Contrary to popular belief, whether you adopt an infant, a young child or a teenager, you will discover that a home study is not a white glove test.
Adopting an infant for just you and your partner, (or you may be single), the agency or organization that is conducting the home study just wants to be sure that everyone involved is in agreement with the adoption.
They want to be assured that it isn’t just one person’s idea and your partner isn’t going along with it. If you have other kids (we did not), you may want to talk with them about how they feel about having an addition to the family.
Before you adopt an infant you will complete the usual home study, which consists of a home visit, background checks, financial and medical checks.
When considering the location and size of the home, they are generally looking to see if it is in a safe neighborhood (no one dealing drugs right outside the front door), and is there enough room for the little one to have a bedroom and room for their toys.
They will take into account the upkeep of the home, in other words, does everything work? Does the heating system work so the house doesn’t get too cold in the winter? Do the toilets work? Does the bathtub work and not leak? Just general maintenance stuff.
What about the cleanliness of the home? It doesn’t mean you have to be Martha Stewart and have a perfectly decorated home. What they are looking for is a clean and wholesome environment in which to raise the child.
Is there moldy stuff all over the shelves in the refrigerator? Is there dog pee or poop all over the place? They just want to make sure it’s a clean environment. Things like old mismatched furniture or really used sofas and stuff don’t matter, as long as they aren’t of danger to a child.
If there’s a huge spring sticking up out of a sofa, that’s a problem. If the sofa is just 20 years old, that’s okay. They just want a decent environment.
One of the things they will probably want to know is whether or not the little one will have their own room and the appropriate furniture, like a crib or toddler bed. They will want to know if there is an area in the home where the child can play safely and have their toys.
Also, they will look for dangerous things like electrical outlets without plates on them, or electrical items with burned cords, or rooms without smoke detectors.
They will probably discuss schools in the area with you, but when you are adopting a baby this is not much of an issue, at least not for now.
All in all the home study is pretty easy to pass as long as you keep your home neat and have enough room for a baby. As I said earlier, you don’t have to have some super fashionable or expensive home. You just need a clean home, which is safe for an infant.
You can make some simple changes to prepare for your adopted baby by buying a baby gate for the stairs and those little plugs you stick on outlets so babies cannot stick their fingers in them. You could also get some of those baby latches and put them on your cupboards and stuff. Basically, just baby-proof your home in advance.
Then when you go through the process to adopt a baby, it will show that you are serious about their safety and the agency will be impressed!