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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are thinking seriously about seeking to adopt an infant through foster care. We have two natural children, whom we AP. I plan to use the same methods (co-sleeping, nursing, babywearing, ect.) with any subsequent children, born from me or not. Has anyone out there AP'd a fostered/adopted through foster system infant? How did you handle it as far as social services' opinions of AP practices? I don't want to ruin my chances of being able to foster/adopt by telling them that I co-sleep...my kids each HAVE their own beds, we just don't tend to use them! How would/did you handle APing and the social services system?
 

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You won't be allowed to co-sleep or breastfeed, and will almost certainly be required to vaccinate a foster child.
 

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you can definately AP foster babies - ap is about meeting the needs of the baby and respecting the needs of the baby (Ap isn't a set of practices). If the baby is bottlefed in arms, in an armreach co-sleeper etc, the baby can still be attached.<br><br>
You will probably have some social workers ok with co-sleeping, but fewer after the APA's lastest guidelines (which say a firm no to co-sleeping but do suggest the baby be in the same room with the parents). If anything goes wrong (sids) the state doesn't want to be sued. It is the same with breastfeeding. If a foster mother gives her baby a disease breastfeeding, the social worker will be fired and the incident will make 60 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
a co-sleeper or crib in MY room would be fine, they don't have to know that the baby spends most of its time in our bed. The breastmilk part bugs me. Let's give them formula on the rare chance that the nursing mother might give them a disease? GIVE THEM A DISEASE?!? How about all the diseases breastfeeding (diabetes, asthma, cancers, heart disease...)PREVENTS? GRRRRRRR. I know. I'm preaching to the choir. Would you talk at all to the social workers about the fact that your birth children were nursed, worn, etc? I mean, any homestudy that needs to be done will almost certainly reveal that info anyway...everyone who knows me knows that I still nurse my 2 year old, use cloth diapers, blah-blah-blah.
 

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I used to nurse my bio daughter in the private foster care office we go through. Once she was over 15 months or so, I usually only nursed her at home. I was always open about how I treat my own kids. Sometimes, they will tell you that's not ok to do with foster children. I always said OK, but if it was something little like sleeping in the same room with you as infants, they usually understand and don't really care. Especially if the foster child's parents aren't making complaints or are out of the picture. I also cloth diapered my foster son. When he was going on visits with the bio mom, I used a disposable because they didn't know how to cloth and I was afraid it would be thrown out, anyway!!<br><br>
On another note, when taking care of a foster child, it's important to remember the true purpose of foster care is to provide care for a child until a permanent placement can be made. In the beginning of a fostering placement, that is almost always going back home to the bio parents. I think it's really best if foster parents can try and care for the child while helping the child keep or make a bond with the bio parents if that is the direction social services is going. I did this whole-heartedly when my little guy came to live with me. In doing this, the bio mom chose to step out of his life comfortable that our family was a wonderful fit for him. She decided to give up her parental rights if we would keep him. How blessed we are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No, my husband and I have talked about doing it for years (even before we birthed our own) and now that he's recently had major surgery that rendered him infertile...we want more children. We are aware of the need in our community, and think that it is a way that both needs could be filled.
 

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There is a huge difference in the Foster to Adopt programs and Straight Adoption.<br><br>
First of all if you are a Foster to Adopt parent the Primary Goal is to Work toward reunification of the child with the Birthfamily. If you are interested in adopting then you might want to consider the Straight Adoption program instead. The state has FULL custody of all children in Foster Care and the STATE is the legal parent therefore the state will set the rules for Foster Children.<br><br>
Also--while a child is in Foster Care and the biological family is working on their caseplan they STILL have some rights as to the things that happen to their children. For example while our daughter was in foster care her biological mother would NOT approve of any hair cuts or even a trim.<br><br>
All foster children will Need to have immunizations and while a child is classified as Foster the foster family will be responsible to make sure these immunization happen.<br><br>
Families who wish to add children by adoption might wish to consider a Straigh Adoption instead of Foster to Adopt. The national average reports that more then 50% of children placed in foster care are runited with their biological parents and another 20-30% are placed for adoption with a Relative of the child. Many Foster to Adopt families have more then ONE infant placed before a child is adoptable.<br><br>
Typically, if a foster to adopt family is seeking an infant it can take from 1-2 years before and adoption is final. During this time the family fostering does NOT have the rights as the parent...and the State and child's caseworker is the one that dictates how the child will be treated and what is acceptable.<br><br>
It is a very bad idea to become a foster parent and NOT be fully honest about the situation in your home. Every state decideds the rules they have so things that are ok in one state may not be in another.<br><br>
Good Luck with considering adoption for adding to your family. I have a national State adoption website with families from all over and information if you are interested in talking with some of us who have been there!
 

