You keep hearing that you need a homestudy -- but what is that? You may have also heard it called a pre-placement interview, report, or study. It usually starts with the collection of documentation. There are some differences between types of homestudies. Some countries have specific requirements. Each state has difference requirements. However, most differences come down to things like form and number of visits. For the purposes of this entry, I am going to be somewhat generic.
First and foremost, the homestudy process, while cumbersome, should not be frightening. I say that, but when I had my first homestudy, I followed the social worker through my house with a voice screaming in my head "this woman can tell me I can't have a baby -- this woman can tell me I can't have a baby . . . . . ). Of course, that did not happen.
Know this, homestudies are not pass/fail. Instead they are an opportunity for the social worker to get to know you and your circumstances. At the same time, he or she will be educating you about adoption and helping you to have realistic expectation regarding the process. This is a wonderful time to ask questions.
Sometimes, however, you may have something in your past that you are concerned might adversely impact your ability to adopt. While it might be tempting to hide that issue, by doing so, you could be endangering your adoption. While each country has specific requirements and certain issues might keep you from adopting from certain countries, there are very few things that will keep you from adopting completely. However, dishonesty on your application is one of those things.
If you have concerns, talk to the agency before you start the adoption process. Most agencies will gladly tell you whether a particular issue will keep you from adopting through that agency. If you are told that you cannot adopt, be sure and ask if the prohibition is a country requirement, state requirement, or agency requirement.
For instance, some agencies restrict the number of divorces while other agencies are more lenient based on explanation of circumstances. Some agencies will not place children with single people or people with some heath problems, while others will look to the extended family and contingency plan in case of severe illness. Additionally, you may have a conviction of some type. Many times the age of the conviction is very important as to whether it will impact your ability to adopt. So ask. If you just need to wait a year or so, you can do so.
Most importantly, you do not want a "failed" homestudy. Each agency must list in the homestudy whether a person/couple has ever failed a homestudy. If there is going to be a problem find out before hand so you can change agencies, change countries, or wait.
More on the specific process next time.