To get you stared we have curated some tool and tips here...

Adoption is a Journey, Not a Destination

To begin exploring adoption and interviewing adoption agencies, you do not need to know which adoption program is right for you. However, having a basic understanding of the ones you are interested in will help agencies better serve and provide you with information.

  • A child’s Age?
  • Do you need/want a complete medical and social history?
  • Emotional, Mental, or Physical Disabilities?
  • Physically and/or racially dissimilar?
  • Comfort Level of Contact with Birthparent(s)? Extended Biological Relatives?
  • ​Does your family support your decision?
  • How comfortable do you feel answering your child’s questions about adoption and their Birth Family in the future?
  • How will you share your child's history, cultural identity, and diversity with them?

Picking a strong partner to join you on your adoption journey one of the first big decision you will make. It may sound strange for us to recommend this but Interviewing different adoption agencies is the best way to find that partner.

Let's Start with some Central Question & Considerations...

After potential adoptive parent(s) attend our one-on-one informational meeting we send them off to think about their experience here and if we are the right partner for them. If they decide that we are they simply need to let us know and we get them started with the home study.


The application process is broken down into two packets. In the first packet applicants will find:

  • Application
  • Fee and Process Agreements
  • Releases: for us to request background checks
  • ​Names and addresses of 5 personal references
  • If you are working with a matching agency or an attorney, their contact information
  • First application payment due when you return the first packet.


Along with those items we will also request copies of materials such as:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage license
  • Divorce decree(s)
  • Proof of auto and homeowner’s insurance
  • Most recent W-2
  • Household Inspections such as: pet vaccinations, furnace inspection, water tests(well water), etc.
  • Health Questionnaires


Not to worry, we have checklists for everything to keep us and you on track. After everything from the first packet has been returned we provide you with the 2nd application packet and your pre-adoptive education folder. While you work on those items we will be working in tandem processing the items you have provided, conducting background checks, and sending out questionnaires to your personal references.


By law we are required to run background checks and request records for each of the following entities anywhere you have resided for 2 or more months over the past 5 years.

  • Police Departments
  • Sheriff's Departments (or State Police, if you have resided outside of Wisconsin)
  • County Social Services
  • DMV Records
  • ​Caregiver and Department of Justice
  • ​Sex Offender Registry
  • FBI/Adam Walsh Fingerprint Clearance
  • Therapy Summaries


​This part can be stressful for some applicants and they often ask if something in their past or in their therapy records that could disqualify them from adopting. Most of the time the answer is, "No". Then there is the fear of being judged, and it can be powerful even debilitating. I always like to reassure clients, "There isn't a single person at this agency that wasn't young once, has never made a mistake. or needed to talk to a professional about issues in our own lives. You will not find judgement here."


Are we going to need to talk about it?.... probably. Will it be in our report?... possibly. What do we look for? We look to see the work you have done to overcome your fears and hardships. We look for your strength.


The 2nd application packet we will request items such as:

  • A Recent Physical
  • Health Insurance Verification
  • Employment Verification
  • Autobiography (We give you a detailed outline to work from)
  • A few other State forms and Questionnaires



After all documents have been received, your file is assigned to one of our social workers (They will be with you through the remainder of the home study process). After familiarizing themselves with your information, they will contact you to arrange your home study meetings.


There are typically three meetings for a home study, sometimes more depending on the type of adoption, and the process goes fairly quickly once you start. Generally we like to schedule one meeting a week, and after the last meeting you can expect to get a rough draft of the home study report to proof read in one to two weeks.

At this point the home study process is complete. You will receive a State of Wisconsin Foster Care License and an original of your home study report. If those items or anything additional needs to be sent to an attorney, court, or matching agency we will see to that as well. 


The next stage of the adoption process depends on the program that you are working in. For most clients it is the process of waiting to be matched, which can often be the most difficult. After the hustle and bustle of the home study, the sudden lack of anything to do can sometimes leave clients feeling a little anxious. We understand, and you will find in our profile guide some ideas on how to fill this time and include family and friends in the process, if you wish. 




You Home Study Report expires 364 days after approval. If you have not finalized an adoption by then you will have to renew it. During your meetings with the social worker they will go over this at length with you and approximately 3 months prior to your expiration date we will supply you with your renewal paperwork.



We hope that you have found this information helpful. If you have more questions please contact our offices anytime Monday - Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm,  you can use the chat box in the bottom right corner, or this link will take you to an electronic request form  "Contact Us".


We have also created an individual page for each of our adoption programs. Feel free to explore and remember.... write down your questions as you go!

Are You Ready to Start?


Think about your expectations for the process... What does it look like? How do you feel? Expectations are the manifestation of our hopes and dreams. They are beautiful and what we hold onto during the rough spots. However, they can become dangerous to the process and your experience if they become rigid and unmanageable. Throughout the process we help our clients to understand that part of managing their expectations means that sometimes they will be exceeded, however, many times they will need to be adjusted or abandoned altogether. Before beginning ask yourself, What Characteristics of the process do you feel you need a certain amount of control over? Are you emotionally prepared to handle uncertainty?


What Adoption Program is Right for You?


​Adoption Programs such as Step-Parent Adoption and Relative Adoption are pretty clear about "who" they are designed for. If neither of these are for you then there are some considerations and decisions you will need to make before you begin the Home Study process. 


If you are looking to adopt a very specific child based on rigid expectations, the process and your experience maybe difficult.  We suggest taking some time to explore how you can be the best fit for a child, sibling group, or infant yet to be born based on a spectrum. This insight can help you better navigate the path you wish to take.


Considerations...

You can use the following links to explore each of the different Adoption Programs. They are also available in a scroll down menu at the top of our site.

How to Select an Adoption Agency?

Right now the process and where to even begin may seem confusing, or the amount of paperwork and information... a bit daunting, even the looming questions or questions that can't be answered can be overwhelmingly scary.

Different Types of Adoption

Renewal Process

We Understand, all of this and want you to know, above all else, we are here to help and guide you every step of the way. 

What to Expect: The Home Study Process with Adoption Services

There is a reason we refer to adoption as a "Journey". Planning and expectations are part of the process; however, adoptive parents also need to recognize that, like any journey, you wont be able to reach your destination without encountering a few bumps and detours along the way. With a little resilience, strength, courage, and Adoption Services Inc as your partner this journey will lead you to the greatest love of all, the love of a child.

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