Switching from Private to foster-to-adopt situation.. - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-01-2006, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
Stayseeliz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: South Carolina, Y'ALL!!
Posts: 4,324
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We have been working on a private domestic adoption. After doing much soul searching we realized this wasn't the route we were meant to take. We simply can't afford it. We were told we would be able to adopt for a few thousand dollars and that's simply not the case. We just can't afford it this way.

So we're going to a meeting about adopting through the foster care system. We know we're not ready to do just fostering but we'd be willing to do a foster/adopt situation.

Any advice you can give me? I'm kind of nervous about dealing with DSS in general since we homeschooling, extended BF, no vax, etc..I don't want them nosing in my business..

How can I get a social worker to be honest with me about a situation? I know they're all about looking out for the best interest of the child but I honestly can't handle everything if a worker won't be honest with me about a situation.

Stacey reading.gif Happy wife to Rick coolshine.gif ,homeschooling Mama to Jacob, Noel, Joanna jumpers.gif  and a sweet stork-girl.gif due in the Spring!
Stayseeliz is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-01-2006, 03:18 AM
 
SabbathD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 3,696
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't know what state you are in, but I had a comment for ya.

My parents have done foster care for the better part of 20 years. They have adopted some, only had some for a few months, and cycled through a lot of kids. We were a long term placement home, and we still had a lot of kids who were with us for short periods of time, went back to their parents, went down a path to far to be in a standard home situation, ect ect ect. I have seen a lot, and it made me grow up very quickly.

That being said: foster/adopt is a wonderful thing. Or it can be. I plan on going that route someday, and I just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, so I am not doing this for fertility reasons. I think it's a great thing to do, and a wonderful way to add to your family.

HOWEVER - And I am only saying this from years upon years of personal experience, and in no way mean to deter you, please don't ever let a case worker that it's final until a judge says so. All to often we thought we had a child adopted or at least permantely placed, and they would be sent back to their previously-abusive-'apparently'-rehabilitated parents. Sometimes, we would see the same kid again after being sent back to those people, situations would arise again and they would end up back in our care. Some (not all, by any means) case workers try to butter up the situation and say things like 'oh yeah, this is final!' Go ahead and bond with this child! Well, until things are legally declared that child can be taken away at any time. Go into this firmly declaring your intentions to take placements that are for adoption purposes, but be aware that in a fost-adopt situation, that your emotions are at stake, and receiving a placement is no guarantee of being new parents....yet.
SabbathD is offline  
Old 09-01-2006, 05:05 AM
 
Sierra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,364
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm a mom who has a child I adopted through foster care. He was placed with us as a newborn, we finalized his adoption at 13 months (maybe 5 months after the parents suddenly decided to relinquish their rights??), and he is now 16.5 months old.

We were foster parents for a few years before adopting, though our first foster child was supposed to be with us in a "permanent placement" even though he wasn't eligible for the states adoption programs, but was moved sadly after only being with us for a little less than a year. Once we entered the foster-adopt program, we took one short-term placement that we knew ahead of time would be short-term, and right after that, ds came to live with us. So it wasn't long until we adopted...from the time our adoptive homestudy was completed and approved by the department to the time of placement of ds was about three months, and then it was 13 more months until the adoption was finalized. That's a total of 16 months, after the homestudy was over (it took eight months, however, to get the homestudy done, in part because the state was so understaffed it was hard to get appointments...so a total of 24 months from when we began the adoptive homestudy to our adoption finalization).

Foster-adopt is quite the roller-coaster, but in the end, I think it was a good thing for us to do (though I know I might have sworn it off had we "lost" this little one at some point). I have discussed our journey extensively on here, so if you poke around, you'll probably find posts from me in almost all stages of the experience. I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you might have too. In terms of the two questions you posted already...

