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Adopting a child in Georgia: the home study

Preparing for the home study may help potential adoptive parents clear the paths for making their families whole.

Home study. Two words that often draw uncertainty and dread into the hearts and minds of potential adoptive parents and families. An essential part of the process in Georgia, as well as other states throughout the U.S., the outcome of the home study commonly determines whether a family may provide a good match for the needs of a child.

Understanding the purpose of the home study and what to expect from the process often helps families put their best feet forward in gaining consideration as adoptive placements.

What is a home study?

The home study is a written report completed by an approved professional. An assessment of prospective adoptive parents and families, the home study generally includes interviews, a home visit and training for parents. Such studies aim to evaluate the suitability of potential parents, as well as to educate those seeking to adopt. Through the home study, evaluators may assess whether a family can best meet the needs of the child placed with them.

Who is involved in the home study?

The home study will primarily focus on potential parents. However, assessors will need to see, and likely speak with, all the family members. Home studies in the state include all those in the adoptive child’s prospective household, regardless of their ages.

How can families prepare for the home study?

Going into the home study process, taking certain steps may help potential families prepare. Before deciding to adopt, people generally have numerous, intense discussions with their significant others. When preparing for the home study, some benefit from rediscussing or having new conversations about important questions that may come up during their interviews. For instance, this may include talking about why they want to adopt? What type of adoption do they want? Do they have preferences regarding age or gender? Do they feel able to handle a child with special needs?

The home study, and often the adoption process, requires various types of documentation. The documents people may need include the following:

  • Birth certificates for all household members
  • Marriage certificates
  • Employment and income verification
  • Proof of health and life insurance
  • Criminal background records
  • Written references

Gathering these documents and making copies ahead of time may help the process go more smoothly.

What are the results of home studies?

Within 60 days of last contact with the professional conducting the home study, people will receive approval decisions. No more than 10 days after that, potential parents will receive written notice of the determination. If they did not receive approval, the notice will provide detailed reasoning for the decision.

Home studies do not seek to identify perfect parents. Rather, such evaluations help ensure that prospective families get matched with the right children. Preparing for the home study may help ensure the process goes smoothly and expedite the ultimate goal – bringing kids home to families that will love and care for them.