What's in a "Home Study"?

A comment was made in the post, "When is adoption an acceptable option?", and I believe Teddy's words deserve more attention.

She wrote: 

If there had been a REAL test of the emotional stability of both my husband and myself, there never would have been
any adoptions for us or several couples I am aware of....

There MUST be a way to implement an accountability so that "friends" giving references for "friends" as to their emotional
stability are able/willing to tell the truth!  Two couples who really didn't want to be a reference for us finally gave in.... and
look what happened?  I see this in hindsight as a habit of ALL friends of PAP's.  Doctor's do the same thing:  a fat doctor
will sign off on a couple who is fat, etc...  There are MANY things that SHOULD be done to ensure the safety of ALL children so abusive-ways do NOT have to become a new family legacy.

We adopted only special needs children.  The requirements should be higher and not lowered for a SN child.  YOUNG
couples should be REQUIRED to be open to a SN child instead of it being a requirement of older PAP's, who probably
already have enough children already.

SURE, we'll approve you for adoption:  you doddering old fool with good insurance and job security.   BUT you MUST
take a SN's child!  BUT, you older people with GOBS of money, we will give YOU a referral for a "normal, healthy, baby!
I can just hear that agency's BwaaaaaHaaaaaHaaaaa!  It happens every day.  SAFETY is NOT an issue with them.....


Since so many children are taken from first parents because they are deemed "unfit to parent", (due to a diagnosed mental illness) how can a child placement system allow such hugely ignored gaps in a child's "stable home environment"?  I now speak from personal experience, because the woman who later became my "adoptive mother" should never have been granted permission to take another woman's child to fulfill her own emotionally damaged needs.  However, I know "much has changed since then".  The question is, how many undiagnosed mentally ill people are still looking at adoption as their best means to "feel emotionally complete"?

I can't even dare to imagine the collateral damage caused by the uncounted agencies that have already placed a child in a profoundly dysfunctional family, simply because various fees could be paid, and the paper-work  was deemed "satisfactory".  [I believe a look into our prison systems can easily give a basic picture of "what happens when a child gets placed among the bad and the ugly".]

Meanwhile, in all fairness, there are lots of complaints made in the blogging-circuit about the nature of "home study approval".  I've read how PAP's feel like they are afraid to show any signs of human flaw because such a deadly mistake will end their chances of becoming a parent.  I find this ironic because the image of perfection is perhaps the worst fate an adoptee can face!  The perfect child for the perfect home -- is there anything scarier than living-up to that fictitious expectation?

Can anyone tell me what sort of questions are being asked of these eager-to-be pleasing and approved parents?  ARE there psychological evaluations given to those who want to care for another person's child?  if so, where can a sample be found?


Average: 6 (1 vote)

can anyone share?

Maybe teddy could share (literally) the questions and forms she had to fill out?
this could be REALLY  helpful.

In architecture, there are development standards that are constantly being revised to make cities more livable. 
These standards have to be created independent of developers, naturally...

There should also be screening and home study standards, if there aren't already.
In either case, it would be VERY VALUABLE to have an adoptee-drafted standard for screening and home study that we could provide to every state and city.

I would totally be willing to throw my time into this effort.

teddy Will Gather The Questions...

Just off the top of my fundamentally flawed, psychologically immature mind, these are some of the questions:
Why do you want to adopt?
What is your most treasured memory of childhood?
How do you/your family view a child that looks different than your family?
Which "special needs" are you willing to accept in a child offered to you?  THERE IS A CHECKLIST.
Are you willing to take time off work to work your new child into your family?

UNLESS there are red flags in the PAP's past/now that come up, there are no required Psych tests.  I'm sure
if there were, it would be a standard Psych test because of Political Correctness.



ha ha ha!!!

well, i can't say i'm not fundamentally flawed either!
it's just i don't understand this irrational compulsion is all.  feel free to enlighten me please.

anyway, that's abosolutely APPALLING there is no psych profile.

I'll look forward to the rest of the home study questions...

More questions and requirements.

We had to have an AIDS test and have 6 references from people who are not relatives;  which we have been known
to ASK the PAP's what they want us to say...
Do you have a will?  You need to get one to include the child.
What is your plan for childcare when you go back to work?
How do you deal with your emotions on not being able to conceive/ have a biological child?
Will the expenses of an adoption put you into financial burden?  How do you intend to pay for this adoption?
What is your approach to discipline?  Are you in agreement with your spouse?
Have you been turned down by another agency?  What were the reasons?
Do you expect your achild to go to college?
What are your expectations of your achild?
How do your extended families feel about having an adopted grandchild/cousin, etc...
We do not place perfect children so we do not expect perfect parents. 
What do you see your achild doing by the time he/she reaches 18 years of age.

