The home study is an important part of the process for many adoptions. Depending on the type of adoption or adoption professional you choose, you may be required to do a home study using an Oregon-licensed home study provider. Be patient, as the home study can be a time-consuming process. Understanding what the home study involves, what information you will need to provide, and what you can expect during the home visit and interviews, will help ensure that you are well-prepared and that you avoid any surprises that could result in unnecessary stress and/or delay.
Who will conduct the home study?
The home study and placement report will be completed by an adoption agency licensed by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).
What will the home study be looking for?
The goal of the adoption home study is to ensure that prospective adoptive parents are prepared for adoption, emotionally, financially, and mentally. The home inspection will will done to make sure you have taken basic health and safety precautions to provide a safe environment for a child, such as:
- Gated stairs
- Covered electrical outlets
- Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Toxic substances like chemicals, cleaners, and medicines stored away from a child’s reach
- Fenced off pools, ponds
To be approved for a DHS adoption, a prospective adoptive parent must have a home study recommending him or her as a potential adoptive resource. The parent(s) must meet the department’s standards for adoptive homes by demonstrating the knowledge, skills, and ability to meet, without agency oversight, the current and lifelong needs of the child for all of the following:
- Physical and emotional safety and well-being
- Developing and maintaining connections to the child’s family
- Continuity and familiarity
- Appropriate social, educational, developmental, emotional, and physical support
- Integration into the family
- Stability and permanency
- Maintaining his or her identity, cultural, religious, and spiritual heritage
How should I prepare for the home study?
An Oregon adoption home study involves two components: submitting your documents; and completing your in-home visits and interview with your home study professional. A checklist can help you prepare for the process and ensure that it goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. An adoption application may include the following:
- Financial information, current within 12 months of application, demonstrating your ability to meet the needs of your family and the adopted child
- Medical information current within 24 months of application
- When applicable, mental health information
- When applicable, a copy of a marriage certificate, divorce verification, or death certificate of spouse
- Consent to a criminal offender information records check for each applicant and all household members age 18 and older
- Consent to a child abuse and neglect background check for each adoptive applicant and all household members age 18 and older
- Names and contact information for four references, two of whom may be relatives of the applicant, who can attest to your character and ability to provide safe and protective care for a child
The family interviews will cover a range of topics, including your feelings about adoption, your parenting techniques, and how you plan to talk about adoption within your family. Under Oregon law, the adoptive applicant and anyone else in the household who is 18 years or older will be included in the investigation and study.
Upon completion of the adoption home study, a report will be issued. The study will present your story in a biographical format and will ultimately qualify or disqualify the home study. It will incorporate some or all of the following information:
- Documentation provided
- Autobiographical statements and personal interviews of the adoptive family
- Adoptive parents’ childhood experiences, hobbies, education and employment, as well as their own parents’ backgrounds and the values they instilled in their children to help them become successful parents
- The adoptive parents’ motivations and attitudes toward adoption, as well as their readiness to adopt
What are the possible reasons my adoption application may be denied?
It is very important to be completely honest and open during the home study process. Adoption applications may be denied where prospective parents omit or falsity information. Other reasons an adoption application may be denied include:
- The applicant cannot meet adoption home standards.
- You have had a license or certificate to provide services to children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities that has previously been or is currently being denied, revoked, or suspended.
- You fail to respond to the inquiries and requests for information within the timelines established by the department.
- You fail to submit the required application information.
- A conviction for any crime or a false statement about a conviction for any crime may disqualify you from being approved as an adoptive parent.
How An Oregon Adoption Attorney Can Help
If you need assistance with an adoption in Oregon we welcome you to contact us. We serve clients throughout Oregon and are experienced in all types and aspects of adoption.