|Topic Review (Newest First)|
|06-20-2007 01:52 AM|
Thanks for this thread. I am a newbie. Unlike many of you we got into fostering accidently. Long story short with much of the reasons not included:
Our bm selected us to be the adoptive parents. We met this lttle one the day after she was born. Health complications kept her hospitalized for 2 weeks. The night before she was to come home, bm changed her mind. We had been given a heads-up that the state would be called and would be taking custody. Instead of becoming this little one's parents, we became her emergency foster parents. The intake cw seemed quite positive that this would be a "fast-track adoption". HA! We are still fostering her and it has been close to 2 years. I've learned oodles about the foster care system in this state, and some about the system in other states due to another chat group. There seem to be many general similarities, but the specifics vary from state to state.
Please keep in mind that we had not ever talked about fostering....
I think the hardest thing has been to accept that the goal is first and foremost ALWAYS reunification. I know that and understand that, but try to explain that to my heart when you are handed a reunification timeline... This little one has come so close so many times to going home. To love this little one without holding back (afterall, this little one deserves love) because you know that they will be leaving, has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
I have found it frustrating to think of the hoops (for lack of a better word) that we have jumped through in order to adopt and then to foster. Than, I see the caseplan that the parent is working on... Wow, what a difference. (I know there would be, but in the midst of everything it seems like so little has to be done)
I don't mean to come across negative. I am speaking of my experience we just have this one fosterchild. For those who are considering foster/adopt... Good for you! Please make sure you are going into it for the right reasons. Do your research. Find out from others what it is like after visits with birthparents. Many agencies have foster parent support groups. Call them up. Ask them for the real scoop on what it is like in your area.
I hope this helps.
|06-12-2007 11:43 AM|
|an_aurora||We're starting the process now, and DD is only 3 months old so I plan on pumping as long as she's nursing, so 2+ years.|
|06-12-2007 09:46 AM|
|06-12-2007 01:50 AM|
|06-11-2007 12:24 PM|
I really want to adopt through the foster system, sometime soonish. Dw and I are already licensed foster parents, and we had two foster babies about a year and a half ago. We were not looking to adopt at that time, we just wanted to try it out and hopefully help a birthmom by loving her baby while she got back on her feet. It was harder than I thought it would be. I think the nighttime feedings were the hardest. Our bio twins were 2.5 at the time (so, not the easiest age!), and we were ttc. It was a really crazy time to decide to take in foster babies (and truthfully, the whole process took a lot longer than we thought it would because our SW was exceptionally slow at finishing our homestudy. We thought we would be licensed in June, and in reality we weren't licensed until October. We got a call for our first placement two hours after we got the call that we were approved. So, during the months of waiting, we actually decided to ttc again and we were kind of in a different place when we got our first placement than we had expected to be when we started the process).
We are planning to get on "the list" for a "low risk" newborn baby girl sometime later this summer. We are prepared to wait a couple of years if we have to. I know all the questions to ask to feel confident that the placement is "low risk" (SO important to ask about the grandmas and the aunts!). Where we live, a social worker will never guarantee that any newborn will be adopted, but some cases are easier to feel confident about than others (i.e. when grandparents have already adopted several bio siblings and really don't want anymore, mom has already had several children removed, mom is in jail, mom is still using drugs with no plans to stop, etc.). We have a LOT of friends who have adopted newborn babies through foster-adopt. We are "lucky" (not sure if that's the right word exactly) to live in a place where there are a lot of newborns coming into care. Newborns are actually more likely to be adopted than toddlers/older children most of the time (though often they will be adopted by family members). There is a huge need for families willing to take in babies here. In our training class, dw and I were the only couple willing to take in kids under age 2. Most wanted kids over 10.
For those who say that they were discouraged by calling to inquire, this was definitely our experience as well. When we later asked the SWs about why they come off that way at first, they say it is part of their screening out process. They do not want to make it sound like it's easy and fun and everyone should do it. They want to find families who are really committed and who understand what they are getting involved with.
In regards to parenting choices . . . the only thing I would HAVE to do differently with a foster-adopt baby than with my bio kids is that we will have to vax on schedule until the adoption is complete (it usually takes about a year for the adoption to be complete for a "low risk" baby around here), and I will have to introduce a bottle. Breastfeeding and cosleeping are techinically not allowed, but I do know families who do both with their foster babies (perhaps a controversial topic for some). Our social worker LOVED the fact that we were AP and would be slinging the babies, practicing gentle discipline, etc.
