Originally Posted by Sneezykids
My dh and I are thinking of looking into fostering to adopt. I have a few questions. I've been lurking on the thread for years really, and then we had our youngest dd, who just turned two. We'd like more and it's been on my heart to adopt for a long time. We both have two cousins each who were adopted :)
1) Is a private agency better to work with compared to the county? Finances don't matter much in that area, I just want a GOOD place to work with, one that doesn't take forever either..
2) Is the process the same for fostering as it is for foster to adopt? Or are there two different licenses? I'm not sure at this point if I can handle fostering, say, an infant, and have the chance of that baby leaving. But, as I understand, that fostering to adopt is the best chance to get a younger child?
which brings me to..
3) Our youngest is 2. The ages we'd consider would be 0-10. I'm not opposed to older child adoption, I know people who have gone that route and it's worked out well, so I'm just wondering, the older kids in the system, what are they really like??
4) what are the chances of being able to adopt a child I've seen on my states photolisting?
Thanks for any info anyone can give :)
Welcome to the world of adoption where there are no absolute answers about anything. ;)
A lot depends on the county and state where you live.
Agency vs county: i have only worked with private agencies which is the norm in my county. I havent been impressed. I'm sure there are great agencies out there but i havent found them yet. Of course i could have just as easily had a negative experience with the county. In most cases if you are adopting a state child you shouldnt be paying anything even if its a private agency. Where i live those agencies have a contract with the state to place those kids. The only fees were for the court filing which was 200 dollars and for new birth certs. In some states you have to hire a lawyer to complete the process but the state reimburses.
In most places you have a better chance of being placed with a younger child if you foster first. But in some areas its not as hard as you'd think to adopt a younger child without fostering. And a lot just depends on "right place right time"...does your agency happened to have an available child to place with you? Most kids ARE adopted by relatives or foster parents. But i know plenty of people who have adopted kids under two without being a regular foster parent.
Whether you need two licenses or not depends, again, on the process where you live. My state recently moved to a "concurrent planning" process. Where reunification is the first goal, adoption the second if RU falls through so they try to have that child placed with an adoptive family if the case is headed that way. I am almost done getting my foster license and once thats finished my adoption worker will just add an addendum to it which will make it an adoptive homestudy (i did have to fill out additional paperwork.) I would recommend getting a foster license unless you are absolutey sure you do not want to foster. That way, if they get a baby in that they are almost certain to be adoptable (abandoned baby, say, or mom is in prison, lost all other kids, no one else interested etc) they can place the baby with you immediately rather than waiting for adoption paperwork to be processed. There are NEVER any guarantees in fostering or adopting though so you wont breathe easy til those final adoption papers arrive in the mail.
I know lots of people have "babies leave" but i've been really lucky. I waited a long time to adopt, switched agencies, was immediately placed with a healthy newborn and finalized his adoption before he was 11 months old. My next placement i had two months, she went to relatives. Third placement, healthy toddler, TPR seven months after placement, finalized a year after that. And then i adopted his older sister too. I do know of people who have fostered like 20 kids and never been able to adopt any of them. Or people who had a child from birth to age four and then the child went to birthfamily.
In terms of older kids....some older kids can be pretty typical and you wont have any problems. But im at the point where i think a lot of the kids have been traumatized and have behaviors that make it hard to live with them. I would caution against adopting a much older child when you have a 2 yr old at home although i know it can work out wonderfully. I adopted an 8 yr old with two 2 yr olds at home (one of whom was her bio brother) and it was kind of awful for a long time. And she wasnt violent or dangerous in any way. Its just that while she was GREAT with kids that didnt live here, she felt the need to absolutely COMPETE with the boys for my attention, for toys, she'd fight with them over some stupid infant toy ("I had it first!!!!" she was eight they were TWO) ...it was really hard for my "mama bear" instinct to not come out. She pretty much created chaos in our home. Its taken three years now for things to be halfway ok. And her behaviors were NOTHING compared to some i've heard about. I dont mean to scare you off but i would do a lot of research and make sure that whatever child you consider you ask a lot of questions.
As to photolistings. Its really difficult to adopt a child you see on there, in my experience. If its a younger/healthier child they will likely have LOTS AND LOTS Of inquiries for that child. And if the child is listed its usually because they havent been able to place the child with a family yet so there is often a reason why (significant emotional issues that they dont really spell out in the profile.) If you dont have a homestudy yet, try to forget about those kids ;) Once you do get homestudied its fine to inquire just dont get your heart set on any particular child. Plus, once they send you the actual child history profile you might be surprised at what you read. Some of them are heartbreaking. Some states are better than others at detailing the child's issues in a child-positive way but that gives you an idea of whether its even an appropriate match (read some profiles at NWAE.org to see some excellent ones.)
Good luck! Three of my four kids are adopted through foster care and im going back for more so it can work out really well!