A few weeks ago the Question of the Day on the Creating a Family Facebook page was “What’s the best advice you got before adopting?” We received lots of comments including this one:
Say What!?!? I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting that one, but it did get me thinking.
We’ve Got to be Honest
I politely disagreed with this comment, but have thought a lot about it ever since. Perhaps because it has been on my mind, I seem to be finding these discussions everywhere.
Last week, I was talking with a social worker and adoption agency owner who I respect. She has a true heart for educating all members of the adoption triad, and her agency goes above and beyond to provide full counseling on all options to expectant moms. In our conversation, she said one of her major pet peeves was when prospective adoptive parents coming from infertility are encouraged to adopt from foster care.
(Again I thought, “Say What?!?”)
Her point was that the goal of foster care was family reunification and most people are not able to adopt the first child that is placed with them. Former infertility patients have already experienced so much loss that they are particularly vulnerable to being devastated by losing yet another dream. She has seen many just give up on the idea of adoption completely in order to protect themselves. “We’ve got to be honest with them about the realities of adopting from foster care.”
Later that week someone posted the following on the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group:
I finally accepted that the universe was conspiring to get me to write about this. No better time than now since May is National Foster Care Month.
Realities of Foster Care
Reality #1: Each state is different.
When you hear one story about foster care adoption you’ve heard one story about foster care adoptions. (Read the comments to this blog to hear more.) Each state, and in some states each county within the state, is different in their attitude towards adoption, how hard and long to push for family reunification, and how deep they dig for extended family members available for adoption or guardianship.
If you are interested in adopting from foster care you need to know what is true in your state or county. I find that many national discussions about foster care adoption overlook this very real fact.
Reality #2: The Goal is to Heal Families.
The goal of foster care is to heal birth families so they can parent their children. This is as it should be because we know that if parents can be helped to become functioning (not perfect) parents, that is the best for the children.
Keeping families together is also in the best interest of each and every one of us. Think about it – do you want to live in a country where parental rights are easily severed? We all have a vested interest in making it hard for the state to take children from parents.
Let me give you an example. A friend of mine called one cold winter day sobbing. She had been walking with her 1-year-old son in a stroller. A woman stopped her and pulled out her phone to call social services because her son was not wearing a hat or gloves. My friend had a hat and mittens for her boy, but he refused to wear them. In fact, he had turned pulling them off and throwing them on the ground into a game. She finally gave up and stuffed them in her purse. She was now terrified that DSS could rip her kid away from her.
You might disagree with my friend for continuing on a walk with a child who wouldn’t wear a hat and mittens on that bitterly cold day, but I think you would all agree that no one should take her child away for that reason.
But what about spanking? What about leaving an 11-year-old unsupervised in the evening or a 9-year-old unsupervised after school? What about not having health insurance for your child or failing to take your child to the doctor for an ear infection because you don’t have insurance? What about a family living under a bridge because the parent lost their job? What about someone who is addicted to heroin, but wants to be a good mother? The slope gets slippery mighty fast.
I am not in any way dismissing the horror of abuse or neglect on children, nor implying that children should be returned to abusive or neglectful families. I do, however, want the bar for permanent removal to be high and for us to give biological families a chance. While I would agree that far too often “the system” gives too many chances, attempts at reunification should not be just a formality.
Reality #3: The system is complex.
At the risk of oversimplifying a very complex system, usually, when children are first removed from their parents they come into the foster care program. Their parents are given a compliance plan “to get their act together.” (Go to rehab, attend 12-Step meetings, find a place to live, take parenting classes, show up at regularly scheduled visitations with the child, etc.) The child will live with extended family or foster parents while social workers work with the parents.
The goal during this period is family reunification. Foster parents, even those that want to adopt, assume the risk during this period that the child will be returned to their family of birth. And further, foster parents, even those that want to adopt, must agree during this period to help work with the birth family to help them heal.
In theory, there is a set period of time for parents to comply with the plan. Again, different states have different attitudes about leniency, but if the parents are not able or willing to comply with the plan within that period of time, the state will seek to terminate parental rights. A sad fact is that it is not unusual for children to go back to their family or extended family only to be removed again in the future when their parents relapse. Depending on the social worker and the state, the time period for terminating parental rights may begin again.
Reality #4: Only about half of the children who enter foster care are reunified with their birth family.
Family reunification is not always possible. According to the latest data regarding kids exiting the system:
- 47% were reunited with birth parents
- 26% were adopted
- 8% were emancipated
- 6% went to live with extended family
- 11% went to live with a guardian
These percentages have remained remarkably constant in the last ten years.
Once parental rights are terminated, social workers look for an adoptive family. They first look in the extended family. If the extended family is not available to adopt, the foster family is usually given the first option to adopt. If the foster family does not want to adopt, then other adoptive families who are not foster parents will be sought.
In my experience, infants and young children are more likely to be adopted by an extended family or the foster family; thus, seldom available for families wanting only to adopt from foster care without being foster parents. In other words, families not willing to foster first, and accept the risk of loving and losing a child, have a harder time adopting a baby or young child from foster care.
Reality #5: There are 122,216 perfectly wonderful kids currently waiting in foster care for adoption.
Children of all ages are available, with an average age of 8.4 years. Keep in mind the youngest kids are often a part of sibling groups.
The gender of children waiting to be adopted from US foster care is about evenly split between boys and girls (52% & 48%). Most children have experienced neglect and some will have experienced abuse, and as a result, will have some degree of special need. The race and ethnicity of waiting US children are below:
Open Eyes & Open Hearts
Foster care is risky. No doubt about it. Foster parents who really want to adopt run the risk that the child they fall in love with will not be their child forever. Most foster-to-adopt families I talk with do not end up adopting the first child placed with them. Foster-to-adopt parents must be prepared for this possibility, and we do no service to pre-adoptive families or to foster care adoptions by downplaying this possibility.
But the one who runs the greatest risk in foster care is the child. She is at risk that someone will not step forward willing to take the chance of loving her, even if only for this short, traumatic, and confusing time in her life.
Originally published in 2014; Updated in 2020
Image credit: Кирилл Чеботарь; Howard County Library System; Xava du
I was fostered most of my childhood and teenage life it was not a good experience I feel it becomes about the money. I wish we could have left early one particular husband and wife. I went to the council to find information about my real father and mother but the local authorities would not give me any information even though they have information about who they were.WHY IS THAT? According to the bible when you’re mother and father forsake you then the LORD will take you up.psalms chapter 27.(there is hope!!!) for the rejected.
What the system doesn’t inform you of is that a baby with Drug addict birth parents have a brain that is completely wired different than a healthy non-drug baby. Fact is during puberty these drug babies will under go a wave of hormones that may cause them to seek out what their bodies were fed while they were in the womb of a drug addict mom. More than likely a drug baby during the teen years will experiment with drugs. Unlike their peers the brains of drug babies once they experiment with drugs are 99% likely to become an addict. Just like their bio-drug parents. Adoptive parents be warned….you will find yourself in pure hell and all for trying to do the right thing.
Well, yes – prenatal exposure definitely does impact a child’s brain development and the intensity of trauma often culminates in adolescence. That is one of the reasons we exist – to educate and prepare parents well for the task of parenting their adopted or foster children in the ways that allow them as a family to heal and thrive. We’re not sure where you get your statistics but we do believe that information and preparation are key to helping parents get through the hard parts of parenting a child who was exposed. Not every adoptive or foster parent finds themselves in “hell” — and if it’s hard on the parents, consider how hard it is on the child. There is help for all – and support for those hard moments!
I was adopted at the age of two by my first foster parent as I would not be adopted without my sister unlike most people who got adopted I am autistic with a memory track I have Asperger’s syndrome so I could remember everything up to the first time I opened my eyes hard to believe how much suffering and torture I have to deal with just in my dreams as I can remember every horrible thing that has happened to me I will also say that in my experience with the adoption system as I am not planning on adopting but I have been adopted that not all parents are suited for certain kids in the adoption system as for instance my parents I have now have no clue how to handle autistic people I would suggest anyone wanting to adopt research before adoption just in case said kid is disability in some form fashion or way or disabled it would make it easier for both the parent and the adopted kid because I refuse to be adopted without my sister my younger sister I should say who was one at the time it was harder for them to find a foster parent for me who would even take me in it was worth it at the end because I got to stay with my sister but again I wish that my parents had done more research in order to make life easier for me and less stress and less anger in my life
I whole heartedly disagree with you on making it hard to sever parental rights! Infact in certain scenarios it should be easy!!!! I mean that 100% .I was nearly murdered by my birth parents before I was even 3 months old. Broken ribs and severely starved and neglected. I was allergic to milk and cried alot and instead of trying to figure that out they just hit me or didnt feed me.The doctor said it would take extreme force to break a babys ribs. My birth father was on record saying the little bitch deserved it… 3 months old! For almost 2 years social services tried hard to keep me with these monsters. They literally did everything they could. They would take my birth mother out for meals and even threw my birth mother a party to get her to come in to try to get her to take classes to keep me! I have always wanted to confront the person who decided this was a good idea and say to them why?! Even though I know their cop out answer would be it was my job. Bare in mind during this time there was on going documented neglect such as purposely scaring me because my birth mother thought it was funny(I am an extremely jumpy person today) , my birth father punching holes in walls, leaving me and my sister alone in the apartment soaked in our diapers and carrying out a foursome….you read that correctly a foursome. At some point she was ordered to keep him away from us kids but she was found later to have kept sneaking him in. They were drug addicts,
had severe mental illness and were alcoholics. When allegations of sexual abuse against my little brother came up my birth parents cut off all contact with social services. Only THEN were their rights finally severed and I was placed for adoption but my sister and brother were not and ill never understand why. I was very VERY lucky to be chosen by my wonderful now family. At 2 you are not the cute little baby everyone wants anymore and are highly likely therefore to get lost in the system. But it is insane to think anyone in their right mind would think these two POS should have a baby back they nearly killed, showed zero interest in putting the work in to be better parents and participated in on going neglect and abuse. This writer thinks this is how it should be to give lots of chances and hard work at reunification. Its people like them which is why I found myself in that horrible situation! I say the moment I was admitted with broken ribs in various stages of healing and was starved so severely i was smaller than baby dolls…that’s it you never see that child again! Our system is indeed broken. Social workers are swamped and overworked and don’t have the skills or the right to make decisions that could save a child’s life or save that child from suffering longer than necessary. It shouldn’t always be about reunification. There shouldn’t be so many 2…3…4…5…10 + chances especially in situations like mine.
I am SO sorry to hear these parts of your hard story. You are right, the system is overloaded and broken in many ways. We are so thankful for foster parents like yours who step in and step up to nurture and love children who are the victims of such pain and abuse. We are committed as an organization to better preparation, support, and ongoing education for both foster & adoptive parents and the professionals who serve them. Stories like yours drive our passion to help change the stories for so many kids. Thank you for sharing.
Ms. Tracy could you please open your eyes and look deeper into this foster care system? This organization only cares for children from 9-5. One child can have 4-5 case workers in a matter of months. I told you before, these people do not care for the children. If they did, the kids wouldn’t be placed back with abusive, drug addicted parents. Look deeper into it.
I’m sorry that your experience has been so painful. I know that there are many caseworkers who don’t do the job the kids need. But there are also many who do not fit the profile you are familiar with — who do work all hours of the day and who are deeply for the children. It’s certainly a system in need of reform and those giving their lives to caring for the kids would agree.
So much of this is our first placement story. After severe abuse as a baby contact was severed from the father. Mom continued to live with, even getting pregnant after the kids were removed. They’re on a fast track back home because surely he’s gone now that there’s a new baby. Where is that logic? His whereabouts aren’t even known. My other placement is a different situation and I’m thrilled they’re working quickly to go home. But this case I feel rage, grief, sorrow, anger at God. Does one of them have to die, because one is already disabled, before we stop putting them through hell? I can only pray, though that’s let me down already, that doesn’t happen and mom leaves him and others like him alone.
I’m sorry. That sounds very hard — there’s no easy answer but if there’s a chance that Mom can reunify with her kids, that has to be explored. If the child is in imminent danger, please contact your local authorities and the child’s caseworker.
We are within our first year of fostering, and we are closing our home right before the year-mark. We were drawn to fostering, because my family had several adopted children, and we wanted to advocate for the needs of at-risk children. In closing our home, we will be disrupting our final placement. I didn’t even believe such a court case could exist. Basically, our foster child is the youngest of several children, all born addicted to drugs – meth, opiates and marijuana. All fathers are unknown. The child’s mother has a long history with DFPS – from selling children to strangulation… but drugs are a common theme. The judge on the case has a mentoring relationship with the mother, and is working both open cases simultaneously. The attorneys are callous. The child’s caseworker and investigator are unorganized. The mother is on plastered across social media getting high, but still deemed fit for visitation. The child is labeled “failure to thrive”. We constantly work to improve the circumstances, despite crappy state insurance for the child, constant rescheduling and improper documentation from case team, failures by the legal team to notify us of pertinent hearings and the overall lack of concern for the child’s well-being. We feel like the child doesn’t stand a chance in this environment that lacks teamwork and collaboration. We would easily forego any financial stipend or future incentive if we would just be allowed to effectively parent the child instead of being considered as simply a housing unit. We are both successful in our careers, and we planned our foster care journey carefully, but we didn’t anticipate the bureaucracy that would meet us. We didn’t expect to encounter such a tragic case, and we never intended to suffer the pain of giving notice for a child we cared so deeply about. This experience is like a train wreck in slow motion – we hear the horn, we see the locomotive, but we remain strapped to the tracks. Our journey ends here.
I’m so sorry, James. It does indeed sound awful. I hope that you are getting the care and support you need to heal from this painful experience. The system does obviously have gaps and breaks that negatively impact so many – I’m sorry you got caught in those. I hope the kids come out of it all safely.
I don’t understand your statement “… if parents can be helped to become functioning (not perfect) parents, that [reunification] is the best for the children.” Why is that the case? Especially if the children have been in a kinship situation for most of their lives – Why is it in the best interest of the children to be ripped out of the only stable home they have known? With family they’ve grown to love and become attached to? And have to start all over – in a different home, in a different town, in a different school, living with different people.
I agree with you. If the parents don’t show much or any genuine corvette for the child, how can think they will by placing the child back in their care? I’ve made numerous remarks about foster care and they keep pulling them down. The interest of the children is not top priority. The foster care system is part of the government services. Our government has already spent billions of tax dollars to fund abortions for the last 59 years. Over 60 million babies have been aborted and still more everyday. So don’t think they care about a few kids in foster care. It’s all a pay check to them. I wish it were different but it’s not.
We actually are not “pulling down” any comments unless they are spam or duplicates. We have all comments on “post approval” and review and respond several times a week to comments pending.
Something I haven’t seen mentioned is the horrible rejection & trauma that is experienced when a foster child is available for adoption But the foster parent chooses not to adopt them and CPS does not seek an adoptive placement for the child. My husband was in his foster home from his elementary years to aging out of the program. Two of his foster brothers, that were placed after him, were adopted by the foster parent. This experience robbed him of every possible family unit he could have had. His biological parents, his extended biological family that were excluded & uninformed of his placement, his foster parent’s decision to not adopt left him forever an orphan. He has never recovered from these traumas and still fights feeling unworthy of love and being unlovable.
I’m so sorry — this sounds terribly painful and not at all what was best for him. I hope that he finds some support and healing — an adoption- or trauma-informed therapist would be an excellent asset to build healthy (healthier?) coping skills while he continues to process what he’s experienced. It’s never too late and a therapuetic relationship can be such a safe place for working through those feelings.
Here’s a resource to help you seek a therapist if/when he is interested: Adoption Therapy.
Best to you both.
I have made 2 comments about foster care. And both were negative. Is this why you keep deleting them?
No, I haven’t deleted them. As I said in another response when you mentioned your comments, we review and respond to comments several times a week.
This is stupid. If people didn’t adopt out of foster care, my sisters and I would not have homes and families. How selfish can you be to say you don’t want to adopt out of foster care? Foster care is probably not going to fix a damn thing! Those parents will most likely not change, they’ll just get better at hiding the abuse and neglect! And even if you don’t get the kid in the end, you helped them have a good home and kept them away from someone abusive. These kids should NOT be going back to the homes they were taken from!
The goal of foster care is reunification to the family from which they have been removed, until or unless reunification proves to be unsafe or impossible and rights are thus terminated. There should be clear understanding of that goal for each case AND for those entering the foster track with a goal to build their families by adoption. There is room for both goals, as long as the expectations are clearly understood and laid out for all involved. It’s not going to always be as black and white as saying that the kids “should NOT be going back to the homes they were taken from!” as each case needs to be examined on its own merits.
You keep mentioning reunification with parents. There’s not enough time spent making sure parents are really trying to change their lives for the good of the child. Tell the truth. No one in this agency cares for the kids. It’s all a job for you.
Reunification with the child’s birth family IS the stated goal of the foster care system. And while some folks would agree with you that there is not enough time given to the birth parents to make substantive changes, others would argue that *too much* time is given to them, allowing the children to linger is a state of impermanence that is detrimental to the child’s welfare. It’s a system in need of support and reform – I think we can all agree on that.
As to your assertions that “no one in this agency cares for the kids. It’s all a job for you” — first: this page is not an agency-related page. We are a national non-profit organization dedicated to education, resources, and supports for adoptive, foster, and kinship families. Second: there ARE employees in the system who DO care for the kids — there are MANY who are dedicated, passionate professionals who work tirelessly for the kids, and for improvements to the system. We support them as well as stated in our mission: “Creating a Family’s mission is to strengthen and inspire adoptive, foster & kinship parents and the professionals who support them.”
I’m sorry but it doesn’t seem that way in Mississippi.
I want to get away from my mom she just tried to kill me
If you are in danger, PLEASE seek help immediately. Call 911, a trusted family friend, teacher or clergy person.
We are a resource and education organization and cannot offer more than that advice. But we are sending you our best wishes and thoughts and prayers for safety and healing.
We were not told any of this…
Our adoption process was 3 years long and full of ups and downs. Our agency “downplayed” the fact that the children most likely will be reunified. We went into this process totally naive. In the end, we did end of adopting, and although we were filled with joy about this, we still are dealing with the negative way were treated by our “team” during this process… We feel our agency provided very poor training on being foster parents, and we had no idea how much our “team” was FOR the reunification of birth-parents – even when their chances were exhausted – it was unbelievable. This whole experience was extremely challenging, as our agency did not give us the true story about how everything really worked….
While it might seem like too much to take on a foster kid, I can say from personal experience that most would give both their legs for a family.. even a crappy family.
You lose a lot of opportunities by not having a family, even chances to make your own in the future will always be tainted by the fact you grew up without one.
They might come with trust issues or pain they’re not old enough to understand yet, but there’s a well of love there that’s desperately wanting to be wanted.
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. What a GREAT point — that kids gain a ton of opportunity from being part of a family. It strikes me that foster families do such foundational work when they go about the business of teaching trust and trustworthiness, healthy coping skills, and how to live in a community. There are NO perfect foster families — just as there are no perfect families period. But yes, I dare say most kids would take those imperfections quite happily if the alternative is no one to be there for them or with them.
I don’t know who will see this, but I wanted to comment. We adopted from foster care. We were not foster parents. We adopted two boys, biological brothers, ages 15 and 16. To make a very long story short, the oldest one left us just before his 19th birthday and went back to his biological family. The youngest stayed with us a couple more years but ended up going back to their biological family as well. It was devastating. No one warned us that this could happen. Now when people ask me how many children we have, I don’t know how to answer. We have our daughter who is definitely ours. Legally, we have two sons, but in reality, they aren’t ours anymore. They left. It has been several years so I have come to terms with it, and the pain has subsided, but going through it was heartbreaking.
I’m so sorry for your very hard, painful experiences with your sons. I cannot imagine how your heart must grieve. I hope you continue to find healing and that your daughter brings you joy. Thank you for reaching out and being vulnerable with your story.
Thank you for sharing your story. Foster care is a tricky and emotional program. Warnings should be made to foster parents and foster kids. I have a friend whose two sons were taken away from her and adopted in the foster system. They are grown now and have made contact with their bio mother, although they legally remain with their adoptive parents. Her son’s adoptive parents have been wonderful to let her into their lives and the kids can have “both” parents.
I hope you know you made a difference to these boys and their bio parents. Even if they do not share that with you, I know deep down it’s true. I’m sorry your heart was broken. Bless you for all you do.
My husband and I just barely started our journey with foster Care. We both decided to do this after we got together before marriage 10 yrs ago. Since he was a kid he wanted to foster because a lot of friends he knew and wanted to help in some way. I chose foster care because I have always been an individual that wanted to help people, also yes I cannot have children and we are OPEN to adoption but not necessarily wanting adoption right away.
Saying this we have received our first placement 4 months ago. The baby was only 4 days old and this is not the first child for bio-mom. She has 4 other children that went to foster care and now are permanently with the father.
The child we currently have is not from the same father. Originally the mother had verbally said she didn’t want him. She wanted to terminate parental rights. Now she has flipped. As far as we know she hasn’t worked the plan..
Saying all this yes we are open to Adopt this child, at the same time we have been asked by different social workers if given the chance would will consider adoption.
I understand some people might not like or feel that people that want to foster/adopt shouldn’t but at the same time you don’t know the childs situation nor the bio-family history. In this instance the mom knows how the system works and seems to be using it to her advantage which we feel is unfair to HER child. Yes we love him, we have grown attached to him and our families have also. For us IF she proves that she works her plan stays sober and maintains a positive environment it will hurt us to see him go but in the end we believe that every child belongs to be with their bio-family.
We are not just trying to “get” a baby nor rip them apart from their families. At least in this household we consider ourselves part of the bio-moms team. If she CHOOSES to NOT help herself then it isn’t fair to her child to stay in limbo and not knowing a permanent home…
So, reunification is good if domestic but not international? Methinks a double standard is at work here. Are people in 3rd world countries somehow less entitled to reunify?
Frankly, I have a much better solution. Democratize assisted reproductive technology to make it affordable for all (not simply the privileged). Encourage embryo adoption: subsidize it, in fact. Lift age restrictions on gestation and allow people who want to parent to do so. Forcing any woman who wants to parent children to remain a nonparent is the most cruel and vicious behavior anyone can display. It is profoundly evil and it messes up the woman’s entire life permanently. Forever.
This palaver that we should waste the lives of children by confining them to temporary foster care for endless years until mom or dad or gramps or half-brother twice removed gets their act together sufficiently to form a semblance of a family unit is very sad in my view. Even three months is an eternity from a child’s perspective. I wish I could sue every social worker in the USA for gross myopia and stupidity in not advocating immediate termination of parental rights in clearcut abuse cases like sexual abuse, beatings, or drug abuse, but that is a different issue.
BTW, after the 2005 tsunami hit Sri Lanka, good hearted people donated to permit women in that impoverished nation to raise children way after they had passed their fertile years. Apparently, they felt the local culture made motherhood imperative there. Assisted reproduction is very comprehensive today, albeit quite expensive. It seems only Middle Class and Poor US nationals cannot get any access to these services.
