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Elements of adoption: The homestudy

Any individual or family who has ever considered adoption has most likely heard of a homestudy. On television and in movies, it is often portrayed as just a simple visit to make sure a house is clean. In reality it is much more than that, and is arguably the most essential element used by professionals to determine adoptive suitability. The homestudy is not only a tool for determining suitable living conditions for a child, but also forces an adoptive family to look within. Doing so allows them to make sure that adoption is a correct fit for the family as a whole.

Once a family begins the adoption process in Ohio, an assessor will be assigned to them. This is the individual who will perform the homestudy. While the homestudy can, in certain cases, take up to six months to complete, it is often completed much sooner.

In addition to physical living conditions, there are many other areas an assessor will discuss with a potential adoptive family. They include readiness to adopt, reasoning for adoption, life history, relationship status, financial status, health and support system. Required documentation must be collected by the assessor as well. Those include, but are not limited to, criminal background checks, physical exams, financial statements and home safety audits.

In cases where a homestudy is not approved, an assessor will often meet again with a family to discuss why he or she was denied approval. An experienced adoption attorney may be able to assist a family in preventing this from happening by offering suggestions or advice as they go through the process. Further, an adoption attorney can make sure a potential adoptive family is being treated, and assessed, fairly by an assessor.

Source: odjfs.state.oh.us, "Ohio Adoption Guide," Accessed November 21, 2017

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