Cindy at Recipe For a Family posted Thursday Thinker: Foster-Adopt. Here is what she asked:
What do you know about adopting foster kids? Have you considered it as an option for building your family? Do you have a program in your county that is specifically for couples that are interested in eventually adopting a baby from the foster care system? What are your concerns with foster adoption?
Well Cindy, I may know a thing (or three?) about adopting foster kids. I have adopted three wonderful children from foster care. I have several friends who have adopted great kids from foster care. There have been some negative stories as well as positive ones. For most, it has been a mixed bag. Of course, that is the case with parenting in any way right?
We are at a cross-roads ourselves, trying to determine whether it is the way we want to continue building our family. Well, actually, we’re even wondering if we *want* to continue building it further. We think we do. However, we really hate the system in many ways and are unsure about being part of it. If we continued, we would continue to foster (support reunification) until our child(ren) come to us. We would not limit ourselves to adoption from foster care.
So I would think that would be a major discussion for your family. What age children do you want? Only a baby? Or do you consider 5yos babies also? Would you only want a single baby or would you consider a sibling group? Do you want only children who are legally free for adoption? Or would you take a chance on a legal risk baby? Would you foster, sending children on, until your child(ren) came to you?
Though your answers to some of those questions may change in time, it is wise to have some idea of what you would like before you start calling the county, agencies, etc. You want to make sure that the people helping you on your journey handle what you would like to do! Also, here, all 96 agencies in our region get the broadcast for the children as they are available (assuming that the worker doesn’t have someone in mind). However, I know in other areas, people with the county get first shot. If you wanted teens, that wouldn’t probably matter much, but if you want babies, especially caucasion, not drug addicted, few health issues, it would matter if you were in an area where county folks get first dibs. See, there is a lot more to it!
My biggest concern for the intention to foster to adopt, primarily is whether the foster parents can support the goal of reunification for parents and/or family. Sometimes, it really isn’t best for the children to be sent back to parents or to their relatives. However, a lot of times, it is good for them. However, it is *hard* for us. Even in the perfect situation of a parent who works hard to get her kids back, it is *hard, hard, hard* for us. We love these children we take care of for these 2 weeks, 5 months, 16 months, whatever. We’ve been fostering a few years. We have agreed with the plan well enough for each child/set of children. It still was really hard. What if we had thought each of those kids was our forever child? It would have been so much worse on us. But worse, it would have been wrong of us. Most of these children *had* forever families to go to, they just needed a loving home for a little while.
Of course, even we have had our situation where we feel *our* child was stolen from us, that the plan wasn’t in our baby’s best interest, that we lost a child we cherished dearly. Worse than the loss *we* felt was the fear of what it was doing to our baby girl! So sometimes it will happen. But can you, when you’re in that situation, still work towards the goal? In that situation, I volunteered to talk with the people getting our child. I volunteered to provide access to the child. I texted, emailed, skyped, etc. I had them visit in my home from out of town! IF they were getting my little girl, an idea so foreign to me as it isn’t natural for a parent to just hand over her toddler!, I wanted my little girl to get to know them, even if it wasn’t in person. We looked at pictures of them. We talked about their toddler daughter. We skyped for 20-30 minutes many times. I wanted her to be as comfortable with them as she could be from half a country away. Additionally, I wanted *them* to bond with her. On top of everything we did with Little M, I would send cute stories via text, emails of facts, pictures. I still advocated for her, but I worked towards the goal also.
Major question – If you accept children not legally free for adoption, can you, will you, support the state’s goal until it is no longer the goal? It is tough stuff!