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quietsong March 4th, 2011 07:18 AM

Questions on Foster to Adopt
 
Hello! I've been lurking and reading through a good years' worth of posts, and I've gotten a lot of our questions answered, but it seems like the more questions we have answered the more we have...so I figured I would go ahead and ask :)

My husband and I have 2 boys biologically - a typically developing 4 and a half year old, and a 3 year old with special needs. (Well, he'll be 3 next week. Eek!) We both, however, grew up figuring we would also adopt or foster at some point; he has an uncle (I think it's an uncle?) who was fostered into the family, and my parents adopted me when I was a few weeks old.

We've gotten a feel for a lot of the process through this board and some other websites, but we're still wondering what the placement process is like. We are probably looking at foster to adopt, since we want Eric (our older son) to stay the oldest in the family. Once you've completed the classes and home studies and they have identified a child to potentially place with your family, what happens? How much do they tell you about the child before you decide (personality? needs? history?) - or is it an automatic thing based on the preferences you specified earlier in the process? We are willing to accept some special needs, but (and I can't find a way to phrase this that doesn't sound horrible to me) we feel like we would need to be selective in what needs we would want to take in, since we already have one child with special needs that we need to look out for...you know? Of course, there is no guarantee in life about what may develop, but... Gah, I can't find a good way to phrase this. I guess we are just curious how the placement process works and what you know or don't know about a child before accepting them into your family.

Thanks :)

SarahBethsMommy March 4th, 2011 12:58 PM

Re: Questions on Foster to Adopt
 
OMG, Kel! Danny is SO big and ADORABLE! And Welcome to our board!!

The placement process... well, a lot depends on your particular area. We go through the county/state DHR for placements (no agency involved) so I think we get to know more than some agencies know. But I know that some states only use agencies to place kids, so I'm not sure about that area.

For us, we are called by the placement worker. She usually has the child's caseworker nearby. She gives us a quick run down (e.g. "We have a 2 year old caucasion boy who is walking and talking but having some issues eating well.") Then I ask a lot of questions... why was he brought into care, how long has been in the system, does he have a lot of family out there, are there any medical or psychological diagnosises right now? That gives me a pretty good idea about the child. They do know our desires for children, but that doesn't mean they won't call and ask about a child who is out of our age range or other wants. When they need to find a home, they often call a LOT of folks.

And there isn't anything wrong with the way you worded that. You have to understand that caring for foster children or adopting children, as wonderful and blessed a thing it is, does not mean you can put your current in home family in jeopardy. They need to come first, and that doesn't mean that a child won't have a home because of it... it just means that child is not meant for your home. Having special needs kids is not easy, having more than one severely special needs kids is REALLY hard. Just tell them what you think you can handle and stick to your guns about it.

Did that help at all?

quietsong March 4th, 2011 02:32 PM

Re: Questions on Foster to Adopt
 
Yes, it does! One of our worries was that we wouldn't get to... Pre-screen I guess, to make sure it was a good fit for both us and the child. (Auto correct moment, my iPod totally wanted that to be "pee-screen" o.O) My husband said he thought it might be like employment, where they can't say anything bad. It's encouraging to know they contact a lot of people too, take away the terrible feeling associated with saying no.

And yes, our current family's needs come first... I guess I've just been around enough people who would question me for saying it, friends with multiple SN kids, so I try to be sensitive about it.

As for Danny, he's turning into a little ham is what he's doing! You need a new siggy, or I need to go stalking you, because I would love to see a more recen pic of Daniel! (Or are you calling him somethig different? My DH picked Joseph as a middle name so we could call him DJ, but I overruled the nickname, heh.)

What else should we know going in? What kind of suggestions would you (all) make to a family just getting started?

SarahBethsMommy March 5th, 2011 08:16 PM

Re: Questions on Foster to Adopt
 
http://www.bethandjoe.com/daniel/Feb6SB&Dan.jpg
There is a more recent one of both Sarah Beth and Daniel. You are right, I need a new siggie! I'm so lazy about those things. We're calling him Daniel, so you were right about that too. :)

Other stuff to know when getting started...

Well, it is a lot of paperwork and a lot of waiting. You won't have much privacy at all, so don't expect it. They'll bring up the hard memories of Danny in the NICU and stuff like that. It could be a REALLY long wait or a REALLY short one, but you will wait. It is an adventure for sure. Try to roll with it. And know that the SW and other people who work within the foster system are angry about some of the same things you are angry about, so try not to take it out on them. But also know that some SW are crap and if you happen upon one, don't hesitate to take it up the foodchain if need be.

quietsong March 6th, 2011 06:05 AM

Re: Questions on Foster to Adopt
 
Oh my gosh, look at those two - they've grown so much!! And it looks like they are totally in love too. How has Buddy adjusted to having Daniel around?

It sounds like dealing with SWs is pretty much the same as dealing with all the folks in early intervention! I had a looooovely case worker; all my therapists were awesome, but she just was... yeah. So at least we have some idea of what good and bad can look like already.

What about after a placement, what kind of checking in can we expect?

SarahBethsMommy March 6th, 2011 12:36 PM

Re: Questions on Foster to Adopt
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by quietsong (Post 23260338)
Oh my gosh, look at those two - they've grown so much!! And it looks like they are totally in love too. How has Buddy adjusted to having Daniel around?

He has done really well. I think it has made him grow up a bit too. He has started *almost* walking and even saying more words (I've heard him say about 5 so far, but nothing is consistent). I think watching Daniel learning new things is going to be GREAT for Lil Buddy. He might decide to do all that stuff too.

Quote:

Originally Posted by quietsong (Post 23260338)
It sounds like dealing with SWs is pretty much the same as dealing with all the folks in early intervention! I had a looooovely case worker; all my therapists were awesome, but she just was... yeah. So at least we have some idea of what good and bad can look like already.

What about after a placement, what kind of checking in can we expect?

Yeah, I had an EI person that wasn't great too. Everyone else in EI and therapy have been WONDERFUL, but that one person... :rolleyes:

I believe most places are like here, the child's SW must see the child in home each month, so depending on how many kids you have at a time, you might see them a lot. LOL. We've had up to 3 workers for the kids at a time. I did try to schedule them all at the same time and they were good about that.

Our SW (liscensing worker is what they are often called) must see us and renew our homestudy once every 6 months. Sometimes we see her more often, it just depends on paperwork that is due. She is wonderful though, and I always invite her out to stay with us for dinner.

In my county, I really have not met anyone in DHR that I don't just adore. They are all amazing folks who love their jobs and love the kids and work VERY hard and VERY long hours to make sure they are well taken care of. I hope you have the same experience.

There are a lot of court dates too. Most places the foster parent and the foster child are not required to be at court unless they must testify for some reason. But you are allowed (in most places) to sit in the court room for most proceedings. That is up to you. I like to be there and hear everything that will happen first hand (not later from the SW).

If the child has therapy or something like that, you are usually required to take him. Our DHR does employ some parent assistants who will drive the kids to and from therapy if they have to, but it is encouraged that the foster parent does that. We get reimbursed for mileage if it is a long distance (out of county).

Oh and, once you are a foster parent, technically they can drop in anytime and you must let them in the house. Now, I've been a foster parent for 3 years and have never had that happen, but I've heard it can happen. I'm not worried about it though. If they drop by on a bad day, so be it. I'm not hitting the kids or not feeding or clothing them, so if they see my house messy and the dishes not done, I'll live.


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