Home Study Checklist: What Documents Do You Need?

Adoption, Blog, Families, Parenting, Thoughts

Preparing for the Home Study

Do you know what documents you’ll need for the home study process?

First of all, the home study process is very intrusive, you will be asked personal questions about your family, your finances, and your background. Keep in mind your agency will not ask for anything that they’re not required to by either agency policy or state regulations.

The first part of the home study process is gathering the paperwork; documenting your family, your finances, your background, and your home. This is the most intensive and time-consuming part that you’ll have in this entire process. The agency gathers background checks, checks for child abuse, references, and financial records. Another bigger part of this process is writing your autobiography, but it is possible that an agency will do hours of interviewing in place of writing an autobiography.

The Interview

The interview can happen all at once or on multiple days. This helps the social worker to get to know you better and to learn your motivations for adoption . Once again, they are just trying to get more background information on who you are as a person. If you are a married couple, a lot of times you’ll have interviews both together and separately from each other.

The Home Visit

During the home visit(s), there will be a tour of your home, and just know that this is not a white glove process! They’re not looking in your refrigerator or your cupboards as apparently they used to do 50 years ago. That’s not what a home study process is like today. Be sure you have your rooms ready for the social worker to view. They will want to see every room including your basement as well, but they will not expect you to have a nursery prepared. Instead, they usually look for what will one day be the nursery.

Typically in most states, your home study is good for one year unless you need to have an addendum done because there’s been a major change. For example, a change in job, a move to a new home, or the addition of a new family member into your home!


There are five common questions that families will ask about the home study process.
  1. Should I have the home childproofed? If you’re doing a private adoption, you do not need to have the home childproofed, but If you’re doing a foster care adoption, you do have to have all the state standards for childproofing in place.
  2. Can I pass if I don’t have a perfect history? Yes. None of us have a perfect history. If you do have something significant in your background, such as a felony, substantiated child abuse allegation, or if you’re not on the same page about adopting a child, those would be some of the reasons why you would not pass the home study process.
  3. Do I need to have any remodeling done before the home visit? For us, no. Sometimes we do home visits in the middle of a family remodeling. So typically that does not need to be complete to start the home study process.
  4. Do I need to complete education and training? For Adoption & Beyond and most agencies, the answer is yes.
  5. Does the home need to be spotless? No! We would be concerned if the home was spotless because when your child joins your family, your home will not be spotless anymore!

What our latest video about the Home Study Checklist here!


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