Tag Archive: adoption

The Realities of Adopting Through Foster Care

I’ve seen troubling messages about adopting through foster care. I’m not talking about the standard messages about adopting waiting children – kids who are free for adoption, but because of their age, significant medical or behavioral issues, or sibling group size, are in limbo in the foster care system. No, I’m talking about the Facebook pictures and blog posts that promote a very rose-colored outlook on adopting infants and very young children through the foster care system.

While it is probably not possible to overstate the need for more foster homes, I have a real problem with this trend of making adoption through foster care seem much easier than it is. Yes, there are children in the foster care system who NEED to be adopted – but they are not healthy babies. Yes, there are healthy babies in the foster care system, but they aren’t available for adoption – and most of them WON’T be freed for adoption.

The realities of adopting through foster careThere are so many wonderfully rewarding aspects of foster parenting – but instead of focusing on those to encourage potential foster parents, the trend seems to be to highlight the RARE cases where a foster parent picks up a newborn from the hospital and then ultimately adopts that child. Yes, it happens, but it’s NOT THE NORM! And when it does happen, it takes A LONG TIME!

When we talk to would-be adoptive parents, and minimize the emotional dangers of foster care, we’re not encouraging or recruiting FOSTER parents – and we’re not doing anyone any favors.

PLEASE do not get into foster care because you think that is an easy, inexpensive way to adopt a baby or young child!!!!!!

It is absolutely possible to get a newborn placement and ultimately adopt that child. But let me tell you what happens between that first call and the “Forever Day” pictures.

  1. You get the phone call: “We have a 2-day-old baby girl that needs to be picked up at the hospital. She tested positive and the shelter order’s already approved. Can you pick her up tonight?”
  2. You gleefully say yes and run to tell hubby as soon as you hang up the phone. While you wait for the call with further instructions, hubby gets the infant car seat out of the garage and gets it installed. You go through your “stash” for baby girl bedding and newborn baby girl clothing and begin to make up the nursery.
  3. The phone rings again. “Never mind. The mom realized we were sheltering and ran with the baby. We have no idea where they are, but the state is looking. We’ll let you know if they are found.”
  4. You had the tiny baby to your prayer list, but never hear anything further about the baby girl.
  5. A couple of weeks go by and you get an 11 pm call, “we have an 11-week-old Caucasian boy coming into care tonight. His mom already has several kids in care and we don’t know who the father is. The mom’s family was already disqualified for placement of the previous kids, and the people that have the siblings don’t want a baby. He’ll be a quick TPR and then available. I know you want to adopt a baby, so you were my first call. Do you want him?”
  6. See #2. Substitute boy for girl.
  7. Adorable baby boy shows up at 1 am. Instant captivation ensues. Pictures go out to extended family, everyone is overjoyed.
  8. A few weeks go by and the CM calls with an update – some guy has stepped forward claiming that he could be the father, so we need to take the baby for a cheek swab. There is no way this guy is the dad, so don’t worry about it.
  9. This guy is the dad. He has no criminal record, wants the baby and has the ability to care for the baby. The paperwork is a formality, so you begin to pack up his things and prepare to say good-bye.
  10. Paperwork goes through, baby boy goes to dad. You take some time to adjust to his absence and prepare for the next call.

TO BE CONTINUED….

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N.A.A.M. Blog Tour: Where did all these boys come from??? (Part 2: Squirm)

In January, just before Squish was reunified with his birth father, I told our agency, “No more boys. Only girls. Girls are more fun and boys’ clothes are boring.”

No more boys.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, I’m participating in an Adoption Blog Tour (AND GIVEAWAY!). Since we’re hoping to finalize a couple of adoptions in the next few months, I decided to write about the sequence of far-too-many-to-be-coincidence events that aligned and blessed us with two happy, boisterous, affectionate, spirited, funny, exasperating beautiful boys.

Because I’m incapable of making a long any story short, this will be a multipart fairy tale. Hang in there, because I’m pretty sure we all live happily ever after. If you missed it, you can go read the bit about how we got Squish-ed (I’ll wait). Today, let’s talk about

Where Squirms Come From
  • I mentioned this yesterday, but it’s worth noting again: when we were initially licensed, even though we were adamant that 2 was our limit, our licensing specialist licensed us for 3 beds, “just in case”.
  • Two weeks after Squish left, I got a call about a little boy. “I know you didn’t want any more boys,” starts our Licensing Specialist, “but we have to move him from his current foster home, we need someone on this side of the county, and it’s only for a few weeks – he’ll be reunified with his dad soon.
    • Squish’s birth father was identified in September 2012, but due to stupid paperwork delays and unnecessary red tape, Squish wasn’t reunified until January 2013. If Squish had left any sooner, we would probably have already had another baby by the time Squirm needed a new placement, and he would have gone to someone else.
    • We decided to accept the placement because it would help our agency out and it would only be a few weeks anyway. When the Licensing Specialist told me his birth-date (exactly the same as Squish’s), I did a double-take – “Wait, this isn’t [Squish], is it? He just went back to his dad.” “No,” she said, “it says the name is [Squirm], and he’s coming from another foster home.”

