Would you fost/adopt? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a spin off of the other thread. Would you adopt through the foster care system? Why or why not? There are huge financial benefits (AAP payments until the child is 18 years old (yes, after a finalized adoption!), Medi-Cal/Medicaid, WIC, HeadStart, infant/toddler special needs services, etc.) for families who want more than one child. Just curious after reading how so many people want to adopt again but can't do so because of the money issue.

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#2 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 07:46 PM
 
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I've thought about it. Actually after reading some information you posted I had contacted our county. It's funny because I had talked with them before and they were so negative. When I called that time they were jumping at the bit. Unfortunately we soon moved out of that county. In the county we are in now, I did call prior to moving, they were very different about the way they were about things. I really think so much depends on who is on the other end of the phone.

Interestingly enough, when I brought it up to our adoption attorney she was extremely negative about it. I guess her brother had a terrible foster/adopt situation very recently. I did bring it up again to our SW at our update this week (he has adopted through foster/adopt as well as privately) and he said OH no you don't want to do that. And went on about birth order. They are very adament about not adopting out of birth order. But then I know that people (like you) also get newborns through the system.

Anyway...right now we haven't seriously looked into it mostly because we have fees paid out already and quite frankly would like to get the services we paid for!

My thought is that the next adoption will be the last one. But who knows what the future holds.

I have friends all over the country who have had a variety of different experiences with foster/adopt. I think if we were to go that route I would just have to make sure we were very specific and clear about what we were open to and what we were not open to.
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#3 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 07:56 PM
 
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I wouldn't be against it.
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#4 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 08:30 PM
 
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I have thought seriously about adopting out of the foster care system, when DD is older. I'd like to adopt an older child (8-12, maybe?).

But I would not foster a child currently unavailable for adoption with the hope of adopting. I don't think I could handle the possibility that the child would leave my home. Maybe this is an ignorant statement, but I just can't imagine how I could handle it. I've worked in the child welfare system, and I've seen foster parents grieve when a child they had hoped to adopt leaves their home.

Now, some families foster without the expectation of adoption. They know that the child will eventually leave. From my work with families, this seemed like a more tolerable situation.

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#5 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 08:33 PM
 
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I would like to do this one day, because there is going to be a large gap between DD and any possibility of future bio kids for me, I'd like to adopt a sibling group either with one close to DD's age and one close to a younger bio kid's age, or in between them in ages somewhere. But that's likely to be years down the road.

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#6 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 08:41 PM
 
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I would definitely consider it when our son (or future children) are older. I think having a small child in the home makes foster/adopt particularly harder - with a child in the home for months or however long and then maybe taken away...? I think our son would be devastated. Oh, not to say that we wouldn't either - it's just different b/c he wouldn't understand from the beginning that the baby might not stay. Hope I'm making myself clear... !
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#7 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 10:20 PM
 
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I am in the process right now

I didn't think about private adoption much at all- promarily because we didn't have the money. I would definatley foster again and are about to have have our license renewed. Foster to adopt does mean you have to work on reunification so you have to realize the goal is NOT adoption.

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#8 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 10:22 PM
 
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absolutely! that was our plan before we found out about marvel. that is our plan for adding to our family in the future (not immediate future! haha). i have a friend locally that has just been certified this past week and is awaiting her firast placement and it is oooh so exciting!

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#9 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 11:05 PM
 
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This is how I want to adopt. My grandfather was a foster child, so I feel a strong connection there. I am not saying that I would not consider another form of adoption, but I'm willing to bet that the only type of adoption I actively pursue is thru the foster system.

(I also am okay with the idea of being a foster parent and not adopting. It depends upon the child's situation and what is best for him or her.)

