P.O. Box 9105
The state of Indiana requires that a genogram and ecomap be a part of the Adoption
Home Study preparation. This can be a good exercise to help adoptive families evaluate
their own family development. In addition, the genogram and ecomap are helpful to the
home study preparer by identifying strengths and challenges of each family unit.
Please continue to read this information to help you begin you genogram and ecomap.
You may draw them on plain paper. Feel free to draw in pencil, but please use pen on
your final draft. Read through all of the directions before you begin. Please have the
genogram and ecomap completed (or mostly completed) before your home visit. This
will allow time for you to ask questions and receive assistance from your caseworker.
Be honest. Most families have some amount of discord or conflict. It is much better if
you feel free to share any negative family influence with the caseworker. In all
likelihood, discord or conflict will not affect the outcome of you home study.
Genograms are similar to family trees and are useful in describing the patterns and
dynamics within a specific family. These “pictograms” use symbols to denote key events
in the life development of the family. Genograms not only show who is in the family, but
also can be useful in presenting relationships. Genograms depict marriage, birth, death,
divorce, and may also include behaviors such as mental illness, physical illness and
The relationships among the family members can be depicted using different types of
lines. Typical relationship types included on a genogram are conflicted relationships,
close relationships, distant or tenuous relationships, and cut off relationships (no longer
talk to each other.) The direction of energy in the relationship is shown with arrowheads.
If the feeling flows in only one direction, there is only one arrowhead (which points to
the family member who receives the emotion). For example, if Person A was always
angry with Person B but the feeling was not reciprocal, the arrowhead would point from
Person A to Person B. If the feeling was reciprocal, there would be arrowheads on both