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You've made the important decision to build your family through adoption. So, what happens now? Decisions, decisions. Who can prepare my home study? What type of adoption is right for me? How do I choose a child-placing agency?

Hopefully, this information will help to guide you along the path towards finding your child!

"Thanks for all your guidance; you've really kept us sane during this whole process."
- Linda and Greg

The Home Study
Your first step in pursuing an adoption is the home study. You will need an approved home study (also called a preplacement assessment) for any type of adoption you choose, whether it is domestic or international.

We will work with your child-placing agency to create a report that will satisfy all state, federal (CIS), Hague, and intercountry requirements. In addition, we have extensive experience in helping both traditional and non-traditional families adopt.

A home study is not a close inspection of your home. Rather, it is a report about your family which (hopefully) concludes in a recommendation of you as prospective adoptive parents.

CASI is proud of its association with Nathanson Adoption Services. We know that families working with Nathanson Adoption come to us fully educated on adoption issues, approved at every level and supported throughout the entire process. Nathanson Adoption is one of the best home study agencies in the country, and North Carolina families are very lucky to have them.
- Tom DiFilipo, Executive Director, The CASI Foundation for Children

What is a home study and why is it required?
A home study is a report prepared by a social worker, which is based on a series of meetings that take place between the social worker and the prospective adoptive parents. There will be approximately three meetings with the social worker, one of which will be in your home. It also includes a review of required documents, and interviews with all members of your household.

Before the State of North Carolina or CIS can approve an adoption, they want assurances that the prospective adoptive couple will be good parents who will appropriately care for their child. The State of North Carolina licenses certain agencies, and authorizes their social workers to conduct investigations about the couple. The State then recognizes the report prepared by these agencies regarding the acceptability of the prospective parents.

Most child-placing agencies will not work with you until you have an approved home study.

A home study enables the social worker to provide a description of you as potential parents. The home study process helps to prepare you for adoption and gives you an opportunity to raise any issues or questions you may have about adoption or parenting.

What information is included in a home study?
During the home study interviews, the social worker will gather information including:
  • A general description of you and your family including names, dates of birth, occupations, as well as background information about you and your family.
  • If you are married, a description of your marriage.
  • You will also discuss your parenting philosophy, feelings about children and adoption, interests and activities, home and community, religious beliefs, plans for discipline, financial resources, medical history, criminal records, and the type and age of child you wish to adopt.
  • The social worker will provide you with information and education on various types of adoption, including domestic and international adoption and the different requirements for both.
  • The social worker will also review and collect the documents you have gathered for the home study (see the following question for more information).
Will I submit any other paperwork/documents during the homestudy process?
Yes. As part of the homestudy process, you will gather several documents such as birth certificates and medical and financial forms. These documents are gathered as part of the homestudy, so there is no need to worry about them until we have formally begun the homestudy process. Details about the documents to gather will be provided to you in the "Welcome Packet" you receive after we review and accept your application. Please hold off on asking specific questions about the documents until you receive your "Welcome Packet".

Many prospective adoptive parents are concerned that the home study will be an intrusive and overly-critical assessment of their family. We at Nathanson Adoption Services utilize a strengths-based approach in evaluating prospective adoptive parents. Our families appreciate that their home studies reflect the positive qualities that they bring to their parenting plan.

We understand that everyone is different and many of us have experiences in our past that may be of concern. We urge you to contact us about these issues and simply ask whether any past or current situations might make you unapprovable for adoption.

Our experience has been that in most cases, we are able to assure clients that they can still be approved for adoption despite their past personal or family history. We want to be sure that you will be able to provide a stable, safe and loving home for a child. Prospective parents are evaluated on who they are today - not on past mistakes. Our agency has approved thousands of prospective adoptive parents for adoption, many of whom have less than perfect histories.

What happens during a home visit?
There are many myths about home visits. We do not "drop by unannounced" or look for dust in your closets. We do not question neighbors or expect the child's room to be set up. In reality, it is a brief walk through your home to see where the child will live, look at your neighborhood and its facilities and conduct the interview. Clients' typical reaction after the home visit is, "that's all?" Homes do not have to be immaculate - just comfortable and appropriate for a child.

How long is the home study valid?
A home study is valid for 18 months in North Carolina.

What if my home study expires and I haven't adopted a child yet?
You simply need a home study update- this is a fraction of the cost of the original home study and usually requires just one meeting.

What is post placement supervision?
Post placement supervision is a brief meeting with the parents and adopted child, in order to ascertain that the child is being well cared for, and the family is adjusting comfortably to the new addition. A separate report is written after each post placement visit.

Requirements for post-placement supervision vary by state and by country. Your placing agency will inform you of the number of post-placement visits necessary for your adoption. Based on our experience in the field of adoption, we can offer suggestions to help all members of the family. We may also make referrals to local resources for additional assistance if that is indicated.

Our social workers love post-placement visits- we are thrilled to finally meet your children!

How can I get started on obtaining a home study?
You can download and print out our Application Packet or, simply contact us and we'll send an Application Packet out to you in the mail.
Kathy, Apex
As I'm sure many families do, we came into this entire process nervous (if not downright scared!) and unsure about what to expect. You were very reassuring and knowledgeable during our converstions..I have been sure to tell my child-placing agency to recommend Nathanson Adoption Services to their North Carolina Clients.
Sara and Bill
It doesn't seem so long ago that I first called and talked to you. I'm so glad I did, because you convinced me that we could adopt a newborn baby boy in just a few months - and we did! Your knowledge of different agencies throughout the country, along with your excellent staff were invaluable to us. Thank you for playing such an important role in bringing Nicholas to us.

- Tiffany, Cassie, and Nicholas,
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