SuperDad picked up Squirm from the CPC office and sent me a picture. He was freaking gorgeous! We decided that it was a good thing he’d only be around for a few weeks, because we could oh-so-easily fall in love with those dimples and we definitely wanted only girls.

  • Then I got a call from Squirm’s Case Supervisor – we knew her from a previous case, and she was thrilled when she heard Squirm was coming to our home. He was being moved because the previous foster mom went a little nutty when the case plan goal wasn’t changed to adoption right away.
    • The CS had told Mr. Stork that she needed a home that would support the current case plan (reunification) but that was open to adoption, because Squirm was very likely going to be available for adoption!
  • Squirm has several biological siblings (not enough for a baseball team, but enough for a hockey team and backup goalie). The three siblings just older than him had been adopted by a maternal uncle and aunt. They were asked to take Squirm when he came into care, but passed because they also had three biological children and they just didn’t feel they could handle 7 kids.
    • If the uncle and aunt had had room for him, Squirm would never have been placed in foster care, and we never would have met him.
    • If Squirm had been placed with anyone else when he first came into care, he wouldn’t have needed to be moved, and he wouldn’t have needed us.
    • A friend of mine actually got a call when Squirm initially came into care, but she didn’t have a spot for a boy, so she passed. If she had said yes, we wouldn’t have Squirm!
    • To be honest, from the beginning I was very intimidated by the idea of transracial parenting (I still am, but that’s another post). I was far from convinced that I was up to the task, and I was certain that Squirm deserved someone anyone better than me.
      • Then the maternal aunt reached out to us and asked for a picture of Squirm. My first thought was that she was maybe having second thoughts.
        OH, HELL NO! SuperDad and I instantly circled the wagons – She had her chance, she passed on our baby, and we weren’t going to give a chance to change her mind. That’s when we realized that he owned our hearts and began to pray that Squirm was here to stay.

Like I said, I’m pretty sure we all live happily ever after, but you’ll have to come back for the happy ending because we don’t have the final chapter yet.

* if you’re unfamiliar with any terminology, it might be helpful to check out my primer on foster care lingo.

Foster2Forever positive foster parenting adoption blogs support

Please check out the other foster/adoptive parents who have contributed to the National Adoption Awareness Month Blog Tour by clicking the photo above!

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N.A.A.M. Blog Tour: Where did all these boys come from??? (Part 1: Squish)

In January, just before Squish was reunified with his birth father, I told our agency, “No more boys. Only girls. Girls are more fun and boys’ clothes are boring.”

No more boys.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, I’m participating in an Adoption Blog Tour (AND GIVEAWAY!). Since we’re hoping to finalize a couple of adoptions in the next few months, I decided to write about the sequence of far-too-many-to-be-coincidence events that aligned and blessed us with two happy, boisterous, affectionate, spirited, funny, exasperating beautiful boys.

Because I’m incapable of making a long any story short, this will be a multipart fairy tale. Hang in there, because I’m pretty sure we all live happily ever after. Without further ado, here’s

How We Got Squish-ed
  • When we were initially licensed, even though we were adamant that 2 was our limit, our licensing coordinator licensed us for 3 beds, “just in case”.
  • In May 2012, we got talked into taking a sibling group of 2. This brought us to capacity and meant that when Squirm initially came into care, we didn’t get that call.
    • If we had taken Squirm when he first came into care, we couldn’t have taken Squish in July.
    • The sibling set was moved in July 2012, and I asked my agency to find us another baby ASAP. Meanwhile, AS A FAVOR TO MY AGENCY, we agreed to provide respite for two boys.

On July 20th, I got a call about a newborn baby girl just being released from the hospital – without even checking with SuperDad, I said we’d take her and happily began prepping for the new addition. Before I even finished making up the bassinet, my agency called back and said I couldn’t have her because Mr. Stork, the placement specialist at CPC wouldn’t give me an over-cap, even though I was at capacity only because of the respite. To put it mildly, I was furious. My agency relayed how unhappy I was, and Mr. Stork promised that the very next infant that came into care was mine. Sure. Whatever.

