A big source of anxiety for many prospective adoptive parents is the home visit portion of the home study. You might be wondering: What does my house need to look like to adopt? There is no black and white answer to this question.
Many waiting couples are worried the size of their house could hinder their chances of adoption or that if they rent instead of own their residence they will be ruled out. You can rest assured that many adoptive parents rent instead of own their homes and adoption professionals won’t rule you out based on the size of your house or apartment, as long as you have a room for your child.
If you’re hopeful adoptive parents wanting to add to or begin a family of your own, you’ve likely already done some research. If you have questions and concerns about the home study and how it might affect your ability to adopt, let us put your mind at ease. While the home study is important, an adoption professional’s goal with the home study is to rule you in rather than out. They just want to be sure that you have all the resources you need to comfortably raise a child.
The primary focus of the home visit is to make sure that your child will be safe in their new home. If you have any questions that aren’t answered in this article, reach out to an adoption professional today to get the answers you need.
“What do they look for in a home study for adoption?”
The purpose of the home inspection, also known as the home visit, is to serve as an opportunity for your adoption professional to educate you on any potential changes that should be made to ensure your child’s safety. This means that even if there is an area of your home that could be an issue, it doesn’t mean you will be instantly ruled out. Your home study professional will give you pointers and suggestions of how to improve problematic areas of your home to be child-friendly. They want to lead you in the right direction, not find ways to rule you out.
Your home study professional will make sure that there are fire escape routes, that any guns are properly locked in a safe and out of reach of a child, screens on all your windows and fences around any open water on the property.
“How do I prepare for an adoption home visit?”
While the home study isn’t as black and white as many hopeful adoptive parents fear it is, it is something you should definitely prepare for. Of course, you don’t have to completely overhaul your home, but implementing basic things such as making sure your home is clean and clear of any potential safety hazards. Your adoption professional can give you a rundown of what they will be
- Many hopeful adoptive parents worry that if their home isn’t spotless, they’ll lose their credibility. This is certainly not the case. As long as your home is sanitary and safe for your child’s health, your social worker will be happy.
- Don’t feel like you have to remodel your home. Home study professionals are not here to judge your interior decorating skills. If your future child’s room isn’t decorated, that’s okay. They just want to make sure that the room and any furniture in it is safe and child-friendly.
- Make sure you have proper fire safety mechanisms in place such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and proper fire exits. It’s also important to have a fire escape plan in place in the event of a fire.
- If you have any pets in your home, this will be something your adoption professional will want to know. They’ll want to meet them to see how they interact with strangers.
How to Child Proof Your Home in 7 Steps
Here are 7 easy steps you can take to ensure your home is safe for a child:
1. Check the Water Temperature
Make sure that the hot water in your home is safe for the sensitive skin of your little one. Setting the temperature gauge on the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower is usually the standard.
2. Put Away Dangerous Kitchen Utensils
It can be helpful to make sure that your kitchen is child-friendly by putting potentially dangerous items up and out of a child’s reach such as cutlery, glass, heavy cookware and cleaning chemicals.
3. Keep Choking Hazards Out of Reach
Babies and young children are prone to putting things they find on the floor in their mouth. Make sure that any small objects a child could put in their mouth are picked up and out of reach such as chemical cleaning supplies, paper clips, pen caps, etc. Not only is this unsanitary, but small objects like these are definite choking hazards.
4. Cover Unused Outlets
Check your outlets! Make sure to cover any unused outlets with outlet plugs to make sure that your child isn’t sticking their fingers or toys in the outlet.
5. Secure your Windows
A big safety point your adoption social worker will check for is making sure that all of your windows have screens. Also make sure that any blind cords or curtains with tassels are managed to prevent your child from getting tangled. Consider investing in cord stops or safety tassels.
6. Child Proof Sharp Edges
Make sure that any low furniture with sharp edges such as coffee tables and dressers are covered with a rubber bumper or guard. Also make sure any tall furniture that could be climbed is secure in the floor or the wall.
7. Yard Safety
The safety of the outside of your home matters too. Make sure any sharp or heavy yard tools are put away and that your yard is free of any poisonous plants. As previously stated, if you have any ponds, pools or fountains, make sure there is a fence or barrier around the perimeter.
If your home study professional does come across any discrepancies during the home visit, this doesn’t mean that you will be ruled out from adoption. The home visit is an inspection but it’s also a learning opportunity. Your home study professional will address any concerns they have and tell how you can improve and why it’s important. They just need to know that you are willing to make the necessary adjustments to ensure the safety of your child.
If you have more questions about how to baby proof your home or prepare for you adoption home visit, contact an adoption professional today to get more free information.