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I remember having similar questions when dw and I got foster care licensed for the first time, and then again when we entered the foster-adopt program. Is it possible to be an AP foster parent? Yes! (I'm doing it.)<br><br>
I concur with Anna that you will need to know what your state's laws and regulations are in order to know what <i>specific practices</i> are allowed. You might be able to request a copy of relevant laws and regs from your state foster care office. The state's office here has copies of a booklet of state laws and regs that are given to foster parents during the homestudy process. Such a document would not only give you information about parenting practices, but also about licensing requirements, the foster-adopt process, etc.<br><br>
In my state co-sleeping is not allowed, but an infant's crib may be in the parent's bedroom until the child turns one year. The crib must be of a specific type and I'm not sure if a co-sleeper would pass the regulations. We have on occassion fallen asleep with dfs in exhaustion, and I think that is to be expected. At one year, the crib must be moved to the child's room (I keep hoping our adoption of our current foster son will take place before he turns one year, partly for this reason). A while back someone from Mothering who also lives in my state pointed out that my state law doesn't prohibit breastfeeding foster babies, but the permission of the child's social worker and the bio parents would be necessary. I have never heard of a case in which it has been done. I can't imagine being able to get through the red tape to do it legally. Of having everyone feel comfortable with it and give their consent. And having a bio parent agree would be amazing, in my opinion. Often they feel very threatened by foster parents, as one might expect, and won't want foster parents to do any "closeness" activities with their babies. Immunizations, and even following doctor's orders, are also part of foster care requirements. Your other kids might also have to be up to date on their immunizations, although if you have excemptions they may have to make an exception.<br><br>
We are able to make many routine parenting decisions about haircuts, foods they eat and/or formula they drink (we do try to be somewhat consistent with what they've had though, at first), etc., but some things such as piercings, etc. we may not make decisions about (we did therapeutic care for older kids and teens for quite a while, so this came up lots) without first asking the social worker, who might need to consult with the child's parents depending on the status of the case and the involvement level of the parent.<br><br>
I was raised in an AP home and wouldn't consider myself less of AP than my own parents, even though as a child I was breastfed and coslept since my earliest days. As someone said, AP isn't a single set of practices. Some practices work for some families but not for all parent-child pairs. And foster care means some practices won't be possible for our foster-adopt kidos. As an AP mom to foster children, I quickly forgot my woes about what I couldn't do and just enjoyed parenting. I follow dfs's lead, and we've found closeness and bonding in lots of ways. And of course I am always there for him and don't make him CIO (and because he likes it I sling him) and stuff, and those things have been really good for his sense of trust in the world. The specific practices are far less important than I even thought.<br><br>
(And on an unsolicted note...) Foster-adopt is not for the faint of heart. Nothing is final until all is said and done, no matter how "good" or "bad" things look at any point. If there is one thing I've learned as a foster parents, it is that things are never as they seem and just when you think it is all figured out, the rug can easily be pulled out from under you. Also, children in the foster care system are there for reasons that may impact their lives greatly, even if youn get them straight home from the hospital. (In our current case, dfs is not drug exposed and we were there with him since he was a day and a half, but what we've learned in bits and pieces-- with some information up front but other info added in the mix along the way-- is that the reason that his mom couldn't have custody of him was primarily because of her inability to safely parent her first. And that was a result of developmental delays that may be passed onto dfs). Foster-adopting even infants is indeed different in many ways from private and independent adoption. But, all the children we have parented have had a profound impact on who we are. They have altered our perspectives in immeasurable ways. And we feel that they are our teachers, whether or not we get to adopt them. I dearly love these children, and am glad for the route I've taken (though at times on the rollercoaster I've wanted nothing more than to get off). I wish you the best, wherever your journey might take you.<br><br>
~Sierra
 

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P.S. The goal of foster adoption as spoken of in my state is to provide permanency for children, ideally with bio family or relatives, but realistically in whatever way that permanency can happen.
 

