It is one of the first and most important steps a family takes in the adoption process — and it can also be one of the most overwhelming. But with the right adoption professional, completing the adoption home study can be an exciting and relatively easy step on your path to parenthood.
A Child’s Hope is licensed can complete the adoption home study for families throughout the state of North Carolina. Our home study services include:
- Adoption home study services for waiting families signed up to adopt through A Child’s Hope
- Adoption home study services for families adopting through another placement resource. We do not require that you use A Child’s Hope for placement in order to take advantage of our adoption home study services. Our services include pre- and post-placement home study services for independent adoptions, stepparent adoptions and certain kinship adoptions.
- Updates to your existing home study report
- Expedited home study services (additional fees apply)
- Post-placement reports after an adoptive placement has occurred
What is the Home Study for Adoption?
Before a child can be placed with an adoptive family, the prospective adoptive parents must complete a pre-placement assessment, commonly known as an adoption home study.
The adoption home study evaluates prospective parents to ensure they have the information they need about adoption and that they are ready to add to their family. It’s the state’s way of ensuring that the adoptive families are safe and ready to be adoptive parents. In North Carolina, the home study must include:
- At least two visits to the home (A Child’s Hope performs three home visits)
- Fingerprint-based background checks
- Interviews with the adoptive family
- Collection of financial information and other important documents
The adoption home study generally takes about four to six weeks to complete, or three to four weeks for an expedited home study. We recommend that you begin your adoption home study early in the adoption process. You will need to have an approved home study before your profile can be shown to prospective birth mothers.
Adoption Home Study Checklist
One of the first steps of the North Carolina home study process is to start gathering the required documentation. The following documents are required in order to complete the adoption home study report:
- A Child’s Hope Pre-Placement Assessment and Document Checklist
- Local county-certified criminal background reports for all adults age 18 and older living in the home. This must be done in the county in which the adoptive family resides (These background checks are to be obtained at your local county courthouse or Clerk of Court office. Please obtain these in person; do not make online requests)
- Fingerprints / Release Letters / Certified check or money order – Please see instructions regarding submitting your fingerprints directly to the FBI
- Responsible Individuals Listing form (one for each adoptive parent). Return these forms to the office with your adoption home study application
- Physician’s report for each person living in the home. (Forms for adults and children are attached)
- Copy of your most recent pay stubs or a statement from your employer verifying employment and income
- Copy of the first two pages of your most recent Federal 1040 income tax return
- Three adoption reference letters from individuals who have known you for at least two years. These should be given to you or sent directly to your home in a sealed envelope marked “Attn: Social Worker.” Please give these unopened letters to your social worker during the interviews. The reference letter for adoption must be notarized. If you would like more details about how to write a letter of recommendation for adoption, or if you would like to see a sample adoption reference letter, please speak with your home study counselor
- Certified original of your marriage certificate
- Photocopy of any divorce decrees
- Photocopies of birth certificates for adoptive parents and children in the home
- Photocopy of the final decree of adoption for any adopted children
- If you have adult children who are not living at home, the adult children will need to furnish a brief, written statement concerning their feelings about the upcoming adoption
- If you have finalized an adoption in the past, you will be required to provide a copy of the adoption decree
Adoption Home Visits
The next step of the home study process is the in-home visit. Your adoption counselor will schedule three visits to your home to ensure it is safe and clean and that you have adequate space for an additional child. If your adoption counselor notices any safety concerns in your home, she will point them out to you so you can correct them before the next home visit.
During these visits, the adoption counselor will also conduct personal interviews with you to compile the home study report. The North Carolina home study report includes the following information:
- Demographic information, including your age, nationality, race, ethnicity and religion
- Information about your current marital and family status, as well as family and marital history
- An assessment of your physical and mental health, including any past history of drug or alcohol addiction
- Education and employment history information
- Current financial information, including information about your property and income
- Your reasons for adopting
- Any information about previous domestic violence proceedings or proceedings concerning child abuse, neglect or abandonment
- Information about any convictions of crimes other than minor traffic violations
- The quality of your home environment and an assessment of any other children in the household
Remember that your home study counselor wants to help you complete your family, and it is important to be honest during your interview. The information you provide will help your counselor get to know you, your personality and your thoughts on parenting. This process also gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the adoption process.
Home Study Updates and Post-Placement Visits
In North Carolina, home studies are valid for 18 months before they need to be updated. Your home study counselor will complete your adoption home study update if you need one. An update is needed if there are important changes, such as relocation, change of job, someone coming to live with you or illness.
Following placement, you will also need to complete a post-placement study. North Carolina requires two post-placement home visits. These visits are similar to the pre-placement visits and will be completed by your home study counselor. These visits and reports are the state’s way of checking on the child’s development and making sure that you are caring for the child properly.
During the visits, your counselor will observe you with your child, refer you to any post-placement services or resources you need, and compile a report recommending the granting of the adoption petition.
How Do We Get Started with the Adoption Home Study?
When you are ready to begin the home study for adoption, contact our office at 919-839-8800 to receive a copy of the pre-placement agreement contract, along with a statement of fees required to start your home study and assign an adoption counselor.