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#10 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by alicia622 View Post
Foster to adopt does mean you have to work on reunification so you have to realize the goal is NOT adoption.
This is not true at all in the two counties we have adopted from in California. Honestly, I think this is a huge myth in the fost/adopt community. I really wish I could get some more concrete stats on this. In fact, our county specifically focuses a lot more on adoption than reunification (or so it seems), especially with newborns. I think because there is such a horrible drug problem in Northern California (meth in particular) that there has been a huge baby boom (for lack of a better word) in our county where the judges order TPR almost immediately. Then again, our county seems to have an unusually high rate of safe surrenders. In the case of drugs, most birthparents either don't get help for their addiction (or refuse any type of drug program) and they don't fight for custody. The hearings go by very quickly and usually without delay. There is a program that birthmom's *must* complete before a judge will even remotely think about granting her any type of custody. We know about 40 couples who have all adopted infants (some are working on #2 or #3) and they come extremely easy to waiting adoptive families here. Reunification has never been the plan in about 38 of those cases. We have 3 children (2 from the same birthmom) and reunification was never the plan. They were "fast tracked" to adoption and, quite frankly, it has been a very easy process (some minor delays, but not because of a reunification plan).

Crazyclothmom, where in CA are you?

ETA: A quick Google search found these statistics for California:

Of the nearly 36,000 children leaving foster care between January and December 2005, 54 percent were reunited with their families and 21 percent were adopted.

TWENTY ONE percent is a huge #!!!! I bet half of those were infant adoptions.

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#11 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 11:20 PM
 
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If someone asked me my opinion, after my experience this past year, i would tell them if you can afford it, go private, go international, but dont adopt from the foster care system. At least not in my state, and not if they wanted a straight adoption without fostering first.

I've been waiting since last July for a placement....i'm not that picky. A boy younger than my son (who will be 11 in Oct), open to lots of behaviorial issues (major exceptions would be if the child harmed pets or was dangerous to other children), some medical issues (mild MR, some physical stuff, etc)....waiting and waiting and still no placement. And my situation is not at all unique, i'm on lists and boards with people who waited a year or longer for a straight adoptive placement from the state (and not just my state), and they werent just looking for a baby or toddler....they were open too. I would also caution someone to find out what types of kids are available if you dont want to foster first....in my state the vast majority of kids available straight adopt have significant behavioral/mental health issues. They are the "hardest of the hard". And still, i can't get chosen for the ones i inquire on.

I just took my last FP class today, in my efforts to become a foster parent. I figure, if the child goes home, great, if the child stays, great...either way at least i'd be helping a child. I think its ridiculous that for almost a year i've had an empty bed here, when at least i could have been doing some short term/emergency/respite care....something....while i waited for a more permanent placement.

I envy those of you who have been able to foster-to-adopt very young children. When i first started with my current agency, i offered to foster. They told me not a good idea, if you want to adopt. I feel very misled by my agency, and i feel like i wasted a year of my life. It sucks, because i know i will make a great adoptive parent.

Will i do a state adoption in the future? Probably. Because i really can't afford to do anything else. Maybe one day i could afford to adopt from Liberia or a domestic AA adoption that is subsidized or something. But inquiring on all these kids across the US, who have very significant needs, and still not getting chosen is demoralizing and discouraging. Now, whenever i hear someone complaining that people shouldnt adopt internationally because "there are so many kids here who need homes", or that "no one wants the black kids"...i cringe and want to sock them. It just hasnt been my experience at all.


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#12 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 11:24 PM
 
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I just got licenced as a theraputitic foster home, in a program for kids with developmental and physical disabilities. This agency has mainly long-term foster situations - perhaps working with the bio-parents, but reunification is not the immediate goal. If the opportunity to adopt came up, I would sure consider it! If my experience with one kid goes well, I may consider adoption of more.

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#13 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just found another interesting article. This is the county we have adopted from.

