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Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

A big thing that can help speed things along is to have broader preferences, especially in regards to race. There are some fost adopt parents that are incredibly picky and then complain when they don't get a placement in two years. What they don't realize is that the placement social worker isn't going to want to waste her time trying to find a good match just to hear 'no' for the fifteenth time. Parents that are flexible in some ways open up more potential for matches and get placed much sooner.

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Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Panfilo posted:

A big thing that can help speed things along is to have broader preferences, especially in regards to race. There are some fost adopt parents that are incredibly picky and then complain when they don't get a placement in two years. What they don't realize is that the placement social worker isn't going to want to waste her time trying to find a good match just to hear 'no' for the fifteenth time. Parents that are flexible in some ways open up more potential for matches and get placed much sooner.

We had no race restrictions at all. We don't care. Just want to give a child a chance and here we are!

Second night was MUCH better. We let the girls pick where we went out to eat (we eat out every Thursday) and they both shockingly picked the same place. My god the foster kid can out eat my daughter and she's younger. No tears, no problems, it was a great night which for a second night was very welcomed. I don't think I sat down once yesterday until it was time to go to bed with the nonstop running around with the kids.

What wasn't as welcomed was waking up 5 minutes before the alarm to the choir of vomit from foster kiddo. We were taking her to the doctor anyway as required, so we'll just kinda lump that into the conversation. If we make it through the weekend I think this will be just fine.

Missouri Fever
Feb 5, 2009

av by ed
do re mi
fà pí qì


I just read this godawful long report on terminated adoptions:

http://www.reuters.com/investigates.../#article/part1

OP, be forewarned that these are incredible horror stories, and I do not want to derail from you posting about your personal experiences right now; however, I think this report is useful for the thread in general, as a way of hammering home how institutional support in the adoption process is very, very important.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Missouri Fever posted:

I just read this godawful long report on terminated adoptions:

http://www.reuters.com/investigates.../#article/part1

OP, be forewarned that these are incredible horror stories, and I do not want to derail from you posting about your personal experiences right now; however, I think this report is useful for the thread in general, as a way of hammering home how institutional support in the adoption process is very, very important.

I'm familiar with the article, and it's the reason that I find international adoptions particularly sketchy. There's very little oversight and it seems like many people like it that way. I've heard some doozies myself as well (publicly accusing a kid of stealing foster mom's Jewelry over Twitter with photos of the kid wearing a sandwich board listing her crimes, forcing twin boys to subsist on an 800 calorie vegan diet when the only times they weren't molested in their previous home was when everybody pigged out on Carl's Jr)

There was a People of New York article on Facebook about some woman desperate to adopt a foster child she had under her care. It brought up a lot of comments from people about how adopting domestically was 'too hard'. Anybody that tells you this if full of poo poo. Most foster care agencies desperately need qualified fost adopt parents, the problem is people don't like the idea of a social worker coming by a couple times a month and telling them dog poo poo on the kitchen counter or sleeping naked in the same bed as your kid is not OK.

These kids suffer so much, and ironically it is the more qualified and competent parents that feel like they aren't qualified and pass up fostering and adoption.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Missouri Fever posted:

I just read this godawful long report on terminated adoptions:

http://www.reuters.com/investigates.../#article/part1

OP, be forewarned that these are incredible horror stories, and I do not want to derail from you posting about your personal experiences right now; however, I think this report is useful for the thread in general, as a way of hammering home how institutional support in the adoption process is very, very important.

I've actually read that before believe it or not. It is depressing but way out of scope compared to what happens locally/nationally. There's a good reason we have such stringent rules and regulations, at least here, regarding fostering kids so we can help prevent situations like that. Our foster child is growing on us and plays with my daughter and I every night. We have an absolute blast and she's hilarious. We are starting to encounter the behaviors though with her separation anxiety and signs of RAD; both of which are very concerning. We are maintaining her visits with her therapist for this reason, but with her enrolled in school it's been an uphill battle as she'll get so upset she'll start throwing up because we have to go to work.

