Questions & Answers
1. What is a home study?
A "home study" is universally required in child welfare as a necessary prerequisite to placing a child in an adoptive home. It is not possible to adopt without a home study. A home study is valid for one year. Updates are required until a placement of a child occurs.
The home study is both a process and a document:
The process: The process involves a series of interviews with a social worker designed to help families educate themselves about adoption and to determine if adoption is appropriate for them. The social worker is required by law to evaluate all aspects of a prospective family's life from health, social and employment history, to disciplinary practices and beliefs. Information from interviews and from paperwork completed by the family is consolidated into a written report.
The document: This written report, the "home study," is prepared by the social worker and is used to facilitate the matching of the child with a family. It may be sent to the placement resource (if not The Home), the Department of Children and Families, the foreign country, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Interstate Compact, and the local court for legalization.
2. How much does it cost to adopt?
There are no fees for DCF/Waiting Children (foster care) adoptions and in fact adoption subsidies are available to families who adopt children from the state foster care system.
Private domestic adoption fees range as The Home has a sliding fee scale based upon the families' income for the placement service. However, domestic adoptions at The Home tend to range from $11,000- $20,000. Expectant/birth parent expenses can greatly impact the fees.
Regarding intercountry adoptions, since The Home provides the "local services" and networks with "Partnership Agencies" for the actual placement of a child, the total fee to The Home is approximately $5,500. However, this does not include fees paid to the intercountry partnership agency. Intercountry adoptions tend to range from $15,000 - $30,000.
As a part of the application process you will be given a Fee Disclosure describing in detail the fees associated with private domestic infant or intercountry adoption through The Home.
There are several resources for financial assistance that families should check into. These include:
- Bank loans (some banks offer special loan rates for adoption expenses)
- Employer benefits (check with your employer's Human Resource/Benefits Department)
- Military reimbursement, 303-333-0845
- Loans and grants/scholarships through The National Adoption Foundation, 800-448-7061
- Loans and grants/scholarships through A Child Waits Foundation, 413-499-3992
- Tax credits (Hope for Children Adoption Tax Credit) and exclusions (IRS Publication 968)
- For waiting children, adoption subsidies
- Lastly, there is a book called How To Make Adoption An Affordable Option, 888-878-3256
3. How long does it take?
There is no "waiting list" at The Home and once an application is received, the home study can begin immediately. The home study takes approximately 2-3 months. The actual placement of a child into your home varies depending on factors such as type of child requested and prospective adoptive families' flexibility. For intercountry adoption, foreign country timelines and requirements must be factored in.
According to MA law, a child must be in your home for 6 months before adoption legalization can take place.
4. What is openness in adoption?
Openness in adoption is a spirit of preserving attachments to past connections. There is a spectrum of openness ranging from exchanging information to on-going contact. Often birth families and adoptive families will create "open adoption agreements" which outline what they have agreed to.
At The Home for Little Wanderers, we see our role as "mediators," working with both parties to find a situation that feels right for them.
5. What kind of support can I expect?
Here at The Home, we value meeting our client's individual needs. Our goal is to assign one social worker to you, who will guide you through the entire process. We work with families throughout MA. We have a multitude of resources available to refer you to such as medical providers, conference and workshop information, support groups, an adoption lending library, a quarterly newsletter, and after the adoption, a post-adoption program.
6. Have more questions?
If you have more questions specific about The Home's private adoption program, please feel free to call us or send in a Pre-Application Consultation Request form.
If you are interested in DCF/Waiting Child Adoption, please contact us to learn more about our next MAPP Training.
If you have general questions about adoption in MA, The Center for Adoption Research at The University of MA publishes a wonderful book called Adopting in Massachusetts. Books are available through UMASS, your local library, here at The Home, and through the Adoption Community of NE adoption referral and information agency or 800-93-ADOPT.