Monday, July 18, 2011

Home Study Thoughts *Updated with answers*

For those of you that have had to do a home study, did you do it through your agency or through another organization.

I get that in the foster care system, when they do your home study (for free), it is only available to use when taking a placement from the state.  If not, then everyone would go that route, and back out as soon as the home study was done and adopt privately. 

However, what about if you paid for it.  And paid a 'fair market' price, not discounted because it was your agency doing it.  We paid $1250 for our home study, and it was done by one of the adoption case workers from our agency.

There was an adoption possibility with another agency that we were interested in, and so I requested a copy of our home study (the other agency said they needed it).  When we got it, on the bottom of every page it said that we could only use it when adopting from our original agency.  I quickly got out our adoption agreement, and found NO WHERE in the documents that our home study could be used for them only. 

I sorta feel that it's like buying a car at a Chevy dealer, and them saying you can only buy gas and get your oil changed at their location.  I bought it, why can't I do with it what I want! 

Is this typical?  Do any of you have agencies that you can only use your home study for them? 

Also, I noticed several issues within the home study, such as last names for siblings were wrong, and my life insurance total was about $100,020 off... those seem like kinda big deals...  should I call and have them correct them now?  Do you think they would charge me the $450 to 'update' our home study (it's required if you change jobs, move, etc).  Should I wait until our update in October to have them fix it then.

It's complicated, but so critical to the adoption process.

To answer some questions:

We were never shown drafts, nor the final home study.  In fact, I'm sure that if I hadn't requested it from the agency for a possible placement somewhere else, we wouldn't have seen it at all.

Our fingerprints, background checks, etc were also additional fees, the $1250 was just for the home study.  We also had a nearly $500 application fee as well.

I wonder what would have happened if we never saw the home study, had a normal placement through the agency, and then there was an issue over inaccurate info when we went to court.... Hmmm....


  1. Call them! Those are mistakes, not 'updates' - they need to make it right.

    Also, I have to firsthand experience w/ home studies, but I think that if you paid for it, you should be able to take that study to whatever agency you choose...

  2. Our homestudy, done through an agency different than our adoption agency was about 2,000. With all of the paperwork, fingerprinting, notary signatures, and other stuff...we're at about 2,700.

    We made it very clear to them we are NOT using the homestudy agency as our adoption agency. And it hasn't been a problem.

    We also are getting "drafts" of our homestudy to correct and add things. Did you have that chance? Once we approve of a draft, then we sign it and it's final unless we want to pay for a change.

    I think you should at least call and ask. It seems like the mistakes are big enough, that they should have caught them.

    Good luck.

  3. I have never done a home study but it seems like you should have all rights to it, especially since you paid for it. I am interested in hearing what they say after you point out the errors. Surely, they will allow for some changes.

  4. Reading the updates....

    YES!! You need to have those things corrected. If you were never shown a draft to correct were trusting them to be accurate, which they weren't. You must call them.

  5. Completely agree with the other comments YES have them fix the mistakes at NO CHARGE because they are mistakes on their part not an update. I would have it done asap because you never know when you might receive a placement etc...
    As far as our home studies we had them done through the agency that we were using. We found that many will not accept other agencies home studies because it is a "liability"- basically they are having to take someone elses work and submit it as there own etc... So if there was something "wrong" with the homestudy that could hold up an adoption they don't want that on their hands etc.. I hope I have explained it clearly enough. I know it SUCKS especially when you have paid as much as you did and were not aware of this policy.

  6. We paid about $1300 for our homestudy. We were encouraged to look outside of our agency so obviously our homestudy had to be good for all cases, not just ones within our agency.

    And we received a copy of our homestudy and we had to sign a paper saying it was all correct or return a paper stating what needed to be corrected. Correcting things is not a homestudy update.

    Hope that info helps!

  7. Our home study was done through the adoption agency we used. However, that was not a requirement... you could purchase a "home study only" option and use it however you needed to. It was around the same price as yours.

    Ours had a few errors too, and I also went back and forth about asking them to make the changes. In the end, we did talk to them about the corrections and it was not a big deal at all, since everything is electronic these days. They should not charge you the update fee... it's their job to make sure this legal document is accurate the first time!! Sorry you are having such a difficult time. Nothing's ever as easy as it should be, is it?!