I love what we're doing, my wife and I couldn't be happier that we did this, but we're starting to see where our stress from her stress is starting to cross and we need to make sure we acknowledge that so we don't burn out or overreact. We're doing very good at keeping each other in check and utilizing the resources we have.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


My wife and I had 2 children placed with us 10 days ago - emergency placement from another foster family who wasn't provided adequate care for the youngest sibling's special needs - and it's been really great. Our 2 bio-kids (7 and 11) are doing well, and the foster kiddos are pretty young, so very resilient so far. Their story is sad so we're happy to be giving them some stability while we see what will happen long-term.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Solaron posted:

My wife and I had 2 children placed with us 10 days ago - emergency placement from another foster family who wasn't provided adequate care for the youngest sibling's special needs - and it's been really great. Our 2 bio-kids (7 and 11) are doing well, and the foster kiddos are pretty young, so very resilient so far. Their story is sad so we're happy to be giving them some stability while we see what will happen long-term.

It is awesome that you are accepting emergency placements, CPS needs as many of these families as they can get because child removals can happen pretty fast in many situations. Just be sure to keep reasonable expectations; recently I found out that a lot of parents that accept emergency placements on extremely short notice only did it because they thought they would be the ones to eventually permanently adopt the child. But depending on the state/County, this isn't necessarily the case. If you intend to fost-adopt these kids be sure the agencies you are connected with know and that you have the necessary steps done. Where I live, Foster parenting and fost adopt parenting are parallel processes with separate licensing and it is only when the Foster parents have bonded with the kid that it occurs to them that the child won't necessarily be placed with them when the social workers plan on matching the child with a family that had taken all the necessary steps and might be an even better match.

Panfilo fucked around with this message at 18:52 on Mar 6, 2017

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


We had two emergency placements offered to us neither of which panned out. Generally from what I've come to understand is they're usually trying to very quickly get kinship placement together and they just need someone long enough for the process. Both times it didn't pan out and they got kinship/family placement before they actually got to us. One of which was physically en route in the car and called us mid-transit to let us know.

Bit of a trip report/update on ours!

We've had our 5 year old placement for about a month now. We've gotten into a great routine every day, every weekend, she asks tons of questions, gets along great with my bio daughter. They're almost inseparable and argue like sisters. She's finally learned to trust me (men in general are a no-go because of her history) which has been a nice change. She will finally sit with me and talk to me sometimes when she's feeling comfortable enough to.

The biggest hiccup we've had now is that we changed case workers. The prior regime gave us incorrect information and has us believing that there was 0 contact with the biological mother this entire time. Turns out that wasn't the case. We had our first phone call with her and it went well until the end when we had a major meltdown and FD was more or less inconsolable for a few hours. That was rough. Now mom is pushing for face to face visits which I'm fine with as that's what the court had ordered to begin with (shame we didn't get the memo) so we're working on getting those scheduled weekly. Until then, phone calls will have to suffice. I don't look forward to how the end of those will go. If the phone call was any indication, face to face is going to be so much harder. The case worker and I are tag-teaming those so they follow guidelines and all that.

Been a very stressful but very rewarding experience. She's a great kid, has manners, argues like a 5 year old, and is generally a goofy kid. I can't fathom why people do what they do to children, but if bio-mom wants to get her life back on track I'm going to cheer her on and support her every step of the way that I can. That's all we can do in the end anyway.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Kodilynn posted:

I can't fathom why people do what they do to children, but if bio-mom wants to get her life back on track I'm going to cheer her on and support her every step of the way that I can. That's all we can do in the end anyway.

One of the things I say to people that makes them pretty much dumbfounded about our situation is this - I really really really want our foster child's family in their lives, either on the way to reunification or not. I want to do everything I can for the bio family to be involved with our foster kids, because these kids deserve as many people in their lives that love them as possible. I understand this is rose-colored glasses stuff, that many people involved in the system and their extended families are broken and can be toxic to kids. And it's my job to filter out as much of that as I can for the child. But it is not my job to be a roadblock for families and create more drama in an already messed-up situation.

