The presence of a child in your life is like no other joy you can imagine. If you have longed for a child, you may have had different experiences that led you to open your heart to the process of adoption. Welcoming as your own a child in need of a loving, nurturing home may seem the most natural choice for you, but you should be prepared for a challenging process to gain approval from an Ohio or private adoption agency.
Just as biological parents spend many months waiting and preparing for the arrival of their children, so you will have a busy and intense period of waiting after you apply to be an adoptive parent. A large part of that wait will involve the completion of your home study.
What are they looking for?
Understandably, adoption agencies want to be sure the homes where they place children are safe and loving. As reasonable as that seems, it may still be difficult to submit to the kind of investigation you and your household will experience in a home study. You may have to endure numerous interviews or, at the very least, complete detailed questionnaires about your family history and your personal life. Other issues that an adoption agency will focus on in its home study include the following:
- Your physical wellbeing, including any mental or physical health issues that may lower your life expectancy
- Your financial stability, including your income, debts, monthly financial obligations and insurance
- The quality of the schools in your district
- The stability and safety of your neighborhood
- The information provided by those you name as personal references
- The safe and healthy atmosphere of your home
- How well-adjusted your other children are, if you have any
- Your warm and positive demeanor during your interviews with adoption agents
- Whether you or anyone in your home has felony convictions in your past
Felony convictions can quickly disqualify you from the adoption process, especially if the offense involves children, acts of violence or illegal substances. However, even without a criminal past, you may justifiably feel anxious and overwhelmed by the home study process. Knowing that agents are not looking for perfection or a home that rivals a magazine display may put you at ease.
Whether you are a married couple or you have special circumstances, such as being single, gay, transgender or other factors that may make adoption a challenge, having a legal advocate to guide you through the adoption process may put your mind at ease that every step of the adoption of your child complies with Ohio law and respects your rights.