or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Adoptive and Foster Parenting › Just getting started-VERY nervous- advice?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Just getting started-VERY nervous- advice?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

We have been tossing the idea of adoption thru the state system for a few years now. Been meeting people,even had a one on one with a social worker about 6 months ago- did a background check. DH never got to the point of being comfortable with the home visit/check.

   HAs anyone here gone thru the state foster/adopt system? Is it more difficult to get thru than a private agency?

   We aren't looking for a 'white newborn' child, but we know we're looking to adopt,and not long term foster.

I am so nervous.....I called the SW today and set up a date for a home visit.

  I get a feeling she doesn;t quite 'like' us.

She knows we homeschool,and I think she may be against that idea.

  DH is less sure than I am,and she sort of mentioned that on the phone,like it was a negative thing,instead of being ok for him to take time to think things through.

We already have kids in our home,and I guess my biggest fear is major disruption for them. Plus, we are in the process of renovating our kitchen area. Should I wait till I don't have jitters? should I be overly worried?

 I also get a strong feeling that they want foster families,and our looking to adopt is not looked on so fondly.

  ANY advice at all is SO appreciated!

would things be less stressful if we weren;t looking to a state agency?

post #2 of 25

I can't compare it to a domestic newborn adoption because I haven't tried that route, but I'm in the middle of doing a foster-adopt situation.

 

My advice is that you be very firm with all the workers you meet that you want to adopt, not foster. Do not let them talk you into fostering. Tell them you want to adopt, that's it. I wish I had stuck to my guns and hadn't been persuaded to foster first.

 

Also, if you really fear disruption, then make sure you only sign up for what you can handle. They will push you to accept a wider range (age, special needs, race, etc.) than you are comfortable with. Don't give into them. Be firm. Be reasonable, but do not take on more than you can handle.

 

Lastly, don't accept placements that are termed "legal risk". Those placements the parental rights have not been terminated and so the case plan is still formally reunification, not adoption. That's just going to end up being long term fostercare with the potential to adopt. If that's not what you want, do not accept those kids.

post #3 of 25

We licensed to foster-adopt but then decided to go a different route.  (We moved across the state line, so had to re-license anyway.)  We got the same feeling from the SW that they didn't quite "like" us since we did not want to foster and we didn't want to be open to everything they wanted us to do (for example, take a placement older than our oldest bio).  We switched to domestic (transracial) newborn and were really glad we did. 

 

We could have stuck with what we were doing, but I did not feel like fighting the social workers.  Adoption is hard enough, with all of the paperwork and scrutiny and unknowns... I did not need a SW against me too.  The agency we used was a non-profit that the state SW recommended to us and our SW is absolutely fantastic.  It made everything so much easier.

 

I am not trying to persuade you to do one thing or another, just sharing our experience.  Each family is different and each one needs to make the decision that is right for them.

 

I would recommend finishing your kitchen renovating before you do the home inspection.  You want to present the best front you can, no matter which type of adoption you are pursuing.  Also, that will give you some more time to think and talk and decide which is the right route to take.

post #4 of 25

We have been emailing with a SW in our state about adopting from foster care.  They don't have separate paths here :(  We want to keep the age range between 1 and 3, and they told us that we would definitely have to foster a child of that age before we could adopt him.  We plan on attending the first class to get some more detailed info, but with three kids at home, we are NOT looking to foster.  I can already feel how pushy they are going to be.

 

post #5 of 25

There really aren't a lot of legally free toddlers floating around. Most are adopted by a relative or their foster family. Those who aren't often have significant special needs (developmental, trauma-related, etc) or come into the system with older siblings. It's not really that the SW wants to be pushy. She/He has children who need a place to go and they only have so many names on their lists. Nobody wants to move a child more than is absolutely necessary so social workers tend to place young children in homes where they are likely to be adopted if it comes to that.

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 

I feel your pain..... We are willing to wait till a child comes along  that isn't technically a foster situation. our SW did say there are plenty of kids legally low risk,but we wouldn't really know for sure till we're in the system,i.e. home visit, parenting classes taken,etc.

