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Guest Jenapher25

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Guest Jenapher25

Hello.  I am new here so far it is the best web site I have came to.  I have been looking into adopting for about 6 months now.  I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)  I tried the fertility pills after 6 months I decided, that God must have other plans for me.  So here I am looking up everything I can about adoption.  I am not to sure how this really works, so if anyone can hellp me out with any information that you think I might need please feel free to share.  I read that we will have to have a homestudy.  Can anyone tell me how long a homestudy is good for?  Thanks Jen

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Jen,

I don't know the answer to the homestudy question, but I'm sure the Abrazo staff does (they seem to know everything!). Give them a call and they can get you started on the path to parenthood--or you can get started even sooner by filling out their inquiry form. There's a link to the form on the Adoptive Parent Info page.

Good luck, and welcome!

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Texas homestudies are good for 6 months, and after that time, usually an update is all you need to sustain the homestudy. Read all you can about adoption and see if you can locate an adoption support group in your area, those folks offer a lot of help.

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Guest Great social worker

Thank you everyone for all of your kind words.  The Abrazo staff  believes in family and in helping to build yours, we also build the overall adoption family.  Jenafer, if you have questions please call me at (210) 342-5683 and I would be happy to talk to you about specifics.

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  • 1 year later...

Lately we've been hearing lots of homestudy questions from prospective clients--what they consist of, how they're done, who does them, how much they cost... so how about we post some basics for newbies, then invite veteran Forumites with real-life homestudy experiences to share their insights and suggestions?

The homestudy is an official report done by a Master's level, licensed social worker in your home state and submitted to Abrazo for approval before you can match and/or place. We require that homestudies for couples involve no less than 5 face-to-face interviews with all household members (individually and jointly) and a home inspection, conducted in the course of no less than three separate calendar dates.

Texas standards require that agency-approved studies cover a total of 22 specified topics and they just changed the topical requirements in May 2002, so be sure any social worker you're considering knows the latest requirements!!! The original study expires six months from the date of the last visit; after that, an update visit done within 30 days prior to placement and citing all 22 topics and any changes must be on file approved by Abrazo before the adopting parents arrive for placement. Once you've had an acceptable homestudy done, if you seek to adopt a year or more later, Texas standards do not require that a whole new study be done--only an update, with supporting documents updated as well. This should cost considerably less than the full study.

That's the dry stuff--now onto more interesting feedback from the "Home/studied Team" out there. What kind of questions did your homestudy worker ask? What kinds of fees were you quoted when shopping around for homestudies? How did you decide who to hire? What did you hide just before the worker arrived at your house? (Better yet, what'd you forget to put away and hope she didn't notice?)  What do you wish you'd known before starting the study? What could you have nuked your spouse for saying during the interviews?

Did anybody out there actually endure a "white glove" test? (Most homestudy workers out there today probably have pretty lax housekeeping standards themselves and would be appalled to have their clients see their own homes.)

Did your worker allow you to read the study before it was finished, or give you a copy to keep? If so, what did you think of what was said about you? (An interesting sidenote: birthparents have no access to the homestudy unless their adoptive family specifically asks that they be provided a copy--would you? Why or why not?)

One veteran homestudy worker we know always used to try to schedule visits over meal hours in hopes of getting fed! while another complained about East Coast adoptors wanting to entertain him with home videos of their nephews' bris-- a brilliant Yiddish technique for keeping in-home social worker's visits short, we suspect!!  ;)

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We live in Washington so we weren't able to have our homestudy done by Abrazo.  I had no idea how to start trying to find someone to do it.  I first started by calling adoption agencies nearby where we live and asking if they do homestudies for domestic adoptions and I explained that we were working with an agency in Texas to adopt a newborn baby.  Several didn't do them for domestic adoptions (Washington has a lot of international adoption agencies) and a few told me the time-frame was something like 6 months for it to be completed (yikes!! ).  Then, I went to the Resolve website (Resolve is a support group for people experiencing infertility) and their site is www.resolve.org then went to our local resolve website www.resolvewa.org then clicked on the resources link then there was a link for "Adoption Information Exchange" and from that, they had a list of local adoption agencies and social workers who do Homestudies.  I just started calling all of them and had about 3 or 4 send me their homestudy paperwork packet.  I clicked on the phone with two of the people I talked to - I just felt really comfortable with them.  I decided on Gail (she's in private practice doing homestudies - she did them for an adoption agency for many years and has worked in the adoption field for about 20 years) because I thought her time-frame was quicker than the other one (as it turned out, they probably would have completed them around the same time but I really like Gail as does my husband - she was just awesome!!;)