For us, Fost-Adopt is the easy choice because we don't have a lot of money to spend on an adoption, we're gay, we're young, we don't own a house, we feel strongly about adopting locally, we feel strongly about adopting a newborn, and we'd like to adopt a girl (you generally can't specify a sex preference in other forms of domestic adoption). I'm not too concerned about drug exposure, but would not take a placement of a baby who had FAS.
Also, where we live the amount of the subsidy is about $500/month, and I think the child would have to have significant special needs in order for the parents to get more financial help (certainly a preemie with reflux wouldn't qualify). The subsidy goes away once the adoption is complete. We plan to use the subsidy for special therapies for our baby, like cranio-sachral work.
|06-08-2007 07:49 PM|
Ok well I decided to call again. I called today and talked with the Adoption Unit person. They have an informational meeting next week. She seemed really excited about us since we just updated our homestudy and we are open racially. She said make sure I talk with the adoption SW when I'm there (we can't both go together - tough with the kiddos at home.
So now I'm wondering though - what should we ask about and so on?
She said something about fast tracking us. But who knows if that would really happen.
She said that most/all of their cases are risk adoptions.
|06-06-2007 12:07 PM|
I definitely plan to foster and hopefully adopt from the foster care system. I’m excited!
Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences and opinions here—it has been very interesting to read.
|06-04-2007 02:41 PM|
See, in this area of the country, a lot of parents unfortunately do not enter treatment....thus the availibility of so many newborns. In fact, I was told by a SW that she had so many infant cases that they didn't have enough foster homes for them. Many newborns were winding up at the crisis nurseries in town. One of our birthmom's refused any help (and from what I understand this happens frequently). And the reports and graphs and stats that I have found in this area report about one-third of all adults who are referred for drug and alcohol treatment in Sacramento County are involved with Child Protective Services in some way. Those clients are in varying stages of drug dependency and 22% are not in drug recovery programs. 22% seems like a pretty large # to me.
I know when we started the process there were a lot of myths about our own county's fost/adopt program. But once we started the program, started talking to SW's, we found it to be a very different process. Not saying that every area of the country is like NorCal, but surely we are not the only area of the country like this. I understand that a lot of women here have very negative experiences with their own fost/adopt program, but personally if I were interested in fost/adopt I wouldn't let that be too discouraging (and we didn't! ) I bet if you posted this same question about private domestic or international adoption, you'd find the same opinions/experiences.
|06-04-2007 01:44 PM|
Oh, I also wanted to tell you that we got a ton of papers on the day we petitioned the courts to adopt (it took about 2 weeks to get the court date). So, two weeks before G's adoption is final, you will probably get a ton of information that will put a lot of the puzzle pieces together. I'm so excited for you and DH (and of course G!)
|06-04-2007 01:32 PM|
|06-04-2007 01:30 PM|
|06-03-2007 07:16 PM|
I am glad this thread came up. We have been considering a bunch of things.
1 - treatment foster care for teens and tweens - here they often have young pg girls that just need to get away from a toxic home.
2 - Fost to adopt
3 - straight adoption from cyfd here.
There are all these blitzes and campaigns going on for foster, adopt and treatment foster.
But, i know 1 family with a great story (nb preemie adoption)
and another who has been given the run around. They have been trying to get a second special needs child. The wife is an ex-case worker and still is facing so much red tape. After 2 years they finally just adopted form out of state for the first one. AND they are not picky. they want a child under 5 with ANY special needs.
I keep looking into it and just getting overwealmed. I am afraid of having the state in my life forever.
I do enjoy hearing both the good and the bad here.
|06-03-2007 02:31 PM|
I really don't want to sound snarky, and I hope I don't
You disagreeing with me 1000% really invalidates my experience. I do not believe that all drug exposed children have problems, and I don't believe that all drug exposed children are fine. But you MUST accept that there is stronger possibility for problems when you adopt a child with exposure. Anything else is irresponsible and puts a child at risk for a disrupted adoption. Telling adoptive parents that problems created by drug exposure is a myth feels like propaganda to me.
