Home Study Benefits
"The home study was a really good opportunity to touch on some stuff that we otherwise might not have, or that might not have come up until later," says Barbara, 37, a Framingham, Massachusetts, mother whose adopted daughter is 20 months old (she asked that her last name not be used). She and her husband talked about topics like when they would return to work and how they would handle discipline.
"As long as the applicants are honest, [the home study] really helps the social workers get at least a glance at the background, including childhood, adolescence, relationship history, and intentions, behind the prospective parents," says Jenean Hoffman, 40, of Roseville, California. She and her husband, Robert, 39, and their five-year-old son, Ethan, will soon be adding Leilani, age two and also from Roseville, to the family. "The history part is important to see if there are triggers that may either help a child to relate to an adoptive parent, or hinder the parent in dealing with his or her own issues."
Although it can be nerve-wracking to be under the microscope, adoption social workers aren't out to prevent you from adopting. On the contrary, they are hoping to place a child in your family. "If you're stable within fairly clear parameters, most people can adopt," says Mary Angel Blount, 45, of Morgantown, West Virginia, who adopted daughter Olivia, now two, as a newborn. She admits that she was nervous before the social workers came because she and her husband were older (42 and 50 at the time), and their house was small and full of cat hair. "We thought, oh, we'll have to clean up our house and not curse, but that's just anxiety," she says. "They were very reassuring about it. They really want to encourage adoption."
Barbara agrees. "The social workers are not there to judge you, they're there to support you," she says.