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  #1  
November 18th, 2008, 07:18 PM
Jessa78's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Posts: 903
It's been awhile since I posted here with an introduction and questions regarding international adoptions. You were all so kind and helpful and patient so here I am again, coming to you for the best advice I can get.

After much research and discussion (and prayer), my DH and I have decided to pursue adoption through DSS. (We just mailed in our completed application today. ) We have been in touch with some wonderful women at our state and local DSS offices but I'm afraid to ask the wrong questions and come off looking like a complete idiot. (I don't need any help with that. * *) So... if you've done this or know anyone who has or even if you've just done your research and you're willing to patiently head-pat me at the moment (I'm still shaking from the thrill of putting a stamp on the application)... well, for all of that, I thank each and every one of you in advance.

Here they are, in no particular order:
1.) What comes next? The Home Study and then Parenting Classes, or vice versa?

2.) What is a Home Study, exactly? What should we expect? Is it normal to freak out and clean your house like a woman on a mission at the mere thought of said Home Study? (No one has ever accused me of being normal. *sigh*)

3.) We want to adopt a child (who is already legally free and clear for adoption) between the ages of 3-9, no preference to race or sex. We are Caucasian, 30yrs old, married for 11+ years now and we have no children. I have a niece and my best friend's little girl spends the night occasionally but otherwise, we're both newbies to all of this. What would you recommend for us?

4.) My childhood was anything but 'normal'. I'll be honest, it wasn't good. I am completely estranged from my mother (haven't spoken to her in nearly 6 years - don't even know her new last name); my father and I speak several times a year on the phone (usually to discuss the health of my grandparents, whom I am very close to). Will all of this information make me look like a bad candidate? I mean, having such a poor relationship with my own parents? I love my in-laws, if that counts.

5.) What should we expect the parenting classes to be like?


Thank you, again and again, for your priceless guidance. May your kindness come back to you a thousandfold.

-Jessa
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Jessa, married to Blake these past fourteen years. Beginning the adoption process.

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  #2  
November 20th, 2008, 04:08 PM
SarahBethsMommy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 4,847
HI! And congratulations for making the decision! I am a foster parent (and hopeful adoptive parent) through DHR (DSS). We have one foster son right now in our care and we hope we'll be able to adopt him, but we're waiting for all relatives to be checked first. I'll try to answer your questions, but often they vary state to state. I'm in alabama, so these will reflect that. I did find, however, that DHR was MORE than happy to answer any of my questions (no matter how stupid I sounded), so don't hesitate to email or call them too.

1.) What comes next? The Home Study and then Parenting Classes, or vice versa?
We had classes called "MAPP" or "GPS" which is what I'm guessing your "Parenting" classes are. We had to attend those classes and during those is when the homestudy was done.

2.) What is a Home Study, exactly? What should we expect? Is it normal to freak out and clean your house like a woman on a mission at the mere thought of said Home Study? (No one has ever accused me of being normal. *sigh*)
The Home Study is basically a check to be sure your home is safe and sutible for a child. They will give you a checklist of things they'll be looking for. Cleanliness is not the main area, safety is. So, for instance, I have a 2 year old daughter who destroyed her room (toys and things EVERYWHERE) right before the social worker came out once. She just laughed as I apologized and said she was happy to see that kids could play in my home. So, yeah, clean, but try not to freak out. My house was IMMACULATE before she came... until my daughter destroyed it. They want to see that you don't have loaded (or unloaded) guns laying around, don't have matches within reach of kids, have the medicines and chemicals (cleaning stuff) stored safely, have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, etc. And they'll look at the area where the child will sleep. If you already have a bed in there, it is good, but not completely necessary. They just have to know the plan. They will ALSO do interviews with everyone who lives in the house. They get pretty personal, so prepare yourself to open up. They'll separate you and DH for the interviews too. It's not bad at all, just something to know.

3.) We want to adopt a child (who is already legally free and clear for adoption) between the ages of 3-9, no preference to race or sex. We are Caucasian, 30yrs old, married for 11+ years now and we have no children. I have a niece and my best friend's little girl spends the night occasionally but otherwise, we're both newbies to all of this. What would you recommend for us?
Children who are legally free for adoption are usually older (8 and up), medically fragile, or in a sibling group (3 or more). There are always exceptions to the rule of course, but understand that and decide what you are prepared to take on. Most DSS kids will need therapy and lots of time. Once you go to the classes you'll figure out what you can do. Don't say "yes" to ANYTHING you really don't think you can handle. It is much better to pass over one placement than to have that child be forced to disrupt (leave your home after coming in) because you both can't handle it. It's a hard thing to say... almost like you are "picking" your child, but you are doing for their good too. If you can't help them like they need to be helped you aren't doing them any good at all. But, with the fact that you are a two parent home with no other children, any age is fine I think.

4.) My childhood was anything but 'normal'. I'll be honest, it wasn't good. I am completely estranged from my mother (haven't spoken to her in nearly 6 years - don't even know her new last name); my father and I speak several times a year on the phone (usually to discuss the health of my grandparents, whom I am very close to). Will all of this information make me look like a bad candidate? I mean, having such a poor relationship with my own parents? I love my in-laws, if that counts.
No, not at all. In fact that could make you a better candidate because you've experienced that hurt of "losing" a parent. But, you should be very prepared to answer a lot of questions on the why and such of the estrangment and your relationship with them all. The biggest thing is to just be honest. DSS wants parents to foster and adopt the kids in the system, they aren't looking to rule you out... they are looking to rule you in!

5.) What should we expect the parenting classes to be like?
Depends on what you mean by parenting classes. Ours were 3 hours a week for 10 weeks. We discussed basically everything you could think of regarding foster care. We discussed what the kids have gone through, attachment issues they might face, the realities of their continued love for parents who abused them, how our feelings would play into the equation, loss, etc. etc. etc. That is a question for your social worker or DSS office worker. Ours did involve a lot of "homework" and such too. We also had to fill out all of the paperwork for becoming foster/adoptive parents during the course of the class. I was very adament that I'd get everything in as soon as possible, so we were approved and had our foster son about 2 months after the last class. That was VERY quick turn around. I hope it goes as fast for you and your DH!

Keep us updated on your progress!
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  #3  
November 20th, 2008, 07:56 PM
Jessa78's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Posts: 903
You are an angel. Thank you so much! Seriously, you rock.
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Jessa, married to Blake these past fourteen years. Beginning the adoption process.

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  #4  
November 21st, 2008, 07:07 AM
m_westbro's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Texas y'all!
Posts: 17,144
Wow, Beth, you answered her beautifully!!

Best of luck, Jessa, please keep us posted as to how your process is going!
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