Suitability and Home Study Information

USCIS must find that a prospective adoptive parent (PAP) is suitable and eligible to adopt for the PAP to complete the Hague Adoption Convention or orphan (non-Hague) process. USCIS makes suitability determinations based on review of the evidence in the record, including the PAP’s application or petition, home study, and the results of criminal background and security checks. 

The home study is a process where a licensed or authorized home study preparer screens and prepares the PAP for adoption. A home study concludes with a report that makes recommendations about a PAP’s suitability to adopt. A PAP must submit a home study to USCIS for all Hague adoption cases. The primary purpose of the home study is to help USCIS determine whether the PAP is suitable and eligible to adopt a child, based on applicable laws and policies.

Preparing a Home Study

USCIS does not conduct the home study. An adoption home study must be conducted by someone who is licensed or otherwise authorized to conduct adoption home studies. The individual must complete the home study according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations.

For more information visit our Hague Home Study Guidelines and Orphan Home Study Guidelines page. 

Special Needs Children

If you wish to adopt a child with a disability or special needs, the home study must contain a discussion of the preparation, willingness and ability of the applicant to provide proper care for a child with a disability or special needs.

  • Sample Wording for Known Special Needs Condition of a Child:
    “Bradley and Susan are seeking to adopt one female child from Country X, age 0-4 years with mild to moderate special needs. Child X, who was born on June 1, 2007, has the minor special need of congenital heart defect and ASD, or atrial septal defect. The Smith's have reviewed the child's medical records and consulted with medical professionals, including those who work in the field of international adoption medicine. Having done the research on this medical condition, they feel well prepared to parent a child with this special need and would like pursue the adoption of this child.”
  • Sample Wording for Unknown Special Needs of an Unknown Child:
    “Bradley and Susan are seeking to adopt one female child from Country X, age 0-4 years with mild to moderate special needs.  Both Bradley and Susan have experience and training working with children having various special needs. Bradley and Susan have the preparation, willingness and ability to parent a child with special needs.”

Note: Remember it is always best to address specific special needs to the most serious degree of disability/health condition where possible.

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