What is a home study report?

A Home Study Report or HSR is a mandatory report for those who want to adopt internationally. It consists of information inputs from adoptors, office interviews and home visits. It requires you to disclose information about your medical records, financial situation, and ciminal backgrounds, as well as details your family relationships, and your feeling about adoption. The HSR is conducted by accredited social service organizations in Singapore.

How long does it take to complete a HSR?

The time to complete a HSR varies from 1 to 2 months.

What do councellors look for in an HSR?

The HSR is created to protect the rights of adoptees. It wants to make sure the adoptees have acceptable conditions to live in and to grow up. Because bringing up a child is a long-term affair, the social workers will want to know your health conditions, your parental style and whether you have the financial capability to raise a child.

Can I choose the social worker who conducted the HSR?

There are 5 agencies in Singapore who are accredited to conduct the HSR. You can interview the agencies before you decide to select the one to conduct your HSR. And when you are first interviewing agencies, ask who is likely to do your home study, and request a quick, informal chat. If you are comfortable with his/her style and presence, you’ll want to go for that agency.

How can I speed it up?

When you’re interviewing agencies or social workers, ask how long they expect each phase of the home study to take? Don’t hesitate to ask your social worker about his workload, if he/she seems disorganized or takes too long to return your calls, ask to be assigned to someone else. For your part, gather all documents and make your medical appointments early in the process.

What are they looking for in a home visit?

A home study is meant to explore what kind of life you can offer a child. It is not intended to get skeletons out of the closet. Dust in your house is all right- social workers are not typically critiquing your housekeeping standards (some agencies even believe that people living in a picture-perfect home would have a difficult time adjusting to the mess a child brings to a household). You don’t have to have toys or a decorated nursery. Social workers are just looking for people who will be sensible, loving parents.

What should I worry about?

If you have a medical, financial, or criminal record that you fear might result in an unfavourable home study, don’t wait to mention.

  • Health problems or disabilities: An agency will want to know if you can care for a child long-term. If you’re in the middle of medical treatment or have a condition that threatens your life expectancy, you might be prevented from adopting. If you have medical condition that is under control (for instance, high blood pressure or diabetes that is managed by diet and medication) you may still be approved to adopt. If your family has sought counseling or treatment for a mental health condition in the past, you may be asked to provide reports from those visits.
  • Financial problems: a history of bank-ruptcy, high debt, or failure to pay child support could be cause for denial. But you don’t have to be rich to adopt, you just have to show that you can manage your finances responsibly and adequately.

How can I help my spouse put up with the HSR?

Every adoptive parent we know has said, at some point during the home study: “This is unfair, they don’t make people go through this before they get pregnant”. For some initially reluctant spouses, the prospect of having their lives examined is too much to bear. Our families say the best way to deal with this is to turn the process around: Think of the home study as the chance to ask an expert- the social worker- everything you want to know about Baby Adoption.

What if I’m rejected?

In the unlikely event that your counsellor does not approve your HSR, the first thing to do is appeal to the head of the agency to make sure it’s not a matter of personal chemistry (it’s been known to happen). Next, check with your support group: Have other people in your situation been approved? If so, by whom? If there’s absolutely no reason for your rejection, apply to another agency.

FAQ of the HSR interview:

About yourself

  1. What is your experience with intertility, and how have you resolved your grief over intertility?
  2. What is your relationship with your spouse? How do you approach problem solving and handle conflict as a team? Give examples
  3. What is your employment status? What are your plans after your child arrives?
  4. What is your financial situation? Are you able to live within your means and save for future expenses?
  5. How were you parented in your family of origin, and how might you experiences growing up affect your own parenting?

About parenting and adoption

  1. What is your motivation to adopt?
  2. What type of child are you interested in adopting, and why?
  3. Can you consider taking a child with prenatal drug/alcohol exposure? Any other disability?
  4. Are you open to parenting a child of another race? If so, what experiences do you have with children and adults of other races?
  5. What efforts have you made to educate yourself about adoption?
  6. What are your expectations of parenthood? Of your child?
  7. What are your theories about parenting?
  8. What experiences have you had caring for children?
  9. How does your family feel about your plan to adopt?