My family recently began the adoption process, and what follows is some information communicated to us by Owners of a Home Study company, President of an Adoption Agency, and adoption attorneys:
The adoption process from beginning to finalization of court documents generally ranges from 6 to 18 months. The first step is a Home Study. Within the adoption Home Study, the following items are legally required by anyone occupying any portion of the Home Address for any duration:
Here's where Airbnb hosting really comes in. Every individual that stays at the Home Address from the time the original Home Study is submitted to finalization of adoption must complete those items. In addition, a fee upwards of $500 will be charged for an addendum to the Home Study. All of this creates a nauseating amount of paper work, expense, and wasted time. In most circumstances, background checks will take longer to return than the duration of the guest's stay. As such, we have not been able to find an adoption Agency willing to keep up with the changes, even after offering to establish a minimum 30 day stay.
Involved parties acknowledged the absurdity of a guest staying for 2 days in February being subjected to this level of scrutiny when the absolute earliest conceivable placement date would be two months later. Further, they offered the solution to "Close the rental space until the adoption is finalized, then open it back up." This feels contradictory to the spirit and intent of the restriction - as the regulated activity is encouraged once the courts finalize documents. Lastly, what was suggested is deceptive to the birth parents who should be aware of the activity within the household, such that at their own discretion, they could deny matching with us, or seek more information to improve their level of comfort.
Motivation for Post
I imagine we are not the only family presented with the ultimatum to Host or Adopt/Foster. An ultimatum based on well-intended, yet antiquated and mis-guided institutional policies. More than likely, hosts who find themselves in this position choose to leave the Airbnb platform while pursuing adoption. This affects the number of hosts on the platform, and places Airbnb in the frame of 'a barrier to adoption.' This framing obviously doesn't reflect the Values and Mission of Airbnb. While this post is intended to catalyze conversation, the larger aspiration is for Airbnb and its community of hosts to mobilize resources and leverage democratic processes whenever possible to help bring integrity to the concept of Belonging. Just as community-building transcends trusted social connections, family-making transcends bloodlines of attachment. If people are to Belong Anywhere, a child with no biological attachment should be able to belong in a loving family, who also welcomes people from different walks of life.
There is much more I could say regarding our personal context, but I'll leave it here for now.