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Home study requirements for international adoption

Adoption is an important decision that changes a person's life forever. It is, however, an overwhelming process filled with paperwork and long waits. One of the paperwork requirements is a home study. A home study must be submitted with applications for international adoption. A home study helps the adoption agency understand the family and home environment so that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can determine if a person or couple is a good fit for a certain child. Read on to learn more about the extensive requirements that are part of a home study.

Home study requirements vary from state to state and differ depending on the country from which the applicant is trying to adopt a child. But here are some general requirements, with the first one consisting of several interviews. Each adult residing in the household must be interviewed, no matter whether they are actually the one applying for the adoption. They must submit to an in-depth mental and physical evaluation, since the agency does not want to put a child in a home where anyone is emotionally unstable and capable of causing harm to the child.

A representative will also visit the applicant's home and make sure it is suitable for a young child. The living conditions must be thoroughly detailed. Finances will also be strictly reviewed, so the applicant must submit documentation related to income as well as household expenses and any debts, such as loans and credit cards.

A thorough background check will also be conducted. The agency will look at the applicant's criminal record and check for any incidents of sexual abuse, child abuse or domestic violence. If the applicant previously applied for adoption but was denied, the reasoning must accompany the application as well.

Each state's and country's requirements are different, so it's best to obtain the exact details from the agency. The international adoption process can be quite complicated, so it might be beneficial to obtain assistance from an adoption lawyer.

Source: U.S. Department of State Intercountry Adoption, "Home Study Requirements," accessed March 7, 2015

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