Introducing a new child into a home is an emotional whirlwind, whether the child is first or fifth in the family. Parents must consider a myriad of practical issues, such as making space in the home, arranging for schooling and, of course, the amount of adjustments required of everyone in the family. However, these considerations are typically overridden by feelings of excitement and happiness.
Each Minneapolis family law attorney at our firm often has to remind families that adoption is also a detailed legal process. Families need to put certain practical issues at the forefront to help ensure that no easily-avoidable barriers get in the way of a successful adoption.
Home Study Preparation is Key to a Smooth Adoption Process
A successful adoption ensures that children are placed in safe and loving environments, and the only way to help identify the right home is through a detailed home study. These studies can take between three and six months to complete because they involve caseworker visits to the home, interviews with family members, and many other processes. According to AdoptUSKids , they also involve paperwork. Families that can produce the paperwork quickly can help speed up the adoption process.
Although there are some differences from one adoption agency to the next, the following are the most common documents that are requested during the home study process:
- Written documentation from parents that include autobiographical statements and references written by important people in the family members’ lives, such as friends, employers and neighbors
- Documented marital histories of both parents, including a certified copy of a current marriage license, along with certified copies of prior divorce decrees, or even death certificates of former spouses, if applicable
- Documentation pertaining to children already in the home, which can include adoption decrees and clearances when prior records allege criminal charges or child abuse
- Income verification
- Statements of health from a physician, including any applicable lab test results.
Of course, the home study does not take place immediately after prospective adoptive parents first apply with an agency. Perhaps one of the best ways to prepare for the home study is to request a list of paperwork requirements on the day of application. This provides the lead time needed to obtain personal references, arrange for medical exams or production of medical records and collect every official document that may be required.
How Adoption Attorneys Can Help With the Record-Collection Process
Even the most organized individuals can be surprised to realize that one or more vital records are missing from their file cabinets. Minneapolis adoption lawyers deal with these types of records on a regular basis. They know which government agencies maintain records, how to request them, how long they take — and when and how to follow up for the most efficient results. To obtain advice and support throughout the adoption process, call us at (763) 783-5146 or use our convenient contact form.