional info if you are *currently* taking medication or seeing a therapist but it totally depends on the agency, program, country, etc.

Don't let it hold you back!