Sacramento County has a higher proportion of children living in foster care than any other county in California – double the state average. Here, in this September 2000 snapshot of foster care, one of every 56 children has been removed from home for abuse, neglect or parents’ incapacity.
(follow this link to see the chart and PLEASE read this article if you live in CA: http://dwb.sacbee.com/static/archive...0610_main.html )
Sources: State of California, Department of Social Services, September 2000; Department of Finance, 2001 population projections

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#14 of 84 Old 05-31-2007, 11:40 PM
 
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One thing that i've forgotten to mention, is that (and this was acknowledged here too) the ability to adopt an infant through foster care who has a low chance of RU really depends on where you live. There is a woman on one of my elists who fostered three kids under three, and has been able to adopt all of them. One she got as a newborn, the others quite young as well. So for her, adopting from foster care is a wonderful way of adopting a young child...she's said "just adopt", as if her story is typical. And yet for every story like that, there are others (which are perhaps more typical)such as getting a newborn foster placement that was "supposed" to be a sure thing for adoption....and that child being reunified after a year or even two. And the hopeful adoptive parents left heartbroken. I realize California works differently, but its my understanding that here in MI, fostering with the intent to adopt is a crapshoot. Yeah, it often works out, but you can't believe that going in. I met someone who was able to adopt three healthy caucasian children he received as newborns (and i only mention "healthy caucasian" because that is the group that is supposedly the hardest to get, most desireable etc), but only after losing several placements. And those adoptions werent completed for a couple of years.

I've discovered that FC placements are now made by zipcode in my state, which means that for me to be called first, a child would have to come into care from my area (which the trainer seemed to think might be awhile)...so i'm not sure how long it will take to get a foster placement. I'm asking for up to three kids ages 0-4. We'll see.


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#15 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 12:06 AM
 
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We just started foster care, almost 4 weeks ago. In the 2 1/2 weeks we were accepting placements, we got calls about no less than 14 kids, all under 5 (our self-selected age). So far, we've taken 3 babies home from the hospital. One of them was released from foster care and went with mom after 24 hours. I currently have a 4 wk old baby and a 1 wk old baby (1 wk old baby was born positive to meth). 4 wk old baby will likely be placed with grandma, we have no idea yet about 1 wk old baby.

Oh, we're in Alameda county, CA, also with a high number of kids in foster care. And our county focuses on reunification, even for kids born drug-exposed. WE took a 7 wk class (38 hours) specifically training us to be part of a program working with drug-exposed infants and toddlers, and one facet of the program is working with the biological parents so that reunification happens.

We're considered concurrent planning--we will foster with a goal of reunification. If reunification can't happen, and the child can't be placed with a relative, we'll adopt. It's a weird place to be in, because I would gladly adopt both of these babies. But we feel it's right for our family. It would be heartbreaking to do this if my only desire was to adopt, I think. The first placement, baby boy who is 4 weeks old, they told us on the phone that it was a long-term placement, likely adoption. Then 2 days later we were told he would likely be placed with a family member.

We've always wanted to adopt a sibling group from foster care... we are, however, finding that this county doesn't provide a lot of support--we have had baby girl for one week and have yet to talk with her social worker or find out a long-term plan. She was unnamed when we took her home from the hospital, so we picked a name. I found out today through the public health nurse that she was named. No call from the social worker, of course. We're not all that convinced we'll ever get the stipend--glad we're not in it for the money. We had to call several times before we received the "official" paperwork for baby boy (4 weeks), and still haven't received it for baby girl.

REgardless, we're so blessed by the whole processs. I look forward to adoption, if not these kids, then some in the future.

(I would love links to elists and forums dealing with foster care! Or more discussion here, too.)
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#16 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 12:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Katherine, do you work full time? Most SW's place children (especially newborns that are free for adoption) with SAHM.....usually. A SW told this to some friends of mine at a fost/adopt agency and a SW friend of mine confirmed that. So, if you are a working mom that could be the reason you are not getting any placements.

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#17 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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In fact, we completed 4 of our 8 classes a few months ago (and then found our daughter through straight adoption and therefore stopped the process).

I heartily agree that success rates adopting from foster care differ vastly by state/area. In my state (Maine), there are no fast tracked adoptions and all parents with children in care are offered reunification services. Infants/toddlers almost never come up for straight adoption, because they're usually adopted by their foster parents. So you're pretty much guaranteed to have to foster with the intention of supporting reunification attempts and in our state about 50% of children do end up returning to their birthfamilies. I know of one couple who cared for two young girls for 15 months, who were told they were an adoptive placement for the girls who were surely going to be available for adoption, when they were reunified with extended birthfamily. Kinship placements are big here and frequently trump fosters adopting.

