Once you’ve selected your chosen agency and adoption type, the next step is to create your homestudy. I don’t know if this step is required for international, but our private adoption agency required it and I’m almost 100% sure that CFS required one as well.
The home study does a few things. For one, the adoption counsellor will be able to use the home study to determine eligibility and ensure that you’re a valid adoptive home. For another, you receive excellent information and guidance to get you started in the adoption process. Finally, you create a package that communicates who you are to a prospective birth mother.
So what do I mean by “eligibility” and “a valid adoptive home”. Part of our homestudy, which I would think is common no matter where you live, is to have a criminal record check performed as well as a background check to ensure you’re not listed on any child sex offender registry. Also, during the course of the homestudy the counsellor will actually visit your home a few times. They may notice things of concern or discuss any issues they forsee. This is a worst case scenario of course. The counsellor isn’t going in to nitpick and go through some parenting checklist. If your house isn’t falling apart or you don’t have 5 pitbulls running free in your living room, I don’t think you should worry.
You also receive information and guidance which is of great help for any adoptive couple. In fact, before you can do your homestudy you may be required to attend some sort of class or workshop. This was our experience for private and Child and Family Services homestudies.
Then there’s the part about the package communicating who you are. For us this consisted of letters to the birth parents, pictorial collage of us, and our filled out profile.
All in all, this process can take a couple of months…its not a quick thing. You don’t just pay money to get your name added to a list…there’s a lot of time, care, and thought that goes into creating a homestudy, and for good reason. As we’ll see in the next post, your homestudy is what your birth mother will be using to base whether she feels you may be a fit.