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Ditto what Anna and Sierra have said. We are ap foster parents in Arizona. Rules vary greatly from state to state. Here, it doesn't matter if our bio-kids are vaxed or co-sleep, but it does matter for the foster kids- they can sleep in our room until they are one, and then must be in their own room. They aren't allowed to co-sleep, except for the occasional illness or such, they do make "allowences" for normal life circumstances. You do need to vaccinate.<br><br>
Here in AZ, there is foster, foster-to-adopt, and then straight adopt. Fostering is just that.......there might be the possiblity to adopt, but the primary goal is to reunify with the bio-family. Foster/adopt is technically fostering, but with children whose caseplan has changed from reunification to termination of parental rights- so while the kids aren't legally free, they are on that path....there is risk, but usually the caseworkers have a good idea of what will happen. Then there is adoption, where the kids are legally free.<br><br>
We've been fostering for over a year, and are now actively looking for either a foster/adopt placement or an adoptive placement, and we are still continuing fostering. As we're used to the unpredicitbility of fostering, foster/adopt should be good for us, as there's much more certainty.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, that was my understanding of the system...we are looking to go straight to a foster/adopt or straight adopt child(ren). The greatest number of children in the foster/adopt and straight adopt programs are sibling groups. This is great for us, because we wanted a few more kids anyway. My husband is having surgery again right after Thanksgiving, then we're going to start taking classes. Looking forward to it, and thank you all for your responses. So, you "co-sleep" with the crib in your room. I am assuming you baby wear. I have decided to vaccinate my kids except for the ones with egg in them (to which they are allergic), and the chicken pox vaccine, which I think is just plain silly. We have our own, spread out schedule. I know some people would disagree with this choice. However, I am a partner in parenthood. If I had my own way all the time, I wouldn't have a husband(!) and, after educating ourselves thoroughly, my husband still feels very strongly that it's a good idea to vaccinate. So it wouldn't be a problem with the foster/adopt kids. Do the states mandate that all of the shots must be given right on schedule, or just that they must be given? Seems that the states are okay with cloth diapering. I met a woman at from our state tribe whose friend received a child through the straight adopt program, and the birth mother was all for her breastfeeding the baby...anyone else have any luck like that. It just makes so little sense to me that they wouldn't let us give the baby all the advantages, emotional, medical, etc. of breatfeeding/breastmilk. For god's sake, I would be more than willing to undergo blood and psychological testing, if need be. I know. I am preaching to the choir, right? Anyway. Thanks.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">It just makes so little sense to me that they wouldn't let us give the baby all the advantages, emotional, medical, etc. of breatfeeding/breastmilk. For god's sake, I would be more than willing to undergo blood and psychological testing, if need be. I know. I am preaching to the choir, right? Anyway. Thanks.</div>
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Well...if the child is going back to a situation where he/she won't be breastfed, it might be easier for them to have a consistent and familiar way of nursing, i.e. a bottle. If a child was bottlefed before you get them, it might be difficult for them to switch to breastfeeding. Just a thought. Children come to us with all kinds of different situations and needs. There are some good threads on this topic in this forum.<br><br>
By the way, and I do mean this in the kindest possible way, I think it's best not to refer to biological or birth children as "natural." It could give the impression that somehow fostering or adoption is "unnatural" which I'm sure you did not intend to do!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you, you're right. I did mean to write "birth". And a thought I had on nursing was to do what I did with my ds (dd refused), and give equal numbers of pumped bottles and breast nursings. DH was in the hospital with major abdominal tumor when ds was 6mos old, and if he hadn't been taking SOME bottles and been accustomed to it, I would probably have had to wean entirely, because they would not allow infants on the post surgical unit, and there was a point of time where(gut wrenching as it was) time with my dh really did trump time with ds (we thought DH was going to die). Point is, some combo of bottle and breast with breast milk makes sense to me. Or even just pumping as much as I could and doing it all by bottle if need be. I understand that people may have an issue with their child consuming someone elses breast milk, or suckling at someone elses breast. I also understand that there's just a bunch of plain old ignorance going around. Just venting disappointment and frustration that that is the case. Anyway. Thanks!
 

