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Does the social worker need to know everything?

The Homestudy is one of the most intrusive parts of the adoption process and there are always questions as to what exactly you should discuss and what you can leave out.

One of the most frequently asked questions is about the Homestudy and what is to be asked and how you can prepare for it.  The social worker is assessing you to see if you will make suitable prospective parents. Despite our best will in the world, there is the possibility that we may not actually be suitable parents, to one of the world's children in need.

I however, feel that with knowledge, one can overcome almost anything and thus you will find throughout this continually website, lots of information that will fill in the gaps in your knowledge and which will prepare you for your Homestudy.

The social worker will stress to you the importance of openness and 'full disclosure' at all times - this is because something that you may consider unimportant may have more significance than you realise. However, although they stress that it is important that you are willing to share everything - there has been precedent that ' failure to disclose information considered relevant' does not automatically imply that you will not be considered unsuitable as a prospective adopter. 

It is important to use common sense. If you are a long-term Prozac taker, this is important; if you got caught up for a short time when you were a youth with a bad crowd, this is not relevant. If you have problems forming relationships and have been married 4 times, this is important, if you fell out with your best friend because she was rude to you and you just weren't feeling it, this is not important.

There are somethings, that in retrospect, I should not have mentioned.  Something happened to me 25 years ago and it was something that I have long since come to terms with as only someone living with something for 25 years can. It was a complete non issue to me. However, it was something that the social workers and agency pounced on. They made such a right royal palavar about it that I was wondering if I had somehow missed the point! They came to all sorts of assumptions which were quite honestly all wrong and blew it completely out of proportion.  But I had mentioned it and there was no going back. In a way, by mentioning it, I created  my own monster. It was so long ago in the past that it was like another life time and here I was having to relive and justify my actions and stand up for my choices and proclaim my 'moving on', and got questioned and questioned about it that quite frankly instead of a teenager making a teenagers error in judgement they made me feel like I was a criminal.

So be  prudent in what you say.

Some people find talking to the social worker cathartic, and it may be, but bear in mind that what you mention to the social  worker does not end there - but will follow you for the whole of your adoption and will be in your and your child's file for life.

See (Hofstetter v London Borough of Barnet and IRM [2009] EWHC 3282 (Admin).

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