The decision to pursue adoption at a site like http://www.achildsdream.org is the beginning of an exciting, yet sometimes terrifying journey for families who want to experience the joy of parenthood for the first time or add another child to their existing family. But the road to adoption can be difficult.
Not only must normal preparations for the new family member be made, such as preparing a nursery and purchasing clothing and furniture, parents who wish to adopt may also have to deal with complicated legal issues and meet rigid guidelines and standards, such as a home evaluation. Additional details about home study process supplied by the United States Department of Health and Human Services is available here.
What Must a Home Offer to be Suitable for Adoption
Usually performed by a qualified social worker, the home evaluation is designed to ensure that a child will be safe and properly cared for in the home environment of the prospective adoptive parents. To meet basic qualifications, the home must offer:
- a clean, healthy environment that meets all the basic needs of the child
- adequate living space with proper facilities for sleeping, bathing and meals
- a safe environment with no potential hazards to the health of the child
Checklist of Conditions That Will Be Documented During the Average Home Study
While your home does not have to be a sterile, perfectly furnished environment, it is wise to make sure that the following conditions are met before the evaluation of your home takes place, including:
- ensuring that any pools or water features are properly secured
- ensuring that nearby bodies of water, including ponds, rivers and oceans are not accessible to the child
- ensuring that hot tap water temperatures are adjusted to prevent accidental scalding
- ensuring that the home is outfitted with proper smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- ensuring that the home has been outfitted with adequate fire extinguishers
- ensuring that no pest infestations exist that would endanger the health and safety of the child, including insects and rodents
- ensuring that any medications and alcohol kept in the home are not accessible to the child
- ensuring that cleaning compounds and other chemicals are secured safely away from the child
- ensuring that the home is in good repair with adequate roofing, siding, windows, doors and flooring
- ensuring that the basic systems of the home are safe and adequate for a child, including the plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems
- ensuring that staircases have adequate hand rails
- ensuring that there are no obvious hazards, such improper electrical cords, materials that could cause choking or conditions that would result in tripping or falling
If you can have these basic items covered before the social worker arrives to do the physical evaluation of your home, it will help you feel more prepared for the remainder of the process. If the social worker finds that some of these conditions are not yet adequate, they will be able to advise you on what to do to correct the situation and will likely schedule another evaluation to verify the correction at a later date.
Retain Your Sense of Family When Preparing the Home
As the social worker inspects your home, they will want to also see evidence of a happy, healthy family who can provide the best possible environment for the adoptive child. Leaving family photos, keepsakes and other possessions on display that provide a glimpse into the personalities of the family will help the social worker to become better acquainted with each family member.
Do Not Become Discouraged
Remember that even though the adoption process can be grueling, it is designed to ensure that each child is placed in a home where they will be safe and well-loved. The licensed adoption agency that you choose to work with will welcome the opportunity to assist you throughout the process. By working together, adoptive children are able to experience the love and nurturing environment that comes from being part of a loving family and will be better able to achieve their full potential in life.