Fostering to adopt questions - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 28 Old 02-24-2009, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a pile of questions, and am hoping I can get some help.
DH has mentioned several times that he is interested in fostering, with the goal for adoption.
I have had 3 mc, and today, I finally decided I am done fighting so hard for pregnancy.
I need to just let things be, and relax.
And, I finally decided to go ahead with inquiries into fostering to adopt.
I plan on applying, and specifying the 0-2 age group. The need is very high at present for this in our area.
I know I need to fill out the paperwork, and get a home study done, and I have a good idea what they are going to look for as far as what our home setup is and such.
But I could certainly use some pointers from some of you all, just to make sure I am not missing anything.
Our 2,000 sqf home is set up with 1 bedroom at present, but with an addition of a door (is a heavy curtain ok?) we would have 2 and extending the loft wall up, we would have 3.
Both can be easily done.

Now to the fun stuff.
This is where I realy need to know how to proceed.
Do I tell OCS that we are/do the following? Or is some or all of it non of their business.
What are the alterntives , if any.

We are nonvax.
We only drink raw milk. ( I likely will not mention this, but since I am a co-op head, it might very well come up at some point)
We are very conservative Christians (borderline Anabaptist)
We are pro homeschooling.
We are not into cosleeping, but for infants, arms reach sleeping is preferred.
If an infant comes into our home, and an adoption process begins, I would do what was needed to lactate and breastfeed.
Baby wearing prefered.

I know there might be more, but I am now drawing a blank.

Any and all help/advice will be much apreciated.
Mainly I just need to be able to focus on only the important stuff
Paula

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#2 of 28 Old 02-24-2009, 09:02 PM
 
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I have some of the same questions...
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#3 of 28 Old 02-24-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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Do I tell OCS that we are/do the following? Or is some or all of it non of their business.
What are the alterntives , if any.
We are nonvax.

Depending on what's on the medical form is in your state (plus your state's exemption laws.) It might ask if your children are up to date with their vaccinations. It used to be on our health form but it's not there any more.

We only drink raw milk. ( I likely will not mention this, but since I am a co-op head, it might very well come up at some point)


I guess it would depend if there's anything in their regs that would prevent it. Also, some states strongly encourage (or require) you to use WIC. I'm assuming it's legal to buy raw milk in your state.

We are very conservative Christians (borderline Anabaptist)

Religion will come up during your home study. It shouldn't be a barrier to licensing, but in many places parents have the right to have a child moved if they don't agree with a foster family's religion.

We are pro homeschooling.

That shouldn't be a barrier to becoming licensed, but you won't (in most cases) be able to homeschool a foster child.

We are not into cosleeping, but for infants, arms reach sleeping is preferred.

In most states, children can be in the adults bedroom up to age one or two. There are some states that prohibit it completely, though.

If an infant comes into our home, and an adoption process begins, I would do what was needed to lactate and breastfeed.

You won't be allowed to breastfeed a foster child. A very few places in California allow it but I haven't heard of any other places. Until an adoption is finalized, the child is a ward of the state.

Baby wearing prefered

That's usually seen as a good thing. Helps build attachment, which is important for foster children.


There's not a whole lot that's "none of their business." But the questions really need to be asked in order to weed out people who have no business fostering.
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#4 of 28 Old 02-24-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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I'll try to answer some of your questions, but keep in mind these things can vary alot from state to state.

Usually, a bedroom has to have a door (curtain not ok), and you can't have to walk through one bedroom to get to another and have that count as another bedroom (if that makes any sense...what i mean is, the room has to be able to be private, have a door that can be shut, have a window, etc) This is to prevent people from turning all sorts of things (like walk in closets, family rooms, etc) into bedrooms to qualify for more kids.

That being said, if you are looking for a child 0-2 yrs old, you will most likely be allowed to have that child in your bedroom (in a crib) instead of their own bedroom. This varies widely from state to state...in my state (MI), kids under three can room in w/ parent, in other states its under two, or under a year, and in some states, not at all. I can't see a reason why you couldnt have a cosleeper, but i probably wouldnt make it super obvious that it was a cosleeper (i know they usually have a side that goes up to make it a freestanding crib as well)....