Another thing about your children's story that is very different than my state is the quickness of TPR. Rights are not instantly terminated when a baby is born positive. Most parents enter treatment. If they fail to make progress, the child is removed. By then, neglect has also taken place as well.
|06-03-2007 01:52 PM|
No, I don't think I would. We did contact the responsible county agency where we live, and they were awful. The woman did everything within her power to turn us off to the idea. If I lived in a different county, perhaps I would, but now our family is complete.
The money involved wasn't a major issue in our adoption decisions.
|06-03-2007 11:52 AM|
|alicia622||I hope we get more information. We did receive one packet which contained birth details- so we know his apgar score, mother smoked throughout pregnancy, time of birth, length of hospital stay but nothing else. We also were given one page (out of 20 page report) that was G's portion of the family psych eval completed when he was just a couple months old. I would love to get my hands on the whole thing but I don't think that will happen. I'll have to talk to our worker and do some research about what they are supposed to disclose.|
|06-03-2007 11:01 AM|
In most if not all states, just prior to the adoption there is full disclosure...you get to read your kido's file (they black out names-- including all foster parent names even your own LOL-- and other confidential info). Where I live, you actually get a copy of the file, and the file includes everything from the first time the family was involved with CPS, so if there are sibs, that can shed some light on things too. Of course by that time, I doubt a whole lot of parents would turn back, but it is good to have the information for reference. I know we've referenced ds' file a couple of times when new issues have arisen.
Anyway, I am unable to answer the original question. It does not apply to me because it assumes I have not fostered or foster-adopted, both of which I have done. Will I do it again? Almost certainly yes, if we end up adopting dfd. Quite possibly no if we have our hearts broken with dfd. Even in the relatively straight-forward case of my ds, the experience was a HUGE rollercoaster. Between ds and dfd (our two pre-adoptive placements), we have spent two years with our lives hanging totally in the balance, never knowing what could happen from day to day. Foster-adoption is not for the faint of heart. That said, the children have no choice in the matter...their lives are hanging in the balance just as much so, more even. What would happen if none of us were willing to accompany them in that terrible place? I adopted for the same reasons other people adopt or choose to get pregnant of course, to love a child, to parent, to grow our family, etc...but the way I adopted did arise in large part out of my values. Hmmm...that doesn't sound exactly right. Not sure if that came out exactly how I meant it. I'll think about that more. Hopefully it won't be misinterpreted in the meantime.
Retreating back to my break. Having trouble staying away the last couple of days.
|06-03-2007 10:38 AM|
|06-03-2007 04:10 AM|
|watergarden||I get too attached and we're a young family so it doesn't make sense to adopt older kiddos right now and they are the only ones where we can most likely adopt and not have to wait wondering if the parents will regain custody. Plus I'm nursing so I'm more beneficial to an infant who can benefit from breastmilk from the start.|
|06-02-2007 11:21 PM|
|RedOakMomma||I don't think I would consider foster/adopt.... honestly, it has very little to do with the kids, or their needs, but rather me--I just don't think I'm strong enough to face losing a child I love.|
|06-02-2007 11:48 AM|
Really interesting discussion!
I say yes I would love to foster, but i believe my time of adding children is over.
|06-02-2007 10:05 AM|
|06-02-2007 08:07 AM|
I know a woman who fostered many drug exposed infants... in the end she adopted three... I have intereacted with all of them and they are in their 20's... not one of them has any long term effects.
I imagine their are TONS of adoptive parents (international and domestic) parenting drug exposed babies who have no idea. Who would tell them otherwise?
|06-02-2007 06:13 AM|
|06-02-2007 03:24 AM|
We've considered it and would really like to do it (me moreso than dh but he also is quite interested). Obstacles that I am unsure about:
1. DH is very concerned about special needs issues. He's concerned about it with me as I age (would be 36 if we have another biological baby and follow the same timeline we've followed with SJ and Ina). And that's a concern of his about foster-adopt - what issues the child would bring with him/her that we would need to figure out and manage.
2. Cost. Not of the adoption, but of raising the child. Saving $$ for college etc., etc. We are self-employed, so retirement, etc. is all out of our own pockets, too. We have lots of student loans to pay off for me; dh feels strongly (and I agree to an extent at least) about not having our children graduate from college in debt. I know some states pay for in-state tuition for foster adoptees, but don't know if our state does. That factor alone might clinch whether dh will go for a foster adoption at all.
3. The previously mentioned concern about opening our hearts and home (and children) to a child and then losing that child to reunification. I think dh and I could rationalize it and mourn - but it would be so very difficult for smaller children, KWIM? So I'd really want to feel that it was very likely that this child would be permanently placed with us.
