When Should I Expedite a Home Study?
There are many situations when a home study needs to be expedited. You can expedite both a domestic and an international home study. A couple examples of when it would be appropriate to expedite a home study would include:
A couple decides to pursue a domestic adoption. They find themselves blessed with a quick private adoption before they have even started the home study process. In this case, it would be crucial to have a home study completed within a short time frame. Another example would be if a relative asked you to adopt a child due to unforeseen circumstances. These placements need to happen as soon as possible, so the typical wait time of a home study (3 to 6 months) would not longer be suitable for these cases.
What Does It Cost?
For an expedited home study, the client will have two services to pay for, the first is the home study fee and the second is the fee to expedite the study. Family Connections fee to expedite is 450$ plus the cost of the home study.
How Long Does It Take?
Family Connections will complete a first draft of the home study in 6 weeks or less, from the time of the home visit.
What Does An Expedited Home Study Require Of Me?
An expedited home study will require you to be diligent in your paperwork. All adoptions require you to fill in a lot of forms. Typically, you fill them in at your leisure and in your time frame. When you expedite a home study you should have them filled in as soon as possible, so that your home study can be finished quickly. This may require you to take time off from work.
Expedited: Domestic vs. International
Domestic home studies have less regulation requirements so they are most easily expedited. Often content is left to the discretion of a judge so if information is left out of the study, a judge will not delay the process of pre-approving you to adopt. A judge is looking for information regarding criminal and child abuse history, mental health history, finance statements, and general stability. The judges will trust the adoption social workers to report on the safety of the home, and their ability to access the client’s motivations and attitudes toward adoption. In an expedited home study there are more opportunities for grammatical mistakes that may be bothersome to a judge, however because the home study is expedited the judge is more likely to understand, and focus on the overall language and what is being communicated.
An international home study is a whole different ball game. These differences make the international home study much more difficult to expedite. An international home study has to follow and comply with all the agencies and government authority that are involved with the specific international adoption.
In an international home study the rules are made by:
- The state of residence
- The local state adoption agency
- The agency serving as the primary provider for your international adoption
- The federal government, specifically, the US Department of State
- The United States immigration laws and regulations
- The Foreign Country
In order to follow each of the requirements for the above authorities, an international adoption home study is much more technical.
An international study has higher standards for a child abuse and criminal clearances. There is a whole set of questions that are required to be asked and verified under penalty of perjury. Omission of an incident or forgetting to disclose a part of your social history can be grounds to disprove a home study. A request to amend a home study would be the next crucial step. For example, you forgot that you were arrested ten years ago for something your twin sister did using your I.D.. Though you personally did not commit the crime, it would still count as a part of your criminal history. If a situation is not disclosed, it will result in a delay, and may sabotage your expedited home study. It is always best to be upfront with your history, then to have events come to light in the court proceedings.
The regulatory requirements of an international home study make the details the difference between a successful home study, and one that is delayed or rejected. For example, leaving out ANY required statement, or not using the appropriate language or statements that the USCIS officer requires will result in a “Request for Evidence” (RFE). This request will delay your home study for at least two to three weeks. Other details that may be required in a home study are specific pieces of information about the client’s home, bedroom dimensions, or specific income statements. Often times the federal government will require certain pieces of information that the state government does not, or the country where the child is coming from requires information using a different template. In an international adoption, the home study is the key piece of information about the family. All of the information in the study is verified and substantiated before being submitted in the home study document. For example, each client is required to be fingerprinted two or three different times, depending on the country from where you are adopting. Each country has different rules and regulations. At the end of the day, your home study can be delayed if not done to the exact standards of the authorities it has to be cleared by, even if you are well qualified to be adoptive parents.
These technicalities are often where the frustration of the client(s) comes into play.
You know, and the social worker knows, that you are well qualified to be an adoptive parent, yet the process is being delayed by a small detail. It is important to understand the intricacy of the international home study process, so that each client will do their best to provide appropriate and adequate information, which will then allow the social worker to do their best work.
Do you have questions about the home study process? Give us a call at 607-756-6574 so that we can help you through this adoption/ home study process!