The home study is one of the most important parts of the adoption process in Tennessee. It is a visit conducted by a social worker, employed by a private or state agency, who inspects your home and interviews you and your family members.

The home study could take multiple visits to complete, so be prepared for the social worker to be at your home different days and times to observe your parenting style, inspect the home for safety, gauge your readiness to be an adoptive parent, and examine your overall personality. After all, the social worker must put the best interest of the child above all else in this process.

The home study process can take anywhere from three to six months to complete before a report is issued. This might seem like a long time to approve a family for adoption, and might even seem invasive at times, but just remember that the adoption agency is looking for reasons why they should approve you, instead of why they shouldn’t approve you for adoption. They want to be as thorough as possible, to make sure that the child AND you are all in a good position to start your new life together.

The home study report

In adoptions involving a child that is not related to you by blood or marriage, the adoption cannot be approved without a home study report. The report is issued by the social worker assigned to your file. The social worker will include information provided by you, your family members, and others who were interviewed during the process. It will likely include the following information:

  • Family background, financial statements, and references
  • Education and employment
  • Relationships and social life
  • Daily life routines
  • Parenting experiences
  • Details about your home and neighborhood
  • Readiness and reasons about your wanting to adopt
  • References and background checks
  • Approval and recommendation of children your family can best parent

Requirements to become adoptive or foster parent in Tennessee

Under Tennessee law, folks are dually approved to become foster or adoptive parents, so that a foster parent can adopt their foster child. In order to be approved as an adoptive or foster parent in Tennessee you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must be a resident of the state of Tennessee
  • Must be fingerprinted and pass a background check
  • Must be able to meet the financial needs of your family

You will also be required to complete a 23-hour course called Parents as Tender Healers (PATH) that is provided by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Are you planning to adopt a child in Tennessee? The experienced and compassionate family law attorneys at Shepherd & Long, P.C. are ready to help you help your family grow! To get started on the adoption process, call our office in Maryville at 865-982-8060, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.