All that said, we were willing to try fostering with the understanding that reunification was the goal, but with hopes to be able to adopt if those efforts failed. We weren't sure our hearts would withstand raising and then letting go of a child/baby, but we wanted to parent again and didn't think we could financially swing another straight adoption.

But, we did find an agency who does straight adoptions on a sliding scale (for example, if you make under 50K a year as a family your total adoption fees are 2K, plus travel to NY at placement and homestudy costs) for their special needs program. Infants in this program often are very similar to infants in foster care -- they may be drug exposed in utero to varying degrees, they may have birthparents with 'undesirable' social, medical or mental health histories, they may have minor or more serious medical issues, etc etc. We were open to children with certain minor special needs and were matched immediately with an almost two month old baby girl....

She's now five months and meeting all her milestones. We feel very blessed, and our adoption expenses will be less than 4K (for every tiny thing) when all is said and done.

So, if you live in an area that allows for 'easy' adoption through foster care or you feel your family can commit to adopting children with significant needs/older children or you're committed to fostering and supporting RU attempts -- WONDERFUL. But there ARE options out there for people considering lower fee straight infant adoption situations -- especially those who are open to the kinds of needs infants in foster care typically present.
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#18 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 12:44 AM
 
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DH and I discuss this frequently, and I want to foster to adopt. I just wish that there was a guarantee that my baby wouldn't ever have to leave and I would definitily get to adopt.

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#19 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 10:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BCFD View Post
Katherine, do you work full time? Most SW's place children (especially newborns that are free for adoption) with SAHM.....usually. A SW told this to some friends of mine at a fost/adopt agency and a SW friend of mine confirmed that. So, if you are a working mom that could be the reason you are not getting any placements.
No, i'm basically a SAHM....i am a caregiver for my mom, so i just go over to her house to take care of her when i'm working (she's a stroke survivor, so taking care of her means being there in case she needs anything, setting up her meals, and helping with toileting, bathing, etc.)....my son comes with me of course, and we homeschool. It would be an ideal situation for a newborn.

Major problem is that my agency apparently deals mostly with older kids, something they didnt tell me during orientation, training, or homestudy. They didnt seem confident that i would get a child under ten, even just fostering. They "suggested" i look for another agency (grrr)which is what i've done (nothing quite as special as having to start completely over from scratch after a year!)....but even with this new agency that DOES foster newborns and young kids....in MI(from what i understand), it would be quite rare to get an infant placed with you from the state, that is almost a 'sure thing' for adoption(no RU plans, visitation schedule,etc), esp in my county. They are really big on trying to RU no matter what. The exception might be a Safe Haven baby (there was actually one at the hospital down the street from me months ago, too bad i wasnt a FP!), but i think even in that case, the child would be a FC for a few months minimum, with a foster family---possibly one that hoped to adopt.


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#20 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 10:48 AM
 
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For us foster adoption wasn't a good fit and I don't see it being one now. The goal of fostering is to reunite a child with their parents once things are straightened out. I'm sure this varies from state to state and county to county but not all counties push for adoption.

Now when we are wanting a second child I have to take DD into perspecive at what is also best for her. I think it would be devastating to have a child in our home and then after she is attached have to give them back to their parents. Its just not something we are willing to risk. In the county we live now I did ask about fostering and was told that last year they had 18 children total placed in foster homes for the entire county. One was a newborn baby found abandoned and the rest were older children taken out of the home because of meth use. Out of all 18 none of them were available for adoption. The last time they had a successful foster adopt situation was in 1996, over 10 years ago. We are also young and at this time I don't see us adopting out of age order. We have specific things in mind when looking at adoption programs because certain things are more important to us. Each family needs to choose what is best for them.

I'm sure in some areas there are better odds, but you have to realize that people are scattered and there is not one universal system in place. It greatly depends on where you live.
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#21 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 10:54 AM
 
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I have thought a lot about this very question. Here a child has to meet some pretty specific requirements to be eligible for the assistance you mention (e.g. age, being part of a sibling group, special needs etc . . . ).