It does seem like a compulsion/obsession now that I think about it.  I've even heard it said, "Adoption is addictive."
Most older AP's are seeing themselves grow old and not having EVERYTHING.  They have either spent
their lives making money and being popular but have yet felt what it is like to be a parent.  And then, others
are older and just feel the emptiness of a home without a child.  You don't have to be rich to adopt.  I know
people who have had each of MANY of their adoptions funded by grants, funds, friends, employers, tax
refunds, bonus' and overtime.  The ones with the compulsion to keep adopting more and more children
have been noticed to be desperate because of the empty nest syndrome that is sneaking up on them
and need to refill that nest.  Many people live through these children because they themselves have failed
to do the things they had planned to do... like Kerry's piano recital.    HI KERRY!


[ah yes....]

if only I became rich/famous, by doing something They expected me to do!  I guess fortune and fame is not in my adopted name.  oh well.... I never did like the performance aspect of my adoption.   One thing those lessons taught me is this:  I don't think living vicariously through another person is ever a good path to follow.... it leads to a tremendous amount of empty misery.


I'm reading the list of "investigative questions", and the one common denominator seems to be:  can you AFFORD to raise a child, and pay for all that's required?


Welcome to Parenthood.

As for the Empty-Nesters, growing tired of the silence.... try this adoption ad for size!




That seemed the epitome of  insults!  I can't imagine how some of you felt after watching that...
I apologize.  That was shameful.


It's all in the preparation

Seeing that list, I can easily give the politically correct answers to all of these questions. Of course I wouldn't pass a home study, because I don't always wash the dishes, but that's another subject. Everyone with little more intelligence than the average ostrich can figure out what the home study agency wants to hear. To make sure everyone will give compliant answers most agencies have adoption preparation classes to make sure no-one fails. It's no wonder people like Matthew Mancuso, William Peckenpaugh, Vladimir Karpov and John Krueger were able to adopt children. I highlight these cases, because all four are single men who adopted from abroad with the intent to sexually abuse the children they received and as such were well prepared to give the right answers to these all too obvious questions.


These are factual questions which even a single man, NOT wanting to adopt has figured out that:  adopting a child
doesn't take much effort on the paperwork side.   PAP's are only griping because some of it is embarrassing and
time consuming. 

I found it quite simple, too.  Thanks for proving my point.



My favorite was:

How do you deal with your emotions on not being able to conceive/ have a biological child?

it's like throwing in a "there, there, dear."  and the answer is self evident -  they go hunting!

OK - that little irritation aside. I absolutely LOVED your acknowledgement and description of and validation of my observation that it is like a compulsion/obsession.

Teddy, thank you so much for this information.  This is very revealing.  It's revealing that home study asks zero probing questions and is nothing but a meaningless beaurocratic hoop to jump through.  As Niels said, any idiot could figure out what their desired answer is and provide it.

I just want to say to everyone, that I have been UPLIFTED by the proactive things and actions we have been talking about the past few days. 

Now, adoptees - (and already adoptive parent!) -  with the consideration of protecting children paramount, how would we re-frame these questions?  which questions would you throw out?   what questions would you include? - these questions should not be leading in any way yet should be be able to filter out abusive parents.  Gosh, I wish we had a wiki in a private area so we could collectively draft documents...


almost_human,  as long as you keep the questions or concerns out here the more I remember how valid they are and
how much I need to answer them from my own experiences.

"I absolutely LOVED your acknowledgement and description of and validation of my observation that it is like a compulsion/obsession"  You humble me...

"i DO GET ANGRY when i see little transracial adoptees and their adoptive parents lapping up the attention they draw and making a spectacle of themselves."
  BINGO!!!!   Even among adoptive families who are friends, there is a HUGE amount
of jealousy!  YEP!  You heard right...   I know of families who parade their little trans racial adoptees around and how
other families talk about them; only to turn around and do it themselves.  I can not say I was not like them because I
thought my babies were the most beautiful on this earth!  BUT, I will say that one of the reasons I home schooled for
11 years was because I HATED when we went places and people would congregate around us!  And that is the truth.
They were MY babies and I could NOT understand WHY they would not leave us alone, especially at church.  Do biological parents let ANYONE that congregates around PASS that baby around like it was an object of interest instead of a fragile, cherished child?  I REALLY WANT TO KNOW! 
When babies reach around 8 months old they do NOT want to be passed around!  SO WHY, when my son came home at 6 months old was I REQUIRED to pass him around?!!!  I didn't give a RIP if they gave us a baby shower or not; that did NOT give them the right to pass my son around!!  When my second son arrived at 3 months of age and he was laying on the floor, on a blanket in the fellowship hall at church, women started asking me if I wanted them to pick him up!  HELL NO!  I just said no, thank you, because it WAS MY JOB!
But there were times, in all honesty when I was one who lapped it up and was puffed up with pride; but never with the spectacle.  I was older and people learned quickly that my kids were not for show.  NO pats on the back; I was just a bitch about it....