I can't stress enough to BEGIN YOUR HOMESTUDY NOW!!!!!!!!!  IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!  The longest part of the homestudy is the FBI criminal background check.  We were told it can take anywhere from 6 wks to 6 months before that part is processed (it's totally out of your social worker's hands - it's done at the pace that the government does them).  I fed-exed our fingerprints to Gail mid-August to be sent to wherever it is that they go and we received confirmation that we were clear in November.  I was on pins & needles the entire time - it's the not knowing if it's going to take a month, 3 months or 6 months and believe me, once you come back from your Orientation weekend - you don't want to be delayed for anything - you're ready to start talking to birthparents right away.

Our homestudy cost $750 (I believe that was the cost) and then there's a couple of follow-up we'll need to do after our baby is placed with us and I think those are around $250 each time (maybe a bit less) and the fingerprint part cost $100ish dollars.  Most of the fees I was quoted were roughly in that area - I think one agency was going to charge $1200 which seemed a bit high.

Gail did send us a copy of our homestudy report before it was sent to Abrazo to review to see if she'd missed anything (actually, she sent us a draft after our 2nd visit and I sent it to Abrazo to review and I believe they spoke to Gail and asked that we include a few more things in there and then, when it was all done, she sent us the final version and we forwarded it to Abrazo).

Most of her questions were really straight-forward and had to do with our lifestyle -like what do we do on the weekends, the evenings, what's a typical day like for us, how do we feel about discipline, what are our values, how do we feel about adopting twins?  siblings?  bi-racial?  what is the maximum age of a child we feel comfortable adopting?  What was it like growing up?  What memories do we have growing up?  Were we emotionally, physically, &/or sexually abused as a child?  What kind of relationship do we have with our parents, siblings?  Do we want our child to be involved in sports or dance or extra-curricular activities?  We had to describe one another, what are our favorite things about our spouse?  What are our least favorite things?  Who makes the financial decisions in the household?  Who pays the bills?  What are our plans for childcare (i.e. will a parent stay home with the child or will the child be in day care?)  Lots and lots of questions - some were on the initial paperwork that we sent her, some were ones she'd ask us during the interview - I'm not even coming close to listing all the questions, these are just off the top of my head.  

We have a housecleaner that comes every other week and I scheduled my home visit the day after Gabriella came to clean.  I definitely wanted a clean house.  As it turned out, Gail hardly noticed - she did walk through the entire house but she didn't look under beds or inside closets.  She went into every room and out in our yard but her tour of the house was very casual and I didn't feel at all as though she were inspecting it - she made notes while she walked around though.  

Most of the time, we sat on our couch and talked.  It was fun actually - I love talking about our values and how we want to parent, etc.  It's not every day you get to vocalize those types of things other than just with your spouse and it's something to be proud of and it's fun to share your philosophies and thoughts on the whole process (especially when you don't even have a baby yet so it's all totally hypothetical and it ends up sounding that way when you begin discussing it...I'm sure it must sound funny to the social worker who does actually have children and she's probably thinking, "yeah right your child is going to read Shakespeare when they're 2 years old", etc)  

I didn't hide anything before she arrived at our house but I did tidy up our "junk area".  I have this little corner in our upstairs hallway that's tucked away and I just sorta put stuff there when I don't know what to do with it.  It's just outside the nursery and the nursery used to be our junk room and one day I just got so tired of it being the junk room and I was ready to make it into the baby's room so I just moved all the stuff out of there and put it in the hall and have gradually been finding homes for the stuff or else it ends up in the garage.  Well, I didn't get everything out of the corner before she arrived but it certainly looked better than before she got there (it's now in the garage...still!! ).

Our first interview was at her office and we spoke to her together for awhile, then she had me leave her office and she spoke to Lance (and yes, I strained to hear what they talked about but could only hear bits and pieces) and then she spoke to me alone.  Lance didn't really say anything I was too upset about (at least that I'm aware of) .  We're pretty much on the same page with everything which is handy and I'm forever asking him all these hypothetical questions so most everything we discussed with Gail, we'd already talked about before.