4. I'd like an infant - just because of the attachment issues etc. And I have bf'd Ina and SJ - would want to bf an adopted child too. I don't know how that would go over with a SW (and possibly with the birth family) - I know my sister, who adopted via an agency, was encouraged by her SW to consider adoptive lactation. But I have a hunch that it's NOT encouraged with a babe who's still potentially up for reunification, or etc.? And I'm afraid that even asking about this would red-flag us with DFS for future foster-adopt questions (as freaks).
5. I know some SWs are comfortable with AP (or at least partially so). But some aren't. And I know that cosleeping etc. are often frowned upon. I don't know that I could comfortably lie about that, if we were doing AP things that the SWs wouldn't approve of. And, natural family living in general might really weird the SW out (cloth diapers? EC? babywearing? feeding on demand instead of on schedules? Parenting to sleep?)
6. We keep a weird schedule in our house. Since dh is self-employed, and works best at night, we keep "college hours." Ina/SJ are generally asleep by 10:30 or so, and wake at 10ish in the morning -- we do this 'cuz we can, and that will change when Ina starts school I know. But we really don't follow a lot of the "Oh you must do it this way" rules, and I think that might not fly with SWs.
7. I grew up in a big family, and we shared beds. I actually think it's good for kids to share beds (they're going to need to know how to do so as adults, aren't they ) - but I've read that foster/adopt requires that each child sleep singly in their beds. The beds in the kids' rooms upstairs are built-in, there are just three -- I think we could figure out how to make it work if we had to, but that's another stumbling block maybe?
Right now the plan is to have another biological child around the time SJ is 3. And then, after that, we will wait and see how we feel financially in terms of having additional children. But we wouldn't be having them biologically, if we had any more, it would be via adoption, and foster adoption makes the most sense to me (a child placed with a private agency will be adopted; children in foster care are less likely to be adopted - why not open our home to a foster adoption?).
I think if we adopted an older child (over 2 or so), we would probably want to wait 'til our other children were old enough to understand the potential challenges we'd be facing as a family, so they could buy into it too. I am from a big family, and would like my children to have that experience too.
We watch "A Waiting Child" which our station does with Wendy's, together all the time. It broke my heart the other day - they redid a story about a little girl. Her younger brother had been adopted, but she was still in the foster system. How sad is that for her? I really think we'll do something about this want at some point, we just aren't there yet.
Sorry for the rambling. Straight off the top of my head, answering BCFD's questions - I hope that nothing I've posted is misconstrued as offensive or etc. Hoping to learn!
|06-02-2007 02:53 AM|
|Brigianna||Not unless the system were radically reformed. Our foster son is not really our foster son; he's a cousin and we are his guardians in the process of adopting him. I would love to have more children through adoption or foster/adoption, but neither dh nor I is comfortable with that much state involvement in our lives. We also would not want to be put in the position of being required to do things with which we didn't agree.|
|06-02-2007 02:39 AM|
|06-02-2007 12:44 AM|
I just wanted to throw this out there...
I'm a public health student. We studied a ton about what in utero exposure does to fetuses. There are no hard and fast rules. No, pregnant moms should not do drugs. However, drug exposure increases some risks slightly, that is all. There is no good tool to measure what does what, so the PSA campaigns stress the worst case, few and far between scenarios. In short, the problem is overblown.
I know five children who were exposed to drugs in utero. All well into the second trimester, some into the third. None were adopted, all are with their bioparents. Of these children, the youngest is six. All of them are perfectly fine. All of them are fluent readers. No athsma, no ADD, nothing. They are healthy, whole, wonderful children.
|06-02-2007 12:16 AM|
just as a slight spin off, I wanted to address how subsidys work in Illinois as well, in case its helpful to others!
Any child adopted past their 1st birthday qualifies for a subsidy. Its virtually impossible (though happened with us) that a child ends up adopted before their 1st bday, but if a child has any kind of delay at all, like in p/t or o/t then they qualify as well. Lastly, any medical needs qualify, like my dd has a hemangioma birth mark. That was concidered medican enough to warrent a subsidy
|06-01-2007 11:39 PM|
This all is probably different from state to state.
|06-01-2007 11:24 PM|
: I was just remembering when G was possibly going back with his bparents I was contemplating moving to California so I could experience what you have
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