The Dangers of Taking Your Time with a Home Study


adoption home study paperwork I know what you’re thinking when you read the title of this blog. “Me, taking my time, on what? The adoption process is so long. I feel like I’m the one always waiting on others.”

But, there are quite a few of us that still seem to drag our feet when we hear the first steps of the process: completing your home study. I know this step may be a little overwhelming. Having to become an open book about your finances, history, and personal lives can be rather daunting. Add in that a staff member has to come check out your home and ask you a ton of questions and the entire process seems like something you may want to avoid. But I promise you that completing your home study in a timely manner is worth your while. Not only will it help you avoid the stress involved with agency staff trying to contact you to complete these items, but it also may help you save something even more important: money.

So what are the consequences of dragging your feet through this process and why are they a big deal? First and foremost, you were right. The adoption process is a long one, and by not completing your home study, something YOU are in control of, will cause you to delay this progression even more which opens you up to additional legal risks of country laws or procedures changing. Secondly, we are working with documents that have expiration dates on them for the home study. This means that if you complete your background checks, fingerprints, physicals, etc., and then take your time finishing the other parts of this home study, there is a very good chance these documents could expire DURING the home study process and you would have to get them redone again. Seems redundant right? This brings me to my final point: expenses. If you need to get these documents filled out again not only will you be wasting your time, but you will also be wasting more money. These documents aren’t necessarily cheap to have completed, so why spend it more than you have to? Therefore, it is with all the strength I can muster into this computer keyboard that I urge you to complete these documents on time and complete them to your best knowledge. You want to ensure that you are making the best effort to get this process flowing and having to work backwards or standing still is counter-productive in reaching your ultimate goal: bringing your child home. So I challenge you to work hard and work efficiently and I promise you that in the end you will stress less.

I get it. The list is A LOT, especially because this is just a list and doesn’t even begin to delve into the specifics of each subject. However, by breaking this up into a personal to-do list it can become quite manageable. Let’s put this into perspective. Application, autobiography, and symptoms forms are all worksheets that are easy to complete. After all, you know you best. Therefore, filling out information about yourself, while possibly making your uncomfortable or bring feelings of awkwardness, are areas in which you are an expert. What else can you knock out quickly? Insurance policies, mortgage or lease information, two forms of ID, extra documents, and financial records are all things we have original copies of, or sometimes copies, that we can access quickly. All you need is access to a scanner or copy machine. Seem easy? We’re almost half way there. Begin identifying those that you feel would make great references and have four people close to you begin writing these letters. The rest of the information is downhill from here. Set up physical appointments for everyone in the home and discuss the characteristic form. Better yet, discuss the characteristic form and THEN go to your physicals. Bring any questions you have about certain diagnoses or labels to your child’s pediatrician or your doctor to discuss. Finally, work on your background and child abuse checks. I tell you to complete this last because you are at the end of the process and these are timely documents, meaning that they have expiration dates for when you will need to acquire new ones for the adoption process.

Seems manageable right? I agree. Don’t make this list seem more daunting than it truly is. The key: break it up into parts and dive in head first and most importantly know that you can contact me at any time with questions that you have or questions that may arise. Happy home study!

Note: MLJ home study assistants for Indiana home studies will not set up a home study visit until they have all of these documents compiled in binder form, which you can drop off at the office or mail in.


Photo Credit: Erin Nekervis