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Tips for the pre-adoption home study

For would-be adoptive parents, there's seldom anything more anxiety-provoking than the home study that's required before the adoption can be approved.

Keep in mind that the home study isn't designed to make sure that you're perfect people. It's just designed to make sure that you're able to be effective parents. Here are some of the tips that social workers offer about how to prepare:

1. Safety is the number one concern.

You naturally want your home to look nice for the home study, but it isn't necessary to hire a maid or spend a week cleaning every little corner. Just make certain that the house is basically neat and clean — but really focus on safety issues.

That means:

  • Repair any obvious hazards, like broken steps or torn carpets
  • Make sure that there are working smoke detectors on all floors
  • Make sure that you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen
  • Make sure that outlet covers are in place
  • Install a working radon detector

It isn't necessary to baby-proof your home at this stage, but you do want to demonstrate a basic understanding of what it takes to keep a home safe and secure.

2. Decide where you want the baby to sleep.

You don't need a nursery ready with a crib and all the trimmings for the home visit. You do, however, need a defined space that you hope will eventually be your baby's room.

If that space is currently being used as a craft room, gym, home office or some kind of storage space, it's time to clean it out and clean it up. Clear out anything unnecessary and consider putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls. You want to make it clear that there is room in your life for the child you hope to adopt.

Don't be afraid to ask questions when the social worker comes. Remember that you and the social worker are ultimately on the same team — the baby's. If you have more questions about adoption, talk to a family lawyer today.

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