   Some days I feel like we can do this, we have the resources and the will. Other days,it just feels so weighty....which is why I originally posted- thinking, and worrying. I think trying to get into the classes is what we need,b/c then we'll have a better feel for if this is the right time for us to pursue this,or better to wait a bit.

post #7 of 25
The uncertainty can be very difficult to deal with. I have many days where I just want to give up.
But I'm so in love with my FS...
If things work out well for him, even if they don't work out well for us, I'll probably look back on this and think it was worth it.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

 

Lastly, don't accept placements that are termed "legal risk". Those placements the parental rights have not been terminated and so the case plan is still formally reunification, not adoption. That's just going to end up being long term fostercare with the potential to adopt. If that's not what you want, do not accept those kids.

Each legal risk placement is different.  Our daughter was a legal risk placement, but we were totally comfortable with it because she was child #7 and biomom didn't have any of the kids (also 2 recent TPRs).
 

post #9 of 25

I believe i was told that here "legal risk" is a term they use for a child who has been TPR'd but there is an appeal in process. They still proceed with finding an adoptive family, but the adoption cannot finalize until the appeal has been decided. In my state its VERY rare for a bparent to win an appeal, from what i understand. So while there IS risk, the risk is very small. Not the same thing as them placing a child with you where TPR is expected but has not happened.

 

post #10 of 25

I've heard that term used pre-TPR but only online. I don't think it's a term used here. At least, I don't think it is. Low risk is probably a better term.

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

I've heard that term used pre-TPR but only online. I don't think it's a term used here. At least, I don't think it is. Low risk is probably a better term.



Our "legal risk" adoptive placement was pre-TPR.

post #12 of 25

Welcome!

 

I just wanted to add that we felt like our social workers didn't like us either.  By the end of the process, we loved them all.  I think the whole thing is a very complicated dynamic.  Lots of people start the process and bail out.  Lots of people come forward to adopt a specific child and bail.  My take on our initial encounters with social workers is that they are exhausted and overworked and dealing with extreme dysfunction.  They almost can't let their walls down to interact with a person who wants to and can parent.  They also need to have such strong professional boundries in dealing with birth parents and removing children that they become robotic.

 

At the end of our adoption, the social workers were openly thankful that we so engaged in the process.  As it was going on, they seems annoyed by us.

 

Good luck!

post #13 of 25

 

I agree with pumpkingirl WRT the social worker dynamic. 

 

We've been on this road for over a year now, and will be taking a foster placement (although, insanely, the SW may TELL the child they they are going to their "forever family" and then just cross their fingers that the TPR proceeds as planned). It took my and DH time to get to the point where we were ready to accept the risk of losing a child that we'd all come to love. But that's how the system works in my state, and I don't think the workers were being pushy in presenting that reality to me.

 

I DO feel very supported by my worker in the goal of adoption, and if you feel like your worker is more interested in using your house as a way station, then maybe you should listen to your gut on that one and try a private agency. Also, why does the worker know that you DH feels hesitant? She's not your shrink. Don't overshare. Boundaries are your friend when you are dealing with any representative of the government. I have never, ever lied to my worker, and I've also never, ever told her a single negative thing about my family. If she's inferred some, then good for her. But everything that comes out of my mouth is edited for public consumption. 

 

Whatever you decide to do, finish the kitchen first! thumb.gif

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

Also, why does the worker know that you DH feels hesitant? She's not your shrink. Don't overshare. Boundaries are your friend when you are dealing with any representative of the government. I have never, ever lied to my worker, and I've also never, ever told her a single negative thing about my family. If she's inferred some, then good for her. But everything that comes out of my mouth is edited for public consumption. 

 

Whatever you decide to do, finish the kitchen first! thumb.gif

 

Thank you VERY much for this advice. And to all of you who posted- it means a lot to read about you all who are doing/have done this!

   I guess being newbies, my DH and I talked to her like we'd talk to anyone,we will keep in mind that she isn't our friend, and to keep our boundaries.

  I have a visit scheduled for April,but b/c my (slow) DH is in charge of operations to finish our renovation,I will just call and tell her we will call and re-schedule for when we're done. I hope she doesn't view us as 'flaky' b/c we changed the date.

    Side question......how much do you 'tell' or 'not tell' about your familys' personal lifestyle,etc?

Not referring to anything dangerous,etc, but what if you don't live in the mainstream for everything? How closely does this bother the state? We are already concerned about the level of scrutiny concerning our homeschooling.....etc etc...nothing like inviting the state to peer into your personal life to make you feel totally 'weird'!  wild.gif

  

post #15 of 25

I think it's important to talk with the social worker about things like one parent not being sure that he wants to adopt. The social worker can help clarify things for your DH so you both can make the right decision for your family. What good does it do to lie to the SW? That's why they have the required classes (often MAPP but there's others.) Many families choose to bow out from the process during the series of classes or afterward.

