A home study is part of the domestic adoption process across the country, but requirements vary somewhat among states. As a prospective adoptive parent, you may feel nervous about the home study. Part of the purpose of the home study is to evaluate your parental fitness, and the party conducting the study can withhold approval for reasons such as an unsafe home, insufficient finances or a history of violent crime.
However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the home study also serves to match parents and children more successfully and prepare you through education for parenting an adopted child. In Tennessee, a licensed social worker may perform your home study.
To be eligible to adopt in Tennessee, you must be a resident of the state for at least six months. You must submit the results of a recent health examination to ensure that you do not have a condition, either behavioral or physical, that would interfere with your ability to provide appropriate care.
Many people equate a home study with onsite home visits. These are part of the process and involve inspecting the home for compliance with local building codes and for safety. However, the home study also involves interviews with household members, including any children you already have. You must also provide personal references, preferably from people who know you well but are not necessarily related to you. The person conducting the home study will contact these references in the interest of gathering more information about you.
Those responsible for the home study are not opponents but part of your team. They want to help you successfully adopt a child if it is appropriate for you to do so.