To me the expense that I feel like I can't afford isn't the adoption itself, it's all the other parts -- 2 summer camps, 2 college tuitions to save for, 2 sets of shoes and clothing, etc . . . So the supports you talk about would help a lot, but there's also the appeal of bringing in a child who really needs a parent.

My biggest concern would be bringing a child into my home and the effect on my older child if the adoption didn't go through.

I wouldn't hesitate to do a direct adoption through my city if the child was already TPR'd but that doesn't happen often here.
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#22 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 11:40 AM
 
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Honestly, this question splits me in two. We have a beautiful daughter adopted from foster care. But we were considered her kin, and that cut through a lot of red tape.

I truly believe that adoption should be about finding homes for children. Therefore, I want to adopt from foster care again and I want to encourage others to adopt foster children.

BUT this has been so hard. I don't know when or if I will be emotionally ready to do it again. Certainly not until my children are much older. And when I talk about dd's adoption, I don't want to scare potential adoptive parents away, but I don't want to sugar coat anything either.

In my state, the finacial benefits of adopting a foster child with special needs are huge. But feel weird even talking about it.
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#23 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 12:16 PM
 
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We did adopt through foster care here in GA. When our little people are a bit older we will probably get back into the system to foster only. Our adoption went very quickly but wasn't without some challenges. Our little girl was 4months old when she came home. We were told it was difficult to adopt infants and small children (under 5) but in reality that is just not the case. In the state of Ga alone there are over 3,000 children waiting. (various ages) That number breaks my heart. Many of these children are shuffled from foster home to foster home until they age out of the system. That's just wrong. My dh and I continue to volunteer with foster care services. However, because our children are so small and I am busy taking our dd to therapies it would be difficult to foster at this point with all the court dates, visitations, etc that go on. In the future I hope to be a foster Mom again. I know foster/adopt is not right for everyone but there are so many other ways to get involved. Mentoring mother's who are in the process of reunification or just volunteering time is a big help. Touching the lives of children and families in a positive way is a rewarding experience for everyone involved.

Good luck and blessings to all you Mammas who are adopting, whether it be from foster care, private, international, agency or otherwise.

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#24 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 12:28 PM
 
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I love this thread I am learning so much! We don't have any limits on race ... and age; we would like as young as possible...so if it could work for us we would be thrilled....BUT... my issues with it are:

*my other kids would be thown for a loop if it didn't work out and the baby was returned to their parents. I would *get* what's happening... but that would be hard for even my oldest to fully grasp.
*don't you have to take a trillion classes?

I wish it could work for us... but I just don't know how with our current situation.
Great Thread
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#25 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 12:40 PM
 
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I don't have time to read all of the responses now, but hope to later.
In a nutshell, my answer is No and Yes and No and Yes.
No~when we were licensed last year I didn't want to fost-adopt. Didn't want to risk losing a child when we really just want to adopt now. I think I could foster but my two young bio kids would be too sad...maybe when they are older. For now we wanted to adopt, so only kids that are free to be adopted for us, please.

Yes~of course we ended up with a 2 month old that was more fost-adopt than adopt. His circumstances led us to chose to take the chance. Of course now he's almost 14 months old, adoption not complete, but we're getting closer all the time. (Pray for me )

No~Can I imagine ever doing this again? Lordy, I don't think so. Every other day I ask myself why did I ever purposely involve myself with the state? Of course I hear the horror stories and I realize things could be MUCH MUCH worse, I know I've had it relatively easy...but still. Sheesh.

Yes~as much as I don't want to re-involve myself with the state in the future, if they call me about a bio-sib, how can I say no? I wouldn't. Also, in a few years if they DON'T call me I might just be calling them. We'll see.

