Adoption Home Study Services
- Home Study – Wasatch Adoptions provides both domestic and international home study services for families who desire to adopt. A professional Licensed Clinical Social Worker will complete your home study assessment. The timeline for the completion of a home study is approximately 12 weeks. Our social workers are familiar and knowledgeable with the requirements of USCIS and foreign countries around the world. Cost of a domestic home study is $1,000. The cost of an international home study is $1,500. Surcharges for mileage (not to exceed $75.00) or a $25/hour travel fee for social workers who travel for more than an hour may be added.
- Home Study Update – If your circumstances have changed since your original home study was completed our social workers can complete an update to your home study. If you require a home study update, you will be assigned one of our experienced social workers who know exactly what is required for USCIS and for the State of Utah. Home study updates are usually completed within 30 days after contacting Wasatch Adoptions with your request. Cost of a home study update is between $350 and $600, depending on the circumstances.
- Post Adoption/Post Placement Reports – Wasatch Adoptions provides post-adoption and post-placement service for families who have adopted internationally or domestically. All international follow-up reports provided will follow the format required by the foreign government and assessments for domestic adoptions will follow the format of the State of Utah. There is an additional fee if the social worker or an agency representative is required to make a court appearance or if our agency prepares an ICPC for a domestic adoption. Cost of post placements is $350 per visit per child. Please contact our office for the cost of filling out an ICPC or an appearance in court.
- Hague Parenting Training – Training part of the service offered to all adopting families using Wasatch Adoptions as their placing agency. Wasatch Adoptions provides a parenting manual for all clients. A minimum of twelve hours of instruction is provided to all adoptive families, and the subjects deal with the issues surrounding international adoption. Once the training is completed, Wasatch Adoptions will provide a Certificate of Completion to adopting families. There is a $250 fee for the parent training if you are not working with Wasatch Adoptions as your placing agency or your home study agency.
- Crisis Intervention – Wasatch Adoptions provides crisis intervention for all families using any of our services. One of our Licensed Clinical Social Workers will provide crisis intervention for families experiencing problems after the placement of a child. If issues cannot be resolved but seem to be long-term, our social workers will assist the family to find private long-term counseling within the community.
Have You Begun Your Home Study?
This is one of the first questions anyone considering adoption will most likely be asked. Some adoptive parents don’t know what a home study is, others may have questions on how to get started, and others may have already begun the home study process. No matter which category you fall into, a home study is a very important first step of the adoption process. Often times families are not sure how or where to find someone who can conduct a home study on their behalf. A home study for an international adoption must be completed by a licensed social worker who is working for a Hague accredited agency in the state in which the prospective adoptive family lives. A list of Hague accredited agencies listed by state can be found by going to this link:
Why is a home study an important first step? Many families see information about an available child on our blog or other advocacy sites, fall in love with the child, and decide they want to immediately adopt that child. What families need to know is that if they do not have a completed and approved home study they cannot adopt. Deciding to adopt a specific child before you are home study ready is like ‘putting the cart before the horse’. WIA always puts the child first, but we are still concerned about the adoptive parents and the positive outcomes for every adoption. During the home study process, your social worker will help you explore and consider things like the age and gender of the child you would like to adopt as well as being prepared for realistic expectations regarding the child to be adopted so that your adoption does turn out well. A home study is not meant to be scary but is meant to be a helpful process to ensure both the adoptive parents and the child have the best possible outcome.
Sometimes the need to have a home study can create unnecessary worry and stress. Once you understand what happens during the home study process, a home study should not be a stressful experience. The time our social workers spend with you during the home study interviews is used to get acquainted with you as individuals so we can best serve you through the adoption process. The home study normally consists of 4 face to face interviews, and these interviews often times are scheduled as home visits. When home visits for these interviews are scheduled, you can talk with our social workers in comfortable and familiar surroundings, hopefully making the interviews less worrisome. There are particular things our social worker will want to talk about during the home study interviews. The topics will be things such as:
- Your Marriage (if you are a married couple) – The social worker will ask you about your marriage relationship. It is important that a married couple has a stable marriage, a loving and supportive relationship and has been married long enough to establish this type of relationship. Wasatch Adoptions requires that all couples applying to adopt a child be married for at least one year before beginning the adoption process. The social worker will also ask you questions about how you resolve problems that arise between the two of you, and how you handle stress, weaknesses, strengths, and other aspects of your marriage. A strong and stable marriage is crucial when a couple is considering adoption and parenthood.
