Your Adoption Home Study Checklist in Texas
When you’re dreaming of growing your family through adoption, you know that the end goal is worth it, but the home study process can seem like a serious challenge.
Your adoption home study checklist in Texas can help you understand what a home study is and how you can prepare as a family.
You can also get adoption and home study information and help by filling out our online form. Our adoption professionals are available 24/7 at 1-800-ADOPTION.
Before we get started with the checklist, we’ll give a brief overview of what an adoption home study is and why you may need one.
What is an Adoption Home Study in Texas?
An adoption home study is a process where an adoption social worker collects information about a potential adoptive family and helps them prepare for a potential adoption. The process usually begins when a potential adoptive family decides on adoption and gets in contact with an adoption agency.
In Texas, it is required that you complete a home study and get approved before an adoption can move forward.
The Two Main Parts in an Adoption Home Study:
- Collection of documents and information
- The in-home visit
The checklist below covers both parts of the home study and is extensive, but it is not exhaustive. Since home studies vary by provider and by situation, there may be additional steps and items necessary, but this list will give you a head start in preparing for your family’s home study.
Documentation Home Study Checklist in Texas
Below we will list documents and clearances you may need as well as a short description for some items. The process can move more quickly if you gather these well ahead of any deadlines.
- Driver’s licenses or state-issued ID
- Birth certificates — all household members
- Social security cards
- Marriage certificates
- Proof of insurance — home, health, auto, life, etc.
- Medical records
- Photos of home — inside and outside, including yard area
- Floor plans of home — dimensions and purpose of each room, can be hand-drawn
- List of previous residences — every residence from the past 10 years and how long you were at each place
- 5 reference contacts — name, phone numbers, addresses of people who are unrelated to you, but know you well
- Pet records — vaccination records
- Military discharges
- Adoption decrees — of older adoptive children
- Passports — needed for international adoption
- Green card
- Divorce decrees
Financial and Employment Documentation
- Employment verification — may include recent pay stubs, W-2, letter from employer
- Financial statements — documents detailing current resources available to support the family
- Tax returns — usually the first page of your most recent tax return
- Non-working spouse statement — if applicable
- Autobiographical statements — a history of your life before adoption and what brought you to the choice
- Reference Letters — letters from non-relatives that speak to your character and ability to parent
- Health statements — letters from specialists or therapists stating that you are fit to become parents, especially if you have been diagnosed with an illness that could affect your ability to care for a child or have had marital issues
- State criminal record check — may require additional documentation for criminal offenses
- Federal criminal record check — may require additional documentation for criminal offenses
- Child abuse and neglect clearances — required for everyone in your household age 14 or older, listing previous residences for the past 5 years (domestic) or since the age of 18 (international)
- FBI fingerprinting clearances
- Sex offender registry clearance
Proof of Completed Training
While not always necessary, courses are a great way to prepare as a parent, and in some cases your home study professional or agency may require certain courses, including those listed below, depending on the situation.
- CPR training
- First-aid training
- Parenting classes
- Racial and cultural awareness courses — especially for transracial adoption or international adoption
- Foster care licensing — especially if adopting through the foster care system
- Special needs training — in cases where an adoptive child has known special needs
- Adoption-specific courses
Adoption Home Visit Checklist in Texas
In addition to the documentation you gather, your adoption professional will meet with you at your home and complete family interviews as well as a home inspection.
We’ve listed some things you can do to prepare below.
Home Visit Interview Checklist in Texas
During your social worker home visit in Texas, your social worker will meet with all members of the family and ask questions to get to know you better.
While each interview is different, here are some things you can do to prepare:
- Read through lists of common adoption home visit interview questions
- Spend time thinking through questions and writing down your thoughts in response
- Do mock interviews, especially if you are feeling nervous
You can also get guidance about interviews from our adoption professionals at American Adoptions, who have helped thousands of adoptive families through the home study process.
Adoption Home Inspection Checklist in Texas
You can also do a self-check of your home’s safety and cleanliness before your adoption home study visit.
While you don’t need to fully childproof or have a perfect home at the first visit, getting started with the basics of home maintenance, cleanliness, and safety can mean that you will have less to work on when your adoption social worker inspects your home and gives you further instruction to prepare to grow your family.
Below are some basic things to check for and get started on.
- Working plumbing, electric, and air conditioning systems that meet local code
- Repair leaks and issues with necessary appliances
- Working smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detector
- First-aid kit
- Secure screens and locks on windows
- Fire extinguisher
- Set household heating equipment to the appropriate safe maximum limit
- Safety precautions installed on bodies of water (swimming pools, hot tubs, garden ponds, etc.)
- Lock up any firearms and ammunition separately
- Check for tripping hazards
- Check for common housing code violations and make changes where necessary
- Clear clutter and clean up piles of unorganized items
- Store food in appropriate containers and refrigerate or freeze when necessary
- Store refrigerated medication in a separate, sealed container
- Clean up after pets and children
- Clean dirt and grime of off surfaces
- Put trash and recycling in appropriate containers and take out garbage regularly
- Store trash in covered containers
- Assure that pest problems are under control
- Clean laundry regularly
- Clear debris and junk from outdoor areas
- Dump and drain any stagnant water in yard
- Mow lawn and maintain trees and plants
- Covered electrical outlets
- Gates for stairs
- Toxic substances (pills, cleaners, etc.) in a locked container or out of a child’s reach
- Secure window blind cords out of a child’s reach
- Anchor furniture that might be tipped over (bookcases, dressers, etc.)
- Posted list of emergency phone numbers (poison control, your pediatrician, babysitter, etc.)
- Child-proofed cabinets that are in their reach
You can get help with your home study checklist in Texas from our experienced adoption professionals at American Adoptions by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or filling out our online form.
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