Raw milk...unless the regs in your state specify it, i dont think thats a big deal, and honestly i cant imagine it coming up at all.

There are several threads here about vaccination and foster or adoptive kids. I think you'd have an easier time not vaxing a child placed with you for the *purpose* of adoption, and less luck with a foster child you are hoping to adopt. I was able to get away with only getting the two month shots for my foster (now adopted) baby, but thats because my agency sucked at follow up, home visits, and paperwork. Had the worker really been doing "her job" she would have known he was "behind" and mentioned it to me. So we just flew under the radar, and i'm lucky he's mostly nonvaxed. I doubt i'll pull the same thing with another child though, it was stressful.

YOU or other kids not being vaxed shouldnt be an issue though, depending on how difficult your state is....i did get a TB skin test for myself and my older son, that was required and i didnt try to get out of it. Your experience may vary. If you have pets, you'll probably be required to show proof of rabies vax.

Being religious and conservative isnt really an issue. If you were fostering or adopting older kids you'd probably be required to take them to the church of their choice as well, but that shouldnt be an issue with a baby.

Homeschool....generally you can't HS a foster child though i know some people who have gotten permission. We're radical unschoolers and i managed to frame that in a very social worker-y sort of way for the homestudy person so she didnt think we were nuts ("we homeschool in a very child-centered, interest-driven sort of way which i found was beneficial to my son's needs as he is able to learn at his own pace and really focus on the subjects that interest him, in a supportive environment"). Same with attachment parent, i really talked up how many of the practices (such as babywearing, GD, etc) can be good at promoting attachment and bonding in an adopted or foster child. Cosleeping didnt come up as my older son had his own room/bed (though sometimes slept with me til he was like 11), and i was planning on adopting an older child (ended up w/ a newborn!)

You'll find that some workers really understand and support certain practices (like cosleeping, babywearing, HSing or whatever else) and others might think you're a nut. So you should probably just try to feel them out.


Katherine

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#5 of 28 Old 02-24-2009, 10:17 PM
 
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geez, if i would have read the whole thread i couldve just said

:

to beth's whole post! whoops!

Katherine

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#6 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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LOL. I'm just glad I'm being validated. I've pretty much stopped posting on the fosterparent board because it's sooooooooo black and white. And I'm not nearly as crunchy as many MDC moms.
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#7 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you ladies. Your answers helped a great deal.
I am a bit freaked out that we will not get the caseworker we want.
Most of the ones in the local office have poor reputations
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#8 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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Not that you asked, but since you're in AK you need to know: you will likely have Native American children in the system by you. That can be a nightmare. I just read a thread somewhere else that was a complete eye-opener to the hell this can be for a foster (and potential adoptive) family. The tribe has rights. The problem is that they apparently are able to assert their rights at any point in the game--even years later.

I would suggest that you find your local foster/adoptive parent support group and find out how the courts work with NA children in your area. Apparently in some parts of OK, the courts manage this well; but it appears to be the exception instead of the rule.

And just to underscore the above: lots of these things you're concerned about are less of an issue for adoption. But since you will be fost-adopt, it comes into play when the child is a foster child. In fact, I currently have a child who is legally free for adoption but pending finalization and I cannot breastfeed her. The state is her legal parent right now and we have an adoptive contract. No bfing.

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#9 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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We adopted from foster care. My adoption worker (who worked for foster care) told me to not volunteer any extra info to the other social workers. I think very few of your concerns are things a social worker would ask about.
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#10 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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We adopted from foster care. My adoption worker (who worked for foster care) told me to not volunteer any extra info to the other social workers. I think very few of your concerns are things a social worker would ask about.
I kind of disagree. Things like vaccinations, where the baby will sleep, religion and where your kids go to school are things that are part of the typical home study, especially when you already have children in your home.
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#11 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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I kind of disagree. Things like vaccinations, where the baby will sleep, religion and where your kids go to school are things that are part of the typical home study, especially when you already have children in your home.
It seems the OP doesnt yet have children (i think??)...its like, when i had my homestudies for adoption i had a 9 yr old, so the subject of things like cosleeping werent even necessary to bring up. I didnt bring up vaccinations, it was listed (no vax due to parental choice) on my son's physical form, but i didnt bring it to her attention.