We had our first court date last week for our latest placement, and the bio great-grandmother was in attendance. I didn't approach her before our case was called, as I had no idea how she would react to my presence, but once we got into the courtroom I realized she was just confused about what was going on and seems really mild-mannered. I had taken video and photos of our foster girl for any family that might show up to court (including bio parents who were not-shockingly absent from court) but I was happy to show them to her great-grandma after the case was heard. The lawyer for the child was pretty stunned I did that for her, and when I started making calls to the social worker to set up visits with the bio family and gave the great-grandma all the contact info she needed (including mine) the lawyer was seriously blown away and thanked me profusely. My guess is she sees more terrible foster parents than not, but my philosophy is and always will be why make a rough situation even worse for no reason? Compassion flows both ways, I want this little girl to be loved and respected by everyone who comes into contact with her, and hopefully by sowing the seeds of friendship with her bio family we can detour some of the usual crap with visitation and stuff.

I was also a little confused if these bio family members were potential placements for our girl, but pretty much everyone has emphatically said "no!" with not much more detail given. I've heard the phrase "hot mess" and "there's a lot going on there" to describe it all, so I'll just sit back and keep my side as well-managed and loving as possible. Come what may.

I cannot stress how much it helps to have social workers and lawyers who actually communicate with you and follow-up on stuff. We get court notices in the mail, but we also got a letter from the child's lawyer with court info and we talked about it with both our foster agency and the social worker. Now we play the waiting game. Visits are starting this week, but I doubt the bio parents will be involved. They've got 6 months to get their act together (the list of requirements they needed to meet, classes and treatment and stuff, was pretty staggering) or we move onto the next step, which I guess will be termination of parental rights and then adoption placement. My guess is, unless some bio family hiccups happen, she'll be ready for adoption in 18-24 months. But we take everything day by day and take nothing for granted, knowing she could be placed in another home at any time for any reason.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


VorpalBunny posted:

I cannot stress how much it helps to have social workers and lawyers who actually communicate with you and follow-up on stuff. We get court notices in the mail, but we also got a letter from the child's lawyer with court info and we talked about it with both our foster agency and the social worker. Now we play the waiting game. Visits are starting this week, but I doubt the bio parents will be involved. They've got 6 months to get their act together (the list of requirements they needed to meet, classes and treatment and stuff, was pretty staggering) or we move onto the next step, which I guess will be termination of parental rights and then adoption placement. My guess is, unless some bio family hiccups happen, she'll be ready for adoption in 18-24 months. But we take everything day by day and take nothing for granted, knowing she could be placed in another home at any time for any reason.

Our previous case worker didn't talk to us for poo poo and gave us misinformation. I didn't actually realize how frustrating it was and how much it pissed me off until our current case worker keeps me in the loop on literally everything that is going on with the case, the court, bio-mom, all of it. Bio-mom is on her 4th attempt to keep herself in gear. Her conditions were pretty straight forward; clean drug screens, keep a job, have a place of residence, etc. and we'll revisit things on her next court date which we'll definitely be there for. I keep in touch with bio-mom and cheer her on as need be and hopefully she'll actually get to see her daughter for the first time since December soon. I'm excited for her and really do hope this leads to reunification. Her daughter is wonderful but I feel so bad every time they talk as it results in a major meltdown for both of them.

Bio-mom said I'm the first foster parent that actually took to talking to her on a regular basis and sending her photos and keeping her in the loop about what's going on and encouraging visits. Case worker even thanked me for being proactive on all of it instead of just waiting to be told what to do with it all. I guess the previous family allowed almost no contact, regardless of what the court ordered which I don't understand how that's legal, but the previous case worker with them didn't seem to give a poo poo either. Goes again as you said to creating roadblocks for the families.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

VorpalBunny posted:

One of the things I say to people that makes them pretty much dumbfounded about our situation is this - I really really really want our foster child's family in their lives, either on the way to reunification or not. I want to do everything I can for the bio family to be involved with our foster kids, because these kids deserve as many people in their lives that love them as possible. I understand this is rose-colored glasses stuff, that many people involved in the system and their extended families are broken and can be toxic to kids. And it's my job to filter out as much of that as I can for the child. But it is not my job to be a roadblock for families and create more drama in an already messed-up situation.


