Monday, November 8, 2010

So, What is a Home Study Anyway?

We should be announcing our entry to the wait-list sometime this week, so I thought I'd back-track a little bit for those of you who are not involved in the adoption world. This should help to explain just what we've been doing over the last few months since we started this process. The first step in an adoption is the "home study." So, just what is a home-study, you ask? Well, it's essentially an extensive report on a family and their lifestyle, and is eventually used to qualify whether or not a family is suited for an adoption. In our case, since our agency has an office in our state, they conducted the "investigation" on us and then submitted a 14 page report that becomes part of the dossier that we send to Ethiopia. These are some of the things that are required in order for a home study to be completed:
  • FBI Criminal Checks (completed for every person in the home over the age of 18)
  • State Criminal Checks (same rules apply)
  • Local Criminal Checks (same rules apply)
  • Child Abuse Checks (completed for every state/country that you've lived in for more than 3 weeks since the age of 18 - this is the one that made us wait so long this time around. It is completed by the State of Ohio, and they had 1 person running all of the checks for the entire state. It took almost 4 months for them to get the "all clear" signal back to our agency.)
  • Fire inspection of your home by the local fire marshall
  • 6 reference letters, one each from the following people: co-worker, neighbor, friend, spiritual leader or other community leader, family member of the adoptive mother, family member of the adoptive father
  • personal profile of each parent (this is basically a 55 page autobiography. You have to answer every type of personal question imaginable, from what you marriage is like, to how you get along with each member of your family, to any drug or alcohol history for each and every member of your immediate family, to your parenting style, to your religious beliefs, to any mental health counseling, and on, and on, and on...)
  • Financial worksheet giving a detailed list of all of your monthly income and expenses, your liabilities and assets
  • a notarized letter from your bank, verifying all of your account standings
  • employment and income confirmation from your employer
  • a guardianship statement by the person(s) who will take care of your child, should anything happen to you. The chosen guardians must also match the agency's rules for eligibility, as far as age, income and health status.
  • Copies of Birth Certificates for each member of the family
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate
  • Copy of driver's licenses for each family member
  • Copy of social security cards for each family member
  • a letter from your veterinarian, stating the health and immunization status for any pets in the home
  • photos of the family and the home
  • proof of life insurance
  • proof of auto insurance
  • proof of health coverage, including pre-existing conditions for the adoptive child
  • copy of Adoption Decree, previous home-studies and post-placement reports for adopted children in the home
  • at least 10 hours of Adoptive Parent Education (our agency actually requires more than this, as they also require a 175 page workbook, that takes a minimum of 20 hours to complete.)
  • Medical reports on each person in the home
  • an application to the state Department of Job and Family Services for a child placement
  • at least 6 hours spent with a social worker, being interviewed about your whole life
  • a home inspection, completed by your social worker
Once all of these steps have been checked off, the report gets written and submitted to your agency for approval. Once it is approved, official copies of it need to be notarized and then submitted as part of your dossier, and also to USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services) along with an application to bring an immigrant into the country. We did all of this last week, so we should be hearing of our arrival to the wait-list this week, and over the next several weeks, we should be having an appointment scheduled with USCIS to be fingerprinted. It just feels really good to have our work DONE for a little while! Technically, things are out of our hands until we get a referral for a child.

In other news, my Dad has been really sick with a horrible mix of a Crohn's flare and blood-clots. He's spent a good share of the last two weeks in the hospital, and from what the doctors are saying, we are very blessed that we didn't lose him. Your prayers for his recovery and for my mom's strength would be greatly appreciated.

And just one quick Yikealo story as I close today: he is becoming quite adept at the art of flattery. There have been a few times lately when a request by him has been met by a "maybe" from me. When he hears that, he gives me a very winning smile and says in a soft voice, "I hope that you will say 'yes'!" Then the compliments start flowing. He'll walk up, wrap his arms around me and say things like, "Mom, I really like your pretty face" or "Mom, your pretty hair makes me happy," or "Mom, you make really good food. This is truly scrumptious!" I mean, really, how am I supposed to resist that?


  1. Yay, I am so excited for you to get on the wait list!!!

  2. Yeah- almost on the waitlist!!!!!

    Praying for your dad & mom.

    And you are not supposed to resist that- I mean I couldn't!!!! :)