A PROFESSIONAL HOME STUDY REPORT IS REQUIRED BEFORE A FAMILY CAN ADOPT A CHILD INTERNATIONALLY OR FROM ANYWHERE IN THE U.S.
As a child placing/adoption agency licensed in the State of Arizona and Hague Accredited, our home study reports satisfy the legal requirements for the State of Arizona, domestic adoptions in other states, international adoptions, and all out-of-state adoption agencies coordinating child placements.
Our goal is to make the home study a positive experience and to support you in becoming adoptive parents. We offer resource materials, pre- and post-placement adoption counseling, and personal support.
PLEASE NOTE: Building Arizona Families does not provide contract home study services for families adopting independently or through facilitators. Families who are adopting internationally must be working with a Hague Accredited agency or Hague Accredited attorney.
HOW THE PROCESS WORKS
The State of Arizona requires that your home study social worker spend at least 4 hours with you face-to-face during a minimum of 2 visits. At least 2 of these hours must be spent in your home.
During this process, adoptive parents will need to provide:
- Court Issued Birth Certificates
- Court Issued Marriage Licenses and Divorce Decrees
- Previous Year’s Tax Return
- 5 Letters of Reference (2 from family, 3 from friends)
- An Autobiography
- CPS Clearance
- Fingerprint Clearance
- Adoption Education
BUILDING A HOME STUDY
Home studies are mandatory for every adoptive family in the United States whether they are adopting a child domestically or internationally.
Adoptive families are asked to complete an autobiography. An Autobiography includes the story of your life as well as items such as childhood experiences, family relationships, marriages, infertility experience, employment status, and so forth.
Adoptive families are required to complete adoption education. For Interstate adoptions a family must complete 30 hours of MAPPS training. BAF requires all international adoption families to complete ten hours adoption education. You may chose Adoption Education LLC:www.adoptioneducation.com Or Heart of the Matter Seminars: All Course
BAF will accept another agency’s adoption training requirements for international adoptions providing it meets our ten hour requirement.
Medical examinations are required to safeguard the safety of the child being brought into the home and to establish the physical condition of the adoptive parents. The goal of the medical examine is to ensure the family is in good general health, have normal life expediencies, and are able to physically and mentally care for a child.
Background Records Check
All adoptive families must undergo some type of criminal and/or child abuse background check. Our agency will provide you with the necessary forms and information on submitting the background checks to the appropriate state or federal agency.
Financial records are required to make sure that adoptive families can manage their current finances and to insure that adding another family member will not put them in financial duress. Items requested will include copies of tax records, insurance policies, bank statements, mortgage/rent payments, bankruptcy records, etc.
References are a mandatory and very important part of your home study. Typically, reference letters are collected from some of the following: employees, bosses, personal friends, neighbors, clergy, and family members. References are used to assess the adoptive family’s desire and fitness to parent a child.
Two interviews will be required with the agency conducting the home study. At least one of these interviews will take place in your home. The personal interviews are meant to explore the family’s decision to adopt and to make sure that their home is adequately prepared to receive a child. It is important to be yourself and to share openly with the social worker.
When we visit your home for your personal interview we will also address specific items with regards to the home itself. If you have pets, guns, medications, chemicals, or a pool, proper safety procedures will need to be established to satisfy the requirements of the state.
Religious beliefs included in your home study will be at your discretion.
Racial integration is explored when a family is adopting a child of a different race. The Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) prohibits race as a consideration to delay or deny an adoption. In the case of interracial adoptions, however, certain dynamics are explored to fully educate and prepare the family. The home study process discusses the issue of race to help the family prepare for the social and cultural issues associated with interracial adoptions.
If you have other children living in the home, and they are old enough, we will need to interview them as well. We will want to explore your child’s reaction to having an adopted sibling in the home. The interview is standard practice and should not be cause for concern by the parents.
As a prospective adoptive family, you will be required to gather certain documents for your home study. These documents are necessary to legally establish your identity and personal history for the courts. The documents may include some (or all) of the following:
- Birth Certificate(s) – if you do not already have a birth certificate you may order one from Bureau of Vital Statistics in the state you were born. The Bureau of Vital Statistics is typically located in the capital city of the state.
- Marriage License – (if applicable) contact the County Clerk where your marriage took place.
- Divorce Decree(s) – (if applicable) contact the County Clerk where the decree was issued.
- Military Discharge(s) – (if applicable)
- Latest Income Tax Return
- Employment Verification – this is usually completed by having your employer(s) write a letter on company letterhead stating position, salary, length of employment, and that you are in good standing with the company. If one spouse does not work, a statement to that effect is usually required.
- Insurance Verification -having your insurance company write a letter stating when they will begin covering your child (i.e., time of relinquishment, transfer of custody, or when you take your child home) will help you plan your adoption finances and have a written record in case there are discrepancies at the time of placement. Have them include your insurance verification numbers on the letter.