I am so excited to find out about this group for Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora! There are opportunities to volunteer, so I’m gonna check ’em out.
This is our second time adopting from foster care and if you’d have asked me 5 years ago if we’d pass muster even one time I’d have told you no. When we started on this journey, we had no experience with adoption and didn’t know anyone who had adopted. If you’re wondering if you would be able to adopt, here are some things we thought might stop us … but didn’t:
#1 We don’t believe in any gods.
Like many people, we were both raised Christian. We both wandered off into Islamic studies and one us of valued the wisdom of the 5 percenters. Eventually, we both ended up realizing that all religion is a sham and became atheists. Many adoption organizations are religious and many adopters seem to be motivated by pleasing some kind of god.
There is a line on the adoption application that asks about religion. We wrote “none” and waited for the questions to start … they never did.
#2 I am not fond of social workers.
I entered foster care at 13 and “aged out” at 17 (I graduated from high school). Some social workers were cool … some … not so cool. I don’t trust them to do what they say they are going to do. I also tend to think that they are always looking for a reason to remove children from the home. That being said … we dealt with six different folks (1 emergency care worker, 4 social workers, and 1 adoption worker) over the course of the two adoptions. We had two that obviously didn’t care (but weren’t bad, evil, or vindictive) and two that I couldn’t get a bead on (they did the bare minimum the job required). The last two were very involved (though not annoying) and cared a lot about their charges. Overall, it hasn’t been bad.
#3 I’m not fond of people making me do things.
I don’t like being forced to do anything. Any. Thing.
The whole process of adopting is people you don’t know forcing you to do things you think have little merit. You fill out the same information on multiple forms (each set goes to a different agency). You have to have a doctor sign off on your health (we could get hit by a bus tomorrow). You have to let random people into your home to judge how clean your fridge is and how safely your fireplace is covered.
Amazingly, it wasn’t that bad. There were a few times I wanted to quit, but overall … it really wasn’t that bad.
#4 We don’t own a home.
I used to own a home but I don’t right now. I wasn’t sure if that would automatically disqualify us. We’ve lived in three different rental homes over the five years that it took us to adopt our two children (the bulk being 3 years in one spot and we just moved to a larger place now that we needed another bedroom) and it’s never been a problem. They want loving parents in safe homes. It doesn’t matter if that home is owned or leased.
#5 Our house is rarely tidy.
When it was just us and a 100 lb. pup, our home had a chance of sometimes being clean … Lol As our family has grown, our home’s cleanliness had steadily gone down. With two toddlers and a pup, our house is “dirty enough to be happy and clean enough to be healthy” as my grandma used to say. Lol
When social workers from the county come over, they don’t seem too worried about our mess. One even told me, “If you have toddlers and you’re house isn’t dirty, I wonder why”. We have to remember that they often have kids too. They understand what normal mess looks like. Lol
I often hear people talking about how hard it was to adopt from foster care, and though I’m sure their stories are true, our story is also true. We were chosen to adopt infants from the county, not once … but twice … and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
We drove down to our adoption worker’s office (this is our second adoption from foster care) and signed the paperwork. She matched us with both kids and has been around for the last five years. We enjoy her personality and it’s always a pleasure to see her.
We took both the babies. There are rooms that you go into that have tables and chairs, a couch, and toys. I think the rooms might also be used for visitation. Anyhoo … the rooms mean that we don’t have to leave the kids at home when we need to meet with the foster care or adoption people.
At the first signing, we got lots of information about our kid’s family. It was all medical, but we found out how many siblings be had and a little about his mother and grandmother. I was looking forward to learning a bit about our daughter’s family because we know next to nothing.
There was a huge stack of papers, just like last time but …. all the slots on the paper said, “unknown”. We did find out that there are siblings, but we don’t know the birthdates or ages. There was no medical information other than her mother has a history of back pain. Most of the pages were from our daughter’s birth and had stuff about her birth. It’s good information to have but …. I’m a little sad that there wasn’t more.