Funny, recently I was thinking about making myself a tee shirt that says "It takes a special kind of lunatic to adopt through the state"
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#26 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Kailey's mom View Post
DH and I discuss this frequently, and I want to foster to adopt. I just wish that there was a guarantee that my baby wouldn't ever have to leave and I would definitily get to adopt.
Once you get your foster license, that's that. Then you move on to complete a homestudy with an adoption worker where you can voice your preferences. SW's know who the low risk babies are. Usually they spend a couple of days, weeks, or months in foster care until those first 2 or 3 court hearings are out of the way. By two months they *usually* know what the reunification plan will be. If no reunification, they go to those families like yours (and mine!) who wanted that guarantee. Of course, there are no guarantees in life, but we have discovered that if you are honest with your SW about what you can and can not handle they will match you with that child. We have found two things: especially if you are a SAHM and especially if you have other children in the home.

An incredibly thankful SAH Mommy to 3 fiendishly enchanting girls 11/04,10/05, & 12/06. 
 
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#27 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Major problem is that my agency apparently deals mostly with older kids, something they didnt tell me during orientation, training, or homestudy.
From what we understand, most FFA (foster family agencies) are subcontractors for the state or county. We started out with the county and about two weeks later discovered an agency that we loved. Even the SW at the agency told us to stick with straight county adoption....especially if we wanted a newborn. The county/state obviously has a bigger "pool" of children to place.

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#28 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure in some areas there are better odds, but you have to realize that people are scattered and there is not one universal system in place. It greatly depends on where you live.
I want to believe this, I really do. But have you ever looked at any of the photo listing websites out there about children that are free for adoption? There are SO many waiting children. When we started the fost/adopt process we were "told" the exact same thing (no newborns, yadda yadda). Again, I think there are some counties (even in CA), like Marin county for example, that are VERY afluent. But those counties work with FFA's and I truly believe that if a family is willing to go through the process, voice their concerns with their adoption homestudy worker, that it is possible - regardless of where you live. Being told something by a person that answers the phone is one thing. But coming out of the other end of the process you will usually find that there is a weeding out process of people who are serious. Again, I'm not trying to convince anybody, but I am enjoying the responses.

We once had all of these same beliefs. Surely NorCal is not the only area in the country that has issues with drug abuse (a large reason why newborns are put into fost/adopt situations).

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#29 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 01:23 PM
 
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Never mind...
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#30 of 84 Old 06-01-2007, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love this thread I am learning so much! We don't have any limits on race ... and age; we would like as young as possible...so if it could work for us we would be thrilled....BUT... my issues with it are:

*my other kids would be thown for a loop if it didn't work out and the baby was returned to their parents. I would *get* what's happening... but that would be hard for even my oldest to fully grasp.
*don't you have to take a trillion classes?

I wish it could work for us... but I just don't know how with our current situation.
Great Thread
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I think that this is part of the total misconception about fost/adopt. Nowhere near a "trillion" classes. The classes were 8 weeks (1x per week), we had to take CPR on a Saturday afternoon (which everybody should do anyway!), and I think there was also an 8 hour cultural competency class we had to take. Oh, and a foster care regulation class. We had a TB test and a note from our docs saying we were healthy (there wasn't even a physical involved! Just blood pressure, temperature, looking in our throat! LOL!! It was a joke). We were fingerprinted. We had a homestudy (everybody has to do this regardless) and it took us 9 months almost to the day to be placed with our first daughter. By CA state law, we have to wait 6 months to petition the courts to adopt. DD was 8 months old when her adoption was complete, but she was 4 months old when TPR happened (and there was NO doubt this was going to happen). Her birthmom is what they call a "repeat offender" (she had other kids in foster care and her parental rights were terminated on all of them, but they live with their birthdads). Her adoption was an open and shut case. She was "fast tracked" to the adoptive placement department almost immediately because of the info. they had on birthmom. It happens all the time in this county. In fact, when DD#3 was born, she was 1 of 4 babies that were going into fost/adopt homes *THAT WEEK*!!! The newborn nursery nurse said, "Uhhh...this is a slow week for foster babies!" DP and I almost fell out of our chairs. 4 babies is a "slow week"? So incredibly sad.

The article that I posted earlier in this thread has a ton of articles linked to it about the problem in this county. So, maybe we are off the charts with adoption possibilities and some of the strictest laws on the books, but again, surely we can't be the ONLY area of the country like this.

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