Reunification for any child, if it’s safe and focused on the best interest of the child, is a good and worthy goal. Kids belong with their families as much as is possible given the fragile and often broken structures in every system. I don’t think that means families 3rd world countries are less entitled to reunification. I think that the infrastructures in place in those places is far less sound and robust enough to handle all the myriad complications and steps to the process. Indeed, it’s – as you indicated regarding US foster care here – broken in many ways in developed nations.
My wife and I adopted from foster care. Based on these comments, I wanted to make several observations:
-We chose to adopt from foster care because we felt like it was the ethical way to go about it, not because of fertility. We knew there were a lot of children who age out of the system, and having our own biological kids when that case felt selfish to us (Not judging people having bio-kids). We started with the mindset of adoption, and only wanted legally free placements (parental rights already terminated) and kids over the age of 4. I don’t think there is anything wrong about that adoption mindset. However, I would say anyone in this process will probably have to reset their mindset about what ‘they’ want a couple of times as they go through the process.
-We had an overall okay experience with CPS, but did get mislead initially. We were called about a boy and girl, siblings that had been removed multiple times and were told the parental rights were terminated. We told them to bring the kids, and, upon arriving, we found out that the rights were not terminated. So, we had to make a shift in our mindset really quick, because the kids were right there (and very sweet, adorable ones at that). We took them in, knowing that the CPS goal was reunification.
-We then spent the better part of two years watching the mother do none of her services and rarely show up to court on time. It was a tragedy. I will give CPS this- they did EVERYTHING they could to give their biological parent chances. She got so many extensions and second chances it was bordering on comical. She was even given three different state appointed attorneys because she didn’t get along with them. A couple of people on these comments feel that children are being stolen. I went to a lot of hearings, and had to listen to a lot of other cases while waiting for our hearings, and that simply isn’t my experience at all. I saw two kids being handed back to a mother who had participated in pimping out her daughter, for example, because the woman went to counseling and passed some drug tests (her service plan), just for example. I am sure that CPS, like any collection of humans, makes mistakes, and we should certainly minimize those, but I don’t think it is some villainous organization stealing children. I also understand, and respect, that their first goal is family reunification. They should err on the side of the bio family, and that has been my experience with them.
-When the rights did get terminated, we had to switch mindsets again, and fast. Literally one day the guardian ad litem showed up and asked us if we were willing to adopt them- this was before rights were terminated, but when CPS was going to switch their goals. I paused for just a half second at the question, and she judged me a bit. She told me I should have been more certain, but I had not considered it as a permanent placement until that moment. I did feel I owed it to them (my kids) to love them, but try to reunite them until it became clear their parent wasn’t going to step up. My wife and I did take them, and our kids are wonderful, and blameless in this whole process (we did not have the horror stories, just an adjustment period when the kids arrived and we had to learn, as new parents, how to provide structure).
-A random thing that did bother me- we did not have fertility issues, we just wanted to adopt kids who already needed a home instead of creating more children, but for some reason our caseworker insisted on putting in the home study that we “had tried to have children for years”. I guess she didn’t approve of our reasoning? I don’t know.
-Overall, I know we got lucky. We ended up adopting the kids from our first placement and never had any serious issues. They are smart, healthy, affectionate, and we are lucky to be their parents. However, it was challenging, and, at times, we had to have the mindset of the temporary home, and then only later the permanent one. My suggestion to whoever considers this process is just to be open to altering your mindset to fit the needs of the kids.
Thank you, Robert, for sharing your experiences and your observations. Glad to hear your family is growing well and healthy – your points about understanding and meeting the needs of your children are well taken. Thanks for reading!
I liked what this guy had to say too because it really is so hard to find folks who understand when you just don’t wanna or maybe even get married, and so many people brag about rescuing pets while condemning puppy mills but will absolutely insist on having their own kids when it’s not that different a concept, there’s plenty of awesome little humans with genuine strength and character having gone through real problems so early, all they need is some understanding. Plus I got mauled by a rescue dog once and they didn’t even put it down afterwards so. Just sayin’, there’s risks in everything and sometimes it turns out differently than you’d expect?
Anyways Tracy, you’re a saint, some of these other commenters haven’t earned such kind words, but I like your style.
Well, Moe, thanks. It’s kind of you to say so.
And I agree – there are plenty of awesome little humans waiting in the foster system for moms and dads to help them grow that strength and character in healthy ways to become awesome big humans!
Robert my friends are going through this situation now and it is heart breaking to watch. They have a child they brought home from the hospital because she was addicted to drugs. The mom’s third addicted child. They have spent the last 20 months doing an amazing job parenting this child while the mom does very little to comply. Now she is getting visits at her home for six hours and my friends don’t believe the child will be safe. Did you have a lawyer? Or do you have any advice for them. The system is so broken. This mother doesn’t even have visitation for her oldest child.
I know you asked Robert, but I’ll jump in and say that your friend must have these conversations with her caseworker first – maybe by email to create a reference point. Additionally, the foster mother should be careful to make detailed notes of any unusual or concerning issues once the little one is home from the visit. Reunification is, of course, the goal at the start of any foster relationship and foster mom has her work cut out for her when addiction is involved.
It’s really hard to be in a relationship with birth parents who are struggling with addiction – especially when the little one is not old enough to be able to talk about the visits. The foster mom should expect that the baby will need extra nurture and attachment-focused attention when returning to the foster home. If the foster mother is open to it, there are a few resources here that might be of support to her while in this relationship with the birth family.
**Relationships with Birth Parents Who Are Addicted
**How to Co-Parent in Foster Care with “Difficult” Birth Parents
Please feel free to refer your friend to our website for more resources and support!
workers can put whatever they want in your homestudy even things that are made up so they can use it agaisnt you at a later date. I have seen and heard some real shitty things from the county foster care system. The workers within should be scrutinzed at the same level as the foster parents they certainly were not here or this crazy lady wouldnt be in charge of all the kids and the workers who are too afraid to go against anything she tells them to say or do. Its a f’d up world man!
Has that happened to you – that falsifying of reports? That sounds awful and I wonder what steps you took to report it? I think if that happened to me, I’d turn all my correspondence to emails to keep a record. I would even go so far as to write summaries of in-person conversations or phone calls in an email to all parties involved. That seems like protection I’d get serious about.
Judging from the number of comments you’ve shared here on this post, it sounds like you’ve had a rough go of it in the system. I’m sorry for that experience. I know it’s a system in need of reform and certainly done in a way that protects and prioritizes the children. Most caseworkers are doing the very best they can with a very limited amount of resources and support. It probably feels pretty messed up to those who are doing it for the kids, too!
We see and read lots of successful fostering a child adoption stories on the internet and many children waiting for their supportive families and I hope they find them soon.
After reading several of the comments above, I had to tell you and your readers of our many friends’ experiences adopting through foster care. All of them did so with a desire to adopt and though they were open to reunification, in all of the cases, the parental rights were either voluntarily signed away or were severed after months of no-show visitations and court hearings. So yes, you can adopt from foster care. I saw 8 children adopted by forever families. Two were older (one 6 and one 12). The rest were infants.
I forgot to add that some parents do voluntarily sever their parental rights upon the birth of their child. I saw one child placed through foster adopt this way. Also, several friends struggled with infertility. Yes, it may be a struggle sometimes but they were all aware of the risk.
Thanks for sharing your experiences – and your friends’ experiences. Yes, there is a wide range of what can happen within the system but certainly infants being surrendered to foster care at birth is not the norm.
I reside in New York State, I began fostering over 20 years ago after growing up and watching my grandmother and mother foster children. It is a way to give back to my community. My first set of children I had for 4 years and then one day they were moved to a new foster home. I was devastated to say the least. But I continued at it with a different mind set. Shortly after I was forced to retire do to an on job injury in my 30’s. 17 years ago I took on a medically fragile infant. My different mindset was to remember that 1. The children were not mine to keep..just to love and help. 2. No matter what the parent was going through they in most cases loved their child but loved their addiction as well. 3. No matter how abused/neglected or how young the child was they still loved their parent. Knowing all of this with the help of the case workers I began to inter act with the birth parent/parents. Many thought I lost my mind.In actuality I did it for selfish reasons. 1.It allowed me to get medical and family history from the parent that they weren’t always forth coming to the worker. 2. It gave me a peace of mind watching them learn how to care for themselves and children.3. If the child went home it opened the door to have the parent use me as a resource and allowed me to see the child grow.3. If child was adopted I had a wealth of info I could give. Not going into it to adopt and now 20 + years later I have adopted 3 times. All children I brought home from hospital in foster care, all children that I know who their birth family are . None of my adoptions have any stipulations which require me to maintain any contact. My children ages now 17,12 and 3. The oldest 2 know who their birth family are . My oldest has chosen to have some verbal contact while my 12 year old will ask to drive by and look from a distance from time to time. I wouldn’t trade what and how I do it for anything in the world. I always tell people if you remember first and foremost that a foster child is not yours but a child you have been blessed to nurture for a time. When you do this your better prepared if they return to parent and if they don’t you have an added blessing. In NYS a child is in care for 15 months before rights can be terminated
Thanks for sharing – it sounds as if you’ve done a great job of co-parenting for the benefit of the child!
can you give us some advice please or lawyers to contact
We have a page to find adoption professionals here: https://creatingafamily.org/directory
Best wishes as you look for help.
I am not adopted but I feel the need to share an opinion almost always ignored, the biological child’s. I am 30 years old and never considered what impact my parents decision had on my life. Until reading about adoptions tonight. They adopted 2 biological sisters when I was 12. The thing is I don’t remember much from the adoption except one specific thing. I was intensely afraid of my cat growing to be bonded to new siblings instead of me. It would cause me to react with severe jealousy and possessiveness. I never ended up bonding well with my adopted sisters , but I did bond very well with drugs over the next few years. I am very aware my decisions are my own, and it is no one else’s fault but I had never really linked the adoption to being damaging. Of course in my last marriage I got a new dog, and was afraid he would bond to my husband, and abandon me. It would cause me to act more insane than anything ever has. An only child should be the last person on earth to fear abandonment, I would think, if both parents stayed together through life. But I did feel that way, and it’s obvious who I really thought abandoned me in a way, and iit wasn’t my cat. My mom had mentioned tonight that they got more time with my dad then I did, because he wasn’t working as much. When I was very young I worshipped my dad, no one I can imagine has ever been more excited for their dad to come home than I was. I felt nothing when she first said it because adopted children face far more issues, obviously. Then again…I struggle daily with heroin and meth addiction. Take from this what you will because I am unsure of all the connections myself and yes, my decisions are my own. I do not blame anyone. It just sorta…hurt
Demi, it does sound very hurtful. Thank you for sharing vulnerably. It’s definitely an issue that parents must be aware of and prepared for – when blending adoptive or foster kids into a home where biological children are already present. Hopefully, folks will take your struggles to heart and recognize the need to be aware of and ready for the needs of their bio kids during the adoption process as well. Thank you for reading and for sharing.
I appreciate you sharing your feelings. I appreciate that you aren’t blaming anyone. I do think families with biological kids need to be careful with this process. My father’s mom (paternal grandmother) brought in foster daughters decades ago (usually unwed pregnant teens) and would kick him out of his room and he would be on the couch. It hurt him too. I also know that my kids, who were adopted through foster care, recognized that they had been treated different than the biological kids at the previous foster home. Because of DFPS rules, the previous parents didn’t spank their foster kids, but continued to spank their bio kids. Well, needless to say that did not help the development of either set of kids. One group was jealous, the other was entitled. It is tough. While we will never spank our kids (now adopted), it took a few months for them to understand that we didn’t need to spank them to discipline them. I can see where you are coming from, although I am sure your parents never meant to abandon anyone. If we had had biological kids it would have been a lot trickier to raise our kids without there being some kind of perceived preferential treatment to one group or the other. It is messy.
Yes, especially if the adopted children have RAD. Reactive Attachment Disorder 😔
a child wrongfully stripped from their parents by CPS just so a foster family can adopt them will never be truly happy. how will they feel when they reach 18 and their biological family finds them and tells them the entire story. They will hate the foster family, as they should, and everything they knew will be destroyed.
All so foster parents could keep the baby they always wanted, even though no abuse was alleged and no charges were filed, and the older children were raised by the parents. Foster parents who come into the system to adopt should never be allowed to adopt any child they foster.
Maybe if they revamped the system so you could nurture the children and get them ready for reunification, but not keep them yourself the children would be better off. Any young child coming up for adoption should be placed with a new family plain and simple.
Certainly, any removal of a child from their birth family leaves wounds. Worse when it is unwarranted as you are indicating. You have some valid points about the needs of the system and how to work toward and prepare for reunification. I’m not sure that I agree with the statement that FP’s who come to the system to adopt should NEVER be allowed to adopt…. there are too many variables in the system, flawed as it is, to have a blanket policy against it. Ultimately, kids need the safety and trust that comes of permanence; and those who are legally free or moving toward that should be given the chance for permanence. I think there is a valid place in the system for the foster-to-adopt track.
Children are rarely “wrongfully removed”, there is a whole court process where evidence is presented. Parents can and should have an opportunity to reunify with their children.
If the parents cannot get it together to be “good enough” (not perfect) then what about the child? They likely have bonded with the foster family. For infants it may be the only family they know…those children should be taken from a good home to be adopted into a different home? Unecessary trauma. What is in the child’s best interest should be the driving force in child welfare decisions. Its detrimental to move children, the fewer placements/homes the better. jtc
@Wendy Children are “wrongfully removed” plenty by CPS. The court process mostly involves CPS and your lawyer, and very little of the parent who is suspected of whatever bad behavior. The process also does not involve any regular “due process”, and offers nothing in the form of redressing any harm the agency and their actions have caused. With no meaningful oversight, the agency is allowed to function as it wills, which means it is dependent on those higher up in the agency to run a moral, ethical unit or not.
YES! and they can move them around as much as they feel like through many fosters families as well! The children are not the counties first focus it is the supposedly offending parent that is their first focus!
There are numerous instances of wrongfully removed children. The rate varies from near 0 to 25% or more in other areas. CPSs have a tremendous amount of power and checks and balances are horrifically null. It is highly common for judges to simply rubber stamp what the CW recommends.
You sound like some bitter, angry drug addict that lost her kids and did nothing to get them back and because you failed to do your job as a parent or just a decent human being are upset because someone else has been presented with the blessings of something you couldn’t or wouldn’t do….. being a loving, caring and wonderful parent! Am I right? If this is the case…. don’t be this way. Be happy and grateful that someone is loving and taking great care of those kids. That’s all that should matter.
Eve, there’s no way we could know all that you are unloading about Peggy from her comments. Sure, she sounds as if she’s had some hard experiences in the foster system. But whatever her experiences, she does have some valid points about the challenges of the system. As I said in my initial comment to her, regardless of the intentions of folks fostering, kids still need the safety and trust that comes of permanence; and those who are legally free or moving toward that should be given the chance for permanence.
It seems as though you speak from some experience. Obviously I do not know your situation, but I do know my own, and how it works in my own state. Foster parents are licensed to be foster and adoptive parents separately. If you want to ever be considered, you must get both, and it is easier to do at the same time.
Are their children that fall through the cracks, absolutely, on both sides. Some birth parents are not given the appropriate help they need. Others are reunified with absolutely no reasoning behind it.
Birth parents are the only ones entitled to legal representation during hearings. The only other lawyer is the county attorney. DHS will give testimony, and it is up to the birth parents if they wish to refute that testimony. Foster parents are not even entitled to legal representation until after parental rights are terminated.
A judge makes the decision to reunify, extend care, or terminate. That verdict is subject to appeal. It is the right of both parents to file an appeal, and that will be heard at the state level by the appellate court. Once the termination is upheld, then relatives are investigated for potential adoption or guardianship. If they are approved a board of people will make a decision of what is in the best interest of the child.
Only after that decision is made are the foster parents entitled to any legal advice from council.
Adoption from the foster system is not a quick process, it is not an easy process. Fostering can not be taken lightly, and you need to enter into it know you may be asked to adopt. Every single child that has gone through my home is one of my kids. I have always done everything I can to ensure that the birth parents get the best opportunity they can to show they are ready for the responsibility.
The attitude you able toward foster parents is absolutely disgusting. What do you propose we do with the children who can not be reunified? Separate them yet again, inflict more trauma, and make their lives even worse. That is definitely not better than leaving them in a monitored and licensed home of people who have already built a bond and trust with the child.
Again, it sounds like you possibly had a bad experience in your own life, but do not use that to judge everyone involved.
It’s not that I don’t want to adopt from foster care. It’s now a requirement to foster if you want to adopt 7 or younger. I was open to sisters or a little girl 7 or younger. They told me they wouldn’t license me to adopt unless it was either with an older child or I fostered first.
So I decided not to adopt from foster care.
I’m in Missouri.
You are really doing infertile people—and the children—a disservice when you refer to the 100,000 adoptable children as “perfectly wonderful.” Really? We live in Florida and we attended MAPP classes after years of infertility, closed doors on private domestic and international adoption. Adopting from foster care was our final opportunity to become parents. We had already opened our heart to the possibility of an older child, sibling group, or mild physical/intellectual disabilities. Well, if the MAPP classes were designed to scare people like us away, they were most successful in doing that. From day one we were told horror stories of kids with RAD, violent outbursts, poop-smearing on walls, self-cutting, animal abuse, and open masturbation on furniture. They made it sound like we could almost expect issues like these. We were made to feel guilty, selfish and not cut out for this, simply because we wanted a child who is capable of loving us back. We only made it to the 3rd class. Now we are childless and it is the heartbreak of my life. We had so much love to give and people don’t understand why we didn’t “just adopt” from foster care. It’s people like you online and in the media who continue to romanticize adoption and make it sound like the children are all “perfectly wonderful” and just need loving parents. Wrong – they need people who are called by God, and gifted with the skills and abilities to handle a child who has been through severe trauma, and have the connections to be able to find best the professional help that no doubt these children will need. Every time the media portrays some romanticized fairy tale of a successful adoption from foster care I feel heart broken, guilty, and selfish all over again and like I have to defend myself from others who expect me to bring home one of the “so many children” who “need loving parents,” and judge me that I have not. So just stop, please.
We are so sorry that your venture into foster care was not a good experience. We happen to believe, here at Creating a Family, that even through trauma behavior and difficult starts to their lives that can leave hurting little hearts, the kids are still wonderful. Each child is deserving of a loving, safe home where they can heal and go on to thrive.
And YES, they do need people who are well-equipped and ready to handle the hard stuff that they bring along with them. Adoption is both painful and beautiful – for the kids, for those who love them, and for those who work to find them what they need. Often that all starts with “loving parents” who can and will find the best help available. Many of us find that as that help is accessed, once that family is formed and committed to working together, the kids learn how to love back. It’s not romantic at all – it’s hard work. REALLY hard work sometimes.
If you are a parent who is unprepared to parent a child from foster care, there’s no judgment from us about that. It’s NOT for everyone, we know that well.
We wish you well in your journey to build your family – whatever path that might be for you.
Some kids who are in foster care are really hard to handle, yes. But, compared to what? If you gave birth to a child if your own, do you assume that child will be easy to parent? You don’t know that. Every child struggles with something, even children you give birth to. Some have learning challenges, sensory processing issues, all sorts of things that will test your patience and take all your strength to raise them.
I adopted my daughter from foster care when she was 7. She will graduate from high school next month with honors, and she’s earned a full academic scholarship to a nice private college a couple hours away. She’s in National Honor Society, Girl Scouts, 4-H, and concert band. She has a driver’s license and a car. She’s taking college classes in high school. She’s funny, compassionate, forgetful, silly, and I adore her.
Kids in foster care are completely adoptable. Since reunification is the goal of foster care, as discussed here, I asked for a child who was already available for adoption. I agreed to take her without ever meeting her. That’s how you do it.
If you want to be a parent, go get a child and be a parent. Don’t let anything stop you. You don’t need to be a superhero. I did it, and I did it as a single parent. If you want to do it, just do it.
Thanks for sharing your story of adoption from foster care, Alice. I’m so glad it’s worked out well for you. There is much truth in what you share about commitment and the patience and strength needed to parent any child. To parent a foster child.
It is also true that sometimes our adopted and/or foster kids need MORE from us. Sadly, commitment, love, patience, and strength are not always enough. We believe that ALL parents should possess those things, of course. We also know that the reality is that it isn’t that straightforward for every parent. Or for every kid.
This is why we are so committed as an organization to equal measures of non-biased education and support. Because every child deserves the very best that we can offer them – and sometimes we parents need more help to do/be that.
YES! This lady in charge of a county always said they are perfectly normal and then my friends would all end up with kids that had so much wrong with them and the county lady said they should quit foster they abviously can’t do it!
Want to adopt from foster care, but concern that foster parents will want constant contact with the children and i will not be able to establish my relationship with them, because of the constant input. Not to say its a bad idea to communicate with the kids they raised, but these are very young children. I would think that can cause confusion to young children.
Thanks for reaching out, Morris. It’s actually quite common to be concerned about this issue. The good news is that unless the family of origin is unsafe for the child(ren), contact with family while they are in foster care – where the goal is reunification – is generally good for the kids and not confusing. Creating an openness of relationship with the parents – often facilitated by the case workers – gives you a chance to prepare the kids and work with the system to prepare the family to reunify. Even if the case moves to adoption, again unless it’s a safety issue, openness in adoption is good for the kids. Here’s a good resource for “how” to do openness well – or at least how to think about it in that way: http://ow.ly/YPG930kBLBC
My wife and I are foster parents and have been for a short 9 months. We suffered with infertility but not to the point of years and years of trying like I know some couples do. We always had fostering as an option since we are a same sex couple and the logistics of biological children is expensive and time consuming. But we ultimately decided that adoption was the best path for us.
Our first placement (ages 7 weeks and 2 years when we got them) will be going back to the biological mom and I am so happy for her. We were all about reunification as long as she was actually putting forth the effort. We love the girls so much, especially since they are the ones that made us parents for the first time, but we are so happy that they get to go back and have a happy and healthy mom again.
My one piece of advice for anyone looking to foster or adopt through the foster care system, FIND A GOOD FOSTER AGENCY! We did our research before we chose an agency (no you don’t have to go directly through CPS) Our caseworkers are the most wonderful people that we even consider them our friends! They told us the truth about EVERYTHING and never sugar coated what to expect. They offer so much support, not just for the foster children, but for biological children of the foster parents as well. I don’t think we would have made it through this first placement without them. They offer support groups, monthly trainings, and helped us find therapists, not only for the kiddos but for us as a family as well. Our caseworker actually just came back from another city where she was representing us for a legally free sibling group, and we were picked! So now our first placement is returning home and a new group is coming in, the only difference, we get to keep them forever! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experience and advice. Best wishes for your newly forming family!
That’s wonderful news! Congrats! How do you advise I begin my search for an agency? What should I look for in an agency? Can I look in other states? Any info is much appreciated. Thank you. All my best.
I know you asked Jessica. But Creating a Family has a wonderful variety of resources to help you find an agency and answer a lot of your questions.
