Parent-to-Parent: Preparing for the Adoption Home Study Visit

Real parents share how they prepared for the adoption home study visit with a social worker, offering helpful tips and some funny stories.

parents share how they prepared for their adoption home study

On our Facebook page (, we asked readers, Did you do anything to prepare your house for the home study visit from the social worker? If so, what? Here’s what you said:

“My husband and I imagined a social worker peering in our closets for cobwebs and scouring our garage for dangerous tools. But our social worker made us feel at ease instantly. When asked if she wanted to inspect our garage and closets, she just laughed.”  —ANGELA

“We cleaned everything in sight! Our six-year-old son was very excited to serve as the “tour guide.” When we got to his bedroom, he said, “Hey! Who cleaned up my room?” Luckily, our social worker just laughed, while my husband and I turned red. But then, she asked to see the basementthe place where we had thrown anything we didn’t have room for upstairs. Despite our cluttered basement, she wrote a wonderful report. Now, we’re waiting for our referral and really cleaning up the basement.” —SHERRI

“I made banana bread for the social worker. As a full-time accountant, I thought it would make me appear more domestic. Now that I’m a full-time mom, I am truly domestic: The house is rarely spotless and I hardly ever have time to bake!” —TERRI

“Our large family has been home studied six times over the last 16 years. We’ve developed a formula that seems to work well: Deep clean the bathrooms and kitchen; clear the clutter, inside and out; fix a meat/veggie/cheese platter; relax and welcome the worker into your home!” —STEPHANIE

“Our home study prompted us to finally finish tiling our kitchen and frame family photos. My husband and I baked for the visit and discussed at length our answers to possible questions. It all seems a little crazy now, but, at the time, it gave us a small sense of control in what felt like a powerless situation.” —ROANNE

“We’re on our fourth home study and the process is beginning to wear on us. We moved between adoptions, and have been forced to start from scratch. We propose a “universal home study” that can be updated and accepted across state lines.” —PRUE

“We cleaned a bit more than normal and made sure meds and cleaning supplies were locked up. We’ve had several home studies because we’ve moved around. Our worst one was when I had my three boys, two kids we were babysitting, and a friend there for the visit. I kept apologizing for the chaotic atmosphere and the licensing worker kept reassuring me it was nothing. Then, my friend dropped a paper on a burning candle by accident, it lit on fire, and all our alarms started going off. At that point the worker said, ‘OK, now this is chaotic!’ We were still licensed.” —KATY

“First time: We scrubbed the house top to bottom, hung new pics of family, bought a new bed frame, and moved DVDs of The Sopranos and Sex and the City to the back of the shelf. I also baked cookies. The third time? I think I cleared the counter of clutter and offered our social worker a glass of water. It’s easier than it seems!” —ERIN

“I scrubbed everything…but left a dish in the sink so we seemed human.” —ALYSSA

Baby proofed. The visit is not to judge your cleanliness, but to make sure a child would be safe in your home. No one lives in a sterile museum.” —KELLI

“We cleaned the house from top to bottom. Then we had friends who had been through a home visit over for pizza and we picked their brains on what else to do. We were adopting from foster care, so we did have to have a room set up as if we were getting a kid the next day. Having a room in our house that we couldn’t use as we waited for more than a year and a half was hard.” —KATHERINE

“I cleaned as if my mother-in-law were coming over.” —SYLVIA

“We just did a normal cleaning and made sure meds were out of reach. The only thing we got dinged on was the lack of a CO2 detector, but we just had to plug one in and send a photo to the caseworker. They just want to make sure your house is a safe, clean space.” —JAMIE

“We had the house cleaned, though I didn’t realize the cleaner had sprayed the oven. Then, I attempted to bake cookies for the social worker…and the whole house reeked! My husband and I were running around like crazy, opening all the windows, even though it was February, trying to air out the house.” —VANESSA

“After cleaning like normal, we made sure all the cleaning products and meds were up high and that all the smoke detectors worked. We did have to prove that our dog was up to date on shots. Don’t stress about the home study, because they are there to help you. Even if something is wrong, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to adopt a child—they will just tell you to fix it.” —SARAH

“They should give you a list of what you need to have ready. We cleaned, child-proofed, got a hanging ladder for the second story (in case of fire) and put it in the nursery, and got fire extinguishers for both floors.” —MELISSA

“I cleaned with a toothbrush! My house was the cleanest it had ever been since it went up in 1962. The social worker was there for 45 minutes and never even looked under the couch or bed for dust. Geez!” —A.G.


Adoption Agencies

Adoption Routes/Programs
U.S. Newborn
Adoption Choice Inc.
Green Bay
Adoption Routes/Programs
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International
Agape Adoptions
Adoption Routes/Programs
International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Family & Children’s Agency
Adoption Routes/Programs
U.S. Newborn, International
La Crosse
Adoption Routes/Programs
U.S. Newborn, International
Adoption Routes/Programs
U.S. Newborn, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child

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