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Can you tell me about the U.S. Foster/Adoption road?

I've always thought that I'd like to complete my family w/an older child from foster care. When I say "older" child; what I mean is I'm not looking to stand in line for an infant I can 'call my own'. I'm not intimidated by the idea of a child knowing I chose them to become part of our family. (DH agrees)

We're not in a position to do this just yet; but I'd like to start getting things in order so we can be; but what am I facing here? I've seen several comments here about difficulties & having to 'give them back' etc...

I don't want to foster a child; form a bond & then be told we can't adopt them. How do we avoid that situation? Or at least try?

Down the line when our children are older; I'm thinking (still thinking) that I might also be simply a foster home to older teens; as they're almost ready to be adults & IDK don't 'need' adoption; but just a place to call home. I have enough heart to give them that.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 8:16 PM on Oct. 2, 2009 in Adoption

Answers (11)
  • It's different depending on what state you are in. The best thing to do is to contact your county CPS and gather some info on eligibility and requirements. Then see if you can talk to other foster parents in your area about pros and cons, not to talk you out of it, but so you can see it and deal with it beforehand. Honestly, it hasn't been an easy road, but it's not for the kids either. We tried to spare ourselves the heartache of "losing" them, (didn't work) but knew that reunification was the goal. We did want to adopt, and we are in a couple of months. But we didn't know how long it would be before a child stayed. If you are more interested in fostering older children, there's definitely a need for that. If you foster, you'll generally be dealing w/issues re: visitations, counseling, etc., but if you only adopt (and you can do that, too) it's less likely for them to leave, and usually w/o family visits.
    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 10:23 PM on Oct. 2, 2009

  • TY for the information. I wasn't sure when dealing with older children and the state if you go do adoption right out of the gate or if you had to foster first; guess I need to check the state rules more throughly.

    I just feel bad when I see/read about all these couples who are looking for infants or maybe they'd accept a toddler. What about the 5; 6; 7; 10 yr olds etc...they are in need of a family too. I've had two biological children; I've done the preg and infant thing; I'm not afraid of the child knowing that where they came from and that we wanted them to become part of our family. I can offer that family to one or two of these children who would otherwise just be bounced around the system.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:04 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Since you've done the pregnancy thing twice now and it's behind you, you seem ready, willing, and able to help older children who are in need of a family after they've been in foster care. I was one who has never been able to have children by birth, and so we did go into foster/adopt wanting to adopt an infant. I am not afraid of him knowing where he came from or that he's adopted either. I had not experienced the 2am feedings, sleepless nights, etc, and believe it or not, I WANTED to do just that. There is nothing wrong with older children AT ALL, but since there are babies in foster care, they need a family as well. Your heart is in the right place and I think you'd be a huge blessing to 1 or 2 children who want to have a family. I meant to tell you that since you are looking at older ones, fostering isn't necessary (don't have to worry about "losing" them to reunification if available for adoption already).
    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 3:35 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Also, if you are serious about this, I wanted to mention a couple of things. Read up on attachment disorders, ADD, ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) as well as the info that the state provides on the losses and grief that children in care experience. Of course this doens't apply to all children, but more than likely, a child older than 3 or 4 may have at 1 or 2 of the above. Not that you can't learn to deal with it, but you may as well start educating yourself now. It will help you recognize behaviors more quickly and be able to see it for what it is. Many people with big hearts believe they can take a foster child and just blend them into the family with enough love and patience, and everything will be smooth sailing. Not so. Then some say that the state didn't prepare them for (whatever) and disrupt the adoptive placement, adding another home to the list for the child.
    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 3:42 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Don't overwhelm youself with information and realize that you will have resources to help you with anything that you might encounter. The initial foster or adoptive parent training will really help you with the loss/grief that a child has, (like why they are still carrying that tattered, torn, stained, and hole-filled blanket (that you had BETTER guard with your life! or why certain smells, sounds, etc. can provoke children to anger (remembering something painful in the past), etc.).

    I am not trying to scare you off at all (and don't think I can *wink*) but just wanted you to know it's important to use these next few years getting ready. I'm also not saying anything negative about the children themselves, but if I needed to have open-heart surgery, I'd want the doctor to KNOW his stuff, KWIM? Thanks for your caring perspective!
    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 3:52 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Can't you avoid having to give a child back if you make it known that you intend to adopt a child that is already legally adoptionable? Isn't that possible? Granted, you will have fewer opportunities, but isn't that a clear-cut way to avoid the possibility of having a child returned to its birth family?

    I agree that you should read up on all the possible issues such as attachment disorders, etc., but think you need to not let the possibilities deter you.
    Southernroots

    Answer by Southernroots at 6:31 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Hi! We adopted our four daughters from foster care. We did straight adoption, not foster to adopt. Our girls are sisters, so we adopted them all at once. The parental rights had already been terminated, so there was no possibility of us losing them. Adoption has been wonderful for our family. Our girls are a perfect fit and we can't imagine life without them. On the other hand, it's been a very, very tough road. Due to their past abuse and neglect, they have a large amount of "baggage". Most children from foster care do and sometimes it takes years to help them get through it. Sometimes their issues are never completely resolved. We're dealing with PTSD, RAD, ADHD, Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Tendencies and Bi-Polar. While not all of these are caused by the abuse, combined it's a tough road. I'm not trying to scare you off, but like someone else said, just be sure to do your research.
    Littlebit722

    Answer by Littlebit722 at 10:16 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Cont'd.

    You do have to have a tough skin. These children are master manipulators and will push you to your limit at times. Especially if they don't get what they want. Be sure that you don't let them get between you and your dh too. The old "divide and conquer" technique, lol!

    I hope I didn't sound too negative. Just be sure this is what you want and you're ready to take on any challenge. Some of their issues don't show up until you've had them for a few years. They really need someone who can handle anything and won't give them back. It sounds like you would be a great adoptive parent. Good luck!!!!
    Littlebit722

    Answer by Littlebit722 at 10:20 PM on Oct. 3, 2009

  • Can't you avoid having to give a child back if you make it known that you intend to adopt a child that is already legally adoptionable? Isn't that possible? Granted, you will have fewer opportunities, but isn't that a clear-cut way to avoid the possibility of having a child returned to its birth family? SR

    Even children who are available for adoption (no chance of reunification) have to live in your house for 6 months before you can finalize the adoption. This is a "TEST" period to see if the placment is a good match. An older child has more "say" in their permanent plan. The child can tell the CW that it's not working out, or the family can decide if they are in over their head. Since the state is trying hard for adoption (getting them out of the system) the "leave out" some problems and let you deal with them on your own. A parent of a foster child has to know their limits. Not all adoptive families benefit the child.
    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 8:17 PM on Oct. 4, 2009

  • (con't) of course this adds more moves to the list for the child. Maybe they came from another foster home to adoptive, but then the foster family is "full" and can't take him/her back, so they go to another foster home, or to a group home. Anyway, not trying to be negative at all, just focusing on preparing.

    It would be like telling someone who was about to reunite with a birth mom to "bring the whole family and we'll meet at Cracker Barrel to eat & celebrate". It would be terrible not to prepare for the ups and downs of reunion. A good reunion is based on knowing the expectations of each other, and so is adopting older children from foster care.
    doodlebopfan

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 8:25 PM on Oct. 4, 2009

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