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How can same-sex couples prepare for an adoption home review?

For many people who want children but cannot have their own, there is a legal way to bring children into their lives. Adoption is available for everyone, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered couples who cannot have their own children naturally. Like every other state, Illinois requires a home assessment study of a prospective couple's life, including their finances and home, before an adoption can be approved.

Are home assessment studies intrusive? For many families, these agency visits do seem intrusive, but they are the only way caseworkers can determine whether children will be good fits and have their best interests met by new parents and new environments.

How much should LGBT couples disclose about their lives? For many LGBT couples, home studies create additional anxiety if they are not sure what an agency's adoption policies are regarding parents' sexual orientation and lifestyles. In every case, though, disclosing all relevant information helps the social worker truly assess the child's potential new environment.

Should LGBT applicants clean up their homes before a home assessment? Many LGBT applicants wonder if they should remove anything that could raise questions such as photos and books before a visit. This is a reasonable concern, one shared by all prospective parents who want to make good first impressions on the visiting caseworker. In reality, however, being open about who they truly are will most likely work to a couple's advantage. The objective of a home study is to help the child and couple begin their new relationship in the smoothest way possible.

What if the visiting social worker seems uncomfortable or judgmental? If a prospective adoptive couple feels a visiting social worker is asking inappropriate questions or is showing signs of discomfort, they may be able to to contact the worker's supervisor to discuss their situation.

Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, "Frequently Asked Questions From Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents," January 2011

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