Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Home Study & Paperwork

One of the couples who agreed to walk with us, sent a packet of information about Uganda Adoptions from an agency they began to work with, hoping this would help us see everything that's involved and where to start. We begin with the I-600A, this is an Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Sounds a little overwhelming! The packet was helpful in figuring out some of the basics of the form but several of the details have changed from a year ago when the packet was created. It's preferred to send your completed Home Study in with the I-600A but right now, not required. That's good because the fees are increasing as of Nov. 23! I tried to get through as many details and write down all my questions for the social worker who started with us after work!

Home Study-I've heard this term so many times before & had no idea what all it meant, other than sounding intimidating! Here's my best stab at describing what this means. A Home Study is conducted by a licensed Social Worker. Depending on where you're adopting from (Hague Convention Country or Non-Hague) may determine who is eligible to conduct the Home Study. A Home Study is comprised of several meetings with your Social Worker. For us, it was 4-5 meetings but this may vary depending on state, agency or country requirements. Our Social Worker combined 2 meetings into 1. The first part of our Home Study was an introduction to the paper work required by our state, what this process looks like etc. The second part that she added in tonight was an overview of our home and making sure we meet the requirements for a home. The other meetings will be an individual meeting with each of us and then a marital interview. After we finish all of our meetings, our Social Worker will type up our Home Study (details from each of our meetings) and will send it to the Alabama State DHR with other documents (birth, marriage certificates, etc) for us to be approved by the state.

The Details:
  • 3 different sets of laws to consider: US Federal Law, the laws of the child's country of birth, laws of the state where you reside
  • I-600A required by the USCIS, it's preferred to submit your Home Study with the application but not required currently
  • Began gathering documents and information for the Social Worker (photocopies acceptable): Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificate, Drivers License, Social Security Cards, Health Insurance Card, Paycheck stubs, Life Insurance, , Home Insurance policy, Auto Insurance Policy, Budget, HIV test, TB test, Pet Vaccinations
  • Social Worker issued forms: Physical Examination form which also had to be notarized, "CA/N" (Child Abuse/Neglect Clearance form). These were given to the Social Worker
  • Criminal History Check and 2 fingerprint cards to be sent to SBCN (Security Biometric Clearing Network) in Virginia

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