Blinded by faith

we have been known to ASK the PAP's what they want us to say...

I have known about some people in my bible study who are so pro-adoption, they will help write recommendations for those seeking to adopt not because they know the individuals very well, but because they belong to the same prayer circle. The belief is, "we must support and encourage those who walk with Jesus". It's not encouraged to remind other church members that the devil's work can and will be done in the most unexpected places or people. I no longer attend that church, as we moved and I am most grateful for the move, but I find myself praying for those children, hoping they were not put in harm's way.

Do they check the citizenships of PAPs?

I'm asking this question because my adoptive parents were living in USA. They wrote in the application form for adoption that they were US-citizens whereas they were not.
I was sent to USA with a visa for the purpose of adoption like every Korean adoptees sent to USA but the US immigration found out my entrance to the states was illegal while we were still at the airport. They wanted to send me back to Korea but after negociation,  they allowed me to stay in USA for one year for humanitarian consideration case. As a result, my adoptive parents were forced to move back to Canada, their homeland, six months after my arrival, in order to adopt me legally. Since Holt agency doesn't deal with Canada, we had only one visit of the social worker when we were in US.

good lord

your story as it reveals itself just gets more and more and more convoluted...


Kimette, I was blown away when I saw your pictures!  GOD in HEAVEN could no one see the torture on your face?!  I've seen that expression so many times and didn't even recognize it as the result of severe trauma until I saw it on my own face after losing so much in the past two years!  IN NO WAY do I compare your loss with mine, only the recognition of the agony of loss on another human face.  GOD have mercy! 
Kimette, your face is the face of many adopted children who were stolen and sold; shipped to the other side of the world and
left for dead!  Even your beauty I have seen on a child who could be your twin.....  I'm  sickened by what I see in that picture.
WHY could NO ONE see you had been traumatized to the point you were in shock?  9 years old and a fully bonded and incorporated child in her OWN family!  Someone needs to pay for this...
But your question was about being a citizen.   I can NOT understand how HOLT, of all organizations could have NOT seen that
these people were not citizens!  YOU HAVE TO GIVE THEM YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE!!!!!!  sorry, I got ticked.   But, then again, HOLT sent me to Viet Nam and didn't tell them I was coming!  Yes, Kimette, you have to be a citizen to adopt through HOLT.
You were not only stolen from your family and sold to America;  but you were kidnapped and taken to another country after that!
I wish there was someone you could SUE!
ABUSE ABUSE ABUSE!!!   This was 1975 for crying out loud, NOT the beginning of International Adoption!  How many times have you wished they had sent you back? 
HOLT is NOT big on the post-placement visits.  I have seen so many times when all that needed to be done was a stop in at the office to be counted as a post-placement visit for MANY families.  You had one, and they just let them take you out of the country to never see you again?.   It was a permit to abuse, your AP's received, and from the agency who had stolen you. 
My husband was one of those who got a permit from HOLT, too.   The whole town thought he was the greatest guy: good job, steady worker that didn't miss a day of work; pillar of the church and the community while he kept a double life  from EVERYONE but my daughter.  And I see and hear from you what my daughter is going through.  She hates me... can you blame her?  What a sorry excuse for a mother I was to not have seen SOME sign of her pain.  It was there; it had to have been there.  At nine years old is when he started touching her (as she later told) and she didn't have enough strength to
get out of here until she was 15. 
NOTHING I did after she went into foster care was of ANY help to her...  My attempts
were blocked by the DHS for fear that I would try to change her testimony; they needed their conviction while my daughter was denied her mother. They told her she could NOT go home; that I had known and she would grow up to hate me.  After a year she finally stopped trying to convince them I didn't know.  I DIDN'T know, but I should have.    And they took her... and they destroyed any chance of us EVER having another conversation again.   I take my blame.   But NOTHING can make it right.


