As you may or may not beware the month of November is National Adoption month. The whole month is set aside to bring awareness to the many children waiting in foster care. This is something near and dear to my heart. Hubby and I adopted our son through foster care. I will be sharing more on our story on National adoption day. Please be sure to stop back on November 19. When we started our journey we had friends and family who either didn't understand or had questions. I can't help but wonder how many other people are interested in adopting but think they can't. I thought I would share some information I learned on our journey.
Truth is most people can adopt. It doesn't matter if you are married,single,LGBT, or if you are older. The ages and amount of available children for adoption vary from state to state. It actually can vary from county to county. There are basically two ways to adopt through foster care. One way is straight adoption or risk free. You would only consider a child who is legally free. Parental rights would already be terminated when the child is placed with you. I know a lot of people prefer this type because there is no wondering if/when the judge will terminate rights. The second type is foster to adopt or legal risk. In this type of adoption you are accepting a child into your home who the parents still have rights. You might not know when/if the judge will terminate rights. Hence legal risk. This is the type we did. I have to admit it's not for the faint of heart but it is doable. I went into the process with an open mind and heart. I gave myself permission to love like crazy and to accept things were out of my control. I'm a total control freak so that was the hardest part of the whole process for me. HA!
The first thing you have to do is look up your state and look for their Adoption/foster link. Here you should find the available agencies in your state. Here is a link. I emailed a bunch of agencies before I made a phone call. Some people recommend calling for faster results.
The next step would be your home study. Now I know what you are thinking. Burgmom, I don't own my house. Or I don't have a room just for the child. Or perhaps it's I don't make a lot of money. Here's the beauty part. You don't have to own your house or be wealthy. The child can share a room with other children as long as they are the same sex. I'm sure your next question is "how do I know how to deal with the child's issues"? That's where your parenting classes come into play. Yes, you will be required to take parenting classes. The classes aren't as hard as they sound. I found them very useful. (I was able to use some of the info for dealing with my one Bio daughter.) During this you will also be asked what type of child would you be willing to accept. BE HONEST. I can't stress this enough. I know of people who would say they would accept a lot of things, just to be placed with a child.
OK,so now you've done your home study and passed. What's next? This is where your social worker comes into play. She or He will look at the available children and try and make matches for you. Read the files. Ask questions. Be open. If you are unsure about a condition, do research. You might be surprised to learn something you never thought you could handle,you can.
Let's say you've now passed your home study and have been matched, now what? That depends on the child's situation. Legally free/not legally free or if the child has adjustment issues. Most of the time you will visit the child for a few weeks before they move the child in with you. Depending if the child is legally free or not determines how long until you finalize your adoption. I have found this varies from county to county.
The one thing to remember is every one's journey will be a different one. Yes, It can be a scary one but it is so rewarding. My journey is a memory I will always treasure. I would love to do it again. I just wanted to add. There are so many children in the system that all they ever wanted was for a family they can trust and love them. If you have room in your heart and home,please consider adopting from foster care. If you have any questions or just want to talk about the process leave a comment or email. I would love to hear from you.
P.S. If you have made it to the end of my wordy post here is a photo listing of waiting children.