What is a Home Study?
The home study and pre-adoption preparation service consists of approximately six hours of one-on-one office hours where you--the adoptive applicant(s)--meet with the social worker. There is also one meeting at your home that lasts approximately one and a half hours.
What happens during a home study?
During this time the social worker helps you explore your hopes and expectations for adopting a child in order to help you determine which adoption program is the best fit for you.
The social worker helps you with all documentation required for the adoption. Time is spent discussing parenting and adoption as a life-long process.
How many visits does it require?
INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC ADOPTION: Depending on travel time and your schedule, the six hours of office meetings can take place over 2-4 visits as is convenient for you. There is one additional visit that takes place at your home.
STEP PARENT, DUAL PARENT AND RELATIVE ADOPTIONS: the home study process for step, relative and dual parent adoptions is less involved and requires two phone consultations and then one home visit.
What if we feel we need more time?
The plan described above gives the minimal time spent. If you request additional visits to have questions answered or issues addressed, there is no extra charge.
What specifically is included in our fee?
The application fee and home study fee together cover all the visits as well as: preparation of the written notarized home study report; assistance with dossier preparation; services related to coordination with international or interstate agency; assistance and communication with Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to obtain the orphan visa; communication and coordination with the State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families; foster care licensing when applicable; educational materials; free participation in all parenting courses taught by Children and Families First, Inc. staff while a client of CFF; telephone contacts with you and calls made on your behalf; postage; and social worker travel time and expenses for families within a 25-mile radius of the Children and Families First, Inc. office. (For families living outside of a 25-mile radius from the Children and Families First, Inc., office, a travel surcharge will be charged; see the fee Schedule for details.)
Post-placement services occur after the adopted child is placed in the home. Sometimes, post placement services are post-adoption services when the child was already adopted abroad.
How many post-placement visits are required?
The number of post-placement visits and length of post-placement contact is set by the State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Family Services and by guidelines and regulations of the state or country from which the child comes. Minimally, one visit will be required within the first 30 days of placement. For most domestic adoptions, three visits are required over a six month period.
What do post-placement services involve?
A post-placement visit involves a social worker coming out to visit your home to check on the adjustment of the child and family and to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
The post-placement contract and fees cover all the required visits, including preparation of reports submitted to international, state, and inter-state agencies requiring them. Additionally, it covers preparation and filing of Court reports and documents needed to complete or finalize the adoption in the United States. Assistance with obtaining a Certificate of Naturalization is also provided.
What if we have additional concerns or questions after the adoption?
Should concerns arise during the post-placement period, phone and office consultations requested by the family are included in the original fee. These consultations are meant as an opportunity to expess concerns and solicit referral information about appropriate professional resources available in the community. Children and Families First, Inc. does not provide attachment or child or family therapy services.
What are the current fees for USCIS documents?
For the most up-to-date information on USCIS forms and fees visit: www.uscis.gov. Click on "Forms" at the top of the page and then on "Adoption Forms" on the left hand side of the page. Scroll down to the correct form listed in alphabetical order.
When should I apply for a Social Security card for my child?
Most likely, the first time that you'll really want a social security card for your child is when you do your taxes for the year of the adoption, or else if you want to open a bank account in their name.
If your child was adopted internationally you can apply for a social security card at any time after you bring your child home, even before the adoption is final in the U.S.
However, if you have the time, it can be useful to wait to apply for your child's SSN until after you have gotten them either a passport or a Certificate of Citizenship. That way, you can submit the passport or Certificate as proof of citizenship at the time that you apply for the card, and your child will be listed as a citizen and eligible to work.
If you don't have proof of citizenship when you apply for a SSN, they will assign your child a SSN, but they will be entered as having a status of "non-citizen". In order to have your child eligible for work, you will have to go back to the Social Security Administration at a later date to show them the passport or certificate of citizenship in order to have them change your child's status.
So, having either the passport or the certificate of citizenship in hand before you apply for a SSN will save you the hassle of having to go to the office twice.
If your child was adopted domestically, you can apply for a SSN after you have finalized the adoption and have your child's new birth certificate listing you as parents and the final Adoption Order.
How do I apply for a Social Security card for my child?
Check out our web page on Applying for a Social Security Card for tips on filling out the application.
Why bother with getting a passport or a Certificate of Citizenship?
First, you currently need some proof of citizenship (either a certificate of citizenship or a U.S. passport) in order for your child to be eligible to work in the U.S. If you don't apply for either document now, then you will just need to apply for one once your child reaches teenage years and wants to find work.
Also, in order to apply for college scholarships you may have to prove citizenship, and there often are deadlines for applications. So rather than wait for the process of getting a certificate of citizenship when you are in a time crunch, it is better to have one on hand.
Also, you may want to ensure that your child has all available documentation in case something happens to you. Right now you are the expert about your child's adoption, where all the papers are, and about the fact that a certificate of citizenship even exists. Other people would likely be much less informed about what documentation might be needed, how to apply for such documentation, the location and meaning of various supporting documents, and so on. It is a lot easier for you to get the documentation now than it would be for someone else to have to do it later if something happened to you.
Why should I get a passport for my child if I'm not planning any trips?
A U.S. passport is universally recognized as proof of U.S. citizenship, so many people consider it handy to have. In addition, if you ever embark on relatively spontaneous trips, it can be handy to have everyone's passport available in case you want to go abroad. Almost all international destinations are requiring that people carry passports.
That said, keep in mind that children's passports need to be renewed every 5 years.
How do I apply for a passport for my child?
Check out our web page on Applying for a Passport for tips on filling out the application.
How do I apply for a Certificate of Citizenship
For instructions and forms needed to apply for a Certificate of Citizenship for your child go to: www.uscis.gov click on Forms at the Top and then click on Adoption Based Forms on the left. Scroll down to the N 600 and click on the Application for Certificate of Citizenship.
Why should I get a certificate of citizenship for my child?
Your adopted child is a citizen even if you don't get the certificate of citizenship. However, if at some point your child needs to show proof of citizenship, then having a certificate of citizenship is handy because it doesn't expire, it is an easy to copy one page document and having one on hand is easier then having your child have to apply for one later.
Another reason why you might consider getting a certificate of citizenship for your child is simply to ensure that your child has all available documentation in case something happens to you. If something were to happen to you, the new guardian of your child would likely be much less informed about what documentation might be needed, how to apply for such documentation, the location and meaning of various supporting documents, and so on. It is a lot easier for you to get the documentation now than it would be for someone else to have to do it later.
Can I get more than one Certificate of Citizenship?
You will only get ONE Certificate of Citizenship, so don't lose it! It is not like a birth certificate, where you can order more later. Instead, you get only one original. Present the original if you need to provide proof of citizenship.
If you do lose the original Certificate of Citizenship, you will need to file for a replacement copy using an N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document. This will require submitting an additional fee to have the request processed.