March 26th, 2011
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1231735_15008125Everyone who completes a home study must get fingerprinted by their local police department. It is a necessary step in the home study process. And, it can cause your home study to be delayed if multiple attempts are needed. Multiple attempts? Yes, but I am jumping ahead of myself. Let me tell you my first fingerprinting experience so you can see what I mean by multiple attempts at fingerprints.

Last Spring, my husband and I were pursuing a domestic infant adoption. Like all other prospective adoptive parents, we needed our local police department to fingerprint us and send those into be checked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Both my husband and I have been fingerprinted numerous times in our past so we did not think anything of this event. Since we live in the capital city of our state, we were able to go the state police headquarters to be fingerprinted. I have been fingerprinted using the live scan technology, however my state’s police department had yet to invest in this technology for non-criminals. So we were fingerprinted using ink.


My husband was the first to be fingerprinted. He was in and out in 5 minutes. My name was called next. As the clerk took the first fingerprint, she noticed that the ink didn’t take too well to the grooves in my fingerprint. She asked if I washed my hands frequently. I told her that I indeed did, as I was a nurse. Her response was that I probably will be coming back for another fingerprinting session. This was not the news that I wanted to hear. She continued on with the rest of my fingerprints.

Four weeks later, my husband received a notice in the mail from our social worker that he passed his fingerprint check. Two weeks later, I received mine and it was not what I wanted to hear. I needed to redo my fingerprints. Knowing that I would face the same challenges, I searched for tips on getting good fingerprints. Here is what I found:

  • Apply corn husker lotion to your finger tips. This supposedly is a thick and moisturizing lotion, thus making the grooves in your fingers more defineable.
  • Wear gloves at night, after applying lotion. This will protect your hands and keep them moisturized.
  • Drink lots of water. This will keep you hydrated and cause your skin cells to plump up.

I applied lotion, wore gloves, and drank lots of water for several days. After 4 days of this routine, I went back to the state police headquarters for my second fingerprinting session. I had a different clerk and she also made the same comments about my fingerprints. Four weeks later, I received a notice in the mail from my social worker. I passed the fingerprint check! I am not sure that I passed due to  the above tips or because another clerk took my fingerprints. Regardless, I passed on the second attempt and was thrilled.

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2 Responses to “Home Study 101: Fingerprints”

  1. mommyof1 says:

    I got printed three times and each time they were not able to read them- finally I did the electronic way and it was able to work. It seems some people have such light finger prints that the old ink method just doesn’t work…I would recommend the electronic method- it does have a fee but saves a lot of aggravation! :)
    Best wishes on your adoption process- it is a long journey but the rewards are priceless!

  2. Julie H says:

    Fingerprints are definitely a challenge. I’ve heard many stories of parents having to redo their prints 3 or 4 times.

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