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.

Found at


Outside opinions

<heavy sigh>

Thank you for taking the time to add a nuts and blots look into the home study.  It will take me a few days to digest the suggestions and comments... I find the coaching technique to be very disturbing.

In the meantime, I'd like to share a portion of a letter recently sent to me.

A woman wants to know what to do about a former neighbor, and her adopted children.

This concerned woman writes:

Im praying about this and wondered if I should say something to someone about a family we know who has adopted from Haiti. They have waited for 2 yrs. and will pick up their child next with a passport and the other one doesnt. They use to live across the street from us and I got to know the mom well. Her children played with mine sometimes til I saw these tendencies. She now has 4 of her own. After getting to know her, I realized that she wanted children as kind of a show off or that "cute" Christmas picture to show everyone how "good" she is, but on the side she is very controlling. She is very "religious" but with no personal growing relationship with our dear Lord Jesus. The children suffer. My children feared her and there was much condemnation or self righteousness. In our local town she has gone to grocery stores to get donations etc. and begged the community to help them adopt a year ago BEFORE the earthquake. She and her husband have been featured in our local paper several times and the picture of them that is taken is so insincere looking or fake. I believe that her husband does love the Lord but he is gone much of the time. She homeschools as well. Her 4 children are 10 and under and the children she has adopted are now 5 and 7. I feel so bad for these children. I know that there probably isnt anything we can do but thought I would pass this along.

Adoption agencies encourage paying PAP's to provide glowing prose and testimonies for a formal home study report.  Not surprisingly, many smart PAP's can provide just that. 

What about the neighbors, former house-mates, casual friends and co-workers who may have their own serious questions?  Are home-study specialists looking into those personal opinions?

Concerned woman

She doesn't say what state she lives in? But here are my thoughts on her observation.

Home School in it's self is no reason to be concerned. I home schooled my youngest son, not for religious reasons but for the sake of educational ones. He has mild CP and as a former special ed teacher, I knew public school would not give him the same educational exposure that mainstreaming or regular students, Not that I think public schools are that great anyway, they really do special ed students a disservice by over modifying the curriculum for them.

Her controlling personality, should be watched, closely,  "Her children played with mine sometimes til I saw these tendencies." Inviting her into your home or try to befriend her so she invites you to her home would be a good way to do that. If nothing else, invite her children to your house for play dates, If nothing else, it will allow you to asses their behavior and watch for signs of abuse, ask them how things are going at home, what they are learning in their school lessons, etc. Don't be afraid to ask how they hurt themselves if you see bruises. Watch for hesitations when they answer.

Being religious is not a sin, as for her "walk" or her "relationship" with God,,, That is such a personal subject. i would avoid making judgement on that. Only the Lord himself has the right to do that.

As for her condescending and self righteous ways. I have seen so much of that in "churched Christians" especially conservative fundamentalist, watch and observe. If she uses in a hurtful nature on the children, maybe someone should gently point it out to her, in a non threatening way. She may just be stressed out and not realize she is being hurtful. Some people feel they are being judged and in defense treat others the same way without even realizing it Pointing it out that her children are hurt by her tone, or the way she said something  may allow her to make positive adjustments. 

Calling CPS ahould be done only if there is clear evidense of abuse. The kids are under enough stress with the new adoptee's pending arrival and the new arrivals have enough to contend with overall.To involve CPS without solid proof will do nothng more then make it worse for all concerned.

Those kids are lucky to have her across the street watching and willing to act if needed. I wish there were more like her in this world!

"Touched By Adoption, With a Blowtorch "

home schooling and abuse

I see many problems with home schooling, to be honest. Best case scenario, a child gets much better education than is possible through either public or privates schools, worst case scenario, a child gets no education at all and is being locked inside the house to be abused, without anyone knowing about it.

Here is a list of children abused post placement, where the parents practiced home schooling, for as far as it was reported in the media:

The cases marked with '*' are cases where fundamentalist faith is known to have played a role in the abuse of the the children. The cases marked with '†' relate to large families adopting multiple children.

The problem with the right to home school is that parents who harm or abuse their children can fly under the radar of Child Protective Services. Teachers, nurses and doctors are mandated to report indications of abuse. Keeping children out of school and away from doctors, abusive parents can do to their children whatever they want. In the above list, the most serious cases of torture and starvation can be found, more than in any other subset of the abuse cases we collected. When looking at the combination home schooling and fundamentalist faith, the picture becomes even darker.