1. About them "nosing" in your business, one thing you should know about dealing with foster care is that nothing is private. Your life becomes pretty accessible during the whole thing. First there is paperwork in which you have to answer all sorts of questions about your upbringing, your parenting styles, your health and medical histories as well as that of your children, etc. And in our state we also had to get letters from our docs stating that we were healthy enough to adopt, etc., as well as four letters of references from friends, coworkers, and relatives. And then they spent hours interviewing us and combing your home to make sure it meets a list of standards. To complete the adoptive homestudy required two homevisits with both of us present, and then one office-interview of each of us. They may want to talk to your kids with or without you present. And after all that, once you have a foster placement, there are regular homevisits (I think it is either every 30 or 90 days here now...it recently changed in our state) from the social worker to visit with the child in his/her foster home, there are documents written for the court reviewing the child's placement, and there may be other things that come up (for example, in our case, the birth relatives wanted to meet us and spend time with us before saying for certain that they wouldn't take the placement themselves-- even though none were in a position to accept the placements-- since the state gives priority to birth family placements). It's just not very private at all. Having said that, I don't want to scare you off. In my state, homeschooling and stuff like that isn't necessarily seen as a bad thing. And, sometimes if a state is understaffed, things like homevisits are rushed and not particularly invasive. With some foster placements, we've had the social workers want the foster kids to show them around the house and their room, etc...but with our foster-adopt son, when he was in foster care and recieving regular homevisits, the social worker always just visited with us for a while in our living room and never once asked to see his crib, etc. I would feel things out at your state.

2. Honesty in the system...hmmm, that's a difficult one. Our experiences have been mixed, and a lot just depends on who the social worker is (after a while you might get to know some social workers for being honest or not-so-much, etc.) and the circumstances. In general, I've found lots of vague statements made before placement. I think this is partly to protect the child's privacy in case the placement doesn't pan out. I think it also has to do with social workers being desperate to make the placements, and not necessarily wanting to disclose all the challenges. I wouldn't say I've experienced too much blatant dishonesty. In one case, when we were licensed through a private agency contracted by the state, we experienced a lot of dishonesty. But in all other cases, it is usually just a matter of folks painting the picture through rose-colored glasses...not real lies, but just a focus on the possibilities of very positive things like potential for adoption (we had one placement we accepted and then the child never even entered into foster care...and amazingly they had been saying it might pan out to be an adoption...what hooey!), child's strengths without also sharing potential challenges, etc.

After placement, I think it almost always depends on the social worker. We've had social workers wait until the last minute to tell us a child was going back home, and social workers who tried to give us as much warning as possible. We've had social workers who walked us through the process step-by-step, and social workers who barely communicated.

I think it helps if you make an effort to be in touch with the social worker on a regular basis, tell them how important it feels for you to have honest assessments of the situation, ask *specific* questions (actually, this is my all-time number one tip), always clarify when a statement is made that doesn't make sense or that you don't understand, show up at court whenever there are open hearings of any type, be friendly with and be in touch with as many members of the team as you can (the child's CASA, the social worker, etc.), and make buddies with the child's social worker as much as possible.

My best to you!

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
Sierra is offline  
Old 09-01-2006, 09:57 PM
 
lexbeach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 5,040
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We are licensed, but not currently fostering. I would like to foster/adopt someday, maybe in a few years (if I can convince dw to go for baby #4). Our fostering experience was pretty brief, and quite intense, but also really amazing.

We were completely open and honest with our social worker, and she loved the fact that we were an AP family. Our homestudy is just a glowing compliment to our parenting style. Obviously, we couldn't tell her that we were planning to cosleep with the baby (but a little co-sleeper next to the bed was fine), and we had to vax. any foster babies on schedule, but our parenting choices in regards to our bio kids were not frowned upon at all. She did ask us lots of personal questions, and it's all written up in the homestudy. You have to be willing to share your entire life history. But I actually found it quite fun (though I admit I'm not a terribly private person).

In terms of the honesty of social workers, I think it's kinda tricky. Our first placement was a newborn baby, and the social workers really didn't know much of anything about the situation. We got the call for him the day that our homestudy was approved, so it was all a whirlwind. We had him in our arms an hour later. The social workers initially told us that it would likely be a reunification case (which is actually what we wanted, we weren't planning to adopt at that point), and the only other info. was that the baby was full-term, hadn't had any drugs in his system at birth, and that the birth mother had done cocaine at some point earlier in her pregnancy. We also knew that the birth mother didn't have a place to live and was new to the area. Over the next few days, we gradually learned more information. I didn't feel like the social workers were holding stuff back from us, but rather that they just didn't know that much at first. By the end of the first week, they had learned that the birth mother (who was from out-of-state) had had four other children removed from her care, had had 10 unplanned pregnancies, had STDs, and they decided that they were going to fight for termination of parental rights (as opposed to reunification). It was a little scary for us because they suddenly called really concerned that the baby might be HIV+, and I just hadn't been thinking about that at all or being at all careful about bodily fluids (it's hard to be careful with a newborn baby boy!). He ended up getting moved to a pre-adoptive home, and it was really hard for all of us. Then we had a placement of a 10-month-old that we were told would be just for a few days (it was a voluntary placement, and baby's mom just needed a little break). A few days ended up turning into a few weeks, and I'm not sure if we were misled or if the social workers really didn't know how long the placement would be. So, I guess I did feel frustrated about the lack of information/honesty sometimes, but I mostly felt like the social workers didn't know that much either.