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Just wanted to lyk that if you can take a sib. group, especially a group of three (as opposed to a pair of sibs), you should be inundated with available and/or almost available children! I just went to an adoption even in our state where a lady read profiles of the waiting children in her county of our state, and it was 2 hours of kids, and 90% of them were sib groups of three or more.<br><br>
Back on the AP topic; we used cloth, wore our baby as well as fosters (the workers loved that!), had the crib in our room. They know we don't vax. I would think that delayed vaxing might be okay depending on the caseworker, IMO it wouldn't hurt to ask once you've established a relationship with the worker. Also, there's a good chance you won't even have to worry about it if the kids have been in the system for a while, they'll be up to date <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I am a new foster parent to a 9 week old (we've had him since he was four weeks). Breastfeeding is out of the question and co-sleeping (in the same bed) is also out of the question (dh's fears- so we didn't even go there). DFS sleeps in our room (sharing a room is fine in our state up to one year of age) and I have been trying very hard to wear this baby but so far have only managed to carry him for maybe 10 minutes before he goes beserk <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> We are VERY attentive to our foster baby and try to make bottle feeding as special as possible and really work hard to understand him and meet his needs to the very best of our ability. I would tell the workers the truth about any questions they have re: you parenting plans and also make sure you read the licensing requirements for your state to make sure you are in compliance. IMO it would be much worse for a foster baby to have to leave your home because you broke the rules by allowing him to sleep in your bed than to have him sleep in a basinett next to your bed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Don't worry I would't risk the romoval of a child. I am just a bleeding heart idealist, who sometimes questions authority to be sure that the situation presented is the best one. Doesn't mean I *always* do my own thing, rules or not. Just means that I like to educate myself(and others, if need be), and if it means asking questions and making comments before the fact, then so be it. The main reason I have an issue with the "same room, not same bed" rule is that I like to sleep! However, I definately understand the reasons caseworkers and birth parents might not want the children in my bed...outside overlaying, I would have an issue with MY children sleeping in someone else's bed (especially if I didn't know this person's life/morals). So, fair is fair. Thank you all for your beautiful and thoughtful responses. I have been sharing them with dh, and saving them. Any more responses would be appreciated!
 

