There’s no question, adoption is a beautiful process and millions of children from broken homes are thankful that it exists. Adoption brings families together and provides children from questionable backgrounds the opportunity to be welcomed into a stable, loving home.
ADOPTION HOME STUDY
What if you are planning to adopt, but you were recently arrested for DUI and you’re facing a possible conviction? Could a DUI conviction block you from fulfilling your dream and making a difference in a child’s life? Could a DUI bar you from adopting?
Adoption agencies conduct home studies. A home study is a basic overview of your personal history, your family’s history, and your home. The purpose of a home study is to give the agency and the courts enough information about you, so they can determine whether you would be bringing a child into a healthy and stable home environment.
A home study will evaluate where you live, who you live with, your financial stability, and your neighborhood. As a part of your home study, the agency will run a criminal background check on you.
WILL THE DUI SHOW ON MY BACKGROUND CHECK?
The adoption home study can be nerve-wracking for families, especially as it pertains to the criminal background check. If you have ever been arrested for DUI, the record of your arrest is likely to be discovered at this point in time.
While a DUI won’t necessarily preclude you from getting an approved home study, it will delay the process until a full assessment of the situation is made by the adoption agency. If the agency receives a “hit” on you or another member of your household, that person will be notified.
Here’s what can work in your favor:
- The DUI was a long time ago.
- The DUI was a non-moving violation; for example, you were arrested for DUI after you got home or parked your car, or while you were “sleeping it off” in your car.
- You enrolled in AA and successfully completed DUI School.
- It was an isolated incident and you don’t have an alcohol problem.
- There were no aggravating factors present: you didn’t cause an accident, no one was hurt, there was no child in your vehicle, and you didn’t have a high BAC.
The adoption agency may also ask you for a record of the circumstances surrounding the DUI incident, and the steps that you took to ensure that it never happens again. Usually, a home study will be suspended until all requisite documents are received.
If an applicant fails to cooperate, the home study could be terminated and the agency may elect not to grant any refunds. Generally, adoption agencies have their own discretion and policies regarding criminal offenses that prohibit a couple from adopting.