The first step, after deciding that you are ready to adopt, is completing your home study. An adoption home study is a fairly lengthy process that ultimately tells potential agencies you sign up, expectant mothers, and the law that you are capable of becoming a parent and that you will provide a safe, loving space for your child. Home studies must be complete in the state you reside in.

One common misconception is that the home study process is a white glove test. Well, I can certainly guarantee you that no one is checking for dust. Social workers and home study agencies aren’t looking to see if your home is really clean or really big. They are looking to make sure that your home is safe space and that it legally meets the criteria that it needs to meet in your state.

A home study usually takes 2-4 months and it includes home visits, where a social worker comes into your home to look around and talk in your space. There are a number of other meetings that don’t necessarily have to be in your home. Fingerprints, background checks, and medical exams are common procedure when it comes to your home study.

Is there something that you’re worried would stop you from passing a background check or medical exam? Maybe you got a DUI ten years ago or maybe you’re taking anti-anxiety medication. Don’t stress.These are things that most likely won’t prevent you from becoming a parent. The key here is to be open and honest about anything and everything you think would be cause for concern. Your social worker might ask you to dig a little deeper and perhaps get clearance from your counselor or psychiatrist. The home study process is all about making sure that not only your home is safe for a child, but that you are safe as well.

Another part of your home study (and this varies from state to state) is required adoption education hours. In Illinois, hopeful adoptive parents are required to complete ten education hours. These hours are put into place so that you know a little something about adoption before you adopt (kind of important don’t you think)! If you are in a state that doesn’t require education hours, I still recommend taking the extra step and learning as much as you can before you adopt. If you are considering transracial adoption, take the initiative to learn more about transracial adoption. Listen to all parts of the triad whether it be through podcasts, books, or Facebook groups. Listen to adoptees tell their stories and share what they wish their parents had done differently. Listen to birth mothers share their experiences with grief and loss. Listen to parents that have adopted and allow for them to impart wisdom unto you. Get those education hours in, even if they’re not required.

What’s left? Is there really more that needs to be completed for your home study? Tune into the video and find out what the last step to completing your home study is.