3 Things I Learned About Foster Care Adoption

Adoption Through Foster Care, Deciding to Adopt / Friday, February 14th, 2014

I will be up front with you. I didn’t want to attend orientation. Like you, I’ve been to MANY “waste of time” meetings where very little is learned or accomplished. Honestly, I was worried this would be one of those experiences. Boy was I wrong! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever learned as much in such a short period of time, and I truly thought I had researched enough on the topic of adoption that I would know at least most of the information being presented. The presenter did a wonderful job of clearly explaining the process, different types of adoption, and common misconceptions of adoption from foster care. Attending Orientation was well worth the time invested, and I highly recommend attending so that you can familiarize yourself with the agency representing you. You may even learn a few things you didn’t know, like I did. Here are a few things I walked away with…

3 Things I Learned About Foster Care Adoption:

1.  CPS does not treat all families equal. — Our presenter explained it this way, “CPS is the pickiest parent ever, and they want the best for their children.” CPS prefers kinship care, foster care or adoption by a relative or someone familiar to the family. The procedures for kinship care is much less substantial and always takes priority over other types of placement. You have probably heard of foster or adoptive families waiting to adopt children they are attached to only to hear about a long lost family member come out of the wood work at the last minute to take the children. CPS will always side with relatives, regardless of how amazing you are, how long you’ve waited or how close you are to finalization. Foster care parents are given the next priority for adopting children, specifically those who have been in their care. This made sense to me simply because they already know those children and are attached to them. Matched adoption, adoption based on criteria of adoptive parents and children in foster care, is the last option CPS considers. Children who are open for matched adoption have already had birth parents’ rights terminated, have no kinship caregivers available, and no foster parents interested in adopting them.

2. Adoption is NOT the goal. — What?! Shocking, huh? Most people in the orientation room were seeking adoption, and now, they want us to keep this in mind. BUT, understanding the perspective is important. The ultimate goal of CPS is to reunite the children with the family. It is unfortunate the children had to be removed from their families in the first place, and the main focus of CPS is to help the children be reunited with their family. CPS puts measures in place for parents to meet, and their hope is that parents will step up, meet those expectations, and be able to care for their children in healthy ways going forward. Understanding this perspective helps both adoptive and foster parents because it gives light to where the children eventually placed with you have come from. Foster parents must make sure they don’t assume these children are in their home forever. CPS and the children view foster care as a temporary situation. Matched adoptive families must understand that their children’s birth parents did not step up to the plate, and there will probably be a serious sense of loss residing with those children.

3. Paperwork is the #1 factor stopping foster and adoptive families. This truly makes me sad. I know most people can’t stand paperwork, but to think that a stack of papers is the only thing stopping children being placed in loving home is heartbreaking. By paperwork, they mean potential adoptive and foster parents not ever starting the process due to the paperwork or that they don’t finish the paperwork – NOT that they are denied due to paperwork. I was encouraged, though, that Covenant Kids said they would do everything absolutely possible to help us complete the paperwork. First, they provide a very helpful checklist in the front of a three-ring binder with all the forms included. You simply take out the first form, complete it, and check it off the list, continuing in that manner until you complete all the paperwork. If that is too overwhelming, they will email you each form, one at a time, until the process is complete, OR they would even let you come to the office or meet you in your home, sit with you and help you fill out each one. While it might seem overwhelming, it was encouraging  to know that Covenant is committed to do whatever it takes to help their families tackle the paperwork.

On to pre-service training…

2 thoughts on “3 Things I Learned About Foster Care Adoption

  1. My darling husband and I live in Helena, Montana we are both 43 and were unable to start our own bio family in so we are led to this path to our family. I have searched and searched all over the Internet and I am quite savvy and I was finally led to your site. We are awaiting our homestudy and our caseworker said that the background checks could take a long time because my husband lived in Texas for a while and I lived in Oklahoma they asked us to go as far back as since we turned 18. So I have done every single thing I found on other sites when people say oh my caseworker had to come back because we didn’t do this or we didn’t have that or we forgot they’re sort this wasn’t rider this was broken or somesuch business I’ve done every possible thing I can think of but every single possible thing so that our caseworker has no reason to prolong and come back. When he gave us our application I filled it out over the weekend and dropped it off back to him on Monday when he gave us our homestudy questions 30 page document I had it back to him within 24 hours he was impressed and I said I don’t want you to be impressed I want you to be as motivated as I am I’m 43 years old we are not getting any younger. My husband and I hope to adopt a daughter between eight and 15 most likely 11 and 15. My question to you and I have many but I’ll start with this one the bedroom I have two guestrooms or what will be our daughters bedroom on the same floor as ours and then we have a complete finished walkout basement and that is the guest room that has a queen size bed should I move into the currently empty bedroom on our floor? My husband and I thought it would be fun to go shopping with her daughter for what she would like we don’t want to get a white daybed if she is a tomboy and would prefer Oak. We don’t want to painted a pastel color only to find that she prefers winter tones or nature colors. Currently it’s painted a warm beige with warm gold silk curtains on both window sets there is a TV mounted to the wall and beneath it a couch coffee table tall skinny narrow to put the DVR Blu-ray and a couple little pictures and the remote control I have angel wings hung throughout the room I collect them but that’s pretty much it we were going to converted into an office if for some reason we aren’t matched. I know that was a lot of information what are your thoughts.?

    1. Hi Samara, I think it is great that you are both willing to pursue adoption of an older child. It is a hard road, but it is incredibly rewarding. Since we had a boy and a girl, we knew we wanted white furniture for her and dark for him, so we did already have the bed and furniture picked out. However, I think it is a great idea for her to be involved in the process of choosing the furniture and decor for her room. Some of the first things we did with our kids when we met them was go shopping. It was important for us to develop an understanding of their tastes as you mentioned. I definitely think being on the same floor for now is the best idea. We haven’t lived in a multi-story home before, but it is important to be close by should any sort of need arise. Sometimes in the beginning of our days together, we would need to listen to see if they were up roaming around. They weren’t always the best at communicating their needs, so we just made sure to listen and make ourselves available in we heard they were up. When you are matched, you should be able to send/receive profiles of yourself and from her sharing some of favorites and such. It would be a great idea to have something special ready with her favorite color or something personal that you find or create to be a gift for her room – like a token to show your love that she can visually see in her room right from the beginning that you ALREADY love her. We made framed wall art that said “Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life no matter what.” This was hung in their bathroom where they would see it every day. We also had a few other things for them before they came, but shopping together is a great plan!

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