What You Need to Know about Adoption: Home Study Basics in Oklahoma
Whether you are a birth mother or prospective adoptive parent, choosing to start your adoption journey is an intimidating decision to make. There seems to be so much information to learn and so much paperwork to do. To help you better understand the adoption process, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is taking it back to the basics over the next couple of weeks, discussing the fundamentals of adoption. This week, we are providing insight on home studies.
As a birth mother, you want what is best for your child. You want them to be safe and loved with their adoptive family. Therefore, you may be wondering what steps adoption agencies take to ensure that a couple or individual is prepared to take care of your child.
Home Study Basics: Defining a Home Study in Oklahoma
A huge part of the adoption process for prospective adoptive parents is passing a home study. Even if you do not have a lot of adoption knowledge, the term “home study” is pretty straightforward. In very basic terms, a home study is the legally required evaluation of a potential adoptive home. However, a home study is technically so much more than that. There are 7 standard required elements of a home study: interviews, basic information, background checks, home assessment, gathering references, offering appropriate inquiry, follow ups and making recommendations. Furthermore, some states have additional requirements that must be met for a home study to be considered complete.
Home studies are not just a study of a physical environment. It also evaluates the adoptive family to ensure that both the house and family are prepared for a child.
According to Brenda Retrum, Director of Adoptive Parent Services at Adoption Choices of Colorado, “The goal of [home study specialists] is to make sure that the child is placed in a safe, stable, and loving home and that the parents are prepared for the special circumstances that relinquishment and adoption bring to their family.”
Kirsten McGonigal, Child Placement Supervisor for Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, adds to this idea by saying that a home study is “intended to be the eyes and ears of the court in order to protect the child’s best interests.”
Home Study Basics: Home Study Specialists
What about the people who help ensure that your child will be safe? What did they have to go through to become a home study specialist? The requirements to become a licensed home study specialist vary from state to state. However, most home study specialists have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work or similar fields. McGonigal, who is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) and a master’s in public health, notes that in the state of Oklahoma, home study specialists must take a day-long class every three years to keep their license. Additionally, to initially obtain that license, you must have a master’s degree or work with an adoption agency.
Home Study Basics: How Adoptive Parents Prepare in Oklahoma
Adoptive parents prepare for home studies in a variety of ways. Additionally, some states, like Oklahoma, require prospective adoptive parents to participate in online courses and do some reading. However, the majority of preparation consists of “baby-proofing” the house. Indicators of good adoptive parents include honesty and preparedness. Therefore, a couple or individual may also prepare by thinking about their adoption journey to be reminded of why they are here.
A Note from Adoption Choices
Choosing to place your baby for adoption is a scary decision. You need to know your baby will be safe and loved. A home study is just one of the many steps to ensure that your baby is well taken care of. However, it is completely normal to still feel worried. Here at Adoption Choices, we promise to do everything in our power to help you feel confident in your decision.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is a private adoption agency, licensed by the state of Oklahoma and leader in the adoption community. We have been assisting birth parents, children, and adoptive families in Oklahoma for over 19 years. Our staff members are committed to providing an ethical, empowering, and personalized adoption experience to all involved in the adoption process. If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.
Toll-free: 800-898-6028 | OKC Local: 405-755-1999 | Tulsa Local: 918-447-7777 | Text: 405-310-8790 | Email
Meet the Author: Grace Myers is a sophomore digital media major at North Greenville University. She loves writing and hopes to pursue a career in journalism or public relations after graduating.
An adoptee herself, Grace is passionate about writing for adoption. She especially loves hearing adoption stories and getting to know a variety of people.