Adoption Home Study Process
What is a home study?
In short, a home study means two things:
- A written document describing in detail who the prospective adoptive parent(s) are
- A process all adoptive applicants go through in order to adopt
A home study is a process that all prospective adoptive parent(s) are required to participate in to be considered as a placement for a child or young person. The process is an assessment of the prospective adoptive parent(s) and involves the creation of a written document that describes, in detail, who the prospective adoptive parent(s) are.
While the process can seem intimidating, it can be an enriching experience for prospective adoptive parent(s), providing them with a deeper understanding of the adoption process. By the end of the home study, prospective adoptive parent(s) will be more prepared for adoption and parenting, Family Adoption Program at Maine Children's Home (MCH) and other involved agencies will have evaluated the prospective parent(s)' capabilities and suitability to adopt, and information would have been gathered about the prospective parent(s) that helps make sure the prospective parents are an appropriate fit for the needs of an adoptive child or young person.
The Written Document of a Home Study
The written home study is comprised of information gathered from autobiographies the applicant(s) (the prospective adoptive parent(s)) are asked to write, and from a series of interviews with the applicant(s) conducted by a licensed adoption case worker. At least one of the interviews takes place in the applicant(s)’ home.
Topics covered range from childhood experiences and marital stability to parenting philosophy. The written portion also reflects the results of three different background checks, medical reports, and personal reference letters. Upon completion of the written home study and acceptance as adoptive candidates, the prospective parent(s) are placed among MCH's pool of candidates waiting for an adoptive placement.
This document is a tool that is used to assess applicants to be an adoptive parent(s) and depending on the type of adoption may be reviewed by another agency, country, and the presiding court.
The Home Study Process
The home study process begins with the first orientation visit at MCH and, in most cases, continues all the way through to finalization. It involves the written document but also entails educating applicants about unique adoption issues, parenting styles and skills, the birth parent perspective, and identifying sources of support.
Prospective adoptive parent(s) also learn about being a part of the adoption triad (adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees) and the different perspectives of each triad member. This education occurs through formal classes, as well as throughout the adoption process with an experienced and knowledgeable adoption case worker.
Private Home Studies
Private home studies are available for couples or individuals who are choosing to adopt through another source. The home study is written according to the same guidelines and standards as MCH's other home studies, but MCH does not provide any other services related to the adoption process (unless contracted to do otherwise). For more information on private home studies, email Program Assistant Cindy Smith or call the Family Adoption Program office at 207-873-6350.