If you are adopting and are wondering what is a home study and what happens, I will be glad to share what I know with you.
We did a domestic adoption so I can not say out of the country adoption home studies are the same. It depends on what the particular country wants to know about you.
The agency that did our home study has actually closed now, which makes me sad, they were absolutely wonderful to work with. The social worker they assigned us, was actually adopted herself, and she offered us some insight, on how to handle telling our daughter. She is a wonderful warm person.
They sent us lots of papers to fill out. Tons of questions to answer. Most of which you have no idea you are going to be asked. I will list some of them here.
How were you raised? How well do you get along with your parents now? As a teenager? How were you disciplined? Were you spanked, grounded, time outs, items taken away from you? They asked all kinds of questions about extended family and siblings. We were asked how we plan to discipline, how we plan to tell our daughter she's adopted. How we felt about birth moms in general, did we think they were bad people for giving up their child? How do your parents get along? Now & when you were growing up. Worst time of your life, best time of your life, each and as a couple. They want stories from your childhood, young adulthood, and now. Etc, etc.
They give you a thorough examination of your childhood, your life from birth until the point at which your hire them to do your home study. I will not lie it is invasive, and you are asked some questions that you have no idea how to answer, you are scared to tell the truth, and scared not to tell the truth. However, you will survive it, and you might learn something about yourself or your spouse in the process.
The biggest thing that bothered us was how many times we were asked the same questions by everyone involved in our adoption process. We felt like a broken record, that was hard. You wonder why can't all these people share your information?
Our first visit with our social worker was actually very pleasant. We enjoyed talking with her so much, we didn't want her to leave. She was actually the first human face we had met involved in our adoption. She was full of answers and advice. She looked over our home , they do this to make sure you have a safe environment to raise a child. They are not looking for dirt or skeletons in the closet, however I would recommend a clean house to show them. After her walk through we sat at the dining room table and just went over all of the questions we had been given to answer at an earlier date. She then asked some additional questions about our life, each and together. She then took her notes and wrote a story about us!! It was wonderful.
Next Visit with her was after baby comes home!!