The home study is one of the most significant aspects of the adoption process in Tennessee. Over the span of about three to six months, on average, a social worker will meet with you (and your partner, if applicable), sometimes at his or her office and at least once in your own home, for a series of interviews. The social worker will then compile all the findings into a written report.
In addition to the social worker’s written observations, the home study will also include documentation that it is your responsibility to furnish. Parents Magazine describes the most common requirements.
The social worker will ask for references from people who know you well. These can include neighbors, coworkers, employers and close family friends. The social worker will get in contact with the references you provide via phone or letter. The questions the social worker will ask are those that you have already answered about yourself.
- Statements on your health and income
You do not need to be wealthy to adopt, but you do need to be responsible for your finances and demonstrate the ability to provide for a child. You may need to undergo a physical exam in addition to providing information about your health history. A serious health condition could affect your ability to adopt if it decreases your life expectancy, but a condition that is well controlled and under a doctor’s care should not pose an insurmountable obstacle.
- An autobiographical statement
Adoption agencies want to know about the personal background of prospective adoptive parents, and an autobiographical statement allows you to help those assisting you with the adoption to get to know you. Your statement can include employment history, marital status, education level, hobbies and interests, etc. The agency will probably inform you of the type of information it wants.
- Criminal background check
This involves filling out a form so that authorities can check if you have a criminal record or history of child abuse. It may help your case to be able to provide an honest explanation of what happened. Nevertheless, the more serious a past charge is (i.e., a felony versus a misdemeanor or charges involving drugs or child endangerment), the more likely it is to prevent you from adopting.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.