The Nuts and Bolts of an Adoption Home Study contd.

Autobiographical Statement

The autobiographical statement can be intimidating, but it is essentially the story of your life. Most agencies have a set of guidelines that detail the kind of information they require to assist you in writing the autobiography, and others have the worker assist you directly. You may be asked to describe who reared you and their style of child rearing, how many brothers and sisters you have, and where you are in the birth order.

Your statement may answer many questions. Were you close to your parents and siblings when you were a child; are you close now; how much contact do you have with them? What are some successes or failures that you have had? What educational level have you reached; do you plan to further your education; are you happy with your educational attainments; what do you think about education for a child? What is your employment status; your employment history; do you have plans to change employment; do you like your current job?

If you are married, there will be questions about your marriage. These may cover how you met, how long you dated before you married, how long you have been married, what attracted you to each other, what your spouse's strengths and weaknesses are, and the issues on which you agree and disagree in your marriage. Others may ask how you make decisions, solve problems, settle arguments, communicate, express feelings, and show affection. If you were married before, there will be questions about that marriage. If you are single, there will be questions about your social life and how you anticipate integrating a child into it, as well as questions about your network of supportive relatives and friends.

In your statement, you will probably describe your ordinary routines, such as your typical weekday or weekend, your hobbies and interests, and your leisure time activities. You may also describe your plans for childcare if you work outside the home. There will be questions that cover your experiences with children, relatives' children, neighbors, volunteer work, babysitting, teaching, or coaching. You might be asked some "what if" questions regarding discipline or other parenting issues.

You will probably be asked about your neighborhood: How friendly are you with your neighbors? What kind of people live nearby? Is it a safe area? Why did you pick this neighborhood? Are you located conveniently to community resources, such as medical facilities, recreational facilities, shopping areas, and religious facilities? And you will be asked about religion, your level of religious practice, and what kind of religious upbringing (if any) you will give the child.

There may also be a section on specific adoption-related issues, including questions about why you want to adopt, what kind of child you feel you can best parent and why, how you will tell the child he or she is adopted and when, what you think of birth parents who make an adoption plan for their child, how you will handle relatives' and friends' questions about adoption, and whether you can bond to a child not genetically related to you.

You may not know all these answers right away! A home study is supposed to help you think through these issues. Hopefully, the social worker guiding you through the home study process will offer advice on describing these topics.

You will be asked to provide a copy of your birth certificate, your marriage license or certificate, and your divorce decree, if applicable.

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