Good luck on your journey!!

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
lexbeach is offline  
Old 09-03-2006, 12:20 PM
 
Valian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Upstairs where its warm.
Posts: 1,059
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'll be totally honest and say that I don't have any BTDT experience, so take this with a grain of salt.

I would very much like to foster-adopt in the future also, so I've been reading up on it here and there. One thing holding me back is that even though I would (likely) start with a newborn, I would not be able to follow up on all my personal parenting beliefs with a foster (to adopt) child. Until they are legally adopted my understanding is that you can't breastfeed, you must vax on schedule, technically no co-sleeping, and if these variousn rules are violated then you become "disqualified" for fostering and loose the child.

Obviously there are ways to get around some of these, but others not so much. Although I feel called to foster-adopt, and I would certainly rather give a loving home to a baby than leave him/her moving around in temporary placements, I haven't yet come to terms with what it would mean to me to violate my personal parenting beliefs in order to meet the system requirements. I guess I'm just trying to say, make certain that you are either absolutely up front about what you will be doing, so there is no sudden "discovery" and termination of the placement. Or, that you be prepared to conceal things. I don't know, I still feel all muddled about this so I'm sorry my post isn't more uplifting or encouraging. I imagine I'll be in your place soon enough.

There is a thread somewhere (on MDC) about foster breastfeeding. It was rather heated on both sides but for me, really drove home how some aspects of foster to adopt really are different while the child is in legal limbo.
Valian is offline  
Old 09-03-2006, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
Stayseeliz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: South Carolina, Y'ALL!!
Posts: 4,324
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've given a lot of thought about not being able to nurse or having to do vax. But I think you can be an AP mama even if you can't nurse your adopted child. If we got a newborn we could still hold the baby close we we feed, sling the baby, etc..And once things were official I could even let the baby nurse some then and stop vaxxing.

Yes it would bother me not to be able to carry out all my parenting convictions. But I think it would be worse to not adopt because I couldn't do things my way at first, you know? I don't know..I know it will bother me immensly not being able to do things my way. But we want to adopt because there are children out there who need us..I do understand where you're coming from though.

DH and I have decided to go ahead and get certified as foster-adopt parents and take each case as it comes and see what happens!

Stacey reading.gif Happy wife to Rick coolshine.gif ,homeschooling Mama to Jacob, Noel, Joanna jumpers.gif  and a sweet stork-girl.gif due in the Spring!
Stayseeliz is offline  
Old 09-07-2006, 07:29 PM
 
BCFD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: California
Posts: 1,706
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
A lot of good advice here. I'm the adoptive mommy to two beautiful girls from our county's fost/adopt system. And we haven't had issues at all with the exception of a very bossy/unhelpful SW the 2nd time around. Both cases were open and closed - no reunification. Both birthmom's are referred to as "repeat offenders" and between my two girls they have 12 biological siblings. When we started the process, we were very clear that we were only in this for the "adopt" part (not foster) and we were only interesed in newborn caucasian/hispanic babies. We would not take placement of a baby with reunification. Of course we were told that we might wait a long time for that, but our 1st daughter was placed in our arms before our homestudy was on paper. 10 months later we got a call (out of the blue) for another baby girl who was a preemie and in the hospital. Our name wasn't even "in the hat" when we got that call.

Neither of my children had any issues related to drugs, so we have been very fortuante to not have to deal with that. Our 2nd child had major breathing issues for the first 3 months of her life and was in and out of the PICU, but once they diagnosed reflux (severe!) they got her on the right track. They are now almost 2 and almost 1 and beautiful, happy, and healthy.

We also decided against private or agency adoption due to the costs. We spent $40K+ doing IVF and we maxed out our savings account. Then we found the fost/adopt system and it was definitely the best choice for our family. Not that you can put a price tag on your child's head and we certainly didn't do this for the money, but those monthly stipends come in handy and will ensure a good private school education for our children.

Oh, and I was also told that it would be ok to breastfeed our 2nd child. There was no reunification offered to birthmom, TPR happened quickly, and we enjoyed a 6 month exclusive BF/lact-aid relationship. I got on dom and pumped, but my supply was very low. Honestly, I probably wouldn't go through that again because I found the bonding to be no different with my first child (bottle/formula) than with my second child (lact-aid nursing/formula). If I was producing major amounts of milk, I would have continued.

