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How can I prepare for an adoption home study?

Adoptive and foster parents must go through many steps before they can welcome children into their homes. The home study is a crucial part of the process, as you and your spouse will be rigorously vetted to ensure you're fully prepared to take on child-rearing responsibilities. Because the process can be a bit intimidating, AdoptUSKids.org offers the following information to help you prepare. 

You and your spouse will be asked for certain documents during the home study. Documents detailing your health and wellness are necessary to ensure you'll be able to provide care to your child for as long as possible. Health issues don't necessarily exclude you from adopting, provided that they're well controlled. More serious illnesses or diseases, meaning those that may cause premature death, could be a cause for concern. In this case, adoptive parents are often asked to establish an estate plan that arranges for the adopted child to be properly cared for in the event the adoptive parent is deceased. 

Home study social workers will also look over your financial standing. You must have a sufficient income to make certain all of your child's material needs are met. That doesn't mean that low to middle-income parents will be denied the adoption, but if you're struggling financially it may not be in your best interest to bring a child into your life. Keep in mind that families who adopt from foster care will receive funding to help with child-rearing duties. If you're going through a private adoption agency, costs will be your responsibility.

Finally, references are requested so the social worker can get an idea of the stability of your life and marriage. Referrals must be from people who aren't related to you, such as friends, co-workers, teachers, or members of the clergy. You usually have to provide at least four references, although the number can be higher or lower depending on where you live. When submitting references, be sure to include the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all individuals, and let them know they'll be contacted by a social worker soon. 

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