Please be honest about fostering to adopt - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 14 Old 03-31-2008, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So far all the agencies are suggesting to my friend to foster to adopt as opposed to just adoption. Why is this?
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#2 of 14 Old 03-31-2008, 10:30 PM
 
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Because most children come into the system with the goal of reunification with their parents. If that doesn't happen, THEN the child is placed for adoption--but the foster parents have the first opportunity to adopt so that disruption to the child's life is minimal. It's optimal that they not have to be moved AGAIN to an adoptive home... kwim? It happens, but the ideal is that they initially be placed in a home that would consider adopting them if the parents can't get their act together and/or a suitable relative can't be found.

Of course, this route certainly is "riskier" in terms of whether or not a child will STAY with your friend. At the end of the day, if you are fost-adopt, you have to go into it assuming they will leave at some point and just knowing that if they don't--you have first chance to adopt.

In our state, you can do both. We are licensed for foster and adoption and we do straight fostering (so we take in kids in age ranges, etc. that we'd never consider adoption), fost-adopt, and "selective adoption" (which is when they only approach you when the child is already legally free or the legalities are in process).

ETA: we are licensed directly through the state--we don't work through an agency.

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#3 of 14 Old 03-31-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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I agree with what Heather wrote. Most kids do get adopted by their foster families if they don't go back home or two a relative. I'm licensed as a foster parent but got approved to adopt my son and I'm waiting for finalization.

I've been really lucky with my placements. The kids have been wonderful and I've had great relationships with everyone at DSS (well, everyone but one SW who's no longer there.) Two of my kids have gone to adoption (one by a cousin and C by me) and it looks like P may be heading that way as well. I have had mostly good encounter with the children's families and C's adoption will be open (as of now.)

I'm going to our state's foster parent conference in a few weeks (that is if I can arrange for childcare or respite for the kids, which is up in the air.) I've signed up for a two-part session about whether to adopt. I'm interested in hearing the presenter's point of view (although I wonder if six hours are really needed to cover the topic.)

I'm licensed for ages zero to twelve, although I never intend to foster a child older than kindergarten. If I adopt, I'll be full since my house is pretty small and my car won't fit another car seat.
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#4 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 07:44 AM
 
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#5 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ah...because my friend was told that fostering to adopt means that any child she brings in to her home is working toward adoption, not reconciliation with parents and that the process would be just the termination of parental rights through the court system.

But you mamas are saying that even fostering to adopt could mean losing a child?

She actually has three children in mind (though in all good hopes they will be adopted before 6-8 whyen her home study can be complete and approved) and each of those three have siblings that are going to separate homes but need to remain in contact with each other. My friend is accepting of this, but does noit want to foster a child just to lose them.
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#6 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 09:01 AM
 
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That sounds like a legal risk placement but there is ALWAYS the chance that something could happen and the judge decide against TPR. There are no guarantees in fostering. I've heard of "sure things" that have turned into not-so-sure things. Such as reunification with birth parents, last minute placements with a relative (distant or not-so-distant,) or permanent legal guardianship. Or a foster family may decide that they really want to adopt the child.

I'd suggest that your friend hang out at a fostering message board. www.fosterparents.com is a good one. A little gritty at times but there's a lot of good information there. The people there are also good at helping to decode what is really being said in the photolisting descriptions. Those kids, for the most part, are kids that are hard to place and may have much bigger challenges than you anticipate. That's not always the case (such as Raleigh Mom) but it happens a lot.

Sorry to be such a downer but I'm heard of so many "sure things" that have turned out not to be. I'm all for children to find forever homes. And it's wonderful for siblings to have contact post-adoption. C sees his younger sister quite often since she's being adopted by someone I know. We haven't seen his five-year-old sister since school ended in June. She was moved to a new adoptive home in another county and the family doesn't want contact

Your friend will have a MUCH greater chance to adopt if the child is placed with her pre-termination of parental rights. Judges, in a lot of places, are much more likely to terminate if the child is already in a pre-adoptive home. They don't like to create legal orphans. That's a big reason why there are so few children available for straight adoption.
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#7 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link, I'll pass it along.

My friend is pretty weary of the process. She knos that agencies want to place childre nand may fib or not share all the info on a child.

One child's description on a photo listing said she has "trust issues" and "can be polite". My friend and I took this to mean that she may have been sexually abused and has behavioral problems.