As usual they asked if our daughter’s mother was to have another baby that came into care, would we want to know about it/be asked to match …. the adoption worker reminded us that her mother is still young and another baby could be born and placed. We looked at each other ……. we checked “yes”. It doesn’t mean we’d automatically match but we at least have the option. Knowing our child had a siblings out there that she could possibly grow up with …. whoo … that’s powerful. I don’t see how we could say that we didn’t at least want the opportunity to see if our home would be a good fit.
Anyhoo … the paperwork is signed and now we’re just waiting on a finalization date.
This morning we got a call from our adoption worker saying that we have a date to sign our placement paperwork! I was hoping it was going to be this week but it turns out that it’s a few weeks away.
If you’ve adopted from foster care then you know that this is the last thing that has to happen before we can finalize the adoption. Last time, we got a finalization date a few weeks after our signing. We’re hoping that the same thing happens this time.
I just received an email saying that our baby has a new worker. Our first baby went through three social workers before finally being transferred over to adoptions so the email didn’t surprise me at first. She said that she needed to see the baby before the end of the month (that’s in like … four days) and asked if we could drive out to her office.
We have nothing booked for the next few days, so driving out there isn’t an issue … but instead of replying, I just kept staring at the email … and then I saw it.
Instead of her signature line saying foster care (or something like it), it says “Adoptions”. I was really hoping that we’d have the same adoption worker as last time. I love her! She’s experienced, we have a similar parenting style, and she’s honest about what’s coming up and the time frames that we should expect. This lady might be cool too but …. I was really hoping to work with that same lady again. She called about our first placement. She met us at the hospital. She came and snuggled the baby for hours on end. She called about our second placement. She encouraged us to do our due diligence. She advised us on transitioning the baby from her foster placement to our house … it’s only right that she be there at this finalization too.
Ahhhh … so goes the adoption from foster care roller coaster.
Our youngest’s social worker came by this evening and told us that since we were licsensed again, she would be able to transfer baby girl’s case from foster care to adoptions. When I asked her if she had already compiled the documents she needed to sent to adoptions, she wasn’t sure what I was talking about and then said that adoptions compiled everything. Well, that’s clear as mud.
Last time, our adoption worker seemed to have a better handle on things so I guess I’ll wait until she comes back out. Lol I also asked her about getting the baby’s ears pierced and getting passport. She said that we should just get ’em pierced. When I mentioned that I had asked previously but I wanted to wait until I had the okay from the county, she was like, “Well …. parental rights have been terminated …. just do it”. Alrighty then …. she could have told me that waaaaaay back in September. Anyhoo ….
When I asked about the passport she laughed and said that we’d have to get the baby’s passport. Okay. That wasn’t what she said last time. I told her that I thought we were waiting on something from the court and she said that we’d need a birth certificate and we’d have to go to the Post Office. Yeah ….. we’ve done this three times …. we know how it works. Lol She seemed to be trying to remember that we’d need to get a birth certificate. When I reminded her that we had a copy of the birth certificate because we’d flown with the baby twice, she seemed surprised. SHE was the one that gave us the birth certificate! LOL I clarified again that we didn’t need a document from the court and she said, “No”. I’ll make an appointment and see how that goes.
She also said that we hadn’t been paid for the last two months and that we’d be receiving the back pay. I thought we wouldn’t be paid since, apparently, we weren’t licensed. I’m not sure if she knows what she’s talking about. Lol
Anyhoo … everything looks back on track. I’m looking forward to signing the adoption papers and getting a finalization date.
We got an email from the baby’s social worker telling us that although licensing came out in December, and made no mention of any problems, we did not have a valid license. It turned out that we each needed to complete 8 hours of training that we could do online for $40.
After doing that and sending over our training certificates, I wasn’t sure what the next step would be. Today, we got a call from licensing saying that she needed to come back out to our house so we could sign the papers that would make our license valid again.
After arrival, she told me that she didn’t get my certificates but she got my partner’s certificate. *blank stare* If that was true, then why did she call us and come out to have us sign the paperwork? I’m not sure what is going on with this lady. I printed my certificates out and gave them to her. She had us sign the paperwork and she was on her way.
I don’t know what that was all about. *shrugs*