To start, here is our downloadable e-guide: http://ow.ly/sKEG30k9anr
Best to you in your search!
Thank you so much Jessica.
Thank you so much Tracy.
You are misunderstanding the question
The person wanting to adopt from foster care isnt talking about birth parent contact. They are talking about adopting a child from the foster care system who is currently living with a foster only parent, a foster parent who is fostering while an adoptive placement is found.
Thank you for your great comments. May I ask what state you are in and what agency you went through?
Hello Jessica! I can see this answer is 2 years older, but my husband and I, we are looking into fostering, we have bio kids, but we want to open our house to more love ❤️. We went to a first meeting with an agency, but we left our info, I casually said that I have my eyes on a teenager in another county and they never called us back. Can you share the agency name you worked with?
My wife can’t have children.
We don’t want to adopt from foster care.
We would like to offer someone the opportunity to be our surrogate, we would pay them, and they could see the child whenever they wanted.
…so I’m wondering what the best way is to go about searching for someone who may be interested.
Mike, we are not a placing agency nor are we a clinic that deals with surrogacy. There are many considerations and issues that a reproductive attorney might be better suited to answer. For more information on surrogacy and the issues related to considering such a method to build your family, please check out this resource: http://ow.ly/nlwr30iHi1z
Thanks for checking out our resources.
Child protective services is a corrupt system who steals children from their biological families. There I am sure those counties and states that have a good handle on it but all you have to do is look on facebook and you will see the overwhelming stories of biological grandmothers and aunts trying to get their family back and are put into forced adoptions to strangers. Some with biological siblings who are also split up. Adoption through CPS should only be done through extreme circumstances drug issues and psychological issues are not a reason to steal someones child. Case workers lie to foster families and biological families it is about the $ for them don’t kid yourself. If you want to get into foster care do it for the families to be reunified not to obtain a child.
I know this from experience and have seen the corruption first hand. It is one of those things that if it doesn’t happen to you it doesn’t exist. What government system has ever been honest?
Stacey, I’m so sorry you have had to experience this first hand. You are right that the goal of CPS should be to help birth families heal. I believe that this is the focus for most case workers and that they attempt to do a good job of training foster parents to understand this goal. However, you are right that sometime this does not happen and that is a tragedy.
We tried for 15 years to have our own child. We don’t have the money for expensive fertility treatments, but we did everything we could within our budget. I miscarried 4 times. Every doctor (and we went to 4 separate specialists in that 15 years) SWORE UP AND DOWN that I would get pregnant. I didn’t.
I see the lovely point you are trying to make. I never got my miracle. If I fostered a child that was then taken away with me, I don’t know how I would go on.
I am so sorry for the losses and struggle that you have endured. I hear your hurt and disappointment in your words. I hope that you and your spouse/partner find the path forward that feels right and healthy for you. If you are looking for support and connection with other folks who have been through the struggle that you described, we’d love to see you join our online community. You can find us here: http://ow.ly/7D1o30g97Rf
Best wishes to you and thanks for sharing your story.
We live in North Carolina. My husband and I adopted our daughter when she was 11. She is now 15 and is an awesome kid! We were open to adopting older children since we are both almost 50. We saw many profiles of children available for adoption. We both work full time and so we agreed we were only interested in children that were “legally free for adoption” meaning we would foster with the intention to adopt. If a child is legally free, that means parents have lost all rights and that the child is available for adoption.
The first sibling group we were matched with did not work out. We chose a sibling group of 4 children and we spent about 10 weeks getting to know them. The oldest was 14 and she did not want to be adopted. We bonded with the youngest 2 girls (aged 8 and 10). After 10 weeks of visiting them on weekends, the adoption process fell through because the oldest daughter did not want to be adopted (after age 12 the child can choose if they want to be adopted) and I won’t lie it was heartbreaking. We took a break from looking at profiles for a few months and then one day we got a text from our social worker that our now daughter needed a new foster home.We met her and one week later she moved in with us. Less than 5 months later, the adoption was final. Is the process easy, no. But in our case, our daughter us the perfect match for us. We have a success story in adopting from foster care. If someone is hesitant to adopt from foster care, I recommend to foster to adopt and only choose to take children that are legally free for adoption. You can also find out the child’s background and what needs they may have. Of course, adopting an older child gives you many more options. My good friend adopted her two awesome daughters from foster care. Their parents had passed away and now the have two awesome girls. It’s a personal journey and can often turn out quite amazing.
At various times, I have agreed with both sides of the case made in this article. As a caseworker in a foster to adopt program for almost 15 years, I have noticed that couples struggling with infertility are at different places in their own grief and loss experience when they begin researching foster care adoption. This makes a difference in their ability and willingness to deal with the uncertainty of adopting from foster care. I often hear families make comments such as, “We want to complete our family,” “We’re meant to be parents,” etc. Those families feel more desperate about meeting expectations they desire for their family. Other families enter the process saying things like, “We know there are children who need families, and we have the resources to provide a loving family for them.” They are at a very different place, and it is not necessarily a progression from one mindset to another. It’s just a different focus. Some are trying to meet their family needs, while others have decided to focus on the needs of children in society. There is nothing wrong with either motivation, but it greatly impacts a family’s experience in foster care adoption. Can a family with the first mindset have a successful foster adoption? Yes! But in my experience it generally takes longer and is more of a challenging and emotional process. And those families are more likely to get discouraged quicker. Can a family with the first mindset change their motivation for a more satisfying experience? Yes! But it takes extra understanding, encouragement, and training by the agency. Also, the family has to be willing to let go of parts of the dream that they’ve held onto for so long and exchange it for something new but still extremely rewarding. All families and children in the foster to adopt process will experience grief at some point for some reason. One of my foster mothers was surprised at how much she grieved for the birth mother when rights were terminated, even though it meant she could adopt. So it is important for families to honestly assess how much they can take when they’ve already been struggling with a lot, and whether foster care adoption is really something they’re ready for. The more a family loves a child in their home, the greater the grief and loss will be if an adoption does not happen; there’s no getting around that. However, that love makes a world of difference for a child, which makes it worth it in my opinion.
Thanks for sharing your observations and experiences. You make some great points, particularly regarding honest self-assessment and understanding of expectations and abilities. Every family has unique intents, abilities and limits and figuring out how to let go of preconceived expectations, notions and dreams is excellent advice. Thank you, again for weighing in!
I am a mother 1st i never had a drug problem i never beat my kids my children was all tooken from me due to a domestic violence altercation i got away. Sad thing is i was working on my case plan to get my daughter. My son and other daughter was placed with family my middle i have been fighting for 2 years!!!! I never gave up.. I lost due too time!!!!!! I had done nothing wrong i had my extensions and was doing what i was supposed to. I work i have a car a place. They took my child!!!! My life i created my baby!! Now she is to be adopted they was plotting the whole time they already let my daughter meet with adoptive parents during my case!!! I was set up for failure!!! Reunification my ass!! My baby is going to people i dont know i have to cherish the time i have then write a good bye letter sayen its ok to love another family!!! That im ok with it and clearly im not!!! It wasnt fair now i have to wait for a 30 min farewell visit with My child! I feel like i am planning a funeral for my baby!!!! For a time issue in my case in ohio!! My rights was terminated!!! I lost but a junkie can have her child back people who beat their kids can have their children back but me working mom who made a mistake on a bad relationship that is over and been over since this all started loses her child!!!! Its kidnapping at its finest. !!!!!!! Its not fair i never stood a chance! I just want you all to know adoption is bs unless its a willing mother im not FKN willing sum of us mothers who was fkd over in the justice system was not willing its kidnapping not creating a family!! Its sick!
I’m so sorry for the failure of the system to protect you and your rights. I’m sorry for your pain. It’s horrible and I hope that you can find relationship with the children at some point moving forward. For all of your sakes.
Sorry you are going through this due to the corruption in the CPS system. We are going through something similar in Wisconsin although the mother does have drug and psychological issues no child should be taken from their biological family drugs or no drugs. There was a biological aunt willing to keep the baby but a case worker manipulated her to have the infant put with a foster family. There are many groups on facebook one is called family forward project. Please look it up and tell your story. There is a ton of stores like yours and these stories need to be told. Noone should have to go through this.
I’m so sorry Stacey that you are experiencing this struggle. If you believe that the child has been wrongly placed, you might want to consider hiring an attorney that specializes in adoption to represent you. If money is a concern (and it usually is) some attorneys will work pro bono or at a reduced rate. I hope, in spite of the issues you feel are going on, that the baby is experiencing safety and love and good care.
I know this is an older comment but let me explain the Facts- No Lawyer will take these cases in Any State. They’re completely un-win-able. As an ex in the system, the workers & the agency have Complete and Total Immunity from criminal and Civil charges or cases. Most all their practices violate federal laws & it’s true- a murderer has more rights than a targeted parent. Unfortunately, federal lawsuits (which take years) require a well-paid retainer, are usually thrown out even with an attorney as many more “hot button” civil rights violations take precedent, statute of limitations then runs out, etc.
This is NOT true there are many Wrongfully accused families that are filing civil suits aagianst CPS or Case managers and actually wining there case just do search online IF THERE is Clear and Convincing evidence that a CPI/CPS or Case manager violated you Civil Rights Knowingly or Unknowling THEY can be sued DO NOT even listen to them or anyone else that says they have Judicial Immeditune LET THEM THINK THAT the ONE thing i will tell anyone parents that have had there civil rights trampled on by CPS or case mangers GATHER as MUCH TANGIBLE evidence against these PEOPLE as possible and NEVER EVER BELIEVE that they are your friends and they are there to help you THAT IS A FACADE they are ALL 2 faced and are TRAINED TO LIE TO YOU (edited to remove questionable website links)
unless your civil rights are violated, you likely won’t have any legal claim against Child Protective Services stemming from the agency’s, or its representatives’, routine actions. So, you likely won’t be able to sue for emotional distress. However, when civil rights are violated, individuals can sue CPS, and these claims can be costly for cities.
BOTTOM LINE if your a parent that again has had there CIVIL RIGHTS that are PROTECTED by our GREAT consitution VIOLATED you have EVER RIGHT TO SUE THE pants off the state! i call it this the sins of the daughter or son (I.E. if the CPS or case manager is a woman or man) will be paid by the Father (the State) again the above Referenced Case is ONE OF MANY across the Country we need more people to Educate families that have had there Children Wrongfully removed and there Civil Rights Violated the MORE Agency’s around the US that are SUED and loose money for the state the MORE the TRUTH that the CPS system is Corrupt and needs to be changed will COME TO LIGHT
Your daughter couldn’t be placed with family?
We have adopted one and are on number 2. Got the first when she was 11 and a few months before we finalized we matched with a 15 year old who we are just waiting out the six months until finalization. We hadn’t planned on the second, but she looks like she could be my first’s bio sister and in her Heart Gallery she was wearing a similar shirt to my first’s favorite shirt. Twas fate 🙂
The people who say one can’t adopt from foster care are the ones who only care about babies and toddlers. Look for 8 and up, and there are plenty of kids out there. People write them off as damaged goods but I disagree. The older kids know why they came into foster care and understand more of what’s going on. And it is the very small minority that have issues that can’t be helped with therapy, time, and stability.
Folks interested in and capable of handling older child adoption are definitely needed in our foster system. For great information on what to think about regarding adoption of older children, check out our resource page: http://ow.ly/36Bd30ff2Nq
Nope, it is very easy to adopt from foster care – unless you are determined to get a perfectly healthy white baby. We have adopted four kids from three states (we’re military) and have had no issues because we were going for older kids who were on an adoption only path. My daughters were 10, 9 year old twins and 11 when placed with us. Each adoption was finalized 6-8 months after placement with no issues. Our girls have no issues aside one needing glasses, all are top of their classes and healthy as can be.
Plus it was wonderful never to do the baby thing: no diapers, no midnight feedings, and they were old enough to go on all the fun rides at whatever amusement park we happened to be stationed near at the time 😉
But is it true one of the parents must be stay at home?
Neither my husband nor I are stay at home parents. Social workers have told me they give preference to stay at home parents when placing infants, but other than that it doesn’t matter.
Nope, I wasn’t until my company got bought out and I lost my job. And my husband is military so a lot of the time it is just me. Have two kids that are not related, no issues.
This makes me happy. We are a military family looking to adopt from foster kiddos. You give me hope. Any suggestions are appreciated.
This Resource Page, from our A-Z Resources for Adoption, is a good starting point for you to learn and dig up information particular to your situation (https://creatingafamily.org/adoption/resources/foster-care-adoption/) Best wishes!
We’re military and on our second foster adoption 🙂 You’d be surprised how many military families have adopted.
That’s so true! Thanks for weighing in to encourage.
Hi my babys were placed in foster care and are now going to be freed for adoption my son is 5 my daughter is 3 and my youngest is about to be 2 in January i want them to remain together i know 3 kids is a lot but i want them to go to some one good and loving
I’m so sorry you are unable to re-unify with your babies. However, we are not a placing agency and do not participate in placement arrangements within or outside of the system. We wish you the best and hope your kids are able to stay together and stay in touch with you as well. Be well.
Thank you for the encouragement!
If you do adopt, please don’t lie to the biological family about how involved they’ll be and then not follow through with the agreement after adoption. I helped pick the family that adopted three of my grands through foster care. Not sure I’d choose them again if given the chance. In my opinion, they did steal my grandkids. Two oldest are 9 and 6, so they’ll come back to us when they’re adults and will be told what their parents did. Hope the parents are prepared for the consequences.
You gotta be kidding! Your kid obviously wasnt able to take care of their children, and a loving couple were willing to step in and give these kids a better life, and then you get mad because the adoptive parents dont want their impressionable children around, most likely, drug addicts? No one stole those kids. Someone didnt want them and dumped them in the system as inconveniences, and now they have a family who loves them. You are plotting to turn these kids against their adoptive parents as soon as you get the chance. Do you think it might be possible that they were aware of deviousness and decided that it was best to just cut ties all together. You obviously still dont have these kid’s best interest in mind.
Cake, I really don’t see how you reached such a grand conclusion of what the biological family is like from Kelly’s comment. My sister, for example, placed her newborn for adoption to a family that indicated they wanted an open adoption. They have kept their promise and are very open to our family. We are not drug addicted, and neither is my sister. We are just people. Of course Kelly is hurt that the family they chose has backed away from their promise – she loves her grandkids. You have no idea why they are not with their biological family – You’d probably be surprised at how amazing they really are.
The fact that the children were GIVEN AWAY clearly indicates that dysfunctional situation, one that was beyond repair. Whether or not there are drug addicts involved, the parents were UNFIT to care for their kids; so, it doesn’t really matter why the adoption took place. Second, this grandmother sounds vindictive. Does telling the children what the adoptive family did help??
It saddens my heart hear that a bitter grandparent is plotting to turn children from the only love they have ever known. I hate that the parents and Kelly were not able to reunify with the children. As it is proven that if possible it is beneficial for children to be with blood relatives. If Kelly’s attitude is bitter like this though, the children probably are better off without having contact with her at this time. I will be praying that God changes her heart before the kids get older and before she can place resentment in a healthy little mind.
Family is the first choice for children to go, so why didn’t you step up? When they come back to you as adults how will you answer that?
Exactally! So I’d love to hear Jen and Kelly’s Remarks to this. My drug addict step sister has had two drug babies and aborted one and me and my step have offered to adopt two kid’s and the one she aborted. She’s pregnant again but found out too late for her to abort so she ask my step sister to adopt it. If the family cares enough they will take they baby. They don’t want the hassle they just feel quilty for doing what they’ve done and want to say they’ve at least tried!
Adam is right. I’m a foster-to-adopt parent and I have to say there is a healthy state of entitlement that I feel at the progression and evolution of our foster child. He came to us malnourished, had never had a haircut, had never been taught how to do any basic grooming, had never been on a bicycle. He was 6 when we started fostering him. How do you even explain away these areas of neglect? No one in his immediate and extended family cared to step in and help his bio-parents in retaining him. He is an amazing, caring, and intelligent child and did not deserve such a crappy start in life.
We notice that family members are willing to come around when there is more stability in the child’s life, stability given to them by the foster family! (how convenient)
To the grandmother who is threatening to misguide her grandchildren as adults, shame on you. If you cared this much you should have done everything you could to step in and PARENT these kids yourself.
Foster parents sacrifice a lot, and go above and beyond in most cases for their foster kids, children that are not even their own blood.
How dare you, gramma!
It’s so hard to know all of the other person’s story and what they are facing or are equipped to face. It’s equally hard not to judge others by what we know, think we know, or have experienced in our own lives. It’s also hard to find explanations for those hurting kids, like the little guy you are fostering now. I’m glad he has you as a safe place to land in this season of his life.
I understand where a lot of you are coming from. I would say anyone who decided to foster care do it because you want to give a child a safe loving home until they are reunited with their families. I am currently fostering my partners two nephews and have grown to love them. Their case has been a rollercoaster and they have been in and out of foster care for two years. Their parents were told 6 months ago, they were to have no contact with their kids. The judge was so upset with their case she did not want to even talk about when they would be able to have contact. These current courts date the judge saw the mother is doing well and trying to get herself together. Therefore, she finally granted visitation rights with the intent to send them home next court date which is in three months. When you sign up for foster care and attended classes they teach you the goal is always to reunification the children back with their families. Please know that DHS and foster care will tell you anything so you will take in children. They will promise you the world and they will not be there when the going get rough. Yes, all children need a home but please be prepared for children with special needs because children just don’t go into foster care for no reason. Be prepared that they may be emotionally broken and act out for multiple reasons. Could you imagine being ripped from your family good or bad because no matter what they are your parents forever? Also, as I read earlier we are supporting other people children, yes, of course, you will get paid very little to provide for them. Our nephews came with a small bag of clothes and when I say a small bag of clothes I mean just that. They needed everything and for the first 3 months, we were not paid a penny to provide for them. Nevertheless, we were promised money for clothes but however at the last minute, we were told they already had their limit of clothes money. We were told we could get help with food. You know what they gave us a onetime fee of 100 dollars to a store we had to drive 30 mins to. We were told they help us with beds until and again we were told at the last minute that someone was already given beds for them, so we could not receive any for them. We were told by DHS that foster care would pay for daycare that was also a lie and to get daycare money you must go through another company. We were told they bring gifts on holidays and give baskets of food on holidays. Also, a lie. Furthermore, when we ask their case worker about such things we were told they don’t do that anymore. SO please know maybe some case workers are better than others and will help you but do not expected it. I am not saying, fostering children, is a bad thing but please be aware of what you are signing up for. IF you are not mentally, physical, and financially ready for children then fostering children might not be best for you. If you are not in it to just give a child or children a home who are waiting to return to their family a place to stay, then fostering children might not be right for you. We have been through so much in the last 6 months that it breaks my heart to know we have done so much for this child and are finally getting them on a track that they are going to leave us very soon. Yes, they miss their family and yes, I want them to go home but I feel I have stressed so much for nothing. I have worried myself sick about them to know they are being torn away from me but in the end, I knew they are not my children. Even so, I did this because I didn’t want them in group homes or stranger’s homes but with family. I do not want to discourage anyone from foster, but instead, I hope to prepare someone for what fostering children entail. It does not just bring a child into your home and giving them love. It is a full-time job because most of these children have been through so much and will require a lot of your attention. Yes, all children need attention, but remember this child have been through stuff from abuse, losing their mother and father, being moved from home to home with different rules time and time again. They feel they just got comfortable to be moved again. It takes lots of patients with some of these children in foster care. Also, depending on their age remember they have been raised by other people, so they might already be set in their ways. You might expect them to adjusted to your life and your lifestyle. Please know you and your foster child most adjusted to each other’s lifestyle. Yes, they are children and you will believe they are to just do as you say, but remember you’re not their parent and they know this. You must be willing to adjusted with them. I am by no mean saying they are to come to your house and do whatever they want, but just as you do things a certain way remember they grow up doing things a current way. Therefore, try to meet in the middle and try to understand where they might be coming from if they are not willing to do things your way right from the start. Furthermore, take the time to learn about your foster child where they came from, what they have been through, their likes and dislikes etc. This is very important, so you can understand them better and care for them better. I hope that my message helps someone because going into fostering our nephews we were not prepared and had no one to walk us through it, no one to talk to about it and we were just lost. Good luck and I wish everyone all the best.
I became a foster parent in order to adopt. My first baby was a nightmare, but I stuck with him until his aunt was cleared and took custody. After this one, I needed a break. When I was ready to jump in again, I was offered a 1-year-old which was ready for adoption. I wanted to meet him first and have visits before making the decision to adopt. But they wanted someone willing to adopt right away. I think that’s nuts; expecting someone to adopt a child without knowing them?
For those who want to only adopt, yes you will be waiting years, if you want a baby or small child. But think about it… do you really want to come in cold and make a decision to adopt without knowing the child? Foster-to-adopt is the way to go.
I passed on the toddler as his mother was bi-polar and he had a permanent scowl on his face. I didn’t want to take him with “hopes” that he and I would become a match.
So now I am awaiting my next foster care; which will be an infant. I have learned to ask important questions before placement.
1. Any medical/emotional/mental conditions?
2. Any medical/mental issues with the mother?
4. What is the visitation schedule? (if any)
I turned down another placement because it was a domestic violence situation and the baby had to visit the parents separately 3x a week EACH. 6 visits a week, in addition to all the normal visits, schedules required. No thanks. Unless the county will pay my full rent and utilities and all expenses, then I can’t have a child that requires me to have no job to take care of it. I also did not want to be around people like that. (They have a right to your phone number and some info on you).
Yes, we are not appreciated, and are not the priority of the county.
But I am willing to put in the time in order to find my special child that is out there.
It is insane how these social workers use lies and chicanery to get infertile, desperate, sad, lonely, or anxious-for-their-own-family foster-to-adopt families. I’m saying this because I qualify as one and my wife and I were fed so many lies about our first foster placement.
The social workers started calling her “our baby” (9 year old, mind you) and we hadn’t even met the child. Once the child was in our home, the social workers promptly got on to severing parental rights from the abusive, bi polar mother, which they succeeded in doing. That was, unfortunately, around the time the child was showing defiance to a level that we were not prepared for. She had severe trauma issues, and even though you sit through hours of classes and hear these types of issues described, it will never prepare you for the reality of what it actually looks like, and the implications this behavior will have on your life.
After 6 months, we notified the social workers that it was not going to work out and gosh were they reluctant and even dared guilt-trip us. One social worker even said “how could you just give up on her?”, to which I replied with “oh, this easy. we are giving you our 7 day notice to terminate the placement. Get on it.” No, it was not truly easy and we processed this as a sincerely loss, but we also knew that if professionals couldn’t control her we were doing a disservice to her by thinking we could.
We waited nearly a year to even consider fostering again, it was a traumatic experience for us, as much as it was for the child as well. We parted ways amicably, and the douche social worker even told us we should see her periodically to check in, we didn’t have to, she had said, but we thought it was good and we agreed. They never followed through with that and we have not seen her since except on a segment on a local TV network spotlighting children in desperate need for adoption.