 

In most states, you would require to send a pre-adoptive child to school if they are of school age. What you do after finalization is up to you and the needs of the child. Many people think they want to homeschool an adopted child but that might actually not be best for that child. Or the reverse can be true.

post #16 of 25

 

"Side question......how much do you 'tell' or 'not tell' about your familys' personal lifestyle,etc?"

 

Honestly, it's never come up. I've been through two workers now, and they're both very professional. They do not ask intrusive questions beyond what is on the form. And DH and I filled out the forms together, coming up with answers that were honest, but generic. I hope/assume that the workers have made observations about the state of my house, how I treat my kids, how DH and I treat each other, etc. But that have most certainly not probed to see if one of us is reluctant to adopt!!!

 

"The social worker can help clarify things for your DH so you both can make the right decision for your family." 

 

I reiterate, the social worker is not your shrink and not your friend. It's OK (more than OK) to decide during the process that foster/adopt is not for you. But you don't want a social worker making that decision FOR you because you got her involved in your "processing" and she got the wrong idea about your family. If your DH needs to work this out more, then he can talk to you or a therapist or his extended family or his best buddy or anybody who's not currently compiling a case file on him. Sheesh! 

 

In my state, foster kids can use the virtual charter school, which is technically public school but keeps them at home with you. I agree with Polliwog, however, that homeschooling might not be the best choice, or might not be the best choice right away, and it's important to be open to that. 

post #17 of 25

And again, I'll state that it's not uncommon for social workers to hear that during the initial home visit. I just got off the phone with one of my kids former social workers. I also got an e-mail from a foster parent friend who is a trainer for our state classes. From what I'm told, it's quite common for one parent to be unsure (usually the father.) That's a big reason that foster and adoptive parents are required to take the classes in the first place.

post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

cool.....We knew that we would be required to send a school age child to school,until things were final and if hs;ing looked like a good idea when we did adopt.

  so,I guess for now,I'll keep lurking and reading here,and let DH finish his renovation while we talk about it,then I have the strong feeling the classes will help us decide what we need to do.

post #19 of 25

 

"From what I'm told, it's quite common for one parent to be unsure ..."

 

Oh, ITA. I don't think that admitting to reluctance/fears/ambivalence at an early meeting with a worker is likely to cause problems at a later stage. I don't think the OP should agonize over what's already happened. I am making a more general point, which is

 

<soapbox>

Don't spill your guts to agents of the government who are investigating your family

</soapbox>

post #20 of 25

Hi!  And welcome!  I'm not around much these days, but I do lurk and post occassionally.  My dw and I have twice foster-adopted.  We lived in one state at finalization of first adoption and a second state at finalization of second adoption.  Prior to that we did straight fostering, no adoptions, in the state where we finalized our first adoption.  We also have once explored a private adoption with someone considering our family for placement. 
 

Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

There really aren't a lot of legally free toddlers floating around. Most are adopted by a relative or their foster family. Those who aren't often have significant special needs (developmental, trauma-related, etc) or come into the system with older siblings. It's not really that the SW wants to be pushy. She/He has children who need a place to go and they only have so many names on their lists. Nobody wants to move a child more than is absolutely necessary so social workers tend to place young children in homes where they are likely to be adopted if it comes to that.


Yes, yes to the above.  The state rightfully is focused on #1 getting kids in safe, *stable* situations as early on as possible, and #2 finding families for kids (not generally finding kids for families).  It's not that they're trying to be pushy.  It's just that the goal of the system is to make sure kids are safe and hopefully safe with their parents.  Second to that the goal is to get kids into the best alternative the fastest.  And usually the two goals have to be served at the same time just in case the first goal doesn't end up being met. 

 

It doesn't serve the goals of the system to spend resources on families who can't support that because they have a set of incompatible.  When you start going through the homestudy process, you aren't paying for that.  They are making an investment.  I've seen a lot of families drop out along the way, and I can understand why the state wants to make sure that they are clear very early on what they are looking for, for their kids. 

