What To Expect When You’re Expecting: A Home Visit
Completing homestudy paperwork can be a terrifying adventure – the to-do list seems to go on forever and the questions, sometimes probing, can trigger feelings of discomfort and sensitivity.
During your home visit, caseworkers come to get to know you better and to make sure your home has enough room for a new addition. We come to ensure that you have a realistic understanding of the adoption process and its lifelong implications.
We are on your team and we want you to welcome home a little one nearly as much as you do! Many of us become quite close to our home study families – we root for you, empathize with you and pray for Finalization Day alongside you. In the hopes of putting some minds at ease, here is a collection of tips, tricks, and info to help get you ready for your first home visit.
Steps to Take Before the Visit
- Write an amazing autobiography. Remember, sharing is caring – be generous with your words when writing your biographical information.
- Complete your paperwork. Caseworkers can’t get to know you if we don’t have all of your background information.
- Outline your expectations and talk about your comfort levels – what is the background of the child you’re looking to welcome home? Do you have any apprehensions? Communication is key.
- Make a list of all the adoption questions you’ve had but were too afraid to ask. Nothing you say is going to shock us, I promise!
- Make sure your home is 100% safe, with up to date fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and a water safety plan if you have a pool or live near water.
- Identify a good place in the house to sit and talk. Ideally, this is somewhere that provides ample space for the caseworker to take notes. A dining room table is usually the perfect spot!
- Take a few deep breaths and get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
- Keep in mind and understand that we aren’t looking for perfection.
Some Things to Avoid Before the Visit
- Having a meltdown.
- Hiring a cleaning service.
- Making cookies, cakes, or any kind of baked goods (We do so many visits, we really can’t eat all those treats!)
- Forgetting to think of questions or have internal conversations about your adoption comfort levels.
- Childproofing the house.
- Setting up a nursery. Caseworkers just need to see that the home has the space for a child. In the end, the only thing you’ll need on placement day is a car seat. You can stop at Target for the rest on the way home from the hospital!
What to Expect When the Caseworker Arrives
- A short tour of your home. Caseworkers need to see the garage and backyard too! The tour shouldn’t last more than a few minutes.
- A quick visit with the pets. Allow a few minutes to pet the dog or say hello to the cats.
- Questions from the caseworker about the paperwork you’ve submitted. We are probably going to focus mostly on your relationship, why you’re on the adoption journey, your expectations of becoming a parent, and your formative years.
- A review of the adoption process. If you are using HOA for your Adoption in Florida (both the home study and placement services) this overview can be pretty in-depth.
- Introductions to other family members. Be prepared for caseworkers to speak with anyone else that lives in the home or is present at the time of the visit. If you have children, caseworkers like to see the interactions between parent and child.
The best advice that can be given to prospective parents during the adoption process is to keep asking questions. Agencies are here to answer those questions, whether they be logistical in nature or requests for additional support. We can help you connect with mentor families and others who have gone through the adoption process as well. The home study is designed to assist you in becoming the best parent you can be so let us know when you’re nervous or need help. There is no shame in being vulnerable. Remember, we can’t wait to approve you and get you on your way to find a perfect match!
Along with helping adoptive parents grow their family, Heart of Adoptions, Inc has helped hundreds of women navigate their unplanned pregnancy in Florida. We’re available 24 hours a day 365 days a year, even during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us here. You can also call us at 1-800-GO-ADOPT or text us at 877-202-9624