A home study is a critical part of the North Carolina adoption process, as it can make or break your chances of becoming a parent. Since a home study has such a strong pull on your ability to adopt a child, you may feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the process.

Arming yourself with knowledge about how the process works can empower you to do your best on the home study, according to AdoptUsKids.org.

What is a home study?

Before you can invite a child into your home, state representatives must ensure your living space and family are safe, nurturing and able to take on the responsibilities of a child. The home study includes the following:

  • Background checks, including fingerprints of everyone in the home
  • Collection of documents
  • At least two home visits
  • Interviews with your family
  • Two post-placement visits

The study process can take anywhere from four to six weeks depending on the circumstances of the case. Keep in mind that the study is only valid for 18 months.

The home study representative will gather all information and compile a report. Among other critical data, the report will include an assessment of your mental health, whether you have had a drug and/or alcohol problem, education, finances, employment history, whether you have been convicted of a crime and your reasons for wanting to adopt a child.

What to have ready

It is important to make sure you have all of the necessary documents ready for the home study. These include a physician’s report for everyone in the home, release letters, responsible individuals listing form, most recent federal income tax return, most recent pay stubs, marriage certificate, birth certificates for everyone in the home and three letters of reference from people who have known you for at least 2 years.

It is also helpful to be open to constructive criticism. The representative may have a list of items for you to fix before the next home study visit. Be sure to pay attention to details and make all necessary changes.