Home schooling may be a wonderful solution in some situations, but the right to do so contributes to the most gross and vile abuse of children known to man.

My child and home school

I can only speak for myself and my youngest son's experience with home school. I'm only trying to explain here not sell anyone on the idea...

While I can understand and see your point on how home school can be used to isolate and hide abuse,  Plus the job as your child's school teacher is not a job meant for just anybody. In our family's situation, he and I firmly believe it was the best choice,

I personally have a degree in Education with 2 yrs of Special Ed instruction I also taught HS Special Ed for 4 yrs in CT and 1 yr in FL. So as far as knowing something about the methodology of teaching, I was no stranger to the task,  

Add to that, we live in a tiny rural community, over 50 miles from the nearest private school, Our ISD just happens to be the worst school district in TX, we really had no other choice,

We used a combination of secular and Christian curriculum, adding bits and pieces from the Texas Dept of ED as needed. I personalized my sons lesson plans to his needs and his interests. We covered the basics of course then when he and I felt ready we tackled the more advanced areas. Algebra 2, Chemistry, Physics, Trig, Calculus and so forth. He also took duel credit courses online with Texas University.

Today at 24 he is in his Senior yr at Texas University, and made the Dean's list the 4 semesters in a row,(Sorry, just had to brag a bit .  

In the 8 yrs we home schooled i had the chance to meet many other home schooling families. And while there were a few that one had reason to question their motives, for the most part they were honestly doing what they felt best for their children.

Just as not all adopters abuse their adoptees; not all home schooling families abuse their children.

"Touched By Adoption, With a Blowtorch "


I totally agree with you.... I used to live next-door to a mother who home-schooled her three children, and it almost inspired me to do the same.  However, I know my limits and I'm not ashamed to admit, I think I'd make a lame school teacher, and I need time without the kids.  Unfortunately, for some people, school systems are so bad, home-schooling is seen as being the only safe alternative a concerned parent has.

I don't think Niels was suggesting all homeschoolers abuse.... I think he was showing just how dangerous some homes can be, and how not all home-schools are loving and safe.  We gotta remember, there are alot of nut-jobs out there... and some of the most dangerous attackers are the ones who don't look like they'd ever harm a fly, let alone a child.

I mentioned  the concerned former neighbor because I think she represents a voice/opinion many home study "specialists" may overlook when creating their final report.

The impression I got from the letter sent to me was simple:  this former neighbor couldn't believe this woman was allowed/approved to adopt again, after all the red flags she saw, herself.

It seems to me, PAP's are only required to list names/contacts who can offer positive recommendations.  Should "former neighbor concerns" be included in a home-study report... and if so, how can/should that be done?  

If a trained home-study specialist is working on behalf of a child's future interest, shouldn't that worker be required to dig beneath an all favorable surface?


you woulg assume they would,

you woulg assume they would, but more thqn not now days some don;t think that far ahead

"Touched By Adoption, With a Blowtorch "

That reminds me. I was

That reminds me. I was attending a workshop on grant writing and just happened to sit next to a young social worker. During a break we started talking, She had just accepted a job at Aunt Edna's home for young girls. Of course the subject started on adoption and when lunch time came about we went dutch. Boy did she get an awakening. I hope I didn;t scare her off, but was she clueless.Ah, to be 2 again,,,lol 

"Touched By Adoption, With a Blowtorch "

homeschooling and abuse

Not all of those cases of abuse were *because of* homeschooling. For example in Adam Hermann's case, it was the state that was not doing it's job. That he was homeschooled made it worse, but it was a secondary factor.  If the state had been doing it's job, he would have been removed from that home early on or never put into it.

The Jr High/HS I went to was an academically gifted magnet school in a major East Coast city. The teachers were the cream of the crop - many teachers wanted to work there.  One of the most beloved teachers was having sex with jr high aged girls for more than 10 years before it was discovered. Schools are not any safer than your average home.

Yes, there are abusive people and some will use homeschooling to hide it, but what about all the pedophiles and crazies who have jobs in schools? Are children safe in our schools?

Job requirements

 If the state had been doing it's job, he would have been removed from that home early on or never put into it.

Yes, if people were doing there job, children will be removed early, or not be placed in abusive homes, in the first place.

Consider what is written about Mathew Mancuso and the people paid to a) conduct a home study and b) place a child through adoption.