I feel very lucky that we bonded so well with Gail.  I can't imagine doing it with someone you don't feel comfortable with because you definitely discuss some in depth things that you could be rather sensitive about if you felt someone was judging you.  I think it's important to schedule it with someone you feel you click with - even if it's just from a phone conversation.  All & all, it wasn't a scary or nerve wracking experience at all but I had a friend who adopted about a year ago and she told me all about hers and said it's nothing to worry about and also my sister & her husband adopted a sibling group a year & half ago and they told us the same thing - it's not a big deal and not something to panic about so that may have helped ease my fears.  We learned quite a bit from Gail - she gave us lots of good things to think about that we hadn't actually thought of (especially about decided what age would be our maximum age and also adopting a child outside our race).

But, my biggest advice is to GET STARTED NOW!!!!!  It will take longer than you think it will and you don't want to put it off.  Start checking into it and fill out the homestudy forms now and get them in!!

Good luck!!

Lisa

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great advice, linlacor! (And good thing you got your homestudy ducks all in order when you did! For those who are new here, skip over to "Parents in Waiting" to the "Lance & Lisa's Beautiful Daughter" topic and find out why! )  :)

"Fairy tales do come true, it could happen to you..."

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Hi Everybody :)

We're pretty green to the private adoption process (actually we've only been in contact with Abrazo for about two weeks & haven't even attended the orientation yet).  But we're fortunate in that we had a homestudy done thru CPS a few years ago and so we only have to update that previous homestudy.  Our first meeting and home inspection with the social worker was yesterday and I have to tell you that it wasn't nearly the way I had envisioned it.  I'd spent the weekend polishing furniture, vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning baseboards and just imagining the social worker finding something horrible that I hadn't noticed.   :0

But she was so very nice and at ease.  We basically just went over some of the points from our previous homestudy for accuracy such as our income, place of employment, insurance information, and reasons for wanting to adopt.  She then, interviewed each of us separately I guess to find out how we each viewed our relationship with each other (I held my breath while Travis was doing his interview).  And the last thing she did was a quick walk-thru thru the house and mapped out where each room was.  And that was pretty much it for our first meeting with her.  It took about 2 hours.

Since our social worker was very familiar with the staff at Abrazo, she had so many good things to say about Abrazo.  She seemed just about as excited as we are.  So we really feel that we've been lead to the right folks.

It's been encouraging and enlightening to read about everyone's different experiences on the forum and maybe, with a lot of hope and prayer, we'll soon be able to announce our placement too!!

Thanks everyone for all the words of wisdom.  It's a tremendous help for newbies like us!!!!

Jacquee

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  • 3 years later...

I was wondering how others found a Liscensed Social Worker to do their Home Study? I live in the State of Georgia. Thank you for any recommendations or information that you could give!

Heather unsure.gif

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I would contact Angela at Abrazo. We live in Fate, TX and she was able to recommend a social worker in our area. The social worker she told us about was WONDERFUL!!!!!

Hope this helps.

Amy

I was wondering how others found a Liscensed Social Worker to do their Home Study? I live in the State of Georgia. Thank you for any recommendations or information that you could give!

Heather unsure.gif

42811[/snapback]

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I was wondering how others found a Liscensed Social Worker to do their Home Study? I live in the State of Georgia. Thank you for any recommendations or information that you could give!

Heather unsure.gif

42811[/snapback]

I found our Social Worker through calling a couple of Hospitals and asking if any of the Social Workers were Masters prepared and were experienced in doing Homestudies. The Social Workers put me in contact with someone who could be of assistance.

Best Wishes

Edited by MarceloandClaudia
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I would ask Abrazo if they knew of anyone in your area. Also, do you know anyone in your area that has adopted? You might could get a good idea of a great social worker in your area by asking around. Word of mouth is great for leading you to a great social worker or keeping you from hiring a sorry one. I would make sure that you know what Abrazo's standards are concerning soc. workers before hiring one.

Hope this helps. Keep us posted on your journey!

Elaine

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  • 4 weeks later...

We asked friends in our city who they had used and if they would recommend her. We got the same name from about three different people and found out that she does a great many of the Memphis area Abrazo homestudies. This gave us a sigh of relief as I know the guidelines are different from state to state.