It was a loss, and we were deathly afraid of losing again. We welcomed a second foster child into our home 3 months ago, and he is (thankfully) a welcomed contrast to the first, but we understand the trauma was significantly less in his case.
Everything is relative in this process. From my experience, I would tell potential adoptive parents not to believe everything the social workers say (especially the overzealous ones) and also to be honest with yourselves when taking in children older than 4. If the level of trauma is something you can’t take on, or even triggers your own personal emotional well-being you would be better off to voice all of this and terminate placements. Also, be conscious of your words and actions if you are terminating, as they may be detrimental of the child. It is not their fault, but sometimes you just lose some of them to the terrible abuse and neglect their bio parents have inflicted on them. This was told to me by a school counselor that our first placement saw regularly, “sometimes, you just lose them forever”.
Sad stuff. I commend all foster/adoptive parents for bravely trudging on in the foster care system. It is truly broken.
Such good advice, to know your capabilities and your boundaries – what you know you can and will handle and what you cannot. So very sorry for the hard first experience but it sounds like you are making a difference in this new little guy’s life. You are one of those who is obviously “bravely trudging on” even after a tough experience.
In most states, you have to have the child in your home at least six months before you can adopt, and for older kids they do 1-3 months of pre placement visits. So you have plenty of time to get to know a child before adoption.
This article is so upsetting to read – I don’t believe you’ve ever been in the situation of giving up your life + home + heart to spend 18 months raising somebody else’s children, after 8 or 9 years of miscarriages, only to see your foster children go back to a shockingly neglectful home. You are giving lots of good reasons for somebody to become a foster parent, but as the initial comments indicate, it isn’t fair to the couple who has already had their heart ripped out time and time again.
Personally I feel like we have been tricked into being the world’s cheapest babysitters with our hope for a family so desperate that we’ve given our hearts + souls + spent a small fortune raising somebody else’s children… Never in a million years would I have set up our family for the struggle we have been through had we not been told a big story and strung along that this is a realistic means to parenthood. We are now tired and fed up and feel taken advantage of…we will never, ever be foster parents again. In retrospect, we should have paid the $ and put ourselves with a private agency years ago. We’ve been trying to have a baby for over 10 years. Our hearts have been broken far too many times to ever open ourselves to this type of pain again.
It is clear you are pro-reunification, which is admirable for someone who does not have aspirations to adopt from foster care, but please be honest, this is not a good solution for a couple or individual that has suffered years of miscarriages and heartache. It is cruel and unusual punishment for anyone who has already suffered to this level, and none of your bullet points indicate how this could be a good option for anyone in this situation.
This is a valid comment:
If you want to be a parent, don’t try to adopt from foster care. Foster care is about reunification, and if that’s not what you want, you need to flat out adopt, either privately or internationally.
This is a valid comment:
Her point was that the goal of foster care was family reunification and most people are not able to adopt the first child that is placed with them. Former infertility patients have already experienced so much loss that they are particularly vulnerable to being devastated by losing yet another dream. She has seen many just give up on the idea of adoption completely in order to protect themselves. “We’ve got to be honest with them about the realities of adopting from foster care.”
Otherwise, i’m not sure what the purpose of your article is in any way relevant to people struggling with infertility…. Are you actually trying to convince folks like us to give it another roll of the dice via foster care? I’m not sure you’ve succeeded in proving your intent if that is the case.
IaMama, I am so sorry you have had such a bad experience and are in such pain. Infertility truly sucks, doesn’t it! I totally agree with you that adopting from foster care is not the best option for many people, especially if they are looking for a baby. Infants that are in foster care are generally not legally free for adoption at the time of placement. The child is being fostered with the hope of reunification. If, and only if, reunification is not an option will that baby be considered for adoption. And even then, the foster parent may not be the first option if there is extended family that is available. Infertility patients are often in such a vulnerable position having suffered so many losses that adopting from foster care may not be the best option for them to consider. Do keep in mind that there are many (about 100,000) children in foster care that are legally free for adoption and just waiting for the right family to come forward. The majority of these kiddos are over the age of 5.
Yes I would like to adopt child 1 to 5 years girls Thank You. Happy holidays to you . My name is Eugene and my wife together.
Or a baby’s too (girls) Thank You. We a great family that cares and loves kids like to help. To complete our family
I was opened to a 7 year old or a group of sisters no older than 8. They told me no. Not unless I foster parent first. Foster care is now making it a requirement to foster parent which is cruel. They’re playing with our hearts of wanting to build our family when in reality where just babysitters. I’m not saying reunification isn’t good. Some parents need the help, but then there are some who get chance after chance. And as they said, we aren’t even next in line, the family is. So why not go the extra mile to find them before giving the foster parent that hope of FINALLY having a family of their own? Why drag your feet until AFTER the parent has lost their custody. Foster parents who wanted to ADOPT in the first place not BABYSIT aren’t thought of at ALL.
I’m a single parent fostering for 15 yrs. in this 15 yrs I have had the privilege of fostering 30 + kids. Out of those I’ve adopted 5. They could not go back to family. I love them. 4 are adults. They have me and I’m thankful I have them in my life. I gain just 2 months ago adopted a 8 yr old who could not go back to his birth mother. Adoption from foster care is great it works for my kids when reunification doesn’t happen.
laMama gives voice to the deep pain my spouse and I are experiencing right now. We didn’t experience infertility (I can’t imagine adding that layer of pain to this one), but the loss is devastating and it’s been shockingly difficult to find informed compassion. Thank you for your articulate post, laMama.
Another factor that isn’t mentioned in this piece is the impact of your particular case worker on the experience, whether or not reunification occurs. We had a communicative, realistic, and honest case worker for our first child. We were kept informed and involved at each step of the process. This time around we are left feeling deceived and uninvolved, with our concerns often dismissed and more information coming from the birth mother than the case worker, who has been nothing short of patronizing. If I hadn’t had the first experience there’s no way I would consider going through this again.
I’m so sorry for the difficult experience you’ve had with this second placement. You are absolutely right, the impact of a case worker can definitely make or break a foster experience. Have you seen this resource of ours yet? You may already be adept at many of these tips but if not, it might give you some good support for the next time you choose to open your home and your heart to a child in the system: https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/tips-foster-care-caseworkers-attention/
Best wishes for your future placements!
I have adopted a baby boy of 7 months myself from foster care and I love encouraging people to adopt. But I also hate to see it used against people who want to adopt an infant. Domestic infant, foster, and international adoption are all about finding the right families.
I think there has to be balance here , children are not commodities they have feelings and ties with their birth parents and families who are sometimes just having a rough patch so an interim carer is needed who does not actually get too attached
To lose a loved one who is your own flesh and blood is HARD as well as to lose the only family you have known , bonded with and have blood ties with and suddenly be wrenched away from all of them , hence kin placement is looked at which also takes time to assess ‘concurrently’ and the child/ren sometimes need to be placed somewhere in the meantime
It’s like hoping the birth parents and family members will fail all the tests so you can keep their child 🙁
As a Grandmother who is an approved kinship foster carer of her Grandson I thank heavens I did not fail and my Grandson now also gets to see his cousins and Aunts and Uncles who he loves and is as secure as he can be under the circumstances with his Mother currently struggling with an addiction
One family member with a problem should not mean the whole rest of the family are written off , for the childs sake
My Grandson is not here on earth to bring joy to a childless couple ( sorry ) but he is my flesh and blood Grandchild and as much as it kills you when the child goes back to family it would more than kill me to lose my Grandson who is my kin , blood and joy of my life and to be honest right now he belongs with me and is doing very well 🙂 ( He has been here for 16 months )
We are not a ”dead beat family” my daughter is not a ”dead beat parent” she was a good Mum till the addiction got hold of her and I am still hoping she can get her life back on track as she is a wonderful , bright , caring woman who has a struggle that we without her addiction cannot understand
I feel my Grandson should be with me but if she did get back on track ( properly ) I will have to have an empty house again and then get on with other things while I still supported her and gave her respite etc but it is not a crime to place a child with blood relatives if they are safe and happy there as no one can describe the pain of having your kin child taken from you when you have done NOTHING wrong and cared for them just as good with a deep love bond dare I say more than any foster parent who is not kin as I am both , it was not to fill a gap in my heart or life but he was already in my heart and life from the day he was born and he has the rest of a large family around him who love him as well
My daughter mucked up , does not mean the child and the rest of the family have to pay the price for it too just so a foster carer can get their dream of adoption come true!
Please do not label us dead beat families either or presume you will do a better job than the birth families as the amount of care I give my Grandson who is 9 and has special needs cannot actually be quantified and nor could what his Mum did for him when she was well ( the birth Father is a different story unfortunately lol ) but my Grandson has an amazing family around him it would be ABSOLUTELY tragic for him to lose
He was in foster care for a while while I was being assessed and she was heart broken when he left but not as heart broken as me being separated from my own flesh and blood but no one SAW or even acknowledged that and people like to tar a whole family with the same brush or make what are actual misjudgements about them and my other daughter is stable , well , settled , married and is a qualified school teacher in a private school and there is not an ounce of concern about her parenting of my Granddaughter who is 4 🙂
There is pain all round in these situations but let us see the other side too please , thanks
Well said Grandma!
We are pretty much going through the same thing. It’s been 4 years since birth we’ve raised the nephew grandson. Heart broken that the system is faultering every time we’re close to adoption. Four years a happy boy who has a loving family and we’re trying to keep him in the family..
the mother has lost custody 2 years ago with no contact and father is deceased..
What is wrong with the system????
Everything. I got involved with DCF with a call from an investigator at the hospital where my jailed cousin had just given birth. 2 days later I came home with a baby. Joy of my life. Cousin had another child removed couple years ago placed in permanent gardianship with another relative. Shoul dc ve been TPR since she never showed in court got arrested multiple times and made zero ya zero progress on that case plan. Now out of jail, checking off stuff on case plan for baby and in a couple months more, when baby is 1, she will take her home. What about this little ones right to saftey stability permanence and to keep tge family shes bonded with? What about her? DCF cares way more about providing “services” to loser parents than what is right for children. Free daycare free drug rehab free housing free parenting classes cash assistance food stamps…really? Lets juzt hand everything to these losers including babies they nothing about because they gave birth while in jail. Grrrrr.
Your story has touched me deeply my son is a 9 year old disable black boy and the system terminated my rights because they dont feel i can take care of him mind you i have 6 additonal kids i can take care of them but not him i have no drug issues or criminal background just a big mouth and i speak up for my son who is in care because he cant and i get my right s taken away so now hes free for adoption and says the only person who can adopt him is the white foster mother hes been livin with for a year and noone from his birthmother side can visit him i need some advice
I’m sorry this is happening to you. I would suggest you contact an attorney. Your local Bar Association can help you find one.
Pam, seems like you are speaking about a specific type of foster parent – one who is more likely in if for the money, than to become a parent themselves through foster adoption. Unfortunately, many of us, myself included, were led to become Concurrent placements (foster to adopt). If my other post is approved, you will know more of our backstory. Personally, I know it takes A LOT to have a child removed from your custody, i’ve witnessed the behaviors our young placements exhibited that were clear indicators of their shocking neglect, yet our county typically works for reunification in all but very extreme cases of physical or sexual abuse. Our children’s therapists were so thrilled to see that they have finally created emotional attachments (first time ever), and explained to us that if/when they go home, even if they never experience those types of attachments with their own parents, that the purpose of foster care is that they will have deep rooted memories of that experience, and will hopefully, one day, seek that type of relationship on their own.
Reading your comment makes me think that you are looking for a ‘babysitter’ for your grandchildren while you or your daughter gets approved for care… the initial point of the article (or so it seemed) was to convince people who have struggled to create a family of their own to become foster parents, but I can see from your comments here that all you are looking for is someone to help care temporarily, which just isn’t a good match for this group of people. Maybe others, but not people whose goal is to become parents. I hope you can understand that.
So powerful. Thank you for your words.
When I was taken from my mother at aged four, it was my Memere that I cried out for.
Being separated from my family was a major trauma.
Good for you to raise your grandson.
Foster care has no more care about rejoining families than having their teeth pulled! Today Foster care is in to the Money; they get $8,000. per child they take for the parents and place in foster care and then adopted them $8,000.00 per child. And some time go and take not only the child that is to be adopted but the parents own birth child adopt them gaining $16,000. Foster care has jumped 70% and their is no accountability! They are only into it for making money; check it out they have ripped good families apart just for the old mighty $8,000 per child male or female it don’t matter! they need to be shut down and pay back all that money to the parents: it all over the internet look for your self! please! Give mom and dad and those children a fighting chance for once not foster care!
I understand what you are saying. I live in Florida and I’m a foster Mom. I currently have one child in my care. The Case Manager has asked us all ready if we would be willing to adopt. Even though I’m on the side of the Bio Mom (there is no father in the picture), she does have a lot of issues that may not be resolved in the next year and due to some criminal issues may extend her case plan even longer. Bio Mom has not family and she is alone trying to figure things out, her choices have effected not only this current child but one that was taken and not lives with his father. Another story all together. Because she has a 50/50 chance of completing, they need a back up plan. The truth, I rather adopt the child then allowing a stranger raise the child. I’m trying to create a friendship with the mother, so if things go the wrong way for her, I can keep her in the child’s life. However it’s to early at this time, I have hopes that it will work out. But at this time it’s not looking so good.
It is true that unification is the purpose of foster care. However, we have to think of the child and that they will have a 50/50 to return foster care and can become frequent flyers. For many of us who love to foster, our biggest fear that the child we have loved and cared for, return to foster care and they end up new foster parents that do not know them. It’s about consistency of care, I think if the parents are conferable with you as a foster parents and their child returns to you, it will be easier for the bio parents and the child. But that is not how the system works. There are more children they foster parents. So frequent flyers will go from home to home until they leave the foster care system.
The foster care system is complicated and disrupts the lives of families, extended family and the foster families. We are not enemies of each other if we learn to work in the foster care system of our home state. I have a great Foster Care Team, my case manager, the child’s case maker (who is over worked), the Guardian il litem, Foster Mentor, other members of my PTT class who are fostering or adopting, Medical doctors, the Bio Mom when she is working hard and communicates with me. We all have the same goal is to reunify, but at the same time we know it can fail horribly and we have to prepare for that too.
Communication is the key for this process to work properly. But it is hard, I have met plenty of Bio Parents that fight for their children and have their kids back in 6 months time. But I have also seen parents that have chosen to keep their children in the foster care system for years, because they don’t want to let them go, but they don’t what the responsibility of the children. They work the system enough that their parental right are not taken away. Here the children suffer greatly. If it was only for the money, I would not be working with the foster care, getting a regular job pays better. I it because it takes a village to raise a child and if we work together, the child will grow to be a good member of society and not a broken lost child.
I love your spirit and heart. You are clearly in this for the right reason. I love that you are routing for the Mom and hope she succeeds. [ For many of us who love to foster, our biggest fear that the child we have loved and cared for, return to foster care and they end up new foster parents that do not know them. It’s about consistency of care, I think if the parents are conferable with you as a foster parents and their child returns to you, it will be easier for the bio parents and the child. ] Yes!
I like your response. We are suppose to support and encourage the bio family best we can. Respect also and kindness. We are to protect also and in some cases the family is not good due to abuses. But in the cases of my foster kids whom I’ve adopted I had the encouragement from the bio families. They wanted me to adopt their kids because they could not care for them due to circumstances in their lives. This is tough job in life and opinions are important whether bad or good stories the stories are true and we all need to listen to the stories and prepare your self for hopefully a good ending. But not always
I have a foster baby in my care and do not receive as much money as you think. Because I have an infant, I received vouchers for car seat, clothes and formula etc. When I work, the state pays for her childcare. I don’t believe there’s a conspiracy out there considering CPS goal is to reunite families
Just came across this while doing some research on our own journey to adopt from foster care…
I’ve seen this sentiment on a lot of adoption resources, and I think it’s worth repeating here. Adoption is NOT about finding a child for every family that wants one. It IS about finding a family for every child that needs one. Try to remember that when you think about foster care. Obviously, I know everyone goes into this because they want a child… but it’s more about the child than it is about us. So when I see the sentiment that trying to adopt from foster care isn’t worth it because you might not be able to “get” the first child who stays with you, or the idea that there “aren’t enough” babies to go around, I feel sad. It should be great that there aren’t more babies that need adoptive homes! Try to remember that it’s not about “getting” the child you want, it’s about that child finding the family they need.
That said, I totally understand the hesitation around loving and losing. We’ve had the same thoughts. But there are thousands of waiting children (i.e., children who are already legally free for adoption) who can be adopted without fostering first. If you’re afraid of potentially losing a child you love, consider that route.
If there are thousands of children waiting for adoption, then why is it impossible to adopt them? We live in Colorado, and we’re told by an agency representative she’d never heard of a family adopting a TPR child directly. In fact, we were told they wouldn’t support that anyway because finding foster placement was their concern. Look around; many sites tout the “100,000+ children waiting for forever families”, but no one cares to explain how to adopt them.
Lisa, you did not get good information from the person you spoke with. Perhaps in her county she doesn’t currently have a child that has already had their parental rights terminated. And perhaps she is fortunate that in her experience every child whose parental rights were terminated were adopted by their foster parents, but in fact there are 100,000+ kids in the US foster care system that are currently available for adoption. Most of these children are older than age 5 or in sibling groups. You can adopt children in other counties, and in other states, although it isn’t as easy and it takes working with a good agency to help you find the right child. Creating a Family has LOTS of resources on how to adopt from foster care. One tip I would suggest at the very beginning is that you consider working with a private agency that has a contract with Colorado to place foster children for adoption.
I have the same thoughts as Lisa. I am now licensed for Matched Adoption in Texas, after my first agency tried to force me into fostering, then closed their doors to adoption. My home study was submitted on a sibling group age 15, 16 and a single male age 13 prior to Christmas. The only response our case worker got was the sibling group was the kids are no longer interested in adoption, which is unbelieveable, and on the 13 yo my case worker was told the other agency was going to review the 4 family files after the holidays? So they let this kid sit there over the holiday thinking no one wants him? I find it unconscionable and disgusting that adults wouldn’t review files prior to a holiday. I see so many children on Adoptuskids and our T.A.R.E website that are available, but sometimes I wonder why there is not a sense of urgency, other than the usual response of overworked and underpaid. I can’t imagine the child’s frustration on the other side. My heart breaks. I’ve talked with my case workers and agency. It’s just frustrating. I understand why good families look elsewhere for adoption because it seems it is a game to the State agencies and case workers. I mean, I’m looking at ages 10-16 and include sibling groups too. They say oh, those are the groups that go fast. Really? Just look at how many kids are in Texas that are now ready for adoption and hopefully you’ll understand the frustration. It’s a really sad game they play not only with perspective parent’s lives, but more importantly – with the children’s lives.
Have you checked out http://www.adoptex.org or http://www.adoptuskids.org? I haven’t adopted from there, yet, but look at both of them often.
We are foster parents with a 15 month old. She was a two day old infant emergency placement. After a long year of up and down, we are now waiting for the last two steps of our adoption to go through.
How scewed. Yes, it has to be about about getting the child you want, not just putting the child first. We are the ones opening our homes and wallets and deserve to choise what we pay for. These are secind hand children and beggars cant be choosers. The children should be grateful to the fullest someone else wants them
You are right about one thing: it’s not JUST about getting a child for a family; it’s also about getting a family for a child.
HOWEVER, there are NO second-hand children. NONE. They are not “beggars” who must be grateful that someone wants them. Each child is deserving of a forever home in which they can grow and flourish in love and nurture. That is a core belief that drives all that we do here at Creating a Family.
Our situation is different but revolves around the same concept.
Our great nephew was placed in foster care on a Native American reservation which we reside on. His mother is not fit to care for him so being his great uncle and aunt we also have adoption of the older sibling, we were asked if we could take the child. A plan was set in place by social services for temporary placement in foster care for 3months and a 1month transition to also occur before his placement with us can be complete. We are the child’s care givers Monday thru Friday while the foster parents work full time. The foster parents put a petition seeking peremant guardianship a month after being notified the baby will be removed from them. We also petitioned for our nephew being that was the plan for the baby to be given to us.
We went to court and the judge postponed the hearing. It’s been 8weeks and no court date. it felt the judge did not hear our side, we made valid points as to why social services is recommending relative placement for the child. The judge made it sounds like we are not present in our nephews life when in reality we help with his development physically, emotionally and mentally.
This is a stressful and heartbreaking thing to endure. We want our baby home already.
Leslie, I strongly encourage you to find an adoption attorney in your state to advocate for you. An adoption attorney is not the same as a family law attorney. Creating a Family has resources for helping you find a lawyer that specializes in adoption: http://bit.ly/24sO2QE
Thank you for the advice! I appreciate it very much. I’ll look into that.
I don’t get it . why really we need to pay to addopt children ?? How many children need safe and loving home? Let’s be realistic ask yourself questions how many kids end up 18 year old never been adopted because State asking for money how about the state should pay to people to take care of those children not to push them foster home to foster home and just wasting all that money while lots,families actually saving those children from sex abuse from being killed , and the homeless end up in the jail why it’s all happening because state pretty much charge you $20,000 to adopt a child I think it’s so stupid that you don’t want to give the child life not because people they don’t want addopt people can afford it but they can’t afford it raise the children put them to the college and make a real person.I don’t agreed with a state
The state does pay foster parents to adopt. Its called “adoption incentive”, and that usually includes free healthcare (Medicaid) along with food stamps. That allowes child protective services to meet their monthly quotas on children they force into “care”, so they can keep those million dollar government grants rolling in! Most children in “the system” these days, are there to profit others. I wouldn’t of believed it myself, had it not happened to my family. “Legally kidnapped” is now a worldwide epidemic.
If this continues I would also bring up ICWA laws. If the child is Native American then you should have a tribal caseworker as well as a state caseworker. According to ICWA family should be the first resort for care.
This is what Social Services is. The incentives are far more important than the child. Look into America’s #Taken and legally kidnapped, to start. There extreme corruption and violations of the Parent’s Amended Rights. It’s happening all over the Country. Please be aware of this when approaching Fostering and/or adoption. The incentives do NOT pay them when they are placed with natural family. It’s title IV funding. Please take this into consideration and look into it and if you/anyone is proceeding with a TPR foster-to-adopt plan take natural parents words into consideration as well. And yes fostering is about helping a the children threw this as its no fault of their own. They say reunification and kinship is first approached however it’s not paying them. Blessings
ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) Federal Law created to keep native children in their culture. Relatives have rights.
That person could not be more incorrect. We adopted from foster care, twice. But we were not looking for little babies like most people who seem to go into foster care. We wanted older kids, ones who were not going back to biological family ever again. We adopted one 8 months after inquiring about him initially, and adopted our second seven months later. We were actually matched with #2 a month before the adoption of #1 was finalized. Both were 10 when we were matched.
Yes, they had some behavioral issues. But therapy and empathy from us, as well as finally having a loving and stable home and realizing that trust was going to take time did wonders. Our boys still have the occasional issue, due to triggers from PTSD, but we all have learned what to look for and we can head them off at the pass before it gets bad.