The thing people gotta remember is regardless of the legal/parental status of the bio family, they are still the child's family. If the foster/adoptive child is a different race/culture than you, then it can be even more important that they are able to be in contact if feasible. Your child might also have siblings or cousins you will likely want them to stay in contact with as well. When my cousin fost-adopted 2 boys they threw an 'Adoption day' party and my cousin invited their grandmother and other brothers who were in custody of the grandmother. If you saw them, you wouldn't think they were adopted or anything, just a nice big happy extended family getting together

I think for a lot of foster or adoptive parents there is that ever present fear that their child will reject them in favor of the bio parents. I feel like its really imperitave to never speak too negatively about their bio parents, much like in a divorce situation with exes/step parents though even more so because of the potential reasons the child needed to be removed from parental custody.

Also, sorry if was mentioned upthread, but building good rapport with the foster child's lawyer is also essential. The best situation you can be in is to have a great social worker and lawyer because they will go above and beyond to make sure everything goes smoothly. There are a lot of people involved in the whole process and the more everyone is on the same page with everything the happier and less stressful the whole process becomes.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


I knew a family who went out of their way to frustrate the foster & visitation process. Wherever the bio family wanted to meet was "too far away" or "too short of notice", but when we respited their foster kid we went out of the way to set up visits and even let them go long on time if everyone was having a good time. I really didn't care if it pissed off the foster family (in one case I know the foster child actively did not want to return to her foster home because of the restrictions they placed on her visits with bio family - talk about the foster family breeding resentment in someone you claim to love!)

These kids have their own perspectives, their own expectations, why would you inject your own prejudices and demands on a process you just were thrown into? In our case, our foster placements have all been babies so there was no real history with their bio family, but for older kids or kids with memories with bio family (both good and bad) I say how dare you dictate how these kids interact with their bio families? Unless there's real danger or harm there, of course.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


In our case, they called it an emergency placement, but these 2 kids had been in foster care for the last 6 months. They were removed from the previous foster home because the family wasn't taking the special needs child to his appointments, he had lost weight and there were concerns he was being ignored/neglected. We were told to plan on keeping them for ~6 months while the biomom/dad worked on their requirements.

We found out just a couple days ago that a lot has changed. Biomom and dad have separated, biomom is dating someone else and left the county (canceled her visitation this last week), dad failed a drug test and both failed their required parenting class. They have until August (although they'll get at least 1 extension). We want to help them but they're both young kids (barely 20) and the dad, who did come to visitation, seemed clueless and helpless. Neither of them have transportation, their own place or a job yet. So hopefully they can get into gear now that they're running short on time, but we'll see.

What has surprised us most is that the youngest child, with special needs, has not had most of the recommended therapy needed. He was fed and clothed and put into a crib and left, it appears. We've got him scheduled for OT, PT, feeding therapy and more now and while it will become 3 or 4 appointments a week, we've already seen progress with him in the short time we've had him. It's sad - and I'm surprised that the state/county wasn't requiring him to have all of this to begin with.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


You're all such wonderful foster parents with such wonderful attitudes towards caring for children and bio families I wish you all lived near me so I could match you with the kids I work with.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


So we've been doing weekly calls with bio-mom which usually ends in tears for both her and FD. This Sunday is our first face to face meeting. I'm excited for mom to see her daughter for the first time since Christmas but my god my nerves and anxiety over all of this are through the roof. It's one thing to be able to console FD for several hours when we're in our home NOT in public and have more control over the situation. I can't imagine what a truckstop dumpster fire this is going to be when it's time to say goodbye this weekend. We get 2 hours at the park since mom doesn't have a vehicle, she has to walk to meet us. I know this is for the best but drat the emotions it brings to both, especially a child who doesn't really understand what or why it's happening, the aftermath is just unreal. Thank god we're off for spring break the next week. It's always a rough 24-48 hours after phone calls. I can't imagine what a face to face is going to do.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


Kodilynn posted:

So we've been doing weekly calls with bio-mom which usually ends in tears for both her and FD. This Sunday is our first face to face meeting. I'm excited for mom to see her daughter for the first time since Christmas but my god my nerves and anxiety over all of this are through the roof. It's one thing to be able to console FD for several hours when we're in our home NOT in public and have more control over the situation. I can't imagine what a truckstop dumpster fire this is going to be when it's time to say goodbye this weekend. We get 2 hours at the park since mom doesn't have a vehicle, she has to walk to meet us. I know this is for the best but drat the emotions it brings to both, especially a child who doesn't really understand what or why it's happening, the aftermath is just unreal. Thank god we're off for spring break the next week. It's always a rough 24-48 hours after phone calls. I can't imagine what a face to face is going to do.

