Once your homestudy is completed and you have expressed an interest in a child, you can talk to the caseworker to find out more about the child. Here’s a list of questions you should ask the caseworker to better understand the child.
The answers to these questions will depend to some extent on the age of the child. For infants, information about the mother’s health is very important while in older children, the social, educational, developmental and mental health history is more important. If the child has foster parents, you may want to ask questions about the foster parents as well.
When you are being informed about the child’s background, think of the following:
What would the child think of himself or herself?
What would the child think of his or her caretakers or parents and the world in general?
How would the child behave?
Will parenting this kid require special abilities or skills? (accessible housing, cultural training, medical facilities, etc)
Medical and Family History
• Ask the caseworker for the following information:
• Complete medical and social history of the birth family (extended family included)
• Is any information missing? How to get more information?
• Race, ethnicity, cultural and religious background of the birth family
• General physical description of the birth parents as well as siblings and other close relatives. If possible obtain photographs.
• History or drug or alcohol addiction in the family
• Mental illness or other health problems in the birth family
• Cause of death of close relatives
• The physical and emotional development history of the birth parents
• Educational background of the birth parents and siblings
• Special talent or skills, if any of birth parents and siblings
• Letters, photographs or gifts from the birth family
• Mother’s health during pregnancy and the health of the birth parents at the time of birth of the child
• Condition of the child at birth and prenatal care received
• Did the child deviate from typical development?
• Any medical or other health related examinations conducted on the child and the results of such examinations
• Immunization records of the child
• Child’s present requirement for psychiatric or medical care
• HIV status
Social and Placement History
• Reason for the child being made available for adoption
• Abuse or neglect suffered by the child, if any and the details of the abuse or neglect such as at what age, by whom, etc
• History of placements and the reason for change in placement if any
• Is the child presently attending school? If yes, how the performance?
• Does the child have any special educational needs?
• Is there anything that will affect the ability to relate to the adoptive family?
• Is the child in touch with anyone from his past? How is the child’s relationship with such persons?
• Strengths of the child
• Hobbies, talents and special interests of the child
Once you get the information, you can seek the assistance of doctors and other professionals to interpret the information.