Thank you Lilith, I loved hearing this. We are feeling impressed to consider adoption of an older child too. Looking to connect with someone who is already there. Let me know if you are interested. Blessings to you. Tina
What state did you adopt the child from?
Just went through the horrific experience of my two foster children one two and one five being taken from my home that they’ve known for two years to be reunified with their father whose a convicted felon and who just got out of prison sixty days ago…can anyone offer support groups or links to help
Unimaginable grief and loss, I thought me and my wife were prepared after countless back and forth, but we honestly thought this wouldn’t happen since he was in prison and then just released …so lost and don’t know what to do if any
Carrie, just read your letter. I’m so touched by your dilemma. Hope you are okay by now. I have two great-granddaughters 1 & 2 that my daughter is temp fostering.
Parenting is loving the children the best you can for as long as you have been given. It is challenging to love children you know you will have to let go especially as most return to situations that don’t seem to be ideal. But in protecting yourself from loss you might miss out on the blessings. We experienced the loss of 8 babies in 3 years prior to and while being foster parents. Those losses made us even more determined to have children in our lives if only for a while.
2 1/2 years ago we accepted foster placement of P and S (a 1.5 and 3.5 year old brother and sister). Shortly after, with 1 day notice, they were moved to the home of one of their relatives, we heard they moved around some but after 4 months they came back to our home. In their absence we had applied to adopt a sibling set. We were not selected because the other family didn’t have other children in their home who would have to be moved. At that time though we were sad, we decided to continue to be there for P and S for as long as they needed us. Later we heard the adoption disrupted but we said we would not just turn our backs on P and S, a hard decision when everything to that point seemed to favor bio parent.
Fast forward almost two years when P and S, now almost 4 and 6 were scheduled to go home. Though it was not what we hoped for them, we fully supported the reintegration, that was our job as foster parents. We supported bio parent, prepared the kids for the move, even packed and moved many of their belongings. We got to the last home visit and things didn’t feel safe when we went to drop them off. We called the workers and took the kids home with us. Some things happened that night, lucky the children weren’t there to see. The reunification was put on hold. Another 6 months have passed and both parents recently relinquished their parental rights before their termination hearings. We have some work to do before adopting but the hard part is behind us. We will be able to tell the kids everyone did everything they could and in the end bio parents made the difficult decision to let them go. It would have been so easy to say at many points that this wasn’t what we signed up for. Thank God we never did. Signed, the family that almost wasn’t.
How does someone get to foster a child if the parent asks you to take their child to keep them out of the CPS system?
A young girl has asked me to take her newborn (born just 2 days ago), because she has another daughter in foster care so they didn’t let her bring new baby home, even though she’s been doing everything they ask her to do, but just hasn’t finished program yet…
So baby is now in CPS hands but mother wants me to take care of baby until she finishes required things…
Is this possible or unheard of?
It is not unheard of at all. The answer depends on the state you are in and sometimes on which county. The mom should make her preferences known to her case worker. You should also call the caseworker and let her know that you are willing and able to take the child. You may need to immediately start taking foster care parenting classes, although not all states require this for fictive kin placements.
My wife and I have been fosterparents for a year now and agree that the system is broken.We were just informed today that a aunt who didn’t care about our foster child a year ago is now demanding that she is moved to her home so her drug addicted mother can be in her life after losing her reunification rights. What a joke this social workers are ,they lie and set foster parents up for failure. To all those wanting to be able to adopt in California, don’t foster you will only be set up to fail and be filled with broken promises.
I have the same situation where a grandmother that dumped her grandkids into the foster care system in order to put pressure on her child is now demanding them back since the child is not performing….talk about emotional abuse and system abuse
Yes, but you would need to be screened and approved like any other resource family. The only way around that is if you filed for custody of the child and the family court judge grants the motion against DYFS(aka DSS, DCP&P).
My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant for over 11 years now.
We both have issues. My wife’s condition is better than mine. We have now
entered into the idea of a sperm donor. My wife has tried three times with no success.
We are also in the Foster Adopt circle which has been rough at best.
We have had two infant girls and one infant boy over the last year.
All were taken to other family members; Uncle, Grandma, etc.
The foster care system is definitely broken here in the state of California.
The idea of reunification is great as long as the children aren’t being put in harms way.
What we know of the extended family members that the children we had went to were
just barely over acceptable. Past druggies and convicts to put it lightly.
Are we hurt? Of course. But when you get a glimpse of what the state finds acceptable you have to really look at who you are dealing with. A state that has NO clue.
Most states are so afraid of getting sued from an extended family member that they will
quickly place the child with one of these members and then call it reunification.
It’s a very hard battle. The states are clueless in one way, but extremely powerful in another. Getting a child through foster care these days is a faded dream.
It’s so sad. We have neighbors that went to great lengths to do things somewhat illegally
in order to get their two kids. Risky but tempting.
This has been our heartbreaking experience in Texas, as well. The system isn’t set up to really help kids or change long term outcomes for them.
I hear people say all the time “I don’t know why people go overseas to adopt when there are so any children here waiting.” My response is “The system here is messed up and not in favor of long term outcomes for kids and, frankly, people don’t want to suffer the heartbreak of dealing with this system. They’d rather pay a lot of money for a sure thing.”
I’m sorry for your losses. It is a tough road and not about kids at all. I am not sure what it’s about…money, politics, smoke and mirrors, numbers, etc. I just don’t get it. It is the most illogical thing in the world.
You are so right and the saddest part is that the children are the ones who get the short end . My wife has never been able to have a child in 24 years so we were told oh go to foster adoption agency and they will place you with a child.What a joke these social workers are they are so blind to the truth even when it’s posted all over Facebook about the unfit parents and what they are doing..the only word they know is reunification. The last child Gabriel that was sent back to his crazy parents was murdered so now they decide to investigate the social workers..I pray that God exposes these over paid heartless people from hurting God’s children anymore.
I am so sorry what happened to you and your spouse. I am sorry for your heartbreak. My husband and I had 3 miscarriages and I have no children of my own.
In most states, social workers make relative a small amount in comparison to other occupations.
Also, in most states, they require a family reunification plan first. This is because it has been found that no matter how ‘bad’ a child birth family is, the child usually prefer and thrive better around their family. I am not saying it’s right or wrong, just reporting the studies. And, think about it, suppose someone removed you right now from your family, spouse, loved ones, community, job and put you in a strange place with no money, resources and no way to get back to ‘your life’. How would you feel? How would you feel if you never got a chance to talk to your family or loved ones again? Imagine some strange people and law enforcement dragging you out of your home and putting you in a locked nursing home or hospital and no one told you anything.
This is similar to how these kids feel, but worse because they are kids and totally powerless.
So, this is some of the reasoning why the courts try to put them with family. I realize that this may not always be best for safety, but I am just suggesting some of the rationale behind these decisions.
When parents are not responsible, others have to try to figure out what to do for these kids. I’m sure everyone do the best they can, but no one has all the answers.
I wish you the best in all your endeavors
I am sorry to hear about your frustration regarding foster care. Yes, the “system” is broken. It is even harder to experience infertility, go through the rigorous ordeal of becoming approved to foster to adopt, and then find out what the minimum requirements for biological families to receive placement of their kin are.
That said, having been adopted, having experienced infertility and fostered newborns and infants and eventually adopted 2 kids who came home to me from the hospital through foster care and which I eventually was able to adopt, I encourage you to hold out hope and open your mind to what fostering truly is–fostering a child and loving that child (no matter how short a period of time) with the intention of reunification. Only after reunification is not possible would adoption be considered. Whether we agree or not, who are we to deny a child their biological kinship over families past transgressions or modest home life. Poor people can love. Drug addicts can be rehabilitated. We should never wish the loss of a child to a family just so we can fulfill our own goal of parenthood. If that is why we are fostering, we should not foster and only seek private adoption. After all, one day there will be a time any child will want to know why they were adopted and in that we should be prepared to discuss the measures we took to support their bio parents and how much we were blessed to be given opportunity to be their forever parent.
Very nicely said Amanda! However, It’s sometimes probably easier said than done. My husband and I went trough “unexplained ” infertility road and now we are volunteering in a local shelter for children while working on our licence for “foster to adopt parents. “It’s been a tough road to recover from the infertility experiences and we both are frighten by a possible heartache …yet again. I admire your views, but I am not sure we are made for this ….I mean giving a child back ….We have friends who adopted 2 boys ( their first placement) – so we are hopeful, but scared as well ….still not sure if we should proceed since adoption is our goal…
We struggled with infertility and multiple losses. We started fostering almost a year ago. Taking care of these kids healed our souls. Yes, we have to give the kids back but the learning to love someone unconditionally and seeing the impact you had in their life brought us closure to all our grief and loss. We now couldn’t feel better about fostering and our goal is foster to adopt too. My advice… learn what you can handle as far as behaviors go, don’t take the first kids you are called on if it’s not a good fit. Take breaks when you need it, use respite. We are still on a break from our first placement that left us six months ago but we are doing respite and meeting lots of great kids while we wait for the right match.
I just want to say that no one wanting to adopt should be turned off by wanting to adopt through the foster care system. In the state I live in there are well over 500 children waiting to be adopted. Now yes, a lot of them are older kids but they need families too. I think people just need to rethink what will really work for them.
In our case…we started out with a lawyer to adopt a newborn. Then we realized that we would never have that kind of money and felt like we would never become parents. Then, someone talked to us about the foster care system. I was like oh no way…I absolutely will not foster. I knew I couldn’t do it I knew that the goal is reunification and I do believe that’s important if it can really work out for the best. But you see, I was the. Told we can opt for adoption only! Never say yes to a child working on reunification!
Seriously, I had no idea. So that’s what we looked at. An adoption specialist came out and saw the room we had been working on for the nursery.
He stepped back, after seeing all the toys for younger children (remember we originally were looking at adopting a newborn) He said, I just want to be honest with you, most adoptions, most are not very young children. Most of the very young children were the youngest in a sibling group.
So we rethought… We talked about it and discussed it and came to the realization that we wanted more than one child so what was the point of doing this process again if we could just open our selves up to adopting a sibling group. So we changed the paperwork on what we were willing to adopt.
At first we had 1 child age 0-5, any race, some disabilities (depending on what it was–our home wouldn’t be wheel chair accessible)
We changed it to..
Sibling group of 2 -willing to discuss 3, ages 0-8 willing to discuss ages 9 & 10, any race, some disabilities.
We took the classes and got busy. We actually got a phone call before our home study even began–**WHICH IS VERY UNLIKELY FOR THE MAJORITY **–
We got this call because everyone else said no except the foster parents but the foster parents only wanted the one the one child already in their home not the siblings.
So after thinking and praying we moved forward. A month later we met them, 13 days later, they moved in.
A sibling group of 3. Boy, age 8; girl, age 6 & boy, age 3. They are mixed, white and Hispanic, no disabilities.
A lot to take on yes but I didn’t know what it was like to become the parent to one child so might as well go for 3. Lol They were meant to be ours and we were meant to be theirs. We created our family through the foster care system and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
We finalized the adoption 6 months later, February 2015.
Keep trying. Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to adopt through the foster care system. There are wonderful children who want to be loved and want to love.
Our 3 were all in separate foster homes. They were so happy to be back together. They moved around a lot and have finally had the past year of stability and they needed that.
Good luck!! God bless!!
Laura, thank you so much for painting a realistic picture of foster care adoption.
It is a horrible, disgusting thing to do to take a child away from its parents against their will and I don’t know how the people who do it live with themselves. How do you look that child in the face every day knowing you stole it from its real parents? Adoption is a lie, a big fat dirty lie, adoptive “parents” are never really parents.
Janice, in many (probably most) cases of children being removed from their parents due to abuse or neglect, I think you could make a good argument that it is the actions of their biological parents that should be criticized.
We have a neighbor who has a couple of their own kids, then has 7 Foster Kids. I think half of the foster kids were removed from the Foster Mom’s sister and the sister is in jail for drugs. The Foster Mom is crazy nuts. Even my other neighbor posted on her FB about how she was so upset at hearing this foster parent screaming and cursing at these kids. I wonder what goes on behind closed doors, when as the neighbors, we hear her verbally abusing these kids. Including dropping the f-bomb at 2 little 3 year old girls. Her biological child is bipolar and cruel. Shoving my kid, throwing rocks, flipping the finger. And when she was approached about this bad behavior, said my kid is a liar and in the same sentence said one of the boys was hit by a rock from this biological kid of hers. (So, I now documents and will go to the police if injury occurs.)
My comment is I see this family has all these kids as children for profit. I wish they were in a home of love, because they won’t be adopted as they are “income” , and they will be so psychologically messed up from how they are being raised. I think those over foster kids need to talk to neighbors when doing their reports. Because I know 3 neighbors who would tell them that these kids are probably in a worse situation from where they were taken. Fortunately, they are moving. They apparently, move a lot.
I am sorry to hear about your neighbor’s parenting style. Just to clarify however, a child would not be kept in care because the foster parent is profiting on them as income. The reasons have to do with the biological parents and the foster parent has little say in how long they stay in the system other than ifferring to be an adoptive resource if that was on the table. If the foster mother is a relative, child protective services is required to first call upon family members to take in children. It’s possible the foster mother may not even have much of a choice unless she wants to put her nieces and nephews into the system with unknown foster parents and likely have the siblings separated.
M… I know I am LATE very late to this but why would you be more concerned about the possibility of your child being injured by the neighbor than the ABSOLUTE assurance that there are children in your neighbors home who are being emotionally/ verbally abused (at best)? Why wouldn’t you contact the DCF agency or whatever agency removed them from their parent’s home? Sadly you are part of the reason the system is broken as well. People who see things that are wrong but would rather ignore the problem… that is until a child is severely hurt or death occurs and then you come out of the wood work and say, “I suspected but I was afraid” – I wonder how afraid that child was that needed you to speak up for them but you didn’t.. PATHETIC
OK, then tell my son who was repeatedly beaten that he ended up in a three week coma, was only given tattered clothes to wear, only fed one meal every other day and had to live in filth that he was “stolen” from his “real” parents. He was 8 when he was taken from the home, so he knows exactly what was going on. His “real” parents also ended up killing his younger brother by beating him severely and both of them are in jail for a good long time for murder.
I read your comment to my son and he called you an idiot. I had to tell him that was not a nice word to use, but unfortunately for you he is right. Talk to kids who have been in foster care and were abused by their “real” parents and let them laugh at you when you suggest those who adopted them are not real parents. Because they will.
I realize you types this over a year ago but I’m just seeing it and I hope you see this because your comment infuriates me!!
How Do I look at MY children in the face knowing I took them from their real parents?! Are you freaking kidding me??? This is how. My oldest son has a scar, a big one on the back of his head that you can see because he chooses to wear his hair short. That scar came from his so called real mom when she slammed him down and his head hit the coffee table. That’s just one of his scars. My daughter has a scar on her just above her lip where her so called real mom took a razorblade and sliced her with it because she sat he cup on the table where the was using that blade to cut her coke up. I should feel real terrible for taking them away huh? When dhs picked them up my daughter had a bloody nose from the real mom punching her …she was 5. A baby!
My youngest was 2. 2 years old not able to defend himself. She kicked him numerous times. He was thrown against the wall.
So how do I look at them And call them mine knowing they were taken away from her?
Just fine because she could have ended up killing them. She hated them. They are well taken care of and loved now and they are MINE. Adoption is a beautiful thing. I don’t know if you had your children taken or what but you need to look at the bigger picture!
You mean the people who beat her, denied her food and warm clothes and who still has scars? She was eight when SHE told her teacher to call DCFS. She calls us Mom and Dad because WE are the people who care about her, not the people who share DNA and lost the privilege to be called parents after they decided to use her as a cigarette ash tray and put out their hot butts ON HER SKIN.
I’m going through this right now. I tried legal adoption, it’s too expensive and honestly comes off as legally buying children to me. I was asked at the beginning for $5000 and if I would be able to pay birth moms rent, car insurance and a whole bunch of other things. I turned to foster care because they are always advertising adoption. I go to a Mapp class and it’s the opposite, it’s about reunification. Well, we took our chances and we got 2 beautiful twin boys right from the hospital. The problems that the parents have are terrible and here we are a year later and the parents are still in the same situation, which is dangerous for the children, but they will be getting their children back. Our agency has told the courts that these children will be back in the system in a matter of months, mom has schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anger management issues bordering on violent, can’t process directions, and now it’s realized that she may also be mentally delayed. She can’t legally work but she is going to be trusted to perform the hardest job, that of a parent. I pray for my children every day, I pray I don’t read about them on the news. Once they are returned home, we will close our home. That will be the end of our journey of trying to start a family.
Have you considered private action to terminate parents rights for the state? Often times there are loop holes in state laws and often times social workers hands are tied because reunification is always their first plan but they personally dont want the child returned. I live in SC and in SC you have to show 2 of 11 things (or something like that) to seek tpr in private action as the foster parent. Just a thought I’d pursue before giving up.
Tell me more about this please. I am Guardian to two kids. The DSS agency gave them to us, because we knew the family and were licensed by another agency to do foster care.
Now fourteen months later biological mother has made no progress, but the DSS agency dropped the termination process because they were with us and safe.
They will not be “safe” until termination happens. Think of every bad thing that can happen to a kid, and Mom did it, profited from it, etc.
What do I do so I can tell these kidos no Mom can’t just walk through the door and take you any day.
If it were me, I’d hire an attorney that specializes in adoption law and consult with them about how to get DSS to take action. Creating a Family has resources on how to find an adoption attorney.
Here is the other article our case worker referenced:
Our foster-care caseworker referenced this blog as the reason she does not think we will make good foster parents. As she states, we are infertile. We have no children in our home. The state priority is to reunite families. Thus, we are no good candidates for foster care.
So given the state of international adoption (a majority of the programs have closed and remainder are priced out of our ability to pay) and the state of domestic adoption (we are priced out of the domestic infant world) What options are left for infertile average Joe’s?
And please be realistic. Surrogacy is twice or more what domestic adoption is priced at.
What are childless couples suppose to do to grow their family if they exhausted all their medical options (yes, that includes embryo adoptions as well). Your site is suppose to be a resource to help childless create their families. I must say I was mad our case worker is using your site to validate her opinion that we don’t have any business trying to adopt from foster care.
I have to suspect there is a lot to this story I’m not hearing. I stand by everything said in the blog, including the fact that there are 104,000 perfectly wonderful kids just waiting for parents. What I have to wonder is if your social worker perceives that you are not ready to adopt a child that is legally free (usually kids over the age of around 5-6) or are not ready to foster to adopt because you aren’t prepared for the possibility that the child will not become yours. I can assure you that infertile couples adopt from foster care all the time. In an ideal world they are well prepared beforehand for the realities of foster care adoption.
There is more to this story, but this is the internet. Bad things happen to people that post their life story on the internet. I will tell you this. I’m in the medical field and I know that there are adoptable infants in foster care. I care for them daily in my profession. I also know that foster care case workers will lie to your face and tell you that only older children are available from foster care. I know all about the Adoption and Safe Family Act and how almost all states ignore this federal law and how foster families get their hearts ripped out on a routine basis because the priority of foster care is reunification. I know how many children die in the foster care system due to the problems in our foster care system. My infertility prevents me from having the child that I long for. I’m frustrated that your site is used as justification to raise another system barrier that childless couples have to overcome to adopt. Something needs to be done to reform the US Foster Care system. I would hope that your site would aid in that reform. Currently, it’s being used to prevent childless couples from adopting from the foster care system.
My wife and I had one daughter by birth, and then miscarried our second. Since then, we have been unable to get pregnant again.
We are licensed foster parents labelled as foster to adopt. Our social worker understands that our main goal is to adopt, but that we are willing to accept placements whose primary goal is reunification.
We currently have our third foster placement. The two previous foster children that we’ve had we would have been willing to adopt (had that been an option). We are also very open to adopting the third placement. This one seems far more likely than the previous two, but still is a long shot.
As a foster parent, you don’t know if you’ll get a call to accept a newborn into your life the next day. It takes a special couple to be able to deal with this, but we make due.
I say all of this to agree with you. Using this article as an excuse to prevent couples from adopting is reprehensible. I would encourage you to do what you can to get certified anyway. Request that you be assigned a different case worker… one that will be on your side.
My husband and I are heartbroken this week after hearing from the DCF (Massachusetts) that the child we have placed with us as a foster/adopt child 15 months ago will be reunited with her father after being in foster care for a total of 29 months (3 months, 8 months with one foster family and then 15 months with us, most of her 3 1/2 years).
This article is important because it really underscores how heartbreaking and how unlikely that foster to adopt will work out in the end. This particular child was taken away twice once for abuse, and once for neglect by both the mother and father. The mother did not pass her home study but they really tried to reunite with mother. Then without really telling us they actively pursued the father and gave him an intensive parenting coach for 12 weeks and counseling. They initially told us he was an illegal alien and he would be deported and therefore not a threat. Well, now he is receiving the most amazing services and all for free. So, basically it is near to impossible to foster/adopt if either one parent is just marginal because of all the help and time spent helping.
The sad thing is that the foster/adopt family spends years in this case about 15 months giving this beautiful child everything mentally, physically, educationally and material wise and the agencies do not care about the foster/adopt families at all. It puts the foster/adopt family in a bind because unlike just foster you really have your heart set on adopting.
Therefore it is so important for people who want to adopt out of foster care to realize that the chances are low at least here is Massachusetts since the amount of time and resources they put into each biological parent is endless. Some states do differ and it is so true that you have to look at your state. The court system here is so backed up that even though the TPR was scheduled for January 2016 they really pushed to help him with these intensive services in just enough time.
The agencies engage in what they call “concurrent planning” which means that they have one social worker working on adoption and another on reunification. The adoption worker working on reunification wants to get his/her job done and will work against the foster/adopt family.
It is a dead end and although you are doing wonderful things for a child and that will make you feel good inside the child will go back most likely depending upon your state. If you want a family do not pursue foster/adopt especially if you are getting a little older. Go straight for adoption. Time slips away and these huge institutions do not care about your family. The goal is to get the child back to their biological parents no matter how marginal they may be.
Trust me, the agency in your state will break you and your heart while you try and do a wonderful thing and in the end the child will be reunified unless the parent is really, truly “unfit” and that is hard to prove.
Even if you’re just fostering I agree with your sentiments that the foster family is only treated nicely when they need you for placement. There is little communication of what’s going on in the case. I’m sorry for your loss.
I totally agree!! Definitely hit a soft spot with me!
Hello – you nailed it! Unfortunately that concurrent planning you speak about is really still just reunification w/ a possible back up. But even if the parents were to lose their rights they can ask essentially the day in court for an extension and have it granted. I am dealing with a kinship situation and after this experience I want to volunteer to work with CASA or be an advocate privately for foster parents. I had the grandparents show up at the hospital where I was with the child and they wouldn’t tell me who they were and left me feeling very unsafe and DCF did nothing. If you are a deadbeat parent DCF is your best advocate but they scrutinize everything that I do. I have been told that even though he’s been in foster care via a C&P for 8 months now he will quite possibly be in my home for another year before there is any thought of removing him which means he will be 3 + years old by the time they remove him. So they will remove him from the only home he’s know. Massachusetts you have to do better than this.
