Becoming Licensed to Parent...Literally

So we’re working on our home study.

We have chosen an agency here in ND to go through. Because there were only two to choose from, it wasn’t that hard of a decision. The agency we didn’t choose required us to wait until March to take a 2-day weekday class we would have needed to attend before starting the whole process. But if that class didn’t fill up we would have needed to wait until June to take it. Waiting five months for the class and then the additional three it takes to complete the actual home study was anything but appealing to us. Luckily the agency we chose allows us to start right away with no all-day classes required.

So what does a ‘home study’ entail? Well first off, it should really be called a ‘people-study’. A social worker will only come to our house once just to make sure there aren’t any obvious safety issues before bringing a child home. The rest of it is finding out as much about the people as possible. Joe and I need to complete the following to finish the home study:

-Application: This involves basic demographic info as well as listing property owned, insurance held, all of our financial info and monthly expenses, physical descriptions for both of us as well as pictures, why we want to adopt, 7 references, questions about any legal trouble, and autobiographical info about each of our parents as well as all of Joe’s siblings and their spouses.

-local background check

-state background check

-FBI background check

-Child Abuse and Neglect Address History check

-Temperament Analysis

-Physician’s Report (we each need to have a physical done)

Each of us also has to complete an autobiography as well as a 70 question packet that includes questions like:

  • What 3 words come to mind when you think of your father? Your mother? Describe your relationship with them growing up.

  • What was your relationship with your siblings?

  • What kinds of things intimidate you?

  • Who makes the decisions in your marriage?

  • What would cause you to consider divorcing your spouse?

  • What kinds of discipline will you use?

  • What are your biggest fears as a parent?

  • Describe your personal beliefs and faith.

  • How do you feel about your child possibly searching for their birthparents when they reach 18?

We will then have 2-3 in-office visits with a social worker as well as one home visit. Once all of that is completed, the social worker will write up her report stating if she believes we are good candidates to be adoptive parents or not.

If we pass the home study and become active and able to be shown to birth mothers, the home study needs to be updated yearly if a child doesn’t come home to us within that year. Once a child does come home to us, a social worker will come to our house once a month until the adoption in finalized through the courts (usually about 6 months). These visits are to make sure the child is doing well, is safe, making sure we’re all adjusting well. Imagine if a social worker met with every family for 6 months after they brought a baby home from the hospital…

I won’t lie, looking at the checklists and the stacks of paperwork we have to fill out right now is daunting and feels unfair most of the time. But I can say that we’re starting to feel like we can maybe almost possibly see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are close to having the remaining $11,500 agency fee saved up. Once that is paid to Lifetime Adoption, we can be shown to birth mothers!! To think that mamas out there could be flipping through our profile in just a few shorts months is so exciting. In a phone call with our consultant a month or so ago we learned that we have the perfect storm of qualities working in our favor: Joe being a teacher and a coach, I also work in a school, and me being adopted. She said these are the main things birthmothers ask for almost daily when looking for a family.

Our profile book and website and video is a whole different story for another time, but we’re chipping away at it. We have a lot to do still, but the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, right?

Please feel free to share our story with friends and family. You never may be heard by someone considering placing a child for adoption! <3 We so appreciate you following along on our adoption journey. Stay tuned!

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