How would that work with her daughter who is 7 and she and her new sibling would share a room?
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#8 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 10:06 AM
 
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I agree with Beth: sounds like legal risk placements. So yeah, there's a chance they could go. NJ has something like 6 or 8 different kinds of legal risk they label a pre-adoptive placement... all with different levels of liklihood that the kids could leave. Our adoption profile has to state what types of risk we're willing to accept in a pre-adoptive placement.

But for us, that's part of the ADOPTION placement... not fost-adopt.

For us (in NJ), fost-adopt is when a child comes into the system and they have a "concurrent plan" (which in NJ, is all children). Concurrent planning is when the state works two goals at a time: the ideal, and the backup. For Cookie, the ideal is that she is RU'd with her mom; but the backup is that she is already in a pre-adoptive placement (because we'd adopt and we're approved to adopt). Her mother lost rights to a first child and has an extensive drug history. Needless to say, it did NOT look good. We've had her since 5 days old, she is now 8 months old and will be going home in late May or June. We don't anticipate she'll STAY home, but she could! And THAT is fost-adopt. I would be surprised if it were any different anywhere else because the "fost" in fost-adopt means you are fostering--which by definition is a temporary situation.

If she's dealing with an agency, I'd have her bounce this off another or even contact the state for clarification. She's not committed to anyone right now--right? She can get information to make her decision from where-ever she wants. What state is she in?


ETA: Pre-adoptive parents are supposed to get access to the child's entire file--nothing to hide. Fost-adopt parents do not always have that luxury until the case goes to adoption, and even then, there are those who don't get what they need (although I don't know how hard they fight this).

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#9 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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NC is a concurrent planning state, as well. The social workers have to ask if you would be willing to be an adoptive resource. With P is was really early in the process. Threw me off guard since I'm not sure what I'll end up doing (if it actually happens.)

Trust issues could be sexual or physical abuse, could be reactive attachment disorder, or lots of other things. You really need more information. It's hard, since just meeting a child really isn't very useful. There's such a big honeymoon period that often occurs.
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#10 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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We had originally planned on only adoption but when we got the call to foster two boys we made the decision to take the risk. I asked the worker what the chances are that the boys will become available and she told me 90% chance. All turned out well for us but that 10% did put a stress on us.

The benifit to fostering to adopt is that you can have the children in your home and see if it is a good fit. I have a hard time imagining that it would not be a good fit ever but I am sure it happens.

My heart goes out to your friend. I know what she is going through.
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#11 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your great replies. My friend is also pretty limited to what child she can bring into her home.

She has a two bedroom, the girls would share a room with bunk beds. She would not be ready to take in a child over age 9 or 10, no severe handicaps.

So it will proabably be like forever before they can adopt?

Oh did I say she goes to the informational meeting this Saturday.

Then April 19th they start the MAPP classes. But who will keep her dd for that long for six weeks? Add 1.5 hours driving each way to Charlotte as well as the actual class time. Ugh for her.
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#12 of 14 Old 04-01-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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Why isn't she attending MAPP classes closer to where she lives. She may have to wait a little longer but it would be more convenient, I should think. My MAPP classes were 13 weeks long so 6 sounds really nice. I didn't have kids at the time, though.

She may also be interested in attending the foster/adoptive parent conference in Winston Salem later this month. She'd probably learn a lot there. Although it might only be open to people who are already licensed. I'm registered to go but I might have to back out since I don't have child care for a whole weekend .
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#13 of 14 Old 04-02-2008, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's what I wondered. I told her to call our county's DSS and see if they have them here. Charlotte is so far to drive.
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#14 of 14 Old 04-02-2008, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so the MAPP classes are being held in May in Scotland County- much more convenient. The classes meet for four Saturdays from 9:00-4:30 PM. Not bad at all. She asked one of her babysitters if she could watch her for the four Saturdays. Right on I say.

All was well until she called and seemed worried about the application. It asked if she had been investigated by any Dept of Social Services and she has been.

It was about 7 years ago and was unfounded and closed after a week. Her MIL had called and said she had been leaving her 4 month old alone to pick up her DH from work. Total crud. She said the lady asked if the MIL was still involved in her life and she laughed and said heck no!

So she feels better and is back on track.
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