I think you need to be careful not to get yourself painted as some hippie radical weirdo. I had a crib for my foster baby, which was required. I didnt volunteer that my older son only recently stopped cosleeping...it wasnt necessary and would have painted me as a weirdo. My (now adopted) baby sleeps with me, but i'm not volunteering that to any worker that may come through here. His crib is still in my room (full of laundry at this point) and i'll let them make their own assumptions. I dont think i'd *lie* about where he sleeps, but i dont think i'd volunteer.

I also think there is a way to phrase things that seem more acceptable/mainstream to a worker...if you belong to a religion that is outside of the mainstream you might think about how what you are saying about your religion may sound to an "outsider"...again, not *lie* but like i described about us unschooling...there's a way to say it that doesnt sound so "radical".

But if you dont have kids, and are planning on fostering infants...no point in bringing up things like homeschooling. If you know you'll follow the rules and vax your foster children, i'm not sure there is a point in bringing up nonvax, if those are decisions you'll be making only after adoption. I would really caution the OP not to ask about things like breastfeeding a foster child, esp during the homestudy visit....unless she *really* gets a vibe from the worker that the worker would be open/supportive of the idea. Because most workers might think its nutty.

Katherine

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#12 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I kind of disagree. Things like vaccinations, where the baby will sleep, religion and where your kids go to school are things that are part of the typical home study, especially when you already have children in your home.
We do not have children......3 mcs

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#13 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 07:20 PM
 
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Sorry about that. I confused you with someone else.

Definitely follow queenjane's advice.
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#14 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not that you asked, but since you're in AK you need to know: you will likely have Native American children in the system by you. That can be a nightmare. I just read a thread somewhere else that was a complete eye-opener to the hell this can be for a foster (and potential adoptive) family. The tribe has rights. The problem is that they apparently are able to assert their rights at any point in the game--even years later.

I would suggest that you find your local foster/adoptive parent support group and find out how the courts work with NA children in your area. Apparently in some parts of OK, the courts manage this well; but it appears to be the exception instead of the rule.

And just to underscore the above: lots of these things you're concerned about are less of an issue for adoption. But since you will be fost-adopt, it comes into play when the child is a foster child. In fact, I currently have a child who is legally free for adoption but pending finalization and I cannot breastfeed her. The state is her legal parent right now and we have an adoptive contract. No bfing.
It is rare for natives to be placed in non native homes, and non natives are not allowed to adopt natives.
Crazy, but those are the laws.
A friend went through a hellish experience.
Her husbands deceased wife had 3 children from before he married her. All native.
After my friend married him, the state found out, (some idiot at school "reported" them) and came and took the kids away, telling them that because they were not native, what they were doing was illegal. ie., raising native children in a caucasion home.
The family has adopted the Mennonite ways, and the state would not let the daughter to continue in her beliefs and way of dress, even though that is what she wanted.
The birth dad never has been in the picture, so that had no bearing.
: : :
The things that our local caseworkers have gottne away with is scary.
But, from what my friend said, there is one good apple, and I am going to do everything I can to get him!

Also, I totally get that I could not bf, but I would certainly try to lactate and pump if at all possible. Can't see how that would be an issue, let alone something that needs to be brought up.
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#15 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

I think you need to be careful not to get yourself painted as some hippie radical weirdo. I had a crib for my foster baby, which was required. I didnt volunteer that my older son only recently stopped cosleeping...it wasnt necessary and would have painted me as a weirdo. My (now adopted) baby sleeps with me, but i'm not volunteering that to any worker that may come through here. His crib is still in my room (full of laundry at this point) and i'll let them make their own assumptions. I dont think i'd *lie* about where he sleeps, but i dont think i'd volunteer.

I also think there is a way to phrase things that seem more acceptable/mainstream to a worker...if you belong to a religion that is outside of the mainstream you might think about how what you are saying about your religion may sound to an "outsider"...again, not *lie* but like i described about us unschooling...there's a way to say it that doesnt sound so "radical".