Nine years old is when he started touching her...

Teddy wrote:
"At nine years old is when he started touching her (as she later told) and she didn't have enough strength to get out of here until she was 15.   NOTHING I did after she went into foster care was of ANY help to her..."

Holy crap! 

"My attempts were blocked by the DHS for fear that I would try to change her testimony; they needed their conviction while my daughter was denied her mother."

I'm sure this is no consolation, but did they at least get their conviction?



25 years, serving 17 1/2 with no chance of parole!



Well, from what I read about Holt's history, it originally was their only requirement that you be a christian and Harry Holt stonewalled all attempts to screen and monitor their adoptions.  It wasn't until after his death that they went through the motions of compliance to federal requirements. 

and i might be wrong, but i think he was the originator of adoption by proxy, which opened up the ability to remotely adopt children from other countries.

i don't ever recall any post placement visit.  there might have been one, but i'm sure it was before the abuse started (the honeymoon period) and to be honest, i don't know how they would have been able to ferret that out of anyone, as i wouldn't have told.  the only signs would have been me being markedly withdrawn.  but a new caseworker would not have known any difference.  that is why i believe there needs to be regular visits by the same people over time, so they can measure personality changes. 

personal aside here:
when pressed for why i was adopted, my mother would say in her pained trembling voice, the voice she always used whenever introspection or anything real or emotional was asked of her, "we just wanted to do something charitable and christian."  good generic answer...that was the only answer i ever got, and i'm really not buying it.

as soon as i could read she would leave "Seed from the East" lying around, so I could be inspired by how wonderful all the Holt adoptions were.  and she would ask if i read it.
to this day, i have never read it because i'm afraid i'll throw up. 

when pressed for why i was adopted

almost human wrote:
"personal aside here: when pressed for why i was adopted, my mother would say in her pained trembling voice, the voice she always used whenever introspection or anything real or emotional was asked of her, "we just wanted to do something charitable and christian."  good generic answer"

No, no it's not.

It's a terrible answer.  It relegates your adopted child to a charity case - something to be rescued from the garbage heap.  It reinforces their concept of worthlessness.  It perpetuates the myth of the "bad seed."  Older adopted children don't need this condescending crap.

My son once asked me why we adopted him.

I told him we adopted because we wanted to be parents.  I told him we adopted him because your (a)mom absolutely positively fell in love with you the moment she saw you.  What's so hard about the simple truth?

First and foremost, my son and daughter fill a need in me to be a father.  We would not be a family without them.  And I thanked my son for giving me that chance.


The right answer

You got it going on, big D


"....because the woman who later became my "adoptive mother" should never have been granted permission to take another woman's child to fulfill her own emotionally damaged needs."
DID you in any way fulfill her needs?  Was it all for naught?  I know some of the damage for you, but is there someone, somewhere who can HONESTLY prove their needs were met in some way by adopting a child?  Sounds pretty sick..huh?

Approved Home Study note:   The last time I went overseas I met a woman with TWO approved home studies.  NOT ONLY did she have two but she was there alone (supposed to have both PAP's there) AND she was searching for two children... I kid you not!  She told me of searching five orphanages in the past two days trying to find two that would fit in her home.  One little boy she described as instantly thinking she was going to adopt him and how much pain he suffered when she could not pick him.
These children were TOLD they were being picked over for adoption!  I almost threw up.

I was told to buy an expensive bottle of whiskey for one official after he had accepted my dossier without the:  I  171H and giving me two months to get it to him.  Was this a thank you from me, along with the American agency's order to spend all the overseas money  to make this happen?  I have no clue.  The agency even tried to tell the officials my ason had a heart problem and needed to go to America, but somehow that was dropped; I almost had a heart attack, too!  I wonder just how much the bribe cost?  In my jet-lagged, culture shocked condition, I truly didn't figure it all out, what was going on until it was over and I was on my way home.  The American agency couldn't figure out why I  told them (from overseas), on the phone, "don't call me here in xxxxxxx again!  You sent me here without a paper, on Christmas, and didn't even tell them I was coming!  And NOW you are pulling strings to cover up your boo boo?  All alone and having a nervous breakdown in a foreign country!  I came home and sent the paper back.  I went back to pick him up within 6 weeks!  I have never spoken to anyone again from that part of the agency; and only to finalize the adoption.
NO ONE can tell me that adoption is FOR the best interest of ANY child after experiencing mine with a ?reputable? agency.


Pound Pup Legacy