Adoption from foster care is a beautiful thing, and reunification through foster care is also a beautiful thing. I think many prospective foster parents approach foster care as saving children from horribly abusive parents who do not love their children.
In my experience as a frontline worker most children enter foster care because of neglect, not abuse. Neglect is most often a pervasive family condition that with support and services can be addressed to a level that would allow parents to safely parent their children. A far to common example I have personally witnessed is domestic violence, where the non abuser was able to get services and be able to safely parent their children. Another example: An addict turning their lives around and breaking the cycle of addiction. For this reason most children are eventually reunified with their birth parents.
Many foster parents experience a profound sense of loss when this happens. I think that is a sign that the children who entered their homes were truly loved, and that is ultimately a good thing. We don’t want to place children in homes where caregivers could care less about their status or worry about their future. Professionals in the child welfare arena need to understand this, the same way that foster parents need to understand that Reunification and Adoption are both wonderful outcomes for the children and they can’t be against working with birth parents. The best scenarios I have encountered are foster parents who take a lot of joy and pride in helping broken families heal and come back together, and who are also there for the occasional child who needs a “forever home”.
A few key facts that weren’t included in the Article: While each state has different laws, statutes, and regulations. They all receive federal dollars as a major source of funding. They all have to comply with Federal Legislation in order to receive this funding. The Adoption and Safe Families Act 1997 (ASFA) states that a for a child who has resided in out-of-home care for 15 of the last 22 months, even if the 15 months has not been concurrent alternative permanency (adoption or guardianship) has to be pursued. Since this law was inacted many states are improving their practice, and considering adoption earlier. (especially after the federal government sues them for non compliance). Another key law that adoptive parents should be aware of is the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA)
Thank you KP–good points all!
Don’t get me started! I have 6 children (2 sibs groups of 3)adopted through foster care. Yes, foster care is about reunification for over 75% of the children in the system. The other 25% of the kids are waiting for a family for far too long!
When we adopted we understood that. You have to do what works for your family. In the beginning, we were very specific that we would only consider placements that have had parental rights terminated and have been waiting. Some counties do not allow this request. SIX blessings later, I cannot imagine life without one of them. Children from anywhere (including your biological children)can have developmental delays, emotional problems and more. Yes, people need training and education on how to handle children who have experienced trauma. Just like any other child you will do whatever you have to do to help your child through the rough spots.
I have helped families with children from foster care and from all parts of the world and their children have many of the same trauma related issues. Trauma is trauma and children are children and a prepared, trauma competent parent is what they all need whether they are from the U.S or somewhere else. PERIOD.
Karla: Very well said!! (Technically, the reunification rate is around 50%, the adoption rate is around 25%, with the remaining 25% for emancipation, long term guardianship, etc.)
I’m a 25 yr old female and single mom of two boys, whom I would never think of parting ways with ever. I’m a dedicated mother, a full-time student, and hard worker. My biologic parents were both deceased before my 18th birthday passing within one year and a half of each other. I’ve never had a great relationship with them, and I’ve never had an adult relationship with parental figures. I’m looking for a forum where there are adults who are missing the same bond, I’d love to be a daughter figure to someone/ couple, I have two toddlers that would love having grandparent figures, if you have any information on one please let me know thanks. My contact info is ambershan143 at the seventh letter of the alphabet mail dot com.
I think this is a great idea Dona! I am a 36 year old infertile woman. I financially cannot afford adoption. I have thought about foster care adoption but the older I get, the less it seems that will happen. I also say that because my partner already has two nearly grown children and he had made it clear that he wants no more. I’m not completely torn up about not parenting. I have worked with children all my life and I love caring for fur babies as well. What really hurts me is that one day I will not have grandchildren. No young ones to spoil, tell stories to or spend holidays with.
I want to become a foster parent in Pittsburgh, PA. Where should I begin? Thank you.
Cathy, you should begin by getting educated about foster care adoption. Creating a Family has tons of resources to help you at our foster care adoption page. One you might find particularly helpful is this one hour audio radio show on Adopting from Foster Care.
Thank you so much for this. We are considering adopting from foster care and I was feeling a little insecure. I am much more optimistic now. I’ve read either such negative crap or way to unrealistically optimistic crap on other site. What I appreciate about your site is that you strike a good balance which makes the info you say carry more weight.
I’m an a.parent of 2 foreign-born children … I hear all the time that I “should have adopted from FC instead of ICA”. This comes from many people due to the very publicized ICA cases of abuse. And, from people who don’t know the extent of my adoption option research. After much research & meetings, foster-to-adopt or adoption through our state welfare system was not a comfortable, best choice for me, but I do know many who have done so successfully & I cheer them for realizing the dream of “family”. I also know many who are still waiting.
I so value Brooke’s comment, “I too am disturbed by the perceived family building hierarchy.” I am also disturbed by this attitude that produces negativity for building a family outside of a preconceived, more politically correct path. When others know about my family decision through ICA … eyebrows raise & I’m looked at very differently than other a.parents that adopted domestically or through FC. The assumption is that the adoptions of my children are â€œquestionableâ€. To judge me for choosing a different a.path through ICA or to critically judge anyone for choosing another a.path is just so disrespectful to the adoption institution itself.
To counsel & “shove” a first/birth family down the path of an uncomfortable, coerced “adoption plan” IS unethical, inhumane, kidnapping, child trafficking, entitlement, etc, etc … But, to verbally criticize & “shove” a PAP down an uncomfortable a.path is also just as coerced & wrong.
I have also read blogs that support the elimination of all â€œprivatizingâ€ of adoptions, eliminating adoption agencies, thereby forcing ALL adoptions to filter through the state welfare systems. When I pause to consider that adoption model, Iâ€™m not so sure it will reduce the â€œabuseâ€ that is intended? Our current welfare system is primarily based on a foster care, reunification system. I question what would happen if ALL adoptions were required to be filtered through our current state welfare system, I would hope much change would be needed first (I would think)? And, at what cost in taxes?
A “plan” & “path” to build a family is a private, personal decision, a right all adults have. And, choosing the path of adoption to build a family is NOT an easy decision & requires education & “eyes wide open” regardless of the a.path. The PAP choosing the most comfortable “path” should be supported equally across all current adoption options (FC, Domestic Infant, Kinship, Open/Closed, ICA). ALL are equal choices for building family to those that make the decision.
I feel like so many other a.parents. The path to my children was extremely difficult, yet I’m completely at peace! And, I can so relate to Katy’s story … I also could share a harrowing experience about my 2nd ICA, still in process now for 8 years (5 years with my known daughter). There is NO perfect system. HOWEVER, I would do it all again (with some BTDT changes), in a heartbeat, to have the 2 children I call the “Loves of my Life”.
Here’s a ‘Reader’s Digest’ version of our story….
When we started the journey to adoption, we had one child by birth and had repeatedly faced miscarriage and infertility. Bottom line, we wanted to parent and we wanted more kids. So we turned to Foster Care. (Truthfully, yes, money played a part, but that’s been well-discussed, I think). We completed the stacks of paperwork, drove miles to attend trainings, got certified, and waited anxiously to welcome some of those thousands of waiting kids. And then we waited. And then we waited. (I DID say we were anxious!) Our first big surprise was how long it took to get placed with kids (bc we had been pretty open regarding age – up to teens – and gender and sibling groups, etc). FINALLY, after 10 months and 1 failed placement (she never came home to us, but we met and planned and, yes, it was like re-opening the grief wound again), we welcomed 2 older kids into our home (aged 7 and 8yrs).
Our next big hurdle was the sheer difficulty in adjusting to parenting 2 kids you don’t know (a stark contrast to giving birth and raising a child we had known since his first tiny fluttering heartbeat on the ultrasound!). I recall hearing the phrase ‘living with strangers for awhile’ and it truly fits. Following quickly was the challenge of going from parenting 1 child (from pre-birth) to 3 kids! New ages, new phases, new personalities, more kids than we have laps, the list goes on.
After the first 6 months or so, our NEXT big surprise happened… how LONG it could take to be able to legally adopt these children we were falling in love with and had long ago accepted as “our” children. You see, our 2 kids were not legally free when they came to us… They were expected to become ‘free’ in 1-2 months, MAYBE 6-12 months if there was an appeal. WELL, as it happens through court delays and zealous lawyers and other convolutions, it was 3.5 YEARS before we finally got to adopt. Yep. We made ‘history’ in the way you don’t want to as a hoping-to-adopt parent… all the way to the Supreme Courts (both state and federal… did you know there were 2 levels of ‘Supreme Court’? I am not sure I ever thought about it until we faced them).
Near the end of this harrowing journey (which was still marked by ALL the parenting challenges we could imagine plus more!), a social worker supervisor commented to me that she wished she had known how it was going to go before she placed the kids with us, bc then she would not have placed them with us at that time. My answer? I am glad (in fact I thank God!), that you did NOT know then, bc we would not give up the last 3 years of getting to know and loving our children, even for the removal of the pain. I understood her sentiment bc she felt bad for us, but it does not account for the kids… If WE had not taken a chance on them, they would have traveled through this harrowing, confusing, scary at times, journey with ??? who by their side? It comes down to this – if you knew that your children were going to face fear and heartache, would you want them to face it WITH you, or WITHOUT you?
Yes, adopting through foster care is hard, even extremely hard sometimes. NO, every person/couple is not ‘cut out’ to do it. We should never sugar-coat the hard stuff. But sometimes, you are capable of more than you realize. And, truthfully, PARENTING is scary and risky and overwhelming… it will lift you up to the highest highs and it will take you to the lowest lows, whether those kids came to you by birth or adoption. You should definitely go in with your eyes open. I will say honestly that I would never consider myself a person who could ‘give back’ a child I parented as ‘mine’… But I also lived through years of infertility grief (and continue to do so when it rears its ugly head) and I lived through 2 miscarriages. Those were not in my plan either. I can say that I am, without a doubt, grateful and honored to be my kids’ mom, even considering the pain we went through and the pain I am sure we will face ahead. And I am forever grateful that they (and we) did NOT know then ‘how long it would take’ to get here.
Wow Katy, that was beautiful. I loved:[if you knew that your children were going to face fear and heartache, would you want them to face it WITH you, or WITHOUT you?]
Regarding your comments in #60/61, could you leave a comment on my blog so I can email you? Rather than go back and forth here going off topic, I would rather contact you to explain. I think it will make better sense to you when I do.
I will also say- based on some of the comments, that I don’t think foster care adoption is for everyone- or better than other kinds of adoptions. I too am disturbed by the perceived family building hierarchy. I think any way someone chooses to create a family is beautiful- and a PERSONAL choice. Biological, ART,International, private domestic, via agency, via facilitator or attorney, or through foster care or kinship adoption- ALL can result in a child being safe and loved and a family being created. As long as it is legal/moral- I am a fan of ALL adoption and family building.
Good post- I just started following this site.
My husband and I fall into the category of childless, infertile couple who turned to foster care in hopes of building our family. I would NEVER tell an infertile couple to avoid adoption from foster care- or fostering-to-adopt. I would be honest about how it felt to have *my* 4 month old baby taken from us when her grandparents changed their minds and came forward for placement. I won’t lie- it felt like I was going to die. The grief was the worst I have ever experienced. BUT- and this is the most important thing- I truly believe I had to go through that experience and grief to be able to parent our soon-to-be adopted daughter (also a foster care placement).
I have a friend who went through years of hideous loss trying to conceive- miscarriages, loss of savings, loss of a home to pay for treatment. She turned to foster care because it was the only way that she and her husband could afford to become parents at the time (now they are in a much better position) after using their life savings for IVF that failed. She had empty arms and an empty heart, and all she wanted was to love on a baby who needed her love. She was aware that it might not be forever (in our county they do concurrent planning- so most young infants and children are automatically put in a home that is willing to adopt if reunification isn’t possible). It didn’t matter. She already had experienced so much loss and grief- helping a baby heal from his really awful start to life helped her heart heal too. She was one of the “lucky” ones and not only adopted her first placement- but one shortly after. She never experienced losing a child placed with her as a possible adoptive placement. And her experience has touched MANY others. Not all of us have had such a quick (if you call almost 2 years quick) path from fostering to adopting. If this friend had not decided to risk her heart and foster with hopes of adopting, WE would never have looked at that as an option to build our family. Not only that- but the fact that SHE was one of the ones who got to adopt her first placement really encouraged us. Of course we hoped for the same result. If she had come to me and told me how she lost multiple placements and went through years of grief before she adopted- I probably would have chickened out. I have grown up a lot and I have a less rosy view of the foster care system in our country- but I am SO GREATFUL for everyone who has taken that leap before us- because those stories set up others for pursuing their family. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt our daughter was meant to come to us. And I also have been able to maintain a friendly communication with our FFD’s grand parents.
Sometimes- you may not go into this with your heart in the right place- but it doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Now- of course I disagree with anyone pursuing it like a career opportunity. But if you want to love on a child in need- I don’t think it is bad at all to go into it hoping to adopt. Be informed and realistic- but if any part of you is whispering to try this, please get more info and start. As far as dealing with the loss of a placement- I will say it is easier if you know they are going to a loving, safe home. It is harder when you see a child reunified to a situation that is not safe (and unfortunately that happens). My county is pretty good about being realistic of their expectations of bio parents. Other counties in my state are not so great. In my current foster daughter’s case- I could have supported RU if her mom or relatives came forward right away and made the positive changes they needed to make. A year later- I don’t care if b-mom became president of the US- this child is ours- we are the only mommy and daddy she knows. At some point it needs to be about the kids, and not the biological family. Timelines for reunification need to be realistic- but much shorter in most cases, in my opinion.
I do agree w your opinion on thi. Your story most among others, spoke to me. I am 27 years old , have thought bout Adoption most omy life, but readng stories on this site and most o all yours has definitely concreted my decisions
We adopted the 2nd child we fostered and although it was a roller coaster of emotions I wouldn’t change a thing. Another couple we know adopted the only child they fostered. You just have to be realistic about the child’s situation. if you are only doing it to adopt then tell them that you only want children whose parents rights are being terminated.
Anne said “Adopting through foster care is a wonderful thing, but it isnâ€™t in the best interest of the children or the PAPs if there isnâ€™t a very clear understanding of the situation. The goal of foster care IS reunification, and while that isnâ€™t always going to happen you have to be able to accept that as a foster parent. Emotionally that may not be the best place for parents who have experienced loss, especially when the children often have their own emotional things to work through.”
we adopted our daughter from foster care, after parental rights had been terminated. Of course our child has things to work thru, that’s our job, to help her with that. I don’t think anybody is disputing that there should be a clear understanding of the situation, just that to say because I’m a first time parent or because I’m infertile, that I’m less than the right parent for our child is absurd. We were meant to be family, it took ages to find each other, but if we eliminate those that don’t already have kids or those that are infertile, are we really doing our kids a service. Our child has a ton of diagnoses and really NEEDED to be an only child. The fact that we had no other children was really an advantage. We had no preconceived notion of how she SHOULD act. We parent for attachment, she’s doing remarkably well and it drives me nuts to be stereotyped.
fwiw, if I were given a choice of having my “own” (and I use that term loosely, because in my eyes our daughter IS our own) biological child or going thru this again and having the daughter we have, I’d without a doubt pick the daughter we have.
We discussed with a doctor IVF (and had the insurance to fully pay for it and chose NOT to), talked with several infant domestic adoption agencies and ultimately felt called to and decided on foster/adopt and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that was what was suppose to happen.
Peskie, thanks for sharing your story.
Just to add to the mix, since infertility grieving and resolution is a process, one’s views and emotional responses will change and evolve over time. We were growing and learning a great deal during our “waiting” parent period in the domestic adoption program – all credit to our agency for providing the opportunities and direction to continue to learn even though we’d chosen our preferred program – and the situations we were open to at the start of our wait vs. those we were open to at the end were quite different because we knew more and had grown in our understanding of what parenthood is and how incredibly flexible and rich that experience can be.
We’ve adopted three special needs children through the foster care system and are working towards our fourth special needs adoption now. Perspective parents need to ask themselves why they want children in the first place. That will help them decide the direction to go.
I don’t believe it’s the adoption itself which is traumatizing (with exception to abuse cases). It’s the original loss which lead up to it and those that feel constant need to say adopted children and their adoptive families are not real, shouldn’t be together, children shouldn’t exist, magic fairy tale if family planning were present, birth control, abortion, yada yada yada. Do any of you who say this think about the impacts of your own statements on kids and their families?
“Those saying not to foster to adopt may have quite awhile to wait for an adoptable child. ”
If my wife and I pursue adoption, I would rather wait for the right situation than to rush into the wrong one. I would rather wait for a situation where the families were on board with the adoption and a family that we would be able to have a relationship with in an open adoption than I would a short wait where that wasn’t possible or one where there was coercion involved.
Sure it would be nice to have a short wait but not at the price of long term issues that would make it more difficult on the child than it already might be. That baby isn’t going to be a baby forever. They’ll become a teen and adult someday that will have questions that will need to be answered. But that’s just me.
Wow! This discussion sure took some interesting turns! Clearly there are a lot of strong feelings out there. I think it is wonderful that there are a variety of ways in which to build a family. I do find it concerning that many of the comments here seem to imply a sort of hierarchy that biological children are the most desirable option, followed by infant adoption, and finally foster care adoption. I think that mentality should change, as it does no one any good!
I also think we should focus not on encouraging or discouraging any particular choice for an entire group. That disrespects the unique individual–our personal history, our support system, our strengths and weaknesses, and so forth–that each one of us is. Just because someone may belong to one group (i.e. infertile) does not mean he/she cannot also belong to a other group (I.e. capacity to love and let go). I think the best we can do is share information, and trust that an informed parent will be the best parent. Two individuals who receive the same information about challenges and risks may arrive at completely different choices, and that is fine. We are adults making adult decisions, and we don’t need to try to make them for each other. Let’s share our experiences and leave the judging out. Advice is helpful if it is offered and explained, but not forced on anyone.
That said, here’s my experience in answer to Dawn’s question, take from it what you need:
We always wanted to adopt, regardless of fertility. It just seemed like a good way to make a small difference in the life of a child, and we knew we had the support network to do it. But we thought we may have biogical children first, thinking we’d be better adoptive parents then. When that didn’t happen we had a heart to heart and realized that we were whole as we were and didn’t need anything more. But we still felt called to adopt. So, we decided to stop waiting for what we had thought was the “perfect time” to adopt and got the process rolling.
After looking at the options, the need for parents to adopt older children was just so clear! And foster care is the way to do that. The training from our agency was very good, and prepared us well for what we were getting into. We were honest with ourselves about what we could do.
Once our home study was approved, we were matched with a sibling group (2 sisters, ages 8 and 11) in one month and they moved in two weeks later. We finalized the adoption after four months. The whole process from application to adoption took 9 months. I am told that this was not typical, but it was our experience.
We have been together 20 months now, and it has been an amazing adventure! We are growing as a family, and that includes some members of our daughters’ biological family. For us, the journey has been one filled with lots of prayer and a recognition that while we are the ones who must act, we are ultimately not the ones who decide what happens. And that liberation has made all the difference for us. I do not know what the future may hold. We may adopt again (my girls have already asked us to!) we may stop here, we may even have a biological child (I’ve chosen to reject the term “infertile,” as I believe in miracles–the two children I have are proof of miracles already). But we believe that this was indeed the right thing for us, trials, challenges, and all.
Amanda, thank you for saying better what I was trying to say: [Just because someone may belong to one group (i.e. infertile) does not mean he/she cannot also belong to a other group (I.e. capacity to love and let go). I think the best we can do is share information, and trust that an informed parent will be the best parent. ] It must be human nature to put people in defined groups, but it drives me nuts. Just because you are infertile does not mean that you are not the right parent for adoption from foster care through straight adoption or through foster to adopt. All parents adopting from foster care need to be educated and supported through the process.
“You obviously have issues with adoption as a family building option (I would dare to say that you have issues period, but thatâ€™s just me) and you are entitled to never have to choose such ways to build your families because you have the luxury and privilege of being blessed with reproductive systems that work just fine. Well, pin a rose on your noses, ladies”
As the building blocks being used to build the families, I think we adoptees are fully entitled to offer our opinions.
We are human beings in our own right, not just building blocks.
Btw I am on another forum and at present, there is a thread by an AP whose child’s bmother has offered to get pregnant to provide the AP and child with a sibling for that child. At least half of the APs on there can see nothing wrong with that. I suspect that many on here might not either. As an adoptee, I find it horrifying.
“And CB-for someone who claims to be so at peace with your â€œchoiceâ€ of a childfree life, you are very quick to take offense when someone like Greg dares to describe the true plight of those of us with IF as anything less than sunshine and rainbows. Could it be that you have unresolved issues surrounding your childfree â€œstatusâ€ that you have yet to deal with?”
I’ve explained my main reasons above.
The other reason is that this is something Greg has been saying for along time and he is using the above reasons as a reason why the entity adoption should exist FOR IF couples.
Now before you have conniptions, anonymous, by the above I mean as follows:
Building a family is a perfectly valid PERSONAL reason for a person wanting to adopt a child – in fact, I would hope that all people adopting want to raise a child to adulthood.
However, the reason for adoption existing as an ENTITY should be to provide a home for children who need homes.
Thus those wanting to build families should be adopting children who need homes.
Unfortunately, somehow the above statement still manages to get interpreted as meaning I am forcing people to adopt from foster care. I am not forcing anyone to do anything.
So in summary Greg:
1) I have no problems with you talking about how difficult it is to be IF. In fact, when I read your blog, I find that you are well spoken and put forward your thoughts clearly. I have learnt from you as I have learnt from others.
2) You did specifically include the “ChildFree”, so I was making a comment about that.
3) I personally as an adoptee do have an issue with this speech:
“However, in our childfilled society that outcasts childless and the ChildFree it makes it impossible to fit in anywhere in society. We are looked down upon as selfish self centered people. We are excluded from social circles. We are left w/out family as we age leaving us in a lonely place. We are expanded to carry the bulk of the workload in the workplace with those with children having no respect for our lives outside of work. Until those issues are addressed donâ€™t expect the drive to have children from the childless to change.â€
Because it comes across, perhaps unintentionally, as sounding as if you want to be a parent to fit in.
Judging by your own blog, I believe you want to be a parent because you want to raise a child not just because you want to fit in. It is not always obvious from your posts that your main reason for being a parent is becuase you want to raise a child – it often can come across as wanting to be like everyone else.
An adoptee reading your comment would worry that she/he was only being adopted to make you fit in – whereas I am sure that is not the case.
So, I am just saying, be more honest about why you want to adopt – those who only read the above comment may get the wrong impression.
As an adoptee, I would not want to be adopted just so that my parents could be like others.
I know itâ€™s not your intention but you are dismissing another experience. How do you feel when you are told by others that they know many happy adoptees and that you should just be grateful for wage you have? You feel dismissed and rightfully so. So you shouldnâ€™t do the exact same thing.
