The Adoption Homestudy: You Do It For Your Child
As an adoption practitioner, I wonder how prospective adoptive parents may feel as they approach the adoption homestudy process. Some have had to come to terms with infertility, and in that process suffered a blow to their self esteem and the loss of their dreams of giving birth to a child. Some have grieved the loss of a child through an unsuccessful pregnancy. And for applicants who ask the “Why Us? “ question and whose confidence of their worthiness to be parents may feel threatened, the prospect of a homestudy assessment may seem daunting.
Other applicants, experienced parents feeling confident in their parenting, approach adoption as a means of adding to the family they already have. Some applicants already know the child who may be the child of a relative who is living in another country and who is no longer able to parent the child. Or a connection may already exist between the parents of a child or an expected child and the adoptive applicants. In both these circumstances, applicants seek legal confirmation of their entitlement to the role of parents to the child.
In almost all circumstances, to the adoptive applicants the homestudy assessment process feels like yet another hoop to get through.
Often, at the conclusion of the initial consultation, which is essentially an information sharing session, and a mutual decision to work together has been reached by the applicants and the practitioner, the applicants are asked to consider the following:
Imagine that you are the parents of a 4-year-old child for whom you have to make alternate parenting plans because you are being sent, for a period of 6 months, on an emergency peace mission to an unsafe place in the world. Although your parents and extended family will continue to be a frequent and caring presence in your child’s life, they are not in a position to offer to care for your child on a full-time basis. How would you go about choosing the best caregiver for your child? What qualities are you looking for? What information would you need to know?
Imagine the homestudy assessment process as a journey of discovery of yourself as an adoptive parent. In this journey you will discover the many strengths you have to bring to your role as an adoptive parent and the lifelong impact of adoption on your child and the other parties to the adoption.