But if you dont have kids, and are planning on fostering infants...no point in bringing up things like homeschooling. If you know you'll follow the rules and vax your foster children, i'm not sure there is a point in bringing up nonvax, if those are decisions you'll be making only after adoption. I would really caution the OP not to ask about things like breastfeeding a foster child, esp during the homestudy visit....unless she *really* gets a vibe from the worker that the worker would be open/supportive of the idea. Because most workers might think its nutty.

Katherine
I cetainly will not be voluteering info. DH and I will be working out how to phrase things for sure. One look at us (me) though, and you know right off the bat that we are not mainstream. Headcovering, skirts only, etc.
But, thats who I am, and for what its worth, my friend I mentioned previously is a cape dress, cap wearing Mennonite, and they seem to be falling all over her to help out in every way possible.
Who knows, I guess it depends on the cw and how they percieve others
I wish there were not so many people variables, and that they had a strict set of rules, instead of it being subjective to the workers ideas...
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#16 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry about that. I confused you with someone else.

Definitely follow queenjane's advice.
Its ok. I have a hard time keeping everything/one straight on here myself LOL!
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#17 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 07:49 PM
 
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If the child is not legally free, you can't feed it breastmilk if it's against the law in your state. Think about it: if that child went home or were removed for some reason and couldn't tolerate the formula you claim the child had been drinking for several months--it's an issue; and not entirely healthy, safe or fair to that child.

I bfed my son for almost 5 years. It IS killing me to feed formula to my stbad when he weaned AFTER she came and I had the milk. But I know that even though she IS legally free--things can happen. The state can up and decide they don't like something I'm doing (especially some of the less mainstream/crunchy stuff) and remove her. Then what?

Last, infants removed from parents and put into foster care can come with medical issues like HIV and HepC. In the case of HepC, if the mother is positive--you may not know if the child is positive until they are almost a year old. You are now swapping bodily fluids. It's as much a danger to you as it is to them.

And it's good to see that AK spares foster and adoptive families the heartache of having a child removed to the tribe after being somewhere for 2-3 years. Other states should follow suit.

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#18 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 08:09 PM
 
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This handbook might have some information that would be helpful. Also, AKRotts (another forum member) is also from Alaska. She fostered (and adopted) relatives but might be able to give you some state-specific advice.

http://acrf.org/resources/ResourceFamilyHandbook.pdf
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#19 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This handbook might have some information that would be helpful. Also, AKRotts (another forum member) is also from Alaska. She fostered (and adopted) relatives but might be able to give you some state-specific advice.

http://acrf.org/resources/ResourceFamilyHandbook.pdf
Thank you for the link. And I forgot about AKRotts. SHe lives nearby. I should drop her a line.
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#20 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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You're welcome. Good luck.
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#21 of 28 Old 02-25-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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Our 2,000 sqf home is set up with 1 bedroom at present, but with an addition of a door (is a heavy curtain ok?) we would have 2 and extending the loft wall up, we would have 3.
Both can be easily done.
You need an actual wall, IIRC. And it can't be a plan for the future- you need the actual space before you get licensed.


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We are nonvax.
I was told FC kids have to be vaxed fully. You don't get any decisions about their medical care, basically, the parents or DHS do.
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We only drink raw milk. ( I likely will not mention this, but since I am a co-op head, it might very well come up at some point)
I doubt this would come up.
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We are very conservative Christians (borderline Anabaptist)
Fine, but you may have to say you'd bring the child to another church/temple/whatever if the parent asked you to.
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We are pro homeschooling.
Usually fine, but sometimes the parent will want the kid to continue at their former school, if applicable.
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We are not into cosleeping, but for infants, arms reach sleeping is preferred.
Usually fine.
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If an infant comes into our home, and an adoption process begins, I would do what was needed to lactate and breastfeed.
Not okay, illegal. But you do what you feel is right.
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Baby wearing prefered.
Fine. My SW would never even know about this one- she wouldn't think to ask and I wouldn't offer.

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#22 of 28 Old 02-26-2009, 02:11 AM
 
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MissinNYC, are you saying that homeschooling foster children is ok, in your area, if you have parent approval? Because, that's not what I've read on other foster parent boards. I've never heard of parents having a say and rarely that a state even allows fc homeschooling (even when it's what seems to be best for the child.
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#23 of 28 Old 02-26-2009, 03:56 AM
 
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As far as giving breastmilk, while i agree that that might pose problems (even given in a bottle) if you have a baby who will likely go home....it was never ever mentioned in any of my training, and as far as i know, was not mentioned in the booklet of state regulations either. I think had i been lactating when my foster baby came i would have nursed him or at the very least given him breastmilk in a bottle (but there was no RU plan for him, and we had very limited contact w/ the agency, about every month or two for an hour, thats it.)

