Adoption Voices

If you've had a good experience with foster/adopt, can you tell me about it?

My husband and I are considering taking the foster/adopt route. We've been waiting for a child with a private agency for over a year and a half. We did have one placement (we had a little boy for four months) but the birthfather contested the adoption and got the child back. I'm nervous about taking the foster/adopt route because I don't want something like that to happen to us again... I am wondering if we'll have better success working with our state's social services and children who are desperate for a home. Any thoughts? Positive experiences? Should we continue waiting with our private agency?

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We had a great experience with foster adoption. We asked for a girl from age 2-5, and were matched with our four year-old daughter eight months later. We asked for a low-risk placement, meaning that it was likely to go to adoption because the birth parents were not following their plan (drug treatment, counseling, parenting classes, visits, etc.). We were asked to consider infants, but we had our heart set on a toddler or preschooler. With a newborn or infant, there is more risk (generally) because the birth parents will still have time left to work on their plan. Also, you should know that infants removed from birth parents usually have tested positive for drugs. Many older children in foster care were also exposed to drugs and alcohol prenatally, so you should reseach these issues.

Adopting from foster care can bring special challenges, but can also be amazingly rewarding. You do need to really do your research, and determine which emotional, learning, behavioral, and physical issues you are willing to take on. There is not guarantee that all the child's issues will be known at placement, but it is best to be honest about what you think you can handle. We have dealt with emotional and behavioral issues, but my daughter is thriving and doing great! Best of luck to you and feel free to ask more questions!

Christine
Hi Grace!

I don't have a lot of answers for you because we're in the process of getting licensed, but haven't gone through the part of getting a baby yet...but, with our agency - we were able to get licensed for both foster-to-adopt and home-studied for a traditional adoption. This way whichever one comes faster, we can take! I know no matter what route you go (Foster-to-adopt, adopt, bio, etc) there are no garauntees in this life. None of us know how long we have on this earth. We know that if we do foster-to-adopt we risk losing our baby, but we're willing to take that risk, and love our baby with all of us, and take things one day at a time... :-) Good luck on your journey! I'd love to hear what you end up deciding!
We're like Angela. Our agency homestudy is for both foster and adoption. If we want to adopt a foster child, we're all set. If something else comes along (such as Ukrainian orphan hosting or being picked by a birthmother) we can purchase the homestudy ($2500) and we're all set. The waiting/searching/hoping part of adoption is such a fluid process, it's good to keep all avenues open.
There are the same risks w/bio family when doing foster/adopt. Bio family at anytime can step forward and state they want to parent the child. It would be up to the courts to decide if they could. I have known couples through other online forums that at the last minute had bio family step forward and want to parent.

Our youngest child's bm's adoptive parents tried to intercede with our adoption of him. The courts did not side with them and we were able to adopt. So we also have had experience with it.

Bottom line.. with adoption there is always a risk. We have two beautiful boys through foster/adopt. Was it stressful.. YES. Was all of it worth it.... YES YES YES. I would do it all over again... in fact we are.

Just keep your faith... God will lead you to your children.
It's been bitter-sweet for us. The ONLY reason we got licensed to foster is to adopt.
For our son and first placement, we were placed w/him about 2 1/2 mo after we got licensed. We were told we had a ood chance to keep him, but nothing IS EVER certain. We were so blessed and lucky w/him. We adopted him 8 mo later when he was 8 mo old.
This time, we're in the process of adopting our 2nd child. We brought this one home from the hospital as well and were told that THIS was an open and shut case! 5 days later the judge gave the BM a 2nd chance. We got her back 3 1/2 mo later; again, no promises to keep her; lost her 2 1/2 weeks later to maternal gma....4 1/2 mo later we got her back and this time it was for good.
I understand your fear all too well to do foster/adopt. There is A LOT of risk that goes along there.
If you do choose to foster/adopt, here are some tips that have worked for me.
Don't be afraid to call the placement dept once a week or every other week. Just remind them who u are and that you are hoping to adopt. Remind them what you are looking for.
You have to realize that that placement may not be the ONE, but it's worth it when you do find your child.

HOpe this helps and good luck!!!

Renee'
We had what ended up being a good experience, but it was definitely not good during the process. Long story short: we got our girls when they were 3 weeks and 11 months old. We had a very hard time dealing with dhs as well as their indian tribe, but 2 1/2 years later, they were officially OURS! It was easily the most stressful time of my whole life, but I would do it all over again. As a matter of fact, we are. We now have their little brother through foster care, and are just beginning the long process of dealing with everything again. In our state, you don't have to foster to adopt through the foster care system. We did go the foster/adopt route, though. We have continued to foster, and will likely adopt again--hopefully we will get to keep our little guy!
Hi,
We have adopted 3 children through the foster care system. The first two were placed with us at the same time. They are all 3 siblings. We fostered other children prior to adopting our kids so have about seen it all. We have cried with some children who were going to have to go back to their birth parents, we have rejoiced when one of our little guys got a forever home. We have also struggled through the whole process with the visits, termination process, and then finally the adoption process. Mind if I ask what state you are in?
good point on researching things. Also might want to research Reactive Attachment Disorder...

Christine Mitchell said:
We had a great experience with foster adoption. We asked for a girl from age 2-5, and were matched with our four year-old daughter eight months later. We asked for a low-risk placement, meaning that it was likely to go to adoption because the birth parents were not following their plan (drug treatment, counseling, parenting classes, visits, etc.). We were asked to consider infants, but we had our heart set on a toddler or preschooler. With a newborn or infant, there is more risk (generally) because the birth parents will still have time left to work on their plan. Also, you should know that infants removed from birth parents usually have tested positive for drugs. Many older children in foster care were also exposed to drugs and alcohol prenatally, so you should reseach these issues.

Adopting from foster care can bring special challenges, but can also be amazingly rewarding. You do need to really do your research, and determine which emotional, learning, behavioral, and physical issues you are willing to take on. There is not guarantee that all the child's issues will be known at placement, but it is best to be honest about what you think you can handle. We have dealt with emotional and behavioral issues, but my daughter is thriving and doing great! Best of luck to you and feel free to ask more questions!

Christine
Thanks so much for all your help and tips. I filled out an inquiry form on the social services website so hopefully I'll hear back soon. I don't know if we want to go through having to give a child back again, but like many of you said, I guess there is always that risk. We are in Virginia, so if anyone has had foster/adopt experiences in my state, any other advice would be appreciated. Thanks again!
Grace,
A good place to start is with Fostering Families Today magazine at www.adoptinfo.net, it's a great resource. Here you will get the good and the bad of foster care to better base your decision on. I hope it helps.
Kim Hansel, editor
Fostering Families Today
We had 2 really great experiences adopting foster children from the State of WA. Our son, Tristan was adopted when he was 3 and our daughter was adopted right before her 2nd birthday. She was a foster child since she was 9 months. There were times when we were worried that she was going to be reunited with her bio mom; but we tried to think that we just want what's best for her. We realized that children who are adopted will have questions and insecurities about why they are/were in that situation. If they can avoid that...

What State are you in? You could always look at children who are legally free. Our son was legally free when he was 2 and he moved in with us right after his 3rd bday and adopted before Christmas. There is less risk with legally free children.
we had a great (but trying) experience. You can hear more about our journey at http://www.fosterpodcast.com

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