The law requires that a Home Study investigation of the prospective adoptive home be made by a licensed child placing agency. This report will be filed with the court and reviewed by the attorneys and the judge. The birth parents have a right to read the report, but they rarely do.
Accepting that the Home Study is an important part of the process is difficult for some adoptive parents. Nobody wants his privacy disturbed and his confidential information reviewed by other persons. Adoptive parents have to accept the fact that courts have a need to know many important things about them in order to fulfill their responsibility to ensure that children are placed in good homes. These reports do remain highly confidential. Virginia has a statute that prohibits photocopying these reports. That statute also requires that the attorneys return to the clerk all copies of the report in their possesseion before the Final Order of Adoption may be entered.
In addition to this, adoption files are sealed, and unlike many other types of court records, cannot be reviewed by the public. Even the parties to the adoption themselves may not review the court file once it has been sealed. If the adoptive parents want to review the Home Study, they will have to go to the agency office or to the attorney’s office to do so.