Adoption Home Study: Becoming Legally Approved To Adopt


The adoption home study is the process where a licensed home study provider (typically an adoption agency) educates, prepares and evaluates the adoptive family to make sure there is a good match between a child’s needs and the family’s ability to meet those needs. Every family in the U.S. who plans to adopt is required to complete a home study.

What is included in an adoption home study and the requirements of the process are different from state to state and from country to country (with international adoptions). As such, there is no single format that providers use to conduct home studies.

Here are the most common parts of a home study you can expect.

Parts of an Adoption Home Study

  • Informational meeting

This is where prospective adoptive families meet with the home study provider, who will explain their process and answer any questions the family may have.

  • Training

Many states require training which the adoptive parents must complete before or during the home study process. The training is meant to help adoptive parents understand what type of child they could parent most effectively as well as many adoption related issues, such as the needs of children they will adopt.

  • Interviews

This is where adoptive parents will meet face to face with a social worker in the home study provider’s office. There may be multiple interviews, where the provider will ask questions that are very personal but are meant to find out who you are as a couple, as individuals, and as potential parents.

  • Home visits

These are to ensure that the adoptive parent’s home is a safe place for a child and meets the state requirements (such as adequate space, functioning smoke alarms, safe storage of chemicals and firearms. Generally, the home study provider is not inspecting how tidy the home is, but rather how the adoptive parents plan to accommodate a new member of the family. The home should offer a safe, comfortable, and child friendly environment.

  • Background checks & documentation

States require criminal and child abuse record checks. Adoptive parents may need to get fingerprints taken, provide current health records, and give details regarding their financial resources. Other examples of required documentation include: birth certificates, marriage license, and character references from friends/family members. Each state can have different requirements for background checks and documentation.

Additional information about the adoption home study can be found at: