Ways to Plan Ahead for an Adoption Home Study Visit
More than 130,000 children are adopted each year in the United States. Planning to welcome a child into your New Jersey home and family is a joyful and exciting time. Part of the process typically includes a scheduled home study visit with a licensed social worker, which is why you will want to be as well-prepared as possible so that the final report will prompt the state to approve your application to become an adoptive parent.
Things That You Can Do Ahead of Time to Prepare for a Home Study Visit
An ultimate goal of a home study visit is for adoptive parents to demonstrate that their home is a safe and healthy environment and that they can meet the emotional, financial, and physical needs of an adopted child. The following list includes several steps that you can take ahead of time to properly prepare for a home study:
• Make sure that your home is up to code for safety regulations.
• Practice asking and answering questions for an interview.
• Seek clarification of state laws and regulations by consulting with a New Jersey adoption lawyer.
• Compile a portfolio of documents that may be relevant to the home study process.
Setting time aside to perform each of these steps before your scheduled home study date may not only help you feel calm and confident about the visit but may also increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Demonstrate That Your Home Is a Clean and Safe Environment
When placing children with families through adoption, the state makes it a priority to ensure that a particular child’s new home will be a healthy and safe environment. The agency representative who visits your home is trained to assess the surroundings to determine whether they meet accepted standards and regulations. Before your home study visit, it is a good idea to make sure all your locks work properly, that you have functioning smoke alarms in the house, and that you have installed covers over all electrical outlets.
You may want to research ahead of time to clarify additional safety regulations, such as making sure that all stairways have railings. The agent might ask you to describe your emergency exit safety plan, and you should also be ready to tell the agent what disaster preparedness measures you have taken. In addition to safety, you’ll want to make sure that your house is clean, and while no one expects it to be perfect, it should be well-maintained.
Your Home Study Will Include an Interview
It is a good idea to think ahead about the questions the visiting agency representative might ask you so that you can have possible answers in mind. You can get family members to help you practice for your interview. Consider questions such as what type of social activities you enjoy or how your family typically handles problems.
Why Talking to a New Jersey Adoption Lawyer Is Helpful
A New Jersey adoption attorney is well-versed in all aspects of the adoption process whether you are welcoming a child through the foster care system or are arranging an international adoption. Any number of legal obstacles can arise that might delay your plans or impede your ability to adopt a child. Setting up a strong support network from the start can help resolve any problem issues that surface during the process.
Having Personal Documents On Hand Can Help
Paperwork pertaining to each member of your household, such as Social Security cards, birth certificates, and drivers’ licenses, may be something that your home study agent wants to see during the home visit. It is also helpful to have employment documents and tax information on hand as well as a list of contact information for your personal references.
It is always better to have personal documents readily available than to be caught off-guard by a request and have to locate information during your home study visit, which could lead to negative comments in the final report.
Try to Relax and Be Yourself
While a home study can sometimes feel invasive, it is important to remember that your willingness to participate is helping you accomplish your goal to adopt a child. Most importantly, just try to be yourself and show your interviewer that you are able and willing to provide a good home for a child in need. You might also want to keep a journal that includes photos or videos about your home study as part of your adoption journey that you may one day want to share with your child.
If you have questions about state laws or a specific legal problem arises, don’t hesitate to contact a New Jersey adoption lawyer by calling Cofsky & Zeidman at our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555.