  • That baby girl actually never came into care. If Mr. Stork hadn’t denied my over-cap that evening, I probably wouldn’t have been the 1st call for Squish – I definitely wouldn’t have been the only call.
  • Less than a week later, the phone rang at 11 pm. A 4-month-old boy was coming into care and even though I was still doing respite, my over-cap was already approved. The mom had several kids already in care with paternal relatives. This little guy had a different unknown father. Which meant that odds were very good that this case would go to adoption. Mr. Stork kept his promise & Squish landed at 1am.
  • In a major plot-twist, Squish’s birth father was identified and Squish went to live with him in January 2013.

This is when I told my agency “No more boys.”

    • In yet another plot-twist, Squish’s birth father changed his mind, and Squish came back into care. Normally, he would automatically come back to us to ensure as much continuity as possible.

But by then we had Lady Bug and Squirm – and the state says that foster parents can’t have more than 2 children under 2. There’s a waiver, but the state had gotten really tetchy about  waivers and it definitely wasn’t a sure-thing. Mr. Stork was contacted by Squish’s CM, our agency, Mother Goose (as my mentor), and Rainbow Brite, the Foster Care Liaison. Everyone assured Mr. Stork that SuperDad and I could handle 3 infants and that this was the best option for Squish. Mr. Stork agreed, and Squish came home!

Now check out Where Squirms Come From to see how we wound up with the second of our sweet boys.

* if you’re unfamiliar with any terminology, it might be helpful to check out my primer on foster care lingo.


Foster2Forever positive foster parenting adoption blogs support

Please check out the other foster/adoptive parents who have contributed to the National Adoption Awareness Month Blog Tour by clicking the photo above!

The Realities of Adopting Through Foster Care (Part 1)

I’ve been seeing a lot of troubling messages lately about adopting through foster care. I’m not talking about the standard messages about adopting waiting children – kids who are free for adoption, but because of their age, significant medical or behavioral issues, or sibling group size, are in limbo in the foster care system. No, I’m talking about the Facebook pictures and blog posts that promote a very rose-colored outlook on adopting infants and very young children through the foster care system.

While it is probably not possible to overstate the need for more foster homes, I have a real problem with this trend of making adoption through foster care seem much easier than it is. Yes, there are children in the foster care system who NEED to be adopted – but they are not healthy babies. Yes, there are healthy babies in the foster care system, but they aren’t available for adoption – and most of them WON’T be freed for adoption.

There are so many wonderfully rewarding aspects of foster parenting – but instead of focusing on those to encourage potential foster parents, the trend seems to be to highlight the RARE cases where a foster parent picks up a newborn from the hospital and then ultimately adopts that child. Yes, it happens, but it’s NOT THE NORM! And when it does happen, it takes A LONG TIME!

When we talk to would-be adoptive parents, and minimize the emotional dangers of foster care, we’re not encouraging or recruiting FOSTER parents – and we’re not doing anyone any favors.

PLEASE do not get into foster care because you think that is an easy, inexpensive way to adopt a baby or young child!!!!!!

It is absolutely possible to get a newborn placement and ultimately adopt that child. But let me tell you what happens between that first call and the “Forever Day” pictures.

  1. You get the phone call: “We have a 2-day-old baby girl that needs to be picked up at the hospital. She tested positive and the shelter order’s already approved. Can you pick her up tonight?”
  2. You gleefully say yes and run to tell hubby as soon as you hang up the phone. While you wait for the call with further instructions, hubby gets the infant car seat out of the garage and gets it installed. You go through your “stash” for baby girl bedding and newborn baby girl clothing and begin to make up the nursery.
  3. The phone rings again. “Never mind. The mom realized we were sheltering and ran with the baby. We have no idea where they are, but the state is looking. We’ll let you know if they are found.”
  4. You had a tiny duckling to your prayer list, but never hear anything further about the baby girl.
  5. A couple of weeks go by and you get an 11 pm call, “we have an 11-week-old Caucasian boy coming into care tonight. His mom already has several kids in care and we don’t know who the father is. The mom’s family was already disqualified for placement of the previous kids, and the people that have the siblings don’t want a baby. He’ll be a quick TPR and then available. I know you want to adopt a baby, so you were my first call. Do you want him?”
  6. See #2. Substitute boy for girl.
  7. Adorable baby boy shows up at 1 am. Instant captivation ensues. Pictures go out to extended family, everyone is overjoyed.
  8. A few weeks go by and the CM calls with an update – some guy has stepped forward claiming that he could be the father, so we need to take the baby for a cheek swab. There is no way this guy is the dad, so don’t worry about it.
  9. This guy is the dad. He has no criminal record, wants the baby and has the ability to care for the baby. The paperwork is a formality, so you begin to pack up his things and prepare to say good-bye.
  10. Paperwork goes through, baby boy goes to dad. You take some time to adjust to his absence and prepare for the next call.

TO BE CONTINUED….

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