Plus you are someone who choose your lifestyle. There are others who didnâ€™t have that choice. Thus your perspective is completely different. Though I respect that someone can decide to live the life you have choosen and that itâ€™s brought you fulfillment and happiness. So you should respect others who didnâ€™t have the choices you did and have a different experience.
My point was that the childless need to be supported rather than outcasted. They are human beings too. If there was equal respect and support for them it would help lessen the drive for children.
We should get back on topic so I have said all I need to say on that
You did say the “childless AND the ChildFree so you were talking on behalf of ALL childless people. Also, I am childfree because I’m unmarried and not earning that high an income, not because I never wanted them.
I never said you should be happy about being IF – you know that I’ve always had a great deal of compassion for your plight. However, what did concern me as an adoptee is that that particular talk that you give about how the childless are treated makes it sound like you want a child to “fit in” with the fertiles. It makes it sound as if the child will be expected to cure you of all that.
Now, I know you better than that. I know that you want a child because you want to be a dad. So why not just be honest and say that instead of saying that you want to be a parent because you feel left out not being a parent.
I am from Massachusetts and my husband and I decided late in life (I was 44 and he was 46) to start a family. We went straight to DCYS and did training for fostering and adoption. We specified that our goal was to adopt. Within 5 months of completing our training an 18 month old little boy was placed with us. He was legally free and we adopted him 8 months later. 2 years later his half brother was born and also placed into DCYS care. We adopted him 13 months later. I am now 50 years old with a 5 year old and 3 year old and am having the time of my life. They are beautiful, smart, happy and full of energy and enthusiasm. My husband and I thank God every single day for giving us these most precious gifts!! I would encourage anyone thinking of adopting to do it through “foster to adopt”. I can be difficult but well worth it!
Thank you Marianne for sharing your experience. Give your boys a hug for me.
So wonderful to hear! My husband and I are also older parents. We have a biological son, who just turned 13, and we have always had foster-to-adopt part of our plan since we met a quarter of a century ago! We had hoped to have two biological children before adopting a sibling pair (newborn-5yrs age ranges), but once our son started kindergarten and we still hadn’t had our own bio baby #2, we figured we should start looking into the foster/adoption situation. Paperwork was done by the time he was in 2nd grade, and then my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I was the main caretaker for him, so we were not in a position to foster/adopt and bring two children into the mix at that time. We had been told that Dad didn’t have long, but he proved the docs wrong and hung on until my son was in 5th grade. It hit me harder than I thought it would, and getting Mom all situated took all my focus. Finally, this last year, we finished up the remaining requirements, including the home study, etc. We were just told that we “should expect our license by the end of January”. SO much waiting and anticipation over the last 6 years. As I said, we are older, I am now 48 and my husband is 54. We are very youthful, active, healthy with no major issues, and our freshly minted teen son helps keep us on our toes. From the time our son was born, we had just told him that “of course you will have a brother or sister”, telling him the we were going to eventually adopt, and every single day, from kindergarten until June of 5th grade, he asked us “when will I be getting a brother or sister?”. We have had a room set up, ready with crib, bunkbeds and a standby toddler bed for literally years. It doesn’t feel real yet, being on the cusp of being licensed like this, as all we seem to know about this process is waiting. Our area has a very typical “immediate placement” situation for newly licensed homes, and we have multiple friends in our area that have adopted foster children over the last 8 years that have given us some insight. We are hopeful for an initial placement that sticks, as there has been an abundant (sadly) number of newborn and smaller children needing adoptive homes in our area. One of the reasons for that is that there are a few mothers/families that sadly end up fulfilling that need by having baby after baby and just leaving them at the hospital.There is such a need in our area, and I know many other adoptive/foster families that are also in their late 40’s up to 52yrs that were blessed enough to offer a safe, loving homes for babies in need. Hopefully we are able to find a happy ending to our story like you and your husband have been so fortunate to have. Wishing you years of joyful memories with your sweet boys!
Celeste, really, if IF stay out of FC system?? I’m not remotely grieving my not having a bio child. I adore and love my child from FC as much as I would any child, have ZERO desire to have a bio child now after deciding to pursue adoption. Lumping all infertile people in the same basket is ridiculous. Some of us were meant to adopt, whether we can have bios or not. It was never about deserving to have a child and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Kelly, thanks for sharing that not all infertile should be lumped together! Adoption from foster care can be a great option!
we had great training while waiting, were given full disclosure on our daughter and honestly, expected it to be way harder than it is. A laundry list of diagnoses, but an even longer list of joys <3
Kelly, I think you raise such a good point. We tend to focus on the downside of inexperience when adopting kids from hard places, and don’t talk about the upside. I think foster care adoption can be a terrific option for first time parents, but I think they need honest information going in so that they don’t become jaded by the nature of adopting from foster care.
we’re first time parents and honestly, I think that gave us an advantage. We had no pre conceived notions of what to expect. Our child and her sister have pretty much same diagnoses. Ours placed with us, first time parents, we deal with it. Sis placed with experienced parents and disrupted. I don’t think the first time parent thing that somebody said has value to decisioning.
To Dana and Celeste and to all other fertiles I would say stay out of the family building business of IFs. If you have no intention of understanding what we have to do in order to create the kinds of families that you and your peers were able to create without effort or any discernible skill (and are therefore able to take for granted), please keep your ill informed opinions and biased beliefs to yourself.
You obviously have issues with adoption as a family building option (I would dare to say that you have issues period, but that’s just me) and you are entitled to never have to choose such ways to build your families because you have the luxury and privilege of being blessed with reproductive systems that work just fine. Well, pin a rose on your noses, ladies-
The rest of us are not so fortunate, and must seek out alternate means to become parents, and only we can decide for ourselves which paths to parenthood are best for us and our future families. You are in no position to dictate what paths are right for us, so stop pretending that you should have any say in something that should not concern you or need your seal of approval in order to go forward.
Foster care might be a great family building option for those who have the heart for it, but its impermanent nature is what makes it not a good fit for us, and we should not be bullied into it by fertiles who think they know what is best for us. Because guess what, you don’t! I am reaching a point where I am sick and tired of entitled fertiles who think that those of us who are IF should just be grateful that they allow us to keep breathing the same air that they do, all while we mourn our “abstractions” (don’t get me started on that ignorant comment and the diseased mind that it came from). Being able to have a baby through natural means doesn’t make you an expert on anything, it just means that you are lucky to have been born healthy in terms of reproductive ability-it doesn’t make you special.
And CB-for someone who claims to be so at peace with your “choice” of a childfree life, you are very quick to take offense when someone like Greg dares to describe the true plight of those of us with IF as anything less than sunshine and rainbows. Could it be that you have unresolved issues surrounding your childfree “status” that you have yet to deal with?
My final point: Parenting while Infertile is not a crime, nor should it be, no matter what you fertiles who cry “reverse discrimination” try to say. If you have nothing helpful to share with those of us who are trying to overcome IF in a lifegiving way, please keep your judgements to yourselves. We don’t need more obstacles thrown in our way than the ones we already face. Thank you
Anonymous: [Foster care might be a great family building option for those who have the heart for it, but its impermanent nature is what makes it not a good fit for us]. Keep in mind that there are two groups of children in the foster care system–those who are in the system while a decision is being made on whether reunification is possible and those who are in the system where the decision has been made that reunification is not possible and the plan is for these kiddos to be adopted. With the first group of kids foster care adoption does have an impermanent nature. With the second group, the risk is very low that they child will be reunified, thus, it is little risk of impermanence. Check out the charts in the blog for info on the ages, races, and gender of these waiting kids.
Those saying not to foster to adopt may have quite awhile to wait for an adoptable child. Being a foster to adopt parent, we have adopted 2 children (a baby and an older child) We currently are fostering 4 children (2 sibling groups) and hope to adopt them now that the county is going for permanent custody of them. I can remember 10 yrs ago when we first started the comment from the agency was “If you want to adopt, your best chances are through fostering” and I believe that to be true.
I agree with Dana. It seems like IFs feel that the deserve to have a child. And I as a fertile can not imagine that pain. Having said that, infant adoptions do fuel soooooo much abuse. And really any adoptions case so much pain and trauma. (mother is adopted, was adopted myself)
And we all know that adoption does cure IF. After all PPD for adoption couples is higher than natural couples. And then there is the failur to bond,… (which doesnt happen for all) some people cant get over it though, and will always NEED a bio child EVEN AFTER adopting.
I would say to IF to stay out of the FC system.
Celeste, have you seen research to support your belief that post adoption depression is higher for adoptive parents than for biological parents? I have not.
I think those couples who are infertile can make a decision whether foster care adoption is a good fit for them if they have good information. On the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/40688106167/), we have many many many people who are infertile who have adopted from foster care and are terrific parents. They key is to understand how foster care adoptions work and be prepared before going in. This can be done with good education and support.
I know it’s not your intention but you are dismissing another experience. How do you feel when you are told by others that they know many happy adoptees and that you should just be grateful for wage you have? You feel dismissed and rightfully so. So you shouldn’t do the exact same thing.
Plus you are someone who choose your lifestyle. There are others who didn’t have that choice. Thus your perspective is completely different. Though I respect that someone can decide to live the life you have choosen and that it’s brought you fulfillment and happiness. So you should respect others who didn’t have the choices you did and have a different experience.
My point was that the childless need to be supported rather than outcasted. They are human beings too. If there was equal respect and support for them it would help lessen the drive for children.
We should get back on topic so I have said all I need to say on that.
You are correct that having a child is a want not a need. “However, in our childfilled society that outcasts childless and the ChildFree it makes it impossible to fit in anywhere in society. We are looked down upon as selfish self centered people. We are excluded from social circles. We are left w/out family as we age leaving us in a lonely place. We are expanded to carry the bulk of the workload in the workplace with those with children having no respect for our lives outside of work. Until those issues are addressed donâ€™t expect the drive to have children from the childless to change.”
I didn’t realise what a life full of doom I was living! How about that!
And if you are expecting that a child will miraculously cure all the above, then you are placing a lot of pressure on that child.
in the uk we can now BREAK adoption orders on aLL cildren removed for adoption ID we get to keep one baby after..so dont rsk it as you will be told its NOT your child and we want our flesh n blood back….
Two of my daughters adopted through the foster to adopt program…one took about 2 years and the other almost 4, but they have wonderful children and it was worth the wait!
“Who on here has told you that all people suffering from IF should adopt from FC â€“ I certainly havenâ€™t. In fact, I totally agree with you that you are not a suitable candidate for FC adoption.”
Not on this board but on other boards it has been suggested to me as an alternative to domestic infant adoption. I believe you did suggest it to me on another board as well. I understand though you had the best of intentions and meant no harm by it. So no worries. 🙂
As far as me being a suitable candidate I don’t know that. What I do know is that we aren’t in a position to make that decision. Instead I’m trying to help out in other ways as I am currently working in the Big Brother program. I know it isn’t the same but hopefully I’m able to help someone recognize their potential.
“I donâ€™t believe itâ€™s fair to the child for their Foster Parents who essentially are legalized babysitters to have the expectation that they are or will become the childâ€™s parents”
I am not sure that FPs consider themselves to be “legalised babysitters”.
“I donâ€™t believe those people coming from infertility are necessarily the best fit to pursue adoption from Foster Care.”
I agree with you there.
“But I shake my head when those in the adoption community who have been hurt by adoption tell infertiles that they should adopt from Foster Care instead. ”
Who on here has told you that all people suffering from IF should adopt from FC – I certainly haven’t. In fact, I totally agree with you that you are not a suitable candidate for FC adoption.
I do think FC adoption is worth researching but that’s no to say that one must then go that path.
One thing I’ve heard about FC that many people do consider a positive regardless of whether they undertake it or not is that there often seems to be better and more regulated education both before and after the adoption.
As for family preservation and reunification, they aren’t the same thing. Family preservation programs are more about preventing the child having to be removed eg using programs like Homebuilders and reunification involves removing first and then gettingthe parents to work a plan. I have heard that those FC programs that use the Homebuilders programs are often more successful than the remove first then reunify ones and interestingly the FP programs also often result in quicker terminations and adoptions. Obviously, the FP programs aren’t suitable for all situations.
People like Cindy who have the mentality she does are the ones who should be pursuing Foster Care. Even if someone wants to help these children it doesn’t mean they are the best fit to help them. There are other ways you can help them such as mentoring.
You are an incredibly strong person who I wish nothing but the best and hope everything works out for you, those in your life and those who may enter your life in the future.
I recognize your perspective as being someone who has been hurt by adoption and I am sorry. I also recognize that you are uninformed on infertility and the impact it has on people, I don’t expect that you could understand it. Trying to compare losses gets discussions like this no where, so I’m not going to go down that road.
You are correct that adopting doesn’t cure infertility and should never be looked at that way. However, it does fill a childless familyless void that infertile couples have.
You are correct that having a child is a want not a need. However, in our childfilled society that outcasts childless and the ChildFree it makes it impossible to fit in anywhere in society. We are looked down upon as selfish self centered people. We are excluded from social circles. We are left w/out family as we age leaving us in a lonely place. We are expanded to carry the bulk of the workload in the workplace with those with children having no respect for our lives outside of work. Until those issues are addressed don’t expect the drive to have children from the childless to change.
You can help by supporting us, not looking down upon us, not shaming us and respecting us. Do the right thing, in the long run your community and society as a whole will benefit.
Wow I want Cindy to be my Mom, Foster Mom whatever. I love it when people exemplify ethics in foster care, guardianship and adoption.
She’s actually warm and encouraging to them about their trips to see their mother. Maybe she’ll never have the capacity to give as much of herself as they need. Maybe the skill sets are beyond her. But she should do as much as she’s capable of and how wonderful it must be to have a foster mom that lets them be themselves and takes time to make them feel totally OK about their feelings for her. Love that
One more note, this is SUPER important. If you cannot let yourself “attach” or “bond” to the child, please do not foster. Many of these kids (not all) have attachment issues and they need to form one with an adult, it is crucial to development. They can tell if you fake it. I know you might get hurt but we are the adults, we have to suck it up and do what’s right for the kids.
*when I say I fostered and “returned” I don’t mean disrupt, the baby went to live with extended family 🙂
Hi all! I haven’t read through all of the comments but I have adopted from foster care so I can give you my take on it. I went into it with the intention of fostering and if adoption came up as a possibility I would do so if the child was a good fit and vice versa. I was able to adopt my first placement. My first child, ever. I have fostered and returned and adopted from foster care twice. Both have special needs of varying degrees. This is a tricky topic, if someone had told me a couple of years ago I would happily adopt kids with the issues they have I would have thought you were nuts, so hard! Feelings change. For some. That being said, it really and truly is not for everyone.
The great thing is, you can foster and help out a family in need and you are under no permanent obligation. This is not to suggest you should disrupt the placement because you feel like it but if you REALLY cannot manage the behaviors, it is an option. It is also a great option because you can specify what needs you will and will not accept. The problem is, they of course don’t always know what needs the kiddos have when they first arrive into care. If you think you are great with kids, are able to use positive reinforcement, will be home often and have loads of patience, this might be the road for you! First child or 5th!
There is so much abuse that goes on in infant adoption–from pre-birth matching to short revocation periods. No one should be employing it. If you’re infertile, you’re infertile and adopting is not fixing that, so it doesn’t matter what age the child is when you adopt them, and you don’t need to have a newborn.
What is the big block to people just adopting children from foster care whose parents already had their rights terminated? Why are we even discussing kids who might go back to their parents? That’s ridiculous. The latter kids should not even be available for adoption at all.
The fact is that NO ONE is required to adopt. No, not even if you want to raise a child. You only WANT to raise a child. You do not NEED to raise a child. You already have found yourself not fulfilling the basic biological imperative of reproduction. Adoption is not reproduction. So I’d like to know what the heck is wrong with taking your time and doing this right instead of trying to take kids away from parents who aren’t actually deserving of losing their kids forever. This applies in infant adoption and it applies in foster-to-adopt situations where the parents haven’t lost their rights yet.
How would you like it if you were able to have kids and everyone around you was howling to take them? You think being infertile is bad? You’re losing an abstraction. Actually HAVE a child and then lose that child and come back and tell me losing the abstraction is worse.
Dana, I don’t agree with [If youâ€™re infertile, youâ€™re infertile and adopting is not fixing that, so it doesnâ€™t matter what age the child is when you adopt them, and you donâ€™t need to have a newborn.] Adoption is not a cure for infertility, but it is a way for loving people to be great parents. Adopting older kids is a great option for some, but not for all people. Many first time parents would do better adopting an infant and growing in their parenting with the child. Others can jump right into parenting a 5 year old with few problems. Each person needs to think through what is right for them, and the rest of us need to not judge.
And the reason we are talking about the option to foster with the hope of adopting is that only about half of the kids who are removed from their parents will be able to return to their biological families. They will need a permanent family and it is better for them to not be uprooted and placed with a new family if the family they are living with are able to become their adoptive family. Each disruption is hard for kids and if we can spare them one, we should.
I agree with what the social worker said but I must also ask: what is the alternative? I love how reflective this group is and I agree with all that is said. But I had some not so pretty feelings too. I mean, I must say it upsets me when people who already have children (via any route) say not to go this route. It especially irks me when people with financial means to go any other route say not to go this route.
Instead, I wish we could all come up with ways to support each other through it. And by “each other” I guess I mean myself, as I am one of those who believes I would be a good mom to a child with trauma/loss issues (or not). Have always so deeply wanted to be a mom to, honestly, a young child that my heart hurts. Have had the fertility door closed. The private adoption door closed due to finances. I say this NOT out of self pity but just because it feels like someone discussing my fertility issues, as if I have choice (ie: substituting foster care adoption though for fertility here).
Thus, I know that I am vulnerable to loss, and there is just no way to pretend that long-term foster care with a hope to adopt on my part would be a great avenue. This is not only because of my heart but because it feels ethically weird — by that I mean, I know my head (wanting reunification at all costs if that is best for the child) will not be in line with my heart (wanting the child to stay with me). It would be easier to hear from someone who has decided NOT to pursue foster care adoption for the reasons outlined above and had no other recourse financially to adopt.. after (like most of us) having had to accept fertility loss and a dead end there.
Where I am now is going forward with respite foster care (short term placements — planned, not emergency) so a child will be in my home for a short, specified amount of time and I (hopefully) will be able to weather the fact the child will leave given that is the expectation. Then, once I get my feet wet, I have spoken with one social worker who said she can match me with children who have either had parental rights terminated or whose plan has been switched from foster care to adoption. The latter is still legal risk but apparently “Less so”.
Part of the reason I am reaching out to every support group I can is to find others who have gone this path in my area to learn how they have weathered the storms and reached their dreams without compromising the child in any way. Do I feel like my heart can weather this? While my head says no way… my whole heart and body aching for at least one child must still say.. well maybe…
Yes, in most states and counties it is absolutely possible to be matched with a child that is a low legal risk–meaning that their parental rights have already been terminated (very low legal risk) or that their permanency plan has been changed from reunification to adoption (low legal risk). These are the 102,000 children I was speaking of in the blog.
To me, the key is to come at foster to adopt with altruistic motives. Dawn’s last paragraph is the key to it all. The kids are there and they need the right people. We are a foster to adopt home with two kids placed with us right now. Their mother is working her reunification plan and the kids love her very much. I am emotionally supporting them by cherishing every little item (socks, little notepads) they bring back with them from visits and encouraging them to tell me everything they want to about her.
I would feel better about reunification if any adult had anything good to say about the mother, though. They were shocked when the judge allowed her to try to reunify and have no confidence she will see her case through. That is all very unfortunate, but I refuse to rail against the broken system. I preserve that energy to nurture and heal the two kids I have with me right now.
Dawn does an excellent job here explaining the trauma and loss that start the road to adoption, even if it ends up being wonderful. I have 3 healthy bio kids already, so most people think we are crazy to take on 2 more and risk the stability and comfort that we have, but to me it means nothing if we aren’t using it for good. I have made wonderful friends with other foster parents and we all have this same thread in common. These kids are our mission field and we are fiercely devoted to their needs above our own.
Also, I have noticed foster care is a bad fit for families that value “obedience” above empathy. Therapeutic parenting and teaching the kids to connect to their feelings works! Rigidly demanding they display certain behaviors regardless of their inner turmoil does not. So, anyway, I am like a square peg in a square hole with my foster care experience. In contrast to the first commenter, my work and church family rejoice for us and the children for as long as they are with us. Our paths crossed, we poured out our love, and we just have to trust that we are making a difference, even if we aren’t together for a lifetime.
Cindy, so beautifully said!!!
“Foster care adoption also might be a good fit for them if they want to adopt a young child or sibling group and can accept that the first placement with them might not be theirs to keep, but that the would have done a great service to that child by providing a soft landing for a short time. ”
I think the second part of your statement should be the determining factor of whether someone is a fit to pursue Foster Care Adoption. Even if the person or couple is willing to take in or adopt an older child or sibling couple it doesn’t mean they are a good fit if they are unable to be selfless and if necessary let that child go forever. It’s why I could never adopt from Foster Care or even Foster a dog for that matter. I get attached and couldn’t go through that. For me it’s more about the mentality of the person/couple than it is what they are willing to accept that child being.
Dawn very nice article. fc is a feasible way to create a family. I donâ€™t think anyone should be discouraged from going thru FC to create a family, like any should not be discourage to go international or independent. They all have their own risk and rewards. I am hoping to adopt thru FC one day. And we are all very aware and share that the goal is should be reunification first. The hope of one day adopting does not interfere with us wanting to help a child while we wait for the one that will join our family forever. When we were discussing / choosing btw the three different types of adoptions we compare the risk in all of them. And we as a family we agreed that we rather had our heart broken because a child was being reunited with his family than have our heart broken because someone was trying to scam us out of our Money. We are more willing to go to FC than private because of this. We know that not all BM are out there to scam people but we felt safer with FC risks than private. Not all the families are the same, and yes money is a big big big part of it. No all can afford the 30K- 40K fees for international or private adoption. In some case FC is the only hope they have to create a family. We would like to think that money should not be a factor but it is. And no one should be judge for hopping to adopt to FC.
[The hope of one day adopting does not interfere with us wanting to help a child while we wait for the one that will join our family forever.] And that is the perfect attitude for those choosing to adopt through foster care that go the foster-to-adopt route! For those that can’t take that risk, there is always direct adoption of one of the 102,000 kiddos currently waiting.
Dawn, no one believes our CYS director. Her reality is so different from everyone else is just unbelievable. She been fined repeatedly by the feds for violations of the 1997 Adoptions and Safe Family Act. But I have yet to see any changes and I doubt I will because our county is so small compared to Philly or Pittsburgh. And the problems in those large urban areas are so massive. The question that arises from situations like this and I believe they are more common than not is how do couples that want to adopt resolve these types of system barriers in the foster care system? I don’t think allowing 25% or more of the foster kids (100k+)to age out of the system is a good answer for society.
“a general rule kids only make it to these lists if they are harder to place, so depending on what you are open to that might not be the best option”
Not exactly true, many states are required to photo list if the children are not in adoptive home when a child’s permanency goal has been identified as adoption and they are not in an adoptive home. Michigan is a perfect example. They have to photo list within 30 days.
