Adoptive Home Study
All prospective adoptive parents must undergo an adoptive home study. The purpose of the adoptive home study is to evaluate whether parents are qualified to adopt. The process involves education and preparation as well as the gathering of information about the prospective parents. There seems to be a lot of things to do in this process but it is designed to insure that children receive the best possible homes. A Place Called Hope (APCH) will help you step by step through the process.
An adoptive home study includes:
- Application. Provided by the agency.
- Preparation classes. You are required to take 30 hours of Pre-service Training (and a First Aid/CPR and Blood Born Pathogens course to become a licensed foster parent). The Licenser from A Place Called Hope can help you find trainings.
- Criminal history background check: Organized through your licenser, it must be completed on every person over the age of 16 residing in the home. It includes Child abuse and criminal clearances. This is part of the criminal history background check and will be organized through your APCH Licenser and the DLR Regional Licenser.
- Personal information. There is a DSHS form (Unified Home Study Guide) used to help your licenser with information about you. There is no right or wrong answer; this is just a way for the APCH licenser to get to know you.
Following is a general outline of what to expect, but your licensor will provide you with more detailed questions:
- Family Facts (birth place, parents, etc)
- Employment history/military service
- Values, goals, interests, and activities
- Cultural background
- Others living with you
- Experience with Children
The detailed list of questions can be found on-line under UNIFIED HOME STUDY GUIDE
Medical statements on persons adopting.
This is a confidential form that your physician will fill out regarding current and historic medical conditions. Your adoption worker will provide you with the form.
A worksheet is provided to you by your social worker that will ask for information on the following topics:
- Bank accounts
- References. 4 references (only 1 can be a relative). References are generally used to get a picture of a family from an outsider. A questionnaire asking specific questions must be filled out by your references. Your social worker will send the questionnaire directly to your references.
Contacts with Licenser.
At least 4 contacts will be made with your licensor and one must be in the family home to better understand your lifestyle and family dynamics. Issues discussed (per RCW 26.33.190) at these visits will include:
- The concept of adoption as a lifelong developmental process and commitment
- The potential for the child to have feelings of identity confusion and loss regarding separation from the birth parents
- Disclosure of the fact of adoption to the child
- The child's possible questions about birth parents and relatives
- The relevance of the child's racial, ethnic, and cultural heritage
Documentation of marriages and divorces (copy of decrees).
For information on obtaining marriage and divorce certificates, contact the Washington State Department of Health.
Home Study Approval
The home study has to be approved to continue with the adoption process. The length of time from the last contact with the Licenser to approving the home study varies, but the agency goal is to have it completed within 90 days.
Washington Adoption Resource Exchange (WARE)
Once the home study is approved, A Place Called Hope will register you with the Washington Adoption Resource Exchange (WARE). If you don't already have a child in your home, this service will enable other social workers to see that there is a family with an approved home study waiting for a child.