The Nuts and Bolts of an Adoption Home Study contd.6
Some Final Notes
Flexibility and a sense of humor are vital characteristics when raising children and they can come in handy during the home study as well. For instance, if you have the flexibility in your job and are willing to take off an hour early to meet with the social worker or to modify your schedule in some other way to make the meeting arrangements flow smoothly, that effort will be appreciated by the worker. As a parent to be, many more of these accommodations are in your future; therefore the social worker often believes you might as well start getting used to them!
The duration of the home study will vary from agency to agency, depending on various factors, such as how many social workers are assigned to conduct home studies, what other duties they have, and how many other people applied to the agency at the same time as you. You can do a lot to expedite the process by filling out your paperwork, scheduling your medical appointments, and gathering the required documents.
The cost of the home study depends on which kind of agency or practitioner is conducting the study. A public agency (often your local Department of Social Services) does not usually charge a fee for a home study, since it is supported by government funds. However, occasionally a public agency may charge a modest home study fee-once you adopt one of the agency's children, you can usually obtain a reimbursement for this fee.
A private agency might charge from $1,000 to $3,000 for the home study, although it may charge no fees or charge lesser fees for home studies for children with special needs. For a non-special-needs child, the fee may cover an application fee and pre-placement services, but be sure to confirm this. For locating a specific child and providing follow-up or post-placement services, you will usually be charged a separate fee. These services could possibly be performed by a second agency. Fees for these additional services could range from $2,500 to $25,000. Many agencies allow the fees to be paid in installments. Again, be sure to discuss this thoroughly so that there are no misunderstandings.
A certified social worker in private practice often conducts home studies for independent adoptions. Fees for these are probably in the same range as those for private agencies. Independent adoptions are not legal in all States.
Remember, even though an adoption home study may seem invasive or lengthy, it is conducted to prepare you for adoption and help you decide whether adoption is really for you. The regulations serve to protect the best interest of the child and to ensure he or she is placed in a loving, caring, healthy, and safe environment. Once you accept that premise, it often becomes a lot easier to complete what is required of you. After all, the reward of withstanding a short period of inconvenience is great: many years of happiness and fulfillment raising a child to maturity.
Good luck to you in your pursuit of a child through adoption and with your adoption home study. With perseverance and a good attitude, you will be able to team with the adoption social worker to make this a valuable learning experience-one which will help you to do the best possible job in parenting the child who will join your family. After all, the adoption worker wants you to accomplish your goal of adopting, especially if one more child gets a loving, permanent, safe family.
For a free list of adoption resources in your State, contact the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse or visit the NAIC web site for State-specific lists of public and private adoption agencies as well as adoptive parent support groups in your state.