How to Begin an Adoption - Home Study Overview

A home study is required for all adoptions. All home studies vary, depending on the country in which you are adopting from.

We recommend that if you are interested only in adopting a child with dwarfism, that you start your home study with an agency which is versatile; meaning an agency which can do a home study with a number of different countries. Since dwarfism is so rare, many couples wait to find the child first and then begin the home study process.
The home study can be an intimidating process, especially if it is unfamiliar to you. Here are some basic guidelines of a typical home study. Every state has its own rules, but this is just an idea to enable you to prepare.

A home study is a process conducted by the social services department of a state, county or region, or by a designated entity (such as a private adoption agency), to determine the suitability of prospective individuals or couples to become parents. A completed home study is required in all states prior to the finalization of an adoption. Most states require a home study prior to receiving the child, but the rules of some states vary.

There are no set formats for the home study and can include several interviews, be educational, and will have conversations about families, siblings, marriage and one's attitudes toward raising children. The home study will include issues regarding health and safety as they relate to the neighborhood and dwelling of the prospective parent(s).

A. Domestic Adoption

Typical domestic documents required for a home study:
· Birth Certificates for all family members.
· Marriage certificates.
· Divorce Decrees (if applicable).
· Photographs of your family and of your home.
· Income verification with W-2 or income tax statement.
· Physical examinations with health statement of all family members.
· Personal references from friends and colleagues.
· FBI, police and child abuse clearances with no record.
· A written autobiographical life history of all family members.

B. International Adoption

International adoptions vary from country to country, and from region to region. It is difficult to obtain a specific list of criteria unless the parents know where they are adopting from first. The Adoption Committee suggests that if a couple wants to adopt a child with dwarfism internationally, there are two options. One option is to decide on the child first, and then pursue the adoption according to the rules and regulations of that child's country. The other option is to obtain a home study from an agency that has a variety of options for home studies for different countries.