If you are a Single Mother, the social worker will ask you questions about your relationship with the people you are currently dating as well as any long-term relationships you have had with a male friend.
- Health – in order to adequately parent a child, it is important that you be in good health and able to meet the physical demands of parenthood. You will also be asked to provide a current letter from your physician stating you are in good physical health with a normal life expectancy.
- Religious/Spiritual Beliefs – Many birth parents want to place their child in a family that practices a specific religion while other birth parents may not have any religious preference. When our social worker asks you to discuss your religious and spiritual beliefs and views please be assured that we do not discriminate on the basis of religion. This information is used only as a tool and will enable us to make a match of a child that fits the birth parents’ desires.
- Parenting and Discipline Style – Our social workers will also ask you to discuss your parenting and discipline styles and any influential childhood experiences as you were growing up that may affect the way you will handle problems encountered with your child. Will you use time outs when your child needs discipline, do you believe spanking is okay – just how do you plan to handle the discipline for your child when situations arise that need discipline? How do you feel about physical affection towards your child – do you plan to hug and kiss often, or do you have a more subdued approach to physical affection? These are the types of questions you will be asked about parenting and disciplining children.
- Lifestyle – What do you like to do for fun and recreation? Do you travel often? Do you have a hobby? How will your child fit in with your lifestyle?
- Support System – It is important to have a good support system in place while going forward with the adoption process. Does your extended family support your decision to adopt a child? How about your friends – do they know about your plans to adopt a child and are they supportive? If you adopt a child of a different ethnic or racial background can the people you have around you as a support system accept the child? Will this be an issue for those you depend on for help and support?
- Home/Neighborhood – Your home should have enough space to accommodate the adopted child. The child cannot share a bedroom with the adoptive parents, but if you have other children, your adopted child can share a room but must have his or her own bed. The home must be clean and comfortable, but above all must be safe. The neighborhood should have enough space for your child to explore and grow. Schools should be accessible and it might be a good idea to find out what school your child will eventually attend.
- Financial Stability – Although you don’t need to be rich in order to adopt a child, you do need to be financially stable and able to afford to provide for an adopted child. Wasatch Adoptions will require a financial form detailing your current financial situation and a copy of the last 3 years of your tax returns. We also require a statement from your employer detailing how long you have been in your current job and verification of your salary.
- Background Checks – Your social worker will also ask you and everyone living in your home to complete a criminal background form. These criminal background verifications are required by law in every state. It can take some time for the state to check criminal background records, so it’s important that these forms be filled out at the beginning of the home study process. Wasatch Adoptions cannot release a home study and begin the adoption process until the background checks are all completed and returned to our office.
You don’t have to worry about having expensive furniture, beautiful rooms in your home, or being clean to the extreme. A comfortable, reasonably clean home is free of hazards, safe, and a loving atmosphere. What you should keep in mind is that our social workers are trying to ensure that you are emotionally stable and financially capable of rearing and providing for the needs of the adopted child. Completing a home study is just one of the things necessary in order to complete an adoption. It’s not scary, and it shouldn’t be stressful. We will do our best to make this a comfortable and enjoyable experience for you!
U.S. Citizens Living Abroad
Wasatch International Adoptions has assisted many military families and families living and working abroad with the adoption of children from our international adoption and Second Chance for Children adoption programs. If you are temporarily living overseas, are married and at least one spouse is a U.S. citizen, or if you are single and a U.S. citizen, WIA can help you.
How Do I Find a Social Worker to Complete My Home Study?
Our overseas social worker, Gerald Bowman, LCSW, ACSW, resides in Munich, Germany, and is licensed in the states of Utah and Virginia. He is also licensed in the Republic of Ireland, is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and is and is recognized as a Depl. Sozial Padagoge in Germany. He has lived in Munich for over 35 years and has completed hundreds of home studies for families serving in the military and U.S. families temporarily living abroad. He is willing to travel around the world to provide home study and post-placement services. Visit his website for more information – www.geraldbowman.de.