Thanks KP. It differs by state. I wonder if case workers in Michigan consider out of state placement for those kids who they place on the photolisting right when their permanency plan has been set? Please share what you know. I’m curious about how many kids on photolists are actually placed out of state.
We ARE out of state near-relatives and we are very qualified and we are having a devil of a time for a year now getting adoption or even contact with our 6 immediate related children who were placed into a private michigan agency for adoption while we were essentially shunted out of the way. The state they are in is michigan. This is not a smoothly working process, to date, that we can see.
I don’t believe it’s fair to the child for their Foster Parents who essentially are legalized babysitters to have the expectation that they are or will become the child’s parents. I don’t believe those people coming from infertility are necessarily the best fit to pursue adoption from Foster Care. That’s not to say that there aren’t some who are great fits.
But I shake my head when those in the adoption community who have been hurt by adoption tell infertiles that they should adopt from Foster Care instead. To me they are just as ignorant (unaware not dumb) as those people who tell infertiles that they should just adopt. For the sake of the children, no one should ever suggest an infertile couple to do anything. Empathize with them rather than try to solve their problems. In the long run society will benefit from it.
In general I think it takes a specific type of person that has patience, passion for mentoring who is completely selfless to become a Foster Parent. Even those who haven’t gone through infertility who have children aren’t necesarily the best fits either. I’m not sure what the solution is to the hundreds of thousands of kids in Foster Care. As much as reunification should be the goal sometimes that is too much the focus and kids end up rotting in and aging out of Foster Care. Maybe it’s on preventing them from ending up in Foster Care but I don’t believe you can force people to be responsible parents or put them in a position to better parent nor do I believe it should fall on the tax payers to subsidize someone who is unfit to parent. I don’t think throwing money and enabling these parents will solve anything.
Greg, thank you for your thoughtful comment. The part I’d like to address is whether foster care adoption is a good fit for people who are infertile. The answer is completely dependent on what they want. If they want to adopt an infant where there is little legal risk that the child will be reunified with their birth family, then adopting from foster care probably isn’t the best fit for them. If however, they were looking to adopt a sibling group under the age of 6 or a 7 year old single child, then it might well be a good fit for them. As you can see from the chart that I included in the blog, there are children these ages to be adopted with very little legal risk. Foster care adoption also might be a good fit for them if they want to adopt a young child or sibling group and can accept that the first placement with them might not be theirs to keep, but that the would have done a great service to that child by providing a soft landing for a short time. I feel like there is a great deal of educating that needs to be done on the foster care adoption option.
Kristine, great questions.
[So ‘legal risk’ are children who are in foster care and the state is trying to reunite with their biological parents?] Yes.
[And children who are ‘legally free’ are children who are ready to be adopted?] Yes. They either have had their parental rights already terminated or their plan for permanency is adoption (meaning that no one expects their parents to get custody). The average age of these kids waiting to be adopted is 7.8. I included a chart in the blog with a breakdown by age. The median age is 6.9.
[Can parents who are not foster parents adopt legally free children and are there really 102,000 children that are legally free and available for adoption?] ABSOLUTELY
Karen, but there is a distinction between “foster care” and “foster care adoption”. A surprising number of people don’t know the difference, or that it is even possible to adopt from foster care, or that it is possible to adopt a child with no (or extremely low) risk of being returned to biological parents.
Adopting from foster care is not for everyone, just as other forms of adoption or fertility treatments are not be for everyone. We told our caseworker no legal risk, but got matched to a legal risk teen whose permanency plan was adoption. DSHS was trying to get bio parents to relinquish instead of going through TPR trial. Bio mom relinquished and bio dad defaulted (no show and no lawyer at court) at TPR trial. We are first time parents starting with a teen. We startex with international adoption, but the multiyear wait extended and the rules for the country began to change annually. We had to think about what we could offer as parents to children coming from foster and determine what risks (legal risk, special needs) we were willing to accept. Since we went through a private agency, we are not a revolving house like we would be with the state; we adopted our one and only placement, so far.
I have read every comment on this blog. I am not a foster parent, I am a parent, of a beautiful, loving, gentle souled, compassionate, intelligent, happy , independent, speaks her mind, has a wonderful husband, and they truly are a perfect fit. In every way. They were high school sweethearts, they did break up, a year after, high school graduation, for 3 years, due to his decision to join the military, but I knew, they were destined to be together, while in military, this young man I knew , would one day be my son-in-law, was wounded, received the Purple Heart 💜 for serving his county , finished his tour with the military, came home, and long story short , they were married 6 months later. They have tried for close to 9 years to have children of their own , in every way possible, their last attempt , was IVF with no luck. Through their 9 years, I have seen them congratulate , friends , family members, co-workers , neighbors and strangers, upon hearing their good news, that they were expecting , and showing their genuine happiness, for these folks, they have baby sat these kids, formed very strong bond with them. but I have seen the sadness , the unspoken questions, why? We want to be parents . We want a child to love , we want to experience being parents . All women want to experience being pregnant , and feel that life growing inside of us, and that bond that is formed, before giving birth , and then there is the bond that is formed when we hold that precious gift from god, we tend to every need, I don’t think I need to write out all of the things that we women that have been able to have a biological child , but we knew how crucial bonding is for infant , to feel safe, loved, and to trust . The blogs have been written by husbands and wives telling their heartbreak about infertility, and my heart breaks for you too, being the mother of a daughter , who has the same heartbreak. And the blogs , from others, who have biological children , but made a decision to adopt, a grandma who wants custody of her grandchild. And a couple posts, from biological parents. Posts, that were encouraging, and discouraging about Foster to adopt , and that couples that are dealing with infertility, should or shouldn’t look for foster to adopt if they want a newborn, and should rethink the age of a child , that is more accessible to adopt . Now I’m going to speak my mind, as the mother , of a daughter, who in August of 2019, who chose an agency, who places children with foster to adopt families , when the state can’t find placement for them, they did everything to be licensed, along with home inspection and followed the child proofing protocol , and then some , it was as if you were at Fort Knox , I couldn’t get in, or out of anything! Lol! They answered they would take, 0-6, and siblings 0-7, their first placement was in October, 3 siblings , 1 month old infant boy, 4 year old boy, 2 year old little girl. They were told, that neglect was an issue, and that sexual abuse was expected , and if that was the case they children would more than likely would be eligible for adoption. Now let me say this , to those who think infertile couples, become foster parents for the wrong reasons. These precious gifts, that had been given by God, we’re filthy dirty, were in shorts , in October, and only socks on, my son and daughter drove 3 hours to meet the case worker in the middle of the night , to bring them to a safe loving , secure home ,
These precious babies, were like wild animals, they didn’t know what a bath was, my daughter took them to buy shoes, then went into such a meltdown, when she put the shoes on their feet, that my son in law had to take them screaming from the store, if a child age 2 and 4 had never had shoes , then you also had to assume they hadn’t had much socialization outside the home. She had to child proof her home even more, by putting up all the items we all like, and collect and set around our house, because when they got mad, they threw things. The list goes on, but my daughter and son-in-law met each daily challenge, they asked fo evaluations to be done on all three, to see where they were, and should be with their developmental levels, as it was obvious, the 2 and 4 year olds were, due to neglect, and every dime they received for these kids was documented right down to the penny, with the receipts, behaviors documented, in a notebook, and video to show caseworker. After 4 weeks of the children being in their home , and I have to admit, I’ve raised 2 children , of course my daughter, who is my biological child, and my stepson from the age of 2, who I love as much as if I’d given birth to him, my now ex husband had full custody of him when we married , we divorced when he was 14, and though I had wanted to adopt him, my husband would say, no need for that , you are his mother. I’ll finish that story , due to it being the situation my daughter will face with another placement. As I said after having these children for 4 weeks , and to my amazement , and raising to children , the progress, that my daughter and son -in-law had accomplished was amazing, they had been patient , consistent, gentle and loving, to all I mentioned previously, they jumped in the trenches with both feet, for these children. And the whole time , with each day they became attracted to these children, and had decided, that if adoption was possible, they would adopt them, even though they knew there was more than likely they children were behind on things for their age, but they felt confident that these children were smart , they could catch up, and they were willing to work with them, and even hire tutors. Then they got the call from they’re case worker, who had been notified by the state caseworker, that an aunt had came forward, and wanted the children, so here is a same situation, as some of you , posted about , so is my daughter upset, YES! Because their agency caseworker, had been told nothing , about an aunt , or much less, that they were already doing what needed looked into, for her to have them in her care, while the states investigation of her brother , whom she had not spoken to, or not seen in almost 2 years. My daughter was worried about wether this family member was a safe relative etc. so their 1st placement wasn’t just a new born alone , but luckily for my daughters, first disappointment, the Aunt wanted to talk to my daughter, my daughter agreed, getting to talk to the Aunt , and the aunt had to have a visit with the kids , at my daughters house , they were able to meet each other , and thru talking , the aunt couldn’t have children either, the aunt of course told my daughter all the hoops , that she had to jump through . She genuinely, thanked my daughter and Son-in-law , and how thankful she was , that they had been the fosters , the kids had been placed with, knowing that the kids were going to a capable family member, made this experience somewhat easier , my daughter and the aunt stay in contact, my daughter and son -in-law even invited them to our Thanksgiving dinner, and they even drove 3 hours to visit with these kids , and took them Christmas presents. They day they took them to the agency , to give the children to the aunt, my daughter packed the things , they had bought with the vouchers , and things that they had bought with hundreds of dollars of their own money, for things these children still needed , that the vouchers didn’t cover, even though they didn’t have too, since it had been bought with their own money, even though it might be needed, for another child placed with them, but they wanted to help the aunt, and didn’t want the kids to go without. So I’m in agreement with another post, that foster parents don’t get rich from fostering, that large amounts of personal money is spent for the children’s care. On the very day, the kids went to their aunt, which by the way, the last conversation my daughter had with the aunt , she said the court was about to give the children back to her brother and sister -in- law. But she knew , they would mess up , and she would get them back. The agency calls my daughter that they have a brother and sister ages 5 and 7 that had been with other foster parents for 15 months , and could be adopted, and that the other foster parents , weren’t fostering to Adopt, so the very same day , my daughter packs up 3 kids , she gets 2 more , now these 2 kids came with 15 months of belongings, that took up my daughters whole dining room, in less than 24 hours of having these children my daughter get a call from the agency case worker , that they’ve been informed by the state caseworker, thst there had been a court hearing , and even though , supposedly if a child has been in foster care for 15 months , and visitation had already been terminated, and yes I’m gonna say it a judge that evidently didn’t have the kids best interest in mind , decided to give the mother another chance , and before you take up for the mother , do the math as to the ages , of the children when they started their 15 months in foster care, and here is why, don’t ever underestimate that children can’t be smarter than some adults. When my daughter and son -in-law tell the children, they will be going home to their mom, the 7 year old little boy, looks at my son-in-law , and says we like it here, we love mom, but wonder how long it will be this time , before she messes up, AGAIN! Well it took 4 months , they are back in Foster Care! These kids loved their mother , but people , they already know , home with their biological mom, isn’t where they need to be . And a judge that should have said enough is enough, cost them their chance to be free, from the system, and have a good life, I am for giving someone a second chance , we all make mistakes, but if you don’t learn from that mistake , and you repeat it, 2,3,4,times, it’s not a mistake , it’s a pattern , and patterns aren’t usually overcome , in physical Abuse, sexual abuse, putting kids in foster care, because a family has, fallen on hard times , due to loss of a job , or an illness , that have caused financial loss, and their home . or sanctuary for a child , while a mother gets away from and forever stays away from a abusive spouse , or boyfriend that has abused the mother , and the child , I’m all for that kind of reintegration . I have worked in a state psychiatric hospital for 25 years, there isn’t much I haven’t seen , I’ve seen it all, 13 years of my 25 years there , I worked on a all male patient forensic unit, my patients, were rapists , child molesters, murders , arsonists, I’ve worked with borderlines, self mutualism, antisocial disorder, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia . Drug addiction, alcoholism. And I know their history, some came from good families, and had no issues, of abuse, of any kind, or neglect , they were unfortunately stricken with schizophrenia, which is the only mental illness that is hereditary, but the big truth is the majority of these many disorder, are due to repeated Physical Abuse, Sexual abuse, neglect, with drugs, and alcohol involved, and without that being a factor . But had these now grown adults , been taken away, much sooner from parents at an earlier age , after, chance number one, they wouldn’t have suffered throughout their life , and developed these disorders , to deal with and survive their environment the best way they could , if someone stood up and said, biological parents or not, these children are not going back. Just think how many times , they were in foster care , and could have gotten off the merry go round, of a broken system , and what about the ones, who slipped thru the cracks , and suffered and never spent one day safe , in the care of a loving foster to adopt family, or was handed over to a family member that was just as messed up as their parents. Face the facts people , to many people that are able to reproduce, just don’t care, one bit about the children, or being a parent to them, they just play the system, and they are masters at manipulation, and it’s always someone else’s fault , never there own. This is coming from the now generation of young parents , who care for no one, but their selves. I’m going to post this , and will continue with the last part of my post as part 2 and tell where my daughter is at now with her third placement with a foster to adopt.
So ‘legal risk’ are children who are in foster care and the state is trying to reunite with their biological parents? Do they tend to be younger children? And children who are ‘legally free’ are children who are ready to be adopted? Do they tend to be older children?
I adopted my youngest from fc. She came home to us at 6 months. She is the light of my life. That said, I live in a state with an “adoption” only program so it was very low risk when she was placed with us. Since I had an adoptive older dd at the time, I felt “safe” doing it. From what I understand, our experience is very rare. And even though it worked out, it was grueling. I do not think I could have handled the stress if I did not already have my dd…though of course I had to worry about her potential loss too.
One thing I wanted to say is that at least in my state dcf does not remove kids cavalierly like you suggest in the mitten example. So to advocate for kids to be “returned” to bio parents who have been neglectful…no. we have so many cases here of dcf supporting “family preservation” that resulted in kids’ deaths. I know you are an advocate for kids (so am I) so please do not soft sell abuse and neglect.
foster adopt mama, I am in no way “soft selling” abuse or neglect. I’m simply pointing out that we should all want our government to make a good faith effort to help families heal before they decide to remove children.
I have friends that adopted via Foster Care and they are so very, very, happy. Such a blessing.
Is this much riskier than say trying to meet expectant parents who are contemplating relinquishing parental obligations when their kid is born? In terms of getting hopes up? No you are not taking care of the kid but its sort of offset by receiving money rather than spending it on stuff for the expectant parents and family to make her pregnancy experience more pleasant (shady yes but it happens for sure).
The goal is to adopt children who are available for adoption, nobody is contesting, they have no family to raise them, their parents can’t raise them and the reason for giving up their obligations has been checked out and there is no evidence they are receiving or have received anything from anyone for giving up their parental obligations. You want to be matched as the right people for a kid in that available situation. If you start trying to shortcut that process by either getting in on the ground floor pre-birth or getting in on the ground floor pre-termination then your at risk either financially or emotionally.
My husband and I adopted from the foster-care system 4-1/2 years ago when our two boys (a sibling group whom we’d been fostering for a year and a half prior) had their biological parents’ rights terminated. We do not have any other children, so they are, and always will be, our first and only children.
I won’t lie; it was tough at first–it was a huge life adjustment for all four of us. In many ways, we still are getting adjusted, and our sons haven’t fully accepted us as their forever parents (even though we’ve accepted them as our forever kids). We maintain a relationship with the biological father’s side of the family, but our boys don’t think either one of us is their “real” parent. All we can do is give them a loving home and guide them in the right direction–we can’t “make them love us,” but IMO that is what unconditional love is–loving our kids without ever expecting (or forcing) them to love us back.
I thought this was beautifully written Dawn.
I agree with the idea expressed by the social worker that PAPs coming from infertility and/or other loss shouldn’t be encouraged to go directly to foster care. That isn’t the same as saying they should be DIScouraged, though.
Adopting through foster care is a wonderful thing, but it isn’t in the best interest of the children or the PAPs if there isn’t a very clear understanding of the situation. The goal of foster care IS reunification, and while that isn’t always going to happen you have to be able to accept that as a foster parent. Emotionally that may not be the best place for parents who have experienced loss, especially when the children often have their own emotional things to work through.
As a PAP, I frequently hear “just go through foster care” as a solution to waiting. Admittedly it is usually from people who have no understanding of how any of it actually works, but it is not an answer for everyone. There is no doubt in my mind that every single one of those children waiting to be adopted or needing foster homes deserve a safe and happy permanent home. It needs to be acknowledged, though, that it isn’t always going to be the “right” answer for PAPs.
Anne, that’s where good pre-adoption education comes in. We do not ultimately serve the children best if we steer people to foster care adoption who do not understand what that means or who are not willing or able to adopt children who are currently waiting. Keep in mind however, that there are 102,000 children currently waiting. Their average age is 7.8.
Your blog makes me wonder if you been speaking with our Director of Foster Services in our County? She flat out refuses to allow adoption to non-relative couples. She will gladly certify you as a foster family, but don’t expect a placement. She states that 80% of the children in her department’s care are returned to their parents and the other 20% are only placed in relative placements.
She will certify couples to be foster-to-adopt only because there is federal money available for holding the class. So basically she uses us to get money for her department via the federal government. What a charmer!
Jane, that statistic is only something to brag about if she is doing a tremendous job of helping biological parents change and providing long term support for these families. The average in the US for family reunification in foster care is around 50%. I’d be suspicious of anything significantly higher than the national average.
Dawn Davenport, I agree with you. Great blog. Just adding my 2 cents. 🙂
Jessica, well said. The title of the blog was a quote that I did not agree with. I think that’s obvious if you read the blog. 🙂 Or at least I hope so.
Anne, I’m not sure I follow what you are saying. Or maybe you are not agreeing with me. I do believe that first time parents can and should adopt from foster care IF they are prepared for what we mean by foster care adoption. Or if they are the right parents to adopt a child who is already legally free for adoption. I snapshot of the stats of what type of kiddos are available for adoption is included in the blog.
I think this every time someone tells me I should have done fostercare instead of adoption.
Well, I was the one who said the original statement, so you know I agree with myself.
” This is as it should be because we know that if parents can be helped to become functioning (not perfect) parents, that is the best for the children.”
I disagree with that too. My parents were “functioning,” but that doesn’t mean I should have remained with them. Children shouldn’t have to suffer through events that adults define as extreme before they’re removed from unsafe or unstable households. There’s a big difference between your child not wearing gloves and you being a heroin addict. Huge.
I agree that the states, even the counties, are all different. The system needs an overhaul, but I don’t think people can agree on what needs to be done. Some would say we need to support biological families better. Some would say that we need to give biological families fewer chances so the kids can have stability.
No matter what, I firmly believe that no one should adopt from foster care simply because “it’s free.” I did my own research on this subject, and half of all kids in foster care have chronic medical problems, 80% have have serious emotional problems, and 50% under age 5 have developmental delays. People need to be prepared for that, and they need to be prepared for reunification. Foster care isn’t an easy, cheap way to adopt. You have to go into it wanting to be a *foster* parent, and love and support the kids and their biological families.
You do speak for yourself though, and not for all children in *functioning* homes. My parents were alcoholics, into drugs, neglectful, physically abusive, constantly fought, etc. But, we knew they loved us and just sucked at being parents. CPS was called on us numerous times and we spent a brief time in a group home. Still, I knew me and the four younger siblings with me would be broken up if we stayed in foster care so I said whatever I needed to say to make sure the case worker didn’t see the full breadth of what was (or wasn’t) going on so we could go home. Being torn from your family *is* traumatic; it doesn’t matter if your parents are terrible.
Fast forward 20+ years and I’m 35, happily married for 13yrs, have great relationships with my siblings AND my parents, and all of my siblings have careers and families they love, and have good healthy relationships. The likeliness of being able to say that if we had ended up staying in foster care is slim to none, considering the exceptionally high rates of crime, high school drop-outs, drug use, depression, and suicide for those that have spent time in foster care. YOU may think you should’ve been taken from your parents, and maybe you should’ve been, but you cannot simply presume that because a parent doesn’t meet your standard their kids are better off with someone else.
My husband and I are just about to start the transition period for adopting a group of sisters from foster care. Their bio parents were alcoholics, beat them, left them with family members without notice & without returning for weeks at a time, and just generally neglected them. They went on to be physically and/or sexually abused in two of their foster placements. And here four years later they still break down sobbing because they miss their mom and dad. You CANNOT make decisions about the life of a child based on the presumption that because removing them from their parents may make them more *stable* or *safe* that they will also be *better* *off.* Because that too, is very often not the case.
I think if we can really express the risk and that if people do not enter being foster parents as the main goal of adoption it’s worth it. I’ve seen that some of the best Parents for these kids ,long and short term are people that have not had kids before and don’t have an expectation of “normal” behaviors. Personally, I have friends who don’t have any kids and are one day hoping to adopt, but in the mean time are preparing to be foster parents so they can enjoy parenting a child and also help families in need. We’ve been brutally honest about the risk and pain involved. Many parents who’ve had kids before go into this thinking they know how to parent and its a whole new ball game dealing with kids that have endured what many kid have that are in foster care.
Our social worker said a very similar thing to us when we started the adoption process. There are MANY good reasons to adopt from foster care, but being a first-time parent isn’t often one.
I know this is six years old, lol. But, I wonder if six years later you still think the same thing? Why would a couple not already having children not be a good reason to adopt? With the trauma that these kids have experienced I would think adoptive parents with no children would be able to fully devote their time and energy to the adopted children’s needs. And with no existing kids you completely remove the ability for adoptive kids them to compare themselves to bio kids or feel (justly or unjustly) like they are treated differently. I think there are tremendous benefits to both being an experienced parent and being a couple whom have never had kids.
I have to say if we had not been able to work with a foster agency that would ‘protect’ us from the high risk situations we would not have gone back into adoption at all. By that time we had five placements fall through (one at the hospital, one after several weeks waiting out of state and one where the child lived with us for almost a year before the parents changed their mind). We could not commit our hearts to another situation that was going to fail. Not only couldn’t we commit our own hearts, we could not ask our extended family and community support to support and rejoice for us again, leaving themselves open to their own pain and trauma when they had not asked to go on this ride with us.
There are people out there that can open their hearts and lives to children who might (and should) return to their family of origin, but honestly by the time we got there, we were not that family. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being able to weather the risk, nor do I think there is anything shameful in *not* being able to, but I do think we need to be honest with ourselves with what we *are* able to handle.
Getting into a situation with the expectation that you are building a life with a child when the social worker is trying to facilitate a reunion is not fair/healthy/good for the child. In the end, I had to release my dream of adopting an itty bitty, because I couldn’t handle the risk, but we did eventually adopt our two children (school age) and life is pretty good.
Sara, I agree. The key is getting educated on foster care adoption and go in with your eyes and heart open. When you did this, you decided that children who were legally free were the best choice for your family. Good for you. There are about 102,000 more kiddos in exactly that boat waiting for their family. I hope they find them soon.
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