As far as "native children"....they CAN and ARE adopted by non-natives, but you do need the tribe's permission. There are many native Alaskan children posted on NWAE that can be placed with non-native families. However, its true that the law supports the tribal leaders choosing whether native children can be placed with non-Natives and i'm glad to hear it if these children are usually NOT placed in non-native homes to begin with.


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#24 of 28 Old 02-26-2009, 10:18 AM
 
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I think Heather and Katherine's situations are very far from the norm in foster care. Both children had absolutely no parent contact. MOST children in foster care have both visits and reunification plans. Which means that the court is hoping the children will go home. I wouldn't risk my license, and the child's placement, but doing something that's clearly against rules.

Of course, there are possible exceptions, like the two above. I know my fd's social worker (and pediatrician) both asked about what formula the baby was on.
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#25 of 28 Old 02-26-2009, 04:30 PM
 
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I think Heather and Katherine's situations are very far from the norm in foster care. Both children had absolutely no parent contact. MOST children in foster care have both visits and reunification plans. Which means that the court is hoping the children will go home. I wouldn't risk my license, and the child's placement, but doing something that's clearly against rules.

Of course, there are possible exceptions, like the two above. I know my fd's social worker (and pediatrician) both asked about what formula the baby was on.
It's also on their medical records... what formula, how much their drinking, etc. The cw's (and if not, the judges) pull those records for review.

It should be noted that my stbad is only a foster child on a technicality. She is not fost-adopt--she is a legally free adoptive placement through the state and so rare that they have no clue how to handle the case (which will undoubtedly hold up finalization). They've handled 40 of these in the last 9 years--total.

None-the-less, things can and do happen. She CAN wind up not being my child and I've been involved in this system long enough to know that even the most slam-dunk looking cases end up differently.

I'm certainly not going to tempt fate over breastfeeding. At the end of the day, 1) I'm grateful for the possibility of being this child's forever mommy and wouldn't jeopardize it for ANYthing; and 2) because I've seen slam-dunk cases change, I know I put her at risk by attempting to bf her against the rules IF something should change and they move her.

Why would anyone risk that? And why would someone put a child they love at risk? Is ff THAT bad? Because that's kind of a huge slap in the face to ff mothers that you would break a regulation (if it is one for you), potentially open yourself up to harm (if the child is unknowingly carrying HIV or HepC) and running the risk of losing the child and/or the child being moved and suffering the adjustment.

Just not worth it, IMO.

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#26 of 28 Old 02-26-2009, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why would anyone risk that? And why would someone put a child they love at risk? Is ff THAT bad? Because that's kind of a huge slap in the face to ff mothers that you would break a regulation (if it is one for you), potentially open yourself up to harm (if the child is unknowingly carrying HIV or HepC) and running the risk of losing the child and/or the child being moved and suffering the adjustment.

Just not worth it, IMO.
Good grief! I did not ask these questions to get this kind of answer!
I understand what you are trying to say, but for what its worth, bf would happen once papers were signed, but obviously, I would have to do prep work beforehand.
I'm actually beginning to wish I had never even started thinking about going this route...foster care that is...

Paula, wife to Steve, mother hen to 38 , busy doing : TTC after 6
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#27 of 28 Old 02-26-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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I don't think that she was talking about you. I know Heather IRL, and I know that if she could BF her DD, she would in a heartbeat.

I think that you shouldn't get your hopes on BF if you are going to Foster/Adopt route. The child in most cases wouldn't be available for adoption for more than a year. By then, the child will most likely be on whole milk (or an alternative.)

No harm in doing the "prep work" but know that it's not a likely thing in that type of adoption.
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#28 of 28 Old 02-26-2009, 06:00 PM
 
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I don't think that she was talking about you.
Thanks, Beth. You're right--I was no talking about the OP.

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