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General Adoption Resources:

The home study process can shift the focus away from the 
administrative logistics of paperwork toward the things that
actually matter – educating yourself and realistically preparing your family for adoption, reflecting on what's
important to you, your values and your vision for your
family’s future.

Q.  Are there different requirements for an international home study?


A.  An international home study is somewhat different than a                 domestic home study. With an international home study the                   requirements of your home state need to be met, in addition to the         requirements of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the     foreign country you are adopting from. An international home study     is a highly specialized style of home study that needs to be completed   by a licensed and Hague certified adoption professional. Before             starting the international home study process you must already have     selected an agency to work with and which country you will be               adopting from.  

An independent home study evaluator, such as Texas Home Study,         can act as an "Exempted Provider" for your international adoption         and complete your home study only if you are working with a Hague   Certified entity.

Home Study Frequently Asked Questions

 Q.  What is an adoption home study?

A.  A home study is a review of you, your spouse, and anyone else

living in your home. A home study is required for almost every

adoption. It highlights items such as relationships, interactions with

children, your neighborhood, and your childhood.  The home study

helps the courts, and the agency, determine if a stable environment

exists for a family to receive an adoptive placement.



Q.  What are post-placement reports

A.  Post-placement reports are follow-ups to the home study after the

placement of a child has been made. They consist of visits to assess the

status of the child and how the adoptive parents are adjusting.  Post

placement requirements vary across states and agencies.



Q.  Are all home studies created equally?


A.  Due to the sheer number of organizations providing home study services there is an enormous difference in the quality of home studies. While each state has the same standards that all agencies are required to follow, there are many items to consider.  Unless approved by the adoption program you are joining, you should have your home study completed by a licensed professional. My license (Texas License #63138 and National Certification #219527) and experience permits me to conduct home studies in Texas.  The professional you choose should be able to schedule the interviews and complete the home study in a timely fashion, usually within 2-6 weeks.





Q.  What is an update?

A.  An update is a required addition to the home study in the event of any major life changes or every 12 months until your final adoption hearing. For example, imagine a child is placed with you tomorrow, and the state allows the final hearing in 60 days, if your home study were only six months old, you would not need an update.

After your home study is completed, it must remain current until you receive an adoptive placement. Home studies should be updated every 12 months.

A home study update is necessary for the reasons listed below.

-Residency Change

-Addition to your family

-Major life development

-New employment

-Home study is more than 12 months old



Q.  When should we start the home study?


A.  Obtaining a home study is the first step toward adoption, so it is important

that the home study be started immediately. Typically, I can complete your

home study in 2-6 weeks. Agencies advise that you not begin the search or

locate a child without a completed home study.


Types of Adoption Home Studies


  • Domestic Adoptions (or private adoptions) - refers to the placement of U.S.-born children for adoption by their birth parents. 


  • International Adoptions - refers to the placement and adoption of children from a different country.


  • StepParent or Kinship Adoptions - refers to the placement and adoption of a stepchild, or a child with whom you are related.


  • Court Ordered Social Studies - court ordered by a judge when additional information is necessary for an adoption to be granted. 


  • Home Study Updates - home studies expire after 12 months of completion and at that time if placement has not occurred, then an update to the original home study must be completed.


  • Post Placement Reports - refers to the home visit(s) and report(s) required after a child has been placed in the home for potential adoption.



State-Specific Home Study Requirements:

For information on different types of adoption and Home Study requirements by each specific state visit:
Texas Requirments: 

Who Must Be Studied for adoption in Texas

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, § 749.3621

The applicants, their families, and any persons, including children, residing in the applicants’ home shall be included in the study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study for adoption in Texas

Citation: Fam. Code § 107.051

The social study may be made by a private entity, a person appointed by the court, a domestic relations office, or a State agency, including the Department of Family and Protective Services if the department is a party to the suit.

Each individual who conducts a social study must be qualified under § 107.0511.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents for adoption in Texas

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, § 749.3623

All adoptive applicants must be:

  • Age 21 or older

  • Financially able to provide for their family and the child being adopted

  • Healthy enough to assume parenting responsibilities

  • Able to accept and parent an adopted child

  • Willing to respect and encourage the adopted child’s religious affiliation, if any


Elements of a Home Study for Adoption in Texas

Citation: Fam. Code § 107.0514; 162.0085; Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 745.615; 749.3663

The basic elements of a social study consist of:

  • A personal interview of each adopting parent

  • An interview, conducted in a developmentally appropriate manner, of each adoptive child who is at least age 4

  • Observation of each adoptive child, regardless of age

  • Obtaining information from relevant collateral sources

  • Evaluation of the home environment

The court shall order each person seeking to adopt a child to obtain that person’s own fingerprint-based criminal history record information. The court shall accept a person’s criminal history record information when the information was obtained no more than 1 year before the date the court ordered the history to be obtained.

