Edited by mama2myangels07 - 10/15/11 at 7:18am
Is he in a foster care situation? We did a kinship foster care adoption and the sending state covered it all. We are also raising other kinship kids, but we have legal guardianship that Mom signed over to us. That is much cheaper then an adoption if you dont mind not having a formal adoption.
If he is in care it is a different process. If he is not it is a private adoption and you will have to hire a lawyer and pay for a homestudy (about $1000).
You dont have to answer these if you dont want to, but I felt I should ask. Have you met this child? Has he been abused? Does he have any special needs? I only ask because taking a child into your home that you dont really know, and havent seen around your own kids can bring about some issues. Also kids that have been neglected, abused, went from care giver to care giver can have a lot of problems.
Not in anyway trying to be negative :) These are just questions I wished people would have asked me :)
I'm a little confused...so was there a referral to CPS and was he taken from his biological parents' home or did they choose to make an adoption plan? Were the paternal grandparents the prospective adoptive parents that changed their mind?
It is pretty unusual for parents to make an adoption plan for an eight year old without there having been a history with social services. If that is the case, and he is "in the system" even in a current kinship placement that is supervised by the county or state, you should be able to request a home study be done by them (or rather they'd ask your county or state to do it) for free.
I see it looks like you have three other children and two are younger than him. I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but here are some things I would consider both as a social worker who has worked in adoption and as someone who intends to adopt.... First, placing a child in a home with younger children creates a dynamic that I have seen cause issues again and again. Parents instinctively feel the need to protect the younger children in the home. 8 year olds who have been in kinship, adoptive, or foster placements have undoubtedly experienced a great deal of grief and loss, even if there has been no abuse. This can frequently manifest in an attachment disorder (I'd suggest you google Reactive Attachment Disorder and really educate yourself. Even if a child does not have RAD, they will almost always have significant attachment issues). Behavioral issues are pretty much the norm, with few exceptions, and parents I've worked with with younger children often find themselves feeling extremely resentful of the older child when they feel they must protect their younger children. Another huge issue is that a huge number of children in foster and kinship care have been sexually abused either in the biological home, or in subsequent placements. This often means that younger children in the home are not safe, as the older child may seek to act out sexually with the younger ones. I have seen children as young as four and five attempt to engage younger children or peers in all sorts of sexual behaviors. Why is this child in special education? Are there learning disabilities or emotional and behavioral issues going on? How well do you know him?
Adopting an 8 year old is a really big deal. I can promise you that if your home is the third home he has lived in (maybe more?), he is going to have some serious baggage. You will likely not know the extent of the impact everything has had on him until he has lived with you for several months. Nearly all children will have a honeymoon period during visits and early in the placements where behavior is great, etc. It is not uncommon for the social workers or previous placements not to share with you the extent of a child's issues, either because they truly don't know, or because they desperately want that child to have a forever family.
I am not trying to discourage you, really. I just wanted to give you some things to consider before you jump into this. Parenting this child will probably be 10 times the work that parenting your biological children has been. Are you willing and able to take him to therapy on a regular basis? How will you handle it if he tries to hurt your younger children? Do you have the capacity to provide 24/7 supervision to be certain your younger children will not become victims? What will the emotional impact be on your family as a whole? There is a lot to consider. Good luck in whatever you choose.
Originally Posted by mama2myangels07
No abuse, or neglect either according to the lawyer. From the way I understand things he has been well taken care of by his paternal grandparents but they just can't take care of him anymore due to their older age.
ETA: My oldest child already does OT and sees a psychiatrist for autism and adhd, so that is not a problem taking the nephew over for counseling.
So did he live with the grandparents since birth then or were there other placements? Did he live with biological mom initially? If he had no other placements other than the grandparents, I'd be less worried about abuse or neglect. However, if that is not the case, I wouldn't believe for one second that the lawyer really had any clue about his background. Frequently that is found out after a child is placed in a home for several months.
That is great that you can commit to counseling. I wasn't really asking you to answer me, just trying to give you things to think about. I have a kiddo with special needs as well. Attachment related issues that result when an 8 year old is pulled from the only family he has ever known, or multiple placements, can be hugely challenging for families. Most families I've worked with have found autism, adhd, etc. to be far less challenging than the psychological, emotional, and behavioral issues that come with the trauma of being moved from one home to another. Please, please, read up on attachment disorders, grief and loss, etc., and make sure you have a chance to talk to this child's teachers, the grandparents, social workers, etc. before you commit to anything. A pre-adoptive training might be a good place to start. Good luck.
Having brought other children into my home with my bio kids being on the spectrum created a lot of problems with my bio kids. Odd's are going to be that he may have some attachment issues. You will need to make sure you get him in therapy with someone that had dealt with children with attachment issues, or at the very least kids that have been in foster care. We didnt the 1st time and it made things worse. Also I wouldnt go off the lawyers word that everything is so wonderful. We got that song and dance twice. Twice from layers, and the other from social workers. Almost every kiddo we have had came with a "honeymoon period" It seems to be in the 6 mo range. So be prepared for some fall out after a bit of time. No matter how wonderful you or your home is, this child is still being removed from all he knows and placed in a unfamiliar situation.
I am also not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I have just done this 3 times with kinship and wished I knew then what I know now.
Oh also if you can get CPS involved they will not only pay for everything but they will provide support if things dont work out, or you need help. They dont want to help you. They want you to just get guardianship signed over so they dont have to help or pay or have him on their caseload.
"Parents instinctively feel the need to protect the younger children in the home."
I think that's true a lot of the time - but I also think it depends hugely on the experience that the parent has had with their bios. My oldest biokid had issues with acting out violently towards the younger ones, and the experience I had dealing with that proved 100% translatable when I had an out-of-birth-order foster kid. I felt the need to protect, but not to OVERprotect, and it didn't send me into an emotional tailspin. I wouldn't hesitate to take another foster kid who needed to be taught how to play appropriately with smaller kids. But of course, that's fostering, not adopting. I had an "out" if the placement hadn't worked well for my family.
I agree with MommyKelly about getting social services involved. You deserve financial support, and you deserve time to experience life with this child and decide if it's what you want permanently. Since you guys are not in the same state, it may difficult or impossible to foster this child through the system - and that may mean that this is not a wise choice for your family.
I just wanted to add, if you take guardianship of him, instead of going through CPS and kinship fostering and find that you cant parent him. You will have to turn yourself in and "refuse to parent" to get him removed from your home. You will be dragged through court and be charged with abandonment. This will stay on your "CPS record" forever.
It depends on the state but in some places if you adopt a child and want to give them up its very difficult. "Re-placing" into a different family privately may be an option (and there are websites such as chask and email lists devoted to this very thing) but you often cant just "give the child back" to the state. In some places the only way to do that is to legally "abandon" the child which may impact you legally in terms of adopting/fostering or parenting your other children. Or, if the child needs major psych treatment, the guardian/adoptive parent may have to foot the bill which can get prohibitively expensive.
100% positive. I lived it. 2 of my kinship kids that the state got us to just accept guardianship of came with a teenage sister. She had RAD and was so out of control it took years for us to get over the damage. I still live with the after effects sometimes. It was the only way to remove her from our home. She is now in her 8th placement since leaving us 2 1/2 years ago. Sad situation.