What is a Pre-Adoption Psychological Evaluation?
Most domestic and international adoption agencies require adoptive parents to complete a pre-adoption psychological evaluation. The adoption agency wants to ensure the parents are emotionally stable and ready to care for a child. The parents may feel nervous about satisfying this requirement, but it is a fairly straightforward process. Here is what you need to know:
- Who can complete the evaluation?
- Most agencies require the evaluation be complete by a doctoral-level Psychologist. The Psychologist should be licensed by the State Board of Psychology and have prior experience working with adoptive parents.
- Is the evaluation covered by insurance?
- Most insurance companies do not view the pre-adoption evaluation as “medically necessary” and thus do not pay for the evaluation. However, it never hurts to call your insurance provider and check.
- What happens during the evaluation?
- Depending on the nature of the adoption, as well as the adoption agency’s requirements, most psychological evaluations consist of individual interviews with each parent, a joint interview with both parents (except in single parent adoptions), and individual psychological testing of each parent. The psychologist may also be asked to review the parents’ prior mental health records or other relevant data. The entire evaluation may take between 5 to 7 hours to complete, excluding time spent on record review and report writing.
- What can I expect during psychological testing?
- Some adoption agencies require specific assessments to be administered, while others allow the psychologist to select the testing instrument. The psychological testing usually lasts between 1 to 2 hours, per parent, and can be completed the same day as the interview. However, some parents opt to complete testing on a separate day. Some questions may seem odd or overly personal, but it is important to respond honestly.
- What happens after the evaluation?
- Once the evaluation is completed, the psychologist will send the psychological evaluation report directly to the adoption agency. The parents are also able to receive their own copy of the report.
- Anything else I should know?
- The adoption process may be long and emotionally trying. It may test your patience, finances, and coping skills. The psychological evaluation is only one aspect of this journey and some parents find additional benefit in receiving supportive mental health counseling as they navigate the adoption process. Thankfully, most insurance companies do cover mental health counseling services but it is important to check with your insurance provider about any deductibles, session limits, or other factors, which may affect reimbursement for services.
Dr. Juli Nevland
ND Licensed Psychologist
NEV Psychological Consulting, PLLC