…[A] home study completed by an approved agency shall include a recommendation regarding the suitability of the home for the placement of the child…

21. A reasonable and objective review of the home study performed by Adiago reveals that not only had Mancuso not been in a stable and supportive relationship with another person, let alone a child, for years, the last personal relationship ended in divorce whereby he became estranged from his own biological daughter. Yet, this man was specifically seeking the adoption of a 5 year old girl under the auspices that he could provide a stable family relationship and family environment for her.

22. Despite the red flags in Mr. Mancuso’s home study, FTIA and/or ROTIA failed to perform any investigation into Mr. Mancuso or the veracity of the information he supplied. At no time did FTIA investigate Mancuso’s fitness to adopt a child or question the reasonableness of the information contained in the home study report.

23. On or about January 26, 1998, Mancuso sent FTIA a written letter as to why he wanted to adopt as well as reference letters including one that he forged from his own daughter Rachel Mancuso Byers. In Mr. Mancuso’s letter, he writes,

“it became clear to me that I really need the day to day routine and family to make my life complete. I then began investigating the possibility of adopting.”

24. At no time did FTIA, Jeannene Smith, or subsequently ROTIA question Mancuso as to why he sought to create a family through the adoption of a 5 year old girl. and not by the customary means of dating, marriage and procreation. At no time did FTIA, Jeannene Smith, or subsequently ROTIA question the reasonableness of why a single man who had been divorced over 11 years with no evidence that he had engaged in a stable relationship with another person during that 11 year period, needed to create a family with a 5 year old girl.

25. Despite the red flags, FTIA, Jeannene Smith, and subsequently ROTIA failed to investigate or otherwise determine the veracity of Mr. Mancuso’s statement.

26. At no time did FTIA, ROTIA or Smith contact the Mancuso’s birth daughter to determine the veracity of the forged reference letter.

27. Although FTIA was not the agency that ultimately placed the minor plaintiff with Mancuso, FTIA facilitated the adoption process and at no time acted on the red flags evident in Mancuso’s efforts to adopt a young girl.

[From:  Masha Allen v. FTIA et al ]

No one acted on red flags.


The difference: isolation

The difference I see between the right of abusers to home school without any oversight and pedophiles working in schools is that the latter takes place in the public arena where discovery/protection is possible, while the former hides children completely from society.

Schools are not any safer than homes are, but at least in schools there is the possibility of finding out what is going on. Your example shows that teachers can get away with their actions for ten years, still it could have been discovered. The girls involved could have told their parents, could have told a school nurse, or another teacher. For someone like Dominick Diehl there was no one who could have prevented his ordeal, there was no one he could turn to.

When children are handed over to abusers who keep them from being part of society, they live in complete isolation with their abuser, much like someone who is been kidnapped. The same sort of isolation doesn't take place when teachers take advantage of their pupils. In those situations a child at least has a chance of seeking help. For children of abusive home schoolers, there is no one they can turn to.

re Isolation

I see your point, that a homeschooled child who is abused has less options than a schooled child who is abused, because they'd have less access to other people (though average un-abused homeschoolers who are not being "hidden" do have lots and lots of contact with other people). But let's not also forget that there is psychological isolation, via threats and scare tactics, which can occur to anyone regardless of their social network.  Homeschooling is not the problem in iteself - abusive people, homeschooling or not, should not be permitted to adopt a child. 

We homeschool -secular, atheist - there are quite a few of us but we're probably not as vocal as the fundamentalist crowd. Most people who homeschool do so because we like our kids, like being around them, and want them to have a better education than a school can offer. Most homeschoolers are very social, contrary to popular opinion. Schools cannot meet every child's needs, and many children fall through the cracks. I don't understand blaming homeschooling for cases where a child should never have been put into a home in the first place, and the state did not do their job vetting the APs or checking on them post-adoption. Yes, homeschooling would make an abuse case potentially worse - but kids should be prevented from being in that situation in the first place. That is the real problem, not homeschooling.

ETA - Neils, I know you are not saying that all homeschoolers are abusers, however I felt the need to stick up for those of us that homeschool because we want the best for our kids. You make a good argument for more oversight. Again, thanks for maintaining this amazing resource.

Homeschool abuse

No, not all are abusers. No group of people is "all" anything.

But homeschool sure is a convenient hideaway for those who are. Not to mention the enormous potential for indoctrination with no peer interaction/blunted social development.

Not a good mix in an abusive household. This is WHY the whackjob Christians homeschool.

If I had to be homeschooled on top of the rest of the physical, psychological, emotional, verbal and mental violence of my aparents, I certainly would have found myself running onto a freeway traffic as a teen. As if I didn't already contemplate that option enough as it was.

Pound Pup Legacy