How to Prepare for the Home Study: Interview Questions
It’s no surprise that the interview is usually the most stressful part of the home study process, but what if you knew the exact questions a social worker was going to ask you ahead of time?
Sadly we are still a few years a way from being able to read minds, but in the meantime we can provide you with the next best thing: a list of the 10 most common interview questions asked during a home study and advice from adoption professionals on how to answer them.
We’ve seen countless guides that provide questions you might be asked, but the last thing you should do is create a generic response for every interview question (please don’t do this). Instead we suggest you take time to research and prepare yourself for the topics that could be asked. To help you get started, we’ve spoken with social workers to find out the responses they are looking for, and what it takes to show them you’re ready to grow your family.
How to Prepare for the Home Study - Step-by-Step Guide
Here is our list of interview questions you should know before your home study.
1. What was your family like growing up?
Autobiographical information will be the social worker’s first concern, so always be prepared to answer questions about your childhood, including where and how you were raised. It’s important to reflect on your upbringing ahead of time, especially if it is something that you find difficult to talk about. They will additionally ask you to provide names, ages, professions and work histories of both your parents and siblings.
2. How would you describe yourself as an adolescent?
Many people struggle with this question the most as they could be looking for a variety of different answers. Most social workers will be more specific by directly asking questions about your level of education, social life as a teenager, sports/hobbies, etc. If they don’t, then it is best to explain your answers to these questions anyway, as it shows you are confident in knowing who you are, and willingly transparent with that knowledge.
3. What is YOUR MARITAL STATUS?
Your relationship status will certainly be questioned during the interview, and the follow-up questions will often change depending on your current status. If you’re married, expect to be asked how you met, when you were engaged and how you resolve your differences. Beyond that, you might have to explain how you divide work and finances within the marriage and if you have had any separation/counseling issues in the past. On the other hand, if you’re single the social worker may ask how a child will affect your future, and if you have any plans for marriage. Keep in mind that being engaged may require your fiancé to be interviewed/cleared before getting approved to adopt.
4. Do you live alone?
Any adult residing in your home will need to be interviewed and pass a series of criminal/child abuse background checks prior to you being approved for adoption. This question is often overlooked and results in an extremely complicated case that rarely gets approved. There are two scenarios to be particularly careful of: If you have a temporary guest who will be there during any part of the adoption process or if you’re part of a foreign exchange student program. A good rule of thumb to ensure you pass this question is to inform your social worker of anyone who is, or could be there at the time of the home study or at the time of placement of the child.
5. What is your religion/Beliefs?
While it might seem quite forward to ask, your religion and values play an important role in the interview process. Be prepared to answer questions regarding your faith, traditions, current beliefs and what impact they have on the way you live your life. It can be challenging to answer this if you don’t currently participate in an organized religion but one alternative we suggest is speaking towards your family values and outside influences that have helped make you a better person.
6. How will you approach parenting?
The purpose of this question is to get a better understanding of why you are wanting to adopt a child and more specifically how you plan on disciplining your child. Many people immediately state their disapproval of spanking children out of fear that they might be seen as abusive otherwise. However, most of us know (including social workers) that eventually a situation may arise where it is appropriate to spank a child, and that it doesn’t mean that parent is abusive. We suggest focusing on passive forms of discipline such as placing a child in a time-out chair, or removing his favorite toy and explain that any form of corporal punishment would only be used when absolutely necessary.
7. What is your attitude toward infertility?
Social workers may start by asking what your infertility status is, and how it has affected your relationships with others. The primary purpose is to understand your attitude towards infertility, and more importantly how you feel about birth parents. You should be prepared to explain why you chose to adopt a child and how you would feel about your adopted child seeking out his birth parents.
8. What is your house/apartment like?
It wouldn’t be a home study without a few questions regarding your home and luckily most social workers will ask you directly for the information they are seeking. Questions can include the price you paid for your home, it’s current value, the kind of neighborhood you live in, and a list of nearby schools, parks, etc. If you’re concerned about the physical appearance of your home, make sure to run through our home study checklist in part four of this series.
9. What is your current financial status?
You’ll be asked to disclose your current salary, savings balances, debts, health insurance and life insurance information. While large savings accounts and investment portfolios are beneficial, the most important thing is being able to show that you have enough discretionary income each month to provide for a child. A small emergency fund and a general understanding of how to manage your money is more than enough in most cases, but some may go as far as requiring the previous years tax forms.
10. Are You PRepared For The Type OF CHild You’re ADopting?
The final questions are situation-based, and not everyone will encounter the same ones depending the type of child they are adopting. Adopting a child from another country will require you to have a basic understand of the culture there and how it can be preserved in your own family. If you’re adopting a child with special needs, you need to be prepared to showcase your understanding of the child’s condition and how you plan to meet their requirements.
Once you’ve taken time to reflect on these questions, the final step in preparing for your home study is to complete our home study checklist. Click the button below to continue to the last segment of our series. If you’ve missed any of our previous articles on preparing for the home study, you can find them in the table of contents at the top of this page.
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