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There are some fantastic things that we can do when we are fostering that will help a child learn the skills of attachment....and as a foster parent helping a little one learn these skills is something that the child will only benefit from..... some people believe attachment is a 'person' but the truth is that it is a skill....<br><br>
The problem with Foster to Adopt is that often families have several children placed before one is ava to be adopted. This can be heart breaking and it can be HARD on mommies to have this beautiful little baby and NOT know for a year or two if you will even be the forever mommy..... It can make it very difficult for us to even want to bond with the baby not knowing if the baby will be reunited with birthparents, or relatives.<br><br>
My advice to families who ONLY want to adopt is to go staright adoption. Yes, in some cases the child is older and part of a sibling group but some of us mommies would rather start later and know for sure then to love an lose.<br><br>
The kind of parenting that you would like to do is wonderful and some of the older children need the kind of mother that you are. Even with an older child parents who are able to practice Reparenting with the child can help them recover from so much damage from the past.<br><br>
While I breastfed my bios and would have breastfed my adoptee if I had the chance....From expereince I can tell you that some of the Attachment Parenting methods we learn as adoptive mommies can be every bit as rewarding as breatfeeding was....<br><br>
I may sound rather odd but our little girl was 5 when we met her. It was actually fantastic the day I first met my little girl....I will not ever forget her first words to me...."Are you my new mommy and daddy?"<br><br>
To my heart these words felt the very same as the first cry my newborns screamed in the delievery room. I don't know how It would have felt had I met my little girl as a foster-to-adopt situation....but, I can imagine that it would not have felt the same to me.... And I would NOT have been able to answer, "yes, Honey I am your new and forever mommy!"<br><br>
Even with a child this age there were so many attachment things to do. And it was so bonding for both of us when we did the "I want to start from day one with you...." Stuff.... We would sit together in a rocking chair every night for about 10 mins pretending she was my brand new baby and I would rock and feed her a bottle.... She learned to FEEL what she would have if I had her from day one and even though this was a GAME it helped her brain build the connections, with the eye contact and the love of a mommy that she clearly missed in her first few years of life.<br><br>
We did straight adoption of siblings age 1 and 5 at placement. Our children were finalized as our adopted children less then a year after we met them. And we met them as their parents so there was NO holding back or worry that anything might change... I feel that had we taken them as Foster to Adopt it would have been more difficult....One day I would have told them...Guess what I get to be your forever mom....and they may or may not have understood the implications as well as they did knowing before they even met me....<br><br>
I am a real advocate of parents who want to adopt from the state doing straight adoption. Some families go Foster to Adopt because they wish to see if a child will "FIT" into the family.... This has never made sense to me bacuse I didn't have this right when I gave birth...It was a crap shoot having a baby and of my 4 children I can honestly say that had I been given the right to "Pass" on any of them it would have been one of my dear Bios that I passed on.....So I just don't agree with the idea that Foster to Adopt is a test to see if a child will fit into our families.... To me mommy love is unconditional no matter how I ended up the mommy!<br><br>
Anyway--I just wanted to share this feeling. And if you are interested in talking with families who have Foster to Adopt, and Straight adopted my web site has a lot of info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We really would like to straight adopt an older child or sibling group...eventually. However, right now, we want to Foster-Adopt because we really do want another baby, can no longer do so by making one of our own biologically, and can't afford to do private adoption... and REALLY because we think there is a foster-adopt baby out there who needs us as forever parents when their own can't/doesn't have the skills/capacity to do so.<br><br>
I would also like my little ones to be a LEEETLE older before I bring children into the home who are likely to have serious emotional/developmental issues (I am a realist and these children have been taken from their home due to abuse/neglect). I would like my kids to be more able to handle the time and energy focused on someone other than them which is necessary to deal with these issues. I would NEVER take a child only to "see if they fit" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"> What a horrible thing to do to a child...just another rejection. It makes me queasy just thinking about it!!! I am the kinda gal who makes a commitment or doesn't, no in-between.<br><br>
That said, I was a nanny for 15 years, and, even though it's a little different than being a parent, I was not willing to withhold attachment just because I knew that eventually my job with that family would end. I think that every child needs the offer of attachment from their caregiver whether they care for them for an hour or for the rest of their lives. Again, I'm an idealist, but that's what I believe.
 

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Well, you sound like you have the perfect heart to face the possible break of foster to adopt and I like your attitude very much <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to foster to adopt a younger child when the parents understand the possible issues and the chances for reunification...I have found that many families don't understand the whole concept and are so hurt when 3-4 babies come and go before one is adoptable....<br><br>
I also fully agree with allowing the bios and children in your family to be mature enough to deal with the issues they may face. I am a firm believer in adding children to the family in the correct birth orders.... of course no one has to wait as long as I did!<br><br>
I hope that in my future I am able to provide foster care only....but, have held that off as well so that my little ones are safe, secure and understand what we as a family are going to do for little ones who need a safe home for awhile. I have OUT grown my need to keep them all for myself and now feel emotionally ready to give a mother my supprot and do my best to help her reunify with her child/children.....so eventually when my kids are a bit older and more secure in their new lives we will have someone sitting at the dinner table in that special place we always set for supper.....<br><br>
I am laying some ground work for my children to understand that Fostering may be a part of thier future and we have been setting a place for a guest for the past 6 months at each meal. This spot is for anyone who needs it and we always pray that someone who might be hungry has food tonight if not that they might be able to eat with us in the future.<br><br>
Good luck I think you are going to have a rewarding expereince and it seems that you are very understanding of all the issues that foster to adopt and adopting in general offer....it is amazing how many do not and how many cannot face the realities of this choice for adding to the family.
 
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