As of this morning Bart and I have finished our entire packet of forms for our homestudy and we have our first meeting this afternoon with our social worker! We are soooo excited! We have our physicals scheduled for next week and then we will have completed all that she has asked for (so far)! smile.gif

Now we are anxiously awaiting an application from Abrazo!

It feels so good to be working towards a goal with real HOPE! We have faith that we are on the right track and it's amazing how happy our lives are right now!

Have a great week!

Donna

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  • 2 months later...

We are first-timers and are working on our home study packet. How much of this packet can be re-used for the adoption application?

The homestudy contains a transracial parenting plan, a cultural worksheet, autobiographies, medical/financial/background investigations... Should I copy all of this for the adoption application?

We are "doggie" parents and very excited to become "human" parents! :D

I've read many emotional stories on this forum and this is my first posting. Hi to all and thanks for all the stories and tips so far.

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Guest BeachMama

The Abrazo application is very specific, but does not require a huge amount of additional paperwork - not nearly as much as your homestudy. Abrazo's detailed questions will probably touch on some of the stuff you've covered (particularly in your autobiographies and your transracial parenting stuff) so you can certainly refer to it when answering Abrazo's questions.

You should definitely keep copies of everything you send with the homestudy for yourself. I know that I referred back to my homestudy for different things (for example, my in-laws birthdates, I think, cuz that stuff is not on the tip of my tongue).

Best of luck in your journey! We're just waiting on approval from Abrazo and we're almost done with our homestudy, so we'll probably be seeing you on the forum a lot in the upcoming months!

P.S. We're "cat parents" - and we definitely feel like we've learned some things that will help us with "human parenting"!

Edited by BeachMama
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You should definitely keep copies of everything

DITTO to what Beachmama said!!! Keep a copy of everything. Not only will it help you in case something gets lost and needs to be resubmitted, but someday you (or your dear child) may want to look back over all that was done to bring that special soul home.

I have keep everything and put it in a huge file. I can always reference back to it if need be. More than anything though, I just like knowing it is there. It is a diary of sorts that helps us to remember the journey we have been on.

Best wishes with your homestudy! :) Keep us posted!!!

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Welcome Dog Momma!

I was a dog Momma to two before Makenzie came home. Being her mom is certainly more challenging and rewarding!

I look forward to hearing about your journey.

I third what the others said about keeping up with stuff. The only thing I would add is start organizing it all now. You will be inundated with paperwork and deadlines through-out this process. Get yourself some kind of system in place now so you don't lose stuff. Our "file" is so full of junk we can't find anything in it. I wish we had organized this stuff sooner (I don't have time to do it now).

GOOD LUCK!! :D

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Thank you for the speedy responses. I'm going to organize a bin for filing and storing this paperwork. We are inches away from our home study. Just waiting on a letter from my sister-in-law. I couldn't believe we had to have everything from physicals and TB tests to our septic system inspected.

I expected the criminal history check. I actually work in biometric technology that helps law enforcement keep track of sex offenders. I know how important it is to have a criminal check but I never realized my septic tank would need inspection.

To take my mind off the paperwork and nervousness, I've been thinking about nursery decorations!

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I've been thinking about nursery decorations!

Ewwww...nursery decorations!!! :) Talk about fun...that is so much fun!!! I LOVED decorating our girls' rooms!!!

I look forward to hearing what decorations, colors, etc you come up with. Sounds like you all are well on your way to becoming parents!!! :)

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"With Abrazo it is NEVER too soon to start thinking about nursery stuff!!"

Or in our case, for Baby number 2.

But remember, your willingness to open your home to your child is your key to success here. You are building a family that will more than likely include one or more birthfamily members, in addition to your new child. Start preparing your heart to grow inconceivably larger and you'll be ready for whatever comes your way.

Christina

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That is a good point. We were really lucky because another couple from our orientation group got a "BOG" call the week before we did. They suggested buying gifts for your birthparents NOW so that if you do get an unexpected call you are ready with something. Start thinking of sentimental gifts that your birthfamily would appreciate. I found a pretty wooden box filled with photo albums. I wrote a heartfelt note to our birthparents with promises to fill the albums with many photos of our precious child.

I am SOOO GLAD I had that. We had 12 hours to be in TX to pick up our daughter. It was really nice to know that I already had something to express our gratitude to her BP's and let them know how committed to openness we were.

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