We have already discussed regarding the documentation required for the registration of adoption earlier. Upon submission of the documents, the adoption agency registers the Prospective Adoption Parent PAP (s) for adoption. Now one also has to register online on the CARA website. The adoption agency guides PAP (s) regarding the same. One can specify the gender and age of the child one desires to adopt. But it helps if one is open for a child of either gender. The age of the child is matched with the PAPs based on the guidelines laid down by CARA. The adoption agencies may have certain guidelines laid down in combination with those by CARA.
Along with the central waiting list at CARA, each adoption agency has its own list of waiting (registered) families for adoption. The waiting period for adoption starts from the date of the registration for adoption. The waiting period is the duration from the time of the registration to the the baby’s home coming. This period may vary from agency to agency depending on the number of PAPs registered with them as well as the number of children in their care who can be placed in adoption. The home study and the home visit are done during this same waiting period.
When the PAP’s name comes on top of the waiting list and a child is matched with them (on the basis of the age and features). The agency then calls the PAP for the child proposal. One gets to spend some time with the child and then take a decision regarding the child. It is suggested that one pays attention to how one is feeling with the child when they are spending time with the child. There are certain amounts of vibes that each child would give out to the respective PAP in some way or the other. This helps them in taking a decision regarding the child.
Upon confirmation of the decision for a child, the background details about the child wherever known are shared. The personal identifying details i. e. the name and the address of the birthparents are purely confidential. The medical history/ details of the child are shared with the PAPs wherever available along with the immunisation chart. The papers and petition is prepared and once the papers are ready, the petition is filed in the court and the child is placed with the PAP under the foster care agreement. There is a follow up visit done during this period followed by a hearing in the court. The PAPs need to be present in the court along with the child. The representatives of the adoption agency accompany the PAP to the court. Upon the clearance of the case in the court, one receives the legal papers from the court. Thereafter the PAPs receive help from the adoption agency in getting the birth certificate made from the local municipal corporation under which the adoption agency falls.
The PAPs need to send post legal follow up reports of the child placed with them. The details regarding the follow up reports are provided by the adoption agency at that point of time.
Home Study and its importance in the procedure for Adoption
The home study is an integral and importance aspect of the adoption procedure. The home study is also referred to as an adoption study. The single parents and couples with one child (either adopted or biological) are not discriminated in the process of adoption.
A home study is a screening of the home and life of PAPs before the adoption takes place. The ultimate purpose of a home study is the well being of the child while the adoption agency approves a PAP from the perspective of the child’s secure and better future.
The social worker spends time with each PAP(s) individually to conduct the home study and conducts an in depth session with each couple/ single parent who has registered for adoption on one on one basis so as to be able to have an individualized counselling session.
Along with getting to know the PAP in detail as an individual as well as a couple, there are a lot of details and aspects that like the backgrounds of the children who come into care, limitations of institutional care, the adoption process and different post adoption issues, etc that are shared.
What is the difference between a home study and a home visit?
The home study is the interviews conducted by the social worker appointed by the adoption agency.
The home visit is when the representative of the adoption agency visits the PAP’s home. The home visit report includes different aspects ranging from the physical description of the home, the type of neighbourhood, amenities in the house and the neighbourhood, the standard of living of the couple as reflected in the home and the standard of accommodation available for the adopted child in the home.
The other family staying with the PAP(s) if any are also spoken to during the home visit.
Where is the home study conducted?
The home study is conducted planned and organised by the adoption agency.
The home study may be organised either in the agency’s office or the PAP’s residence during the home visit.
How a home study is conducted?
A home study is conducted with every PAP (irrespective of whether a single PAP or a couple) on a one to one basis by a qualified social worker appointed by the adoption agency. The home study takes a few hours at a stretch. It is generally completed in one single sitting. Although it is a part of the formalities of the adoption procedure, the home study is conducted in an informal way so as to help the PAPs to open up, be comfortable with the social worker during the process. This helps the PAP(s) in discussing their views, thoughts and/ or apprehensions with the social worker. Depending on the social worker’s impressions and assessment, the PAPs maybe called for further sessions for counselling in certain aspects if required.
What is covered in the home study?
There are two sections in the home study namely the individual interview and the joint interview (for couples). During the individual interview, the social worker takes down the details about each of the prospective parents ranging from their family backgrounds, details about their growing years, the value system they come from, their emotional health, evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses, religious affiliations, their academic growth, professional life, quality of their marital relationship/ future plans of marriage etc (in case of a single parent), details of the past marriage (wherever applicable), current family relationships, details of the children in the home including biological and adopted (wherever applicable), attitude towards childlessness and motivation for and attitudes towards adoption.
During the joint interview, an in – depth discussion is done on the different aspects of adoption like the sources of admission of children, limitations of an institutional care, the PAP’s capacity towards parenthood and expectations of a child, attitude of significant others towards adoption, and different post adoption issues.
The in – depth home study procedure aims to help smoothen this process by preparing the PAPs for the different aspects of their adoption. The PAP’s queries/ doubts/ questions regarding the different aspects of adoption are also discussed. This also aims to help the PAP to overcome their preconceived notions about adoption if any and helps them in welcoming the child into their life and home in a better way.
The social worker prepares a report based on her impression and assessment on the PAP. This determines their suitability regarding the adoption. It also takes into account their commitment to providing the child a loving home.
Next Article: Sources of children in adoption agencies
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Article by Deepali Kulkarni
Deepali has a BA in sociology from Pune University; Masters in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai); PG Diploma in School Psychology from Janana Prabodhini Institute of Psychology. She has the experience of working in the field of Family & Child Welfare since the last 15 yrs. She is currently a freelancer with 3 different adoption agencies. She is an adoptive parent herself.