I am a huge advocate for the fost/adopt system (we are in CA) and you absolutely have to be on top of everything....but the results are *SO* worth it!! Good luck to you!

An incredibly thankful SAH Mommy to 3 fiendishly enchanting girls 11/04,10/05, & 12/06. 
 
BCFD is offline  
Old 09-07-2006, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
Stayseeliz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: South Carolina, Y'ALL!!
Posts: 4,324
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCFD
A lot of good advice here. I'm the adoptive mommy to two beautiful girls from our county's fost/adopt system. And we haven't had issues at all with the exception of a very bossy/unhelpful SW the 2nd time around. Both cases were open and closed - no reunification. Both birthmom's are referred to as "repeat offenders" and between my two girls they have 12 biological siblings. When we started the process, we were very clear that we were only in this for the "adopt" part (not foster) and we were only interesed in newborn caucasian/hispanic babies. We would not take placement of a baby with reunification. Of course we were told that we might wait a long time for that, but our 1st daughter was placed in our arms before our homestudy was on paper. 10 months later we got a call (out of the blue) for another baby girl who was a preemie and in the hospital. Our name wasn't even "in the hat" when we got that call.

Neither of my children had any issues related to drugs, so we have been very fortuante to not have to deal with that. Our 2nd child had major breathing issues for the first 3 months of her life and was in and out of the PICU, but once they diagnosed reflux (severe!) they got her on the right track. They are now almost 2 and almost 1 and beautiful, happy, and healthy.

We also decided against private or agency adoption due to the costs. We spent $40K+ doing IVF and we maxed out our savings account. Then we found the fost/adopt system and it was definitely the best choice for our family. Not that you can put a price tag on your child's head and we certainly didn't do this for the money, but those monthly stipends come in handy and will ensure a good private school education for our children.

Oh, and I was also told that it would be ok to breastfeed our 2nd child. There was no reunification offered to birthmom, TPR happened quickly, and we enjoyed a 6 month exclusive BF/lact-aid relationship. I got on dom and pumped, but my supply was very low. Honestly, I probably wouldn't go through that again because I found the bonding to be no different with my first child (bottle/formula) than with my second child (lact-aid nursing/formula). If I was producing major amounts of milk, I would have continued.

I am a huge advocate for the fost/adopt system (we are in CA) and you absolutely have to be on top of everything....but the results are *SO* worth it!! Good luck to you!
Thank you so much for sharing youre experience!! We really want to avoid a reunification situation. My heart just can't handle that. And we're willing to wait if need be!!

I agree you can't put a price on a baby's life. But we don't feel like it's in our family's best interest to go into debt to adopt..When we know for a fact we'd have a very hard time paying it back!!

Thanks again for sharing!! You really encouraged me!

Stacey reading.gif Happy wife to Rick coolshine.gif ,homeschooling Mama to Jacob, Noel, Joanna jumpers.gif  and a sweet stork-girl.gif due in the Spring!
Stayseeliz is offline  
Old 09-21-2006, 11:51 AM
 
karin95's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 211
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stayseeliz View Post
Thank you so much for sharing youre experience!! We really want to avoid a reunification situation. My heart just can't handle that. And we're willing to wait if need be!!
The thing about fostering is that you can't avoid a reunification situation. that is almost always the GOAL of the county. So unless you're willing to take an older child that is already freed for adoption, then you might want to consider another option. You could be on the list and hope that a newborn or infant comes into care and the parent(s) sign away their rights, but that hardly, if ever, happens.

But, really, even with domestic private adoption, only 80% of matches that happen before the birthmother gives birth actually culminate in a completed adoption. Sometimes birthparents change their mind.

And sometimes, when you're pregnant, you have a miscarriage or a stillbirth.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are no guarantees in life. You just have to get all the information available and decide what you and your family can risk.
Personally, we've had our foster daughter for 11 months. for the first half of that, the case worker was saying all the time that we were going to be able to keep her. We held that in our hearts, but knew the tide could turn any second. And then it did. We've had her for almost her whole life and at the end of the month, she's going to live with her bio-dad.
I wish I could say I regret taking her, or regret doing foster care, but I don't. I wouldn't take away these past 11 months for anything.
That said, while we're still going to do foster care, we're also going through domestic private adoption, because there's very little chance in our county that we're going to be able to ever adopt a baby. And we want a baby of our own.
karin95 is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off