That first adoption home visit from the social worker can be so nerve-wracking. I remember that feeling well. My husband and I have been through the adoption process twice now and I still remember those nerves.
Before the visit, I must have googled, ‘How to prepare for my first adoption home visit’ so many times, in the hope that I would find some advice from an experienced adopter. Unfortunately, I came up with nothing each time. So I thought, now that I have some experience of the process, I would write a little something for any first time adopters looking for some information and a bit of reassurance that this is all going to be ok. Because, chances are, it will be!
First off, breathe. The most important thing you can do is to just be yourself. Easier said than done though, right? The best way you can prepare for your adoption home visit the night before, is to relax.
Social workers are looking for honest and genuine people.
The more relaxed and well-rested you are before the visit, the easier it will be to just be yourself.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
Do some basic research
It’s always a good idea to do some basic research before meeting with your social worker.
For example, did you know that that most children looking for a home in the UK today are not babies. If you’re not in the UK, its worth checking this out for your area.
There are also some good basic guides, like the UK online resource The Adoption Journey, that will give you an idea of what to expect during the process. I found the book An Adoption Diary, from Amazon, a really helpful read before our assessment as it went into a lot of depth about the UK process.
For more book recommendations, check out, The best adoption books to read before adopting.
If you’re on social media, consider following some adoption bloggers to get a sense of if this is really something you want. During your adoption assessment, your social worker will be looking to see how committed you are.
They will also be interested in who will be part of your adoption support network This is definitely something that is worth considering before your home visit.
To find out more, check out, How to grow a strong adoption support network before you adopt.
Make sure your home looks child-friendly
I’m not talking about going out and buying a swing set for the garden or creating a playroom just yet. That’s a bit premature.
It’s more a case of making sure it is a relatively safe environment for a baby or child to be in. I worried most about this one, but it’s really the least important. As long as your home is not physically dangerous and you’re open to making any necessary changes in the future, your worker should be happy.
For your first visit, just make sure that it is generally clean and tidy. There should be no bottles of bleach lying about, dangerous wires over-crowding sockets, or sinks overflowing with dishes!
They want to see that you are capable of keeping yourself and a future child safe. That’s all.
Remember your manners
It’s not essential, but it never hurts to offer refreshments to your worker and show a genuine interest in them during the small talk at the beginning.
Remember, they are going to be working with you throughout your assessment process and, depending on your organisations structure, possibly through placement and post adoption support too.
Setting the foundations for a good working relationship now, will benefit you both in the future, and ultimately your future child.
Be open and honest
This is probably the most important thing the whole way through the process ad definitely makes a good first impression.
Honesty is crucial. The social worker will suss out if you are not being completely honest with them and it will be a big alarm bell for them.
If you have done your research and considered your motivations to adopt, and you genuinely think you will make a great parent, then there is no need not to be completely open with your worker.
Think before you speak
Yes, I just said to be honest and open, and I completely stand by that. However, if you are the kind of person who speaks before they think, then just try to pause when you are answering questions.
This is especially important in the first meeting when you and your social worker don’t know each other well. Be careful with any jokes that might be misunderstood!
Remember, any question that they ask you is related to your suitability as an adoptive parent. Try to always answer from that perspective.
If you are asked your views and opinions on controversial subjects, be honest about your opinion but also think about how you might respond to your child if they disagreed with your ideals and beliefs. I found it helpful to use examples of friends or family members who I disagreed with on divisive issues, but was still able to maintain strong relationships with.
They don’t really care that much about your political opinion, or religious belief, so long as you will love your child unconditionally and do your best for them, regardless of whether they agree or disagree with you.
You’ve got this!
Preparing for your first adoption home visit can be so daunting.
I know what it feels like to be pacing the floor waiting for them to arrive, and hoping I don’t mess it up.
However, at the end of the day, this is just one of many visits. The visits are also complemented by references and training. If you make a mistake or say the wrong thing, just tell them, and tell them if you’re feeling nervous. It’s completely normal.
Unless you’re doing something illegal, then it is highly unlikely that you will be written off in that first visit!
Try to remember that as you prepare for your first adoption home visit.