I've been lurking for a LONG while on this board while we are still in the process of deciding whether we want to foster to adopt. We are in Alameda County in Oakland, California.
My biggest question has always been what do people do if both parents work full time? Our son is now about to start Kindergarten and we have the idea that we would foster adopt a child younger than him. But...how do people have childcare ready to start when a child is placed with them? And with the uncertainty of possibly not having that child forever, how do you handle that with the daycare?
I think my work would be supportive of my taking some family leave to bond with the child, but it's hard with the uncertainty of timing and whether the child will stay with you.
How do you handle this?
I didn't do foster adopt and I only have one but... my employer knew about our adoption from the day we started it. They were incredibly supportive. The timing was sketchy but we had a general idea when we'd be bringing our son home. I took 6 weeks leave with him and then he has been in day care ever since.
In my county, the department of family services will give you a list of recommended daycare facilities. These are not necessary great places so check them out yourself thuroughly. Some are fine, others arent. But my point is that they're places that are familiar with foster kids and they have rates/plans that make sense for foster families (eg. very flexible from week to week - they understand that the kid might need to be pulled out part of the day for therapy or court and brought back, that's not a problem for these daycares). Also, in my county, if the foster parents both work outside the home and have proof of that, then daycare is deeply discounted.
We don't qualify (we work from home) and so we just found a preschool that we really like. We use part of our foster stipend to pay for it. It is not very flexible (they have to be dropped off and picked up only at certain times, can't change the days they go to school, etc) and the new preschool is more expensive, but we weren't entirely happy with the flexible daycare facility we tried and we like this place much better. You'll just see what works for you. Depending on where you live and other circumstances, you may have great options.
I can't help you about taking time off work to bond. For us, we make our own schedules so that wasn't an issue. But I can recommend that you only accept placements that sound like they're going to go to adoption. That way you'll only have to take off work once or twice, hopefully.