 

The truth is, if you truly don't want to foster, if you only want to adopt, then chances are good that you will either be doing a special needs and older child adoption (as in school-age) with the state or that you will be adopting in some way other than through the state.  Even in cases in which a baby -- possibly drug addicted or alcohol affected -- is born to a mother who has had rights terminated to older children and who has no apparent ability to safely parent, there is a legal process that must be followed.  Legal processes are by nature long, in order to protect all parties.  It can take years (not months, years) before parental rights are terminated.  In my daughter's case, which is nearly identical to the above, it took several years before we could legally adopt her.  She was placed with us at six months.  The kids like her are placed with foster families willing to adopt because if they had waited until she was "legally free" to place her with a forever family, the process would have automatically required a trauma for her in moving to an adoptive home after becoming attached to a foster family.  Ultimately, its what's best for kids.

 

There is never a guarantee with fostering, even someone decides it is a "low risk" pre-adoptive placement.  With my son, his parent's case was pretty open-and-shut.  And in the 13 months before we could adopt him (he was placed with us as a newborn, and we finalized his adoption one month after his first birthday), which is very fast by foster care standards, he was almost taken from us twice, both times to place with relatives who had previously said they wouldn't take him.  It's always a wild ride. 

 

But looking back, I'd do it again in a heartbeat because it meant I ultimately am able to parent my two amazing children.  I wouldn't go back and change it for the world.

 

Originally Posted by pumpkingirl71 View Post

Welcome!

 

I just wanted to add that we felt like our social workers didn't like us either.  By the end of the process, we loved them all.  I think the whole thing is a very complicated dynamic.  Lots of people start the process and bail out.  Lots of people come forward to adopt a specific child and bail.  My take on our initial encounters with social workers is that they are exhausted and overworked and dealing with extreme dysfunction.  They almost can't let their walls down to interact with a person who wants to and can parent.  They also need to have such strong professional boundries in dealing with birth parents and removing children that they become robotic.

 

At the end of our adoption, the social workers were openly thankful that we so engaged in the process.  As it was going on, they seems annoyed by us.

 

Good luck!



Yes, I've worked with many social workers over the years.  IME, there has often been some awkwardness in the get-to-know you phase.  I totally relate to the above quoted post.

 

Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

I think it's important to talk with the social worker about things like one parent not being sure that he wants to adopt. The social worker can help clarify things for your DH so you both can make the right decision for your family. What good does it do to lie to the SW? That's why they have the required classes (often MAPP but there's others.) Many families choose to bow out from the process during the series of classes or afterward.

 

In most states, you would require to send a pre-adoptive child to school if they are of school age. What you do after finalization is up to you and the needs of the child. Many people think they want to homeschool an adopted child but that might actually not be best for that child. Or the reverse can be true.


 

 Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

"Side question......how much do you 'tell' or 'not tell' about your familys' personal lifestyle,etc?"

 

Honestly, it's never come up. I've been through two workers now, and they're both very professional. They do not ask intrusive questions beyond what is on the form. And DH and I filled out the forms together, coming up with answers that were honest, but generic. I hope/assume that the workers have made observations about the state of my house, how I treat my kids, how DH and I treat each other, etc. But that have most certainly not probed to see if one of us is reluctant to adopt!!!

 

"The social worker can help clarify things for your DH so you both can make the right decision for your family." 

 

I reiterate, the social worker is not your shrink and not your friend. It's OK (more than OK) to decide during the process that foster/adopt is not for you. But you don't want a social worker making that decision FOR you because you got her involved in your "processing" and she got the wrong idea about your family. If your DH needs to work this out more, then he can talk to you or a therapist or his extended family or his best buddy or anybody who's not currently compiling a case file on him. Sheesh! 

 

In my state, foster kids can use the virtual charter school, which is technically public school but keeps them at home with you. I agree with Polliwog, however, that homeschooling might not be the best choice, or might not be the best choice right away, and it's important to be open to that. 


I agree with both of the above.  You'll find your own middle ground somewhere in the process.   

 

Good luck!  I hope you find the best path for you soon.  The process is overwhelming, and yes, often scary.  In fostering and adopting, between moving agency to state and then moving between states, we've been homestudied a few times.  Each time, we entered a different "program."  We were no less nervous and unsure the third time than the first (or at least not significantly less).  It's all big stuff.  Hang in there! 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Adoptive and Foster Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Adoptive and Foster Parenting › Just getting started-VERY nervous- advice?