The process of adoption in Oklahoma can seem complex at first – there are many steps that you’ll need to complete during the process. One of the most important steps is the home study, a comprehensive interview that assesses your home life and family structure. A home study can seem intimidating at first, especially if you’ve never been through one before. However, with some simple tips and preparation you’ll get through your home study with ease.
What Is a Home Study?
In basic terms, a home study is an interview with a qualified social worker that helps an adoption agency determine crucial facts about your family and home life. A home study gives the agency and potential birth parents a full picture of what your family is like and whether you would make suitable adoptive parents.
Every adoption agency has their own specific criteria for their home study, but they all contain some common elements. For instance, most home studies will require:
- Several documents from you and your spouse or partner that detail your relationship, home life, and reasons for seeking adoption.
- References or interviews from people who know you well, such as family members, close friends, or spiritual or community leaders.
- A visit to your home from a social worker.
- Full criminal background checks for your family.
- Other important records and documentation, such as your financial records and marriage license.
Again, it’s important to note that every adoption agency has their own specific criteria for their home study. It’s best to be as prepared as possible when you enter into the adoption process so the home study doesn’t take any longer than necessary.
How Can I Prepare for a Home Study?
Because no two home studies are the same, there’s no set guide for how to prepare for one. However, there are some general things you can do to speed the process along and make it easier and less stressful for everyone involved.
First, gather the necessary documentation that the home study requires so you can submit it as soon as possible. This includes filing for your criminal background checks and making or requesting copies of your birth certificates and marriage license. Most home study packets will lay out in thorough detail the documentation you’ll need, so do your best to get everything together ahead of time.
Second, contact people whom you would like to act as a reference for your application. You should never give your social worker a reference without checking with that person first, both because it’s not very courteous and because you don’t know if they’d be willing to say good things about you. In some cases, such as with your family members or your pastor, the home study will require talking to those people. However, other references, such as family friends or coworkers, are up to you to provide.
Next, make sure to show the social worker your home as it actually is. Many people going through the home study process clean their houses from top to bottom in preparation for their home inspection, but in some cases this can actually be a bad idea. You don’t want to present your house as too austere or unwelcoming, since that could signal an environment that a child wouldn’t be comfortable in. Do your best to show your home and your family as it actually is, not an idealized version.
Finally, remember to be patient with the process. The home study is often the longest and most involved step in the adoption process, with a typical home study taking several months at best. Don’t try to rush this step or put pressure on anyone to get things done faster – this can make you look impatient or bad-tempered. Instead, try to be prepared and think ahead for what you’ll need to do so you don’t waste any unnecessary time.
If you’re considering an adoption in Oklahoma, contact us today at Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoptions. As Oklahoma’s oldest and most experienced adoption agency, we know the adoption process well and can help you navigate it with knowledge and care. Call 405-949-4200 to schedule an appointment and begin the adoption process, or visit our Facebook or Twitter pages for more helpful advice and tips.