In regulation: A name-based criminal history check and a central registry check must be requested for:

  • Each prospective adoptive parent seeking to adopt through a child-placing agency

  • Each person age 14 and older who will reside in the home

The department must request a fingerprint-based criminal history check request for:

  • Any person who applies to be an adoptive parent

  • Any person age 18 or older living in the home of the applicant

Basic safety requirements for the home and grounds include:

  • The home must be clean, safe, and free of obvious fire and other hazards. The home must be equipped with smoke detectors.

  • Pets must be vaccinated and treated as recommended by a licensed veterinarian.

  • If the adoptive home has a swimming pool, wading pool, hot tub, or other bodies of water on the premises, plans must be in place to ensure the safety of the child.


Grounds for Withholding Approval for Adoption in Texas

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 745.651; 745.655

Approval may be denied if the person has committed any of the following misdemeanor or felony offenses:

  • Offenses against the person or family

  • Robbery

  • Public indecency

  • Stalking

  • Crimnal solicitation of a minor

  • Failure to stop or report aggravated sexual assault of a child

  • Any offense committed in the past 10 years including:

    • Those under the Texas Controlled Substances Act

    • Making firearms accessible to a child

    • Intoxication and alcoholic beverage offenses

  • Any other felony under the Texas Penal Code or similar offense under the law of another State or Federal law committed within the past 10 years

  • Deferred adjudications covering an offense listed above if the person has not completed probation successfully

Approval also may be denied if a check of the child abuse central registry reveals that the person has any sustained finding of child abuse or neglect, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, neglectful supervision, or medical neglect.

When Studies Must Be Completed for Adoption in Texas

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, § 749.3633

An adoptive home screening must be updated every 12 months and after a major life change in the adoptive family. The update must include:

  • A review and any required updating of each category of information required for an adoptive home screening

  • Documentation of at least one visit to the adoptive home when all household members are present within the 90-day period before the update is approved


Postplacement Study Requirements for Adoption in Texas

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40 §§ 749.3741 through 749. 3753

A postplacement adoptive report is a written evaluation of the adjustment of all individuals to the placement. Interviews for the report may be conducted in one visit and must include:

  • Individual interviews with each adoptive parent, each child age 3 or older, any other person living with the family

  • A joint interview with the adoptive parents

  • A family group interview with all family members

The interviews must be conducted after the child has resided with the adoptive parent for at least 5 months. Each interview should focus on the adjustment of the family and the child following the placement of the child. The caseworker must visit the home when all members of the household are present and document the date, persons present, their relationship to the adoptive parents, and observations made during the visit.

The postplacement adoptive report must include:

  • A summary of all assessments and available information about the child, including:

    • Health, social, education, genetic, and family histories

    • History of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse experienced by the child

    • History of any previous placements

    • The child’s understanding of adoptive placement

    • The child’s legal status

  • A summary of all assessments, interviews, and available information about the adoptive parents including:

    • The adoptive home screening, including the results of the criminal history and central registry background checks

    • Individual strengths and weaknesses of the adoptive parents

    • Observations made relative to the family’s interactions

    • Interviews conducted and home visits

  • An evaluation of the child’s needs and whether the environment will meet those needs

  • A summary of the adjustment of the family and child in the home during the postplacement period


Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions for Adoption in Texas

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements for Adoption in Texas

Citation: Fam. Code § 162.102

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

Foster to Adopt Placements for Adoption in Texas

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 40, §§ 749.3201; 749.3203; 749.3221

Applicants may be approved as a foster-adoptive home. All rules for verifying a foster family home and for approving an adoptive home must be followed. The foster home screening and preadoptive home screening may be combined into one screening report as long as requirements for each screening are covered.

A ‘legal risk placement’ exists when:

  • A child that is not available for adoption because his or her parent(s)’ rights have not been terminated

  • A child has been placed into a home that has been jointly verified as a foster home and approved as an adoptive home.

  • The placement is intended to change from foster care to adoption once the child is eligible for adoption.

A legal risk placement does not exist when a child is placed with foster parents who want to adopt the child but have not been approved as an adoptive home.

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