Yeah, that's got to be hard. That's a difficult age too - our 2-year old foster son is easier to distract and has less attachment, having been in foster care for a quarter of his life. Good luck - hopefully the biomom handles it well and doesn't make it any worse/harder than it already will be.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Hey everyone, I hope radio silence means everyone is keeping busy with placements and stuff.

I just got the wonderful word that bio mom to our latest foster placement might be pregnant again! Our foster child is not even 3 months old, so...yeah. Apparently she also called the social worker last week demanding visitation, then promised to call back and hasn't yet. I guess there is a reason why bio grandmother and great-grandmother have a restraining order against her.

We'll see how the next few months go, our next court date is end of August.

Tsyni
Sep 1, 2004

I love you boy, One Pack, always.


Lipstick Apathy

This is more a theoretical question to satisfy my curiosity, but is there much bias against single male foster/adoptions and gay couple adoptions?

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


VorpalBunny posted:

Hey everyone, I hope radio silence means everyone is keeping busy with placements and stuff.

I just got the wonderful word that bio mom to our latest foster placement might be pregnant again! Our foster child is not even 3 months old, so...yeah. Apparently she also called the social worker last week demanding visitation, then promised to call back and hasn't yet. I guess there is a reason why bio grandmother and great-grandmother have a restraining order against her.

We'll see how the next few months go, our next court date is end of August.

Yep! Keeping very busy with ours. The parents are a mess - split up, got back together, split up, biomom left the state, now she's back... and, coincidentally, we also found out on Friday that she's 6 months pregnant, so we'll see what that means for us. They only have until August to start making real progress, and with all of the drama and their current status, I just don't see it happening.

Tysni posted:

This is more a theoretical question to satisfy my curiosity, but is there much bias against single male foster/adoptions and gay couple adoptions?

We're fairly close friends with a gay couple who went through fostering licensing class at the same time as us, they haven't had a placement yet but they've had calls - nothing that has worked though (pregnant teens, etc - things they don't want to deal with). I'm in a conservative area and most people in our classes were extremely religious, but we didn't hear anything. It doesn't seem to be an issue in our area.

JIZZ DENOUEMENT
Oct 3, 2012

STRIKE!


Just a quick reminder that everyone who fosters and/or adopts is a wonderful human being and you are wonderful and the world is slightly more wonderful because you are in it. Thank you for being wonderful.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Tsyni posted:

This is more a theoretical question to satisfy my curiosity, but is there much bias against single male foster/adoptions and gay couple adoptions?

One of my favorite foster parents (I'm a CPS social worker) is a single male who takes in boys 12-18 and does a wonderful job as a father figure. He takes them fishing, gets them involved in the community, finds them jobs... he's a backbone in our agency.

That said we did de-license another single male foster parent over possible abuse allegations. Pros and cons. We've had more allegations against the male halves of straight couples than anyone else though.


In other news, my foster daughter was accepted to college and will be moving into the dorms in July

My adoption homestudy is in July too, since the new California foster regulations require it!

It's been a tough few months with her increasingly difficult mental health issues (anxiety is exacerbated by moving off to college, and her anxiety symptoms are super intense and destructive) but she's currently spending spring break with her family and seems to be mellowing.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Tsyni posted:

This is more a theoretical question to satisfy my curiosity, but is there much bias against single male foster/adoptions and gay couple adoptions?

Our agency has 3 gay couples (2 female 1 male couple) that come to our monthly support groups and we love them to death. They are completely not picky and none of us care. They are outstanding parents and they have the BEST stories!

VorpalBunny posted:

Hey everyone, I hope radio silence means everyone is keeping busy with placements and stuff.

I just got the wonderful word that bio mom to our latest foster placement might be pregnant again! Our foster child is not even 3 months old, so...yeah. Apparently she also called the social worker last week demanding visitation, then promised to call back and hasn't yet. I guess there is a reason why bio grandmother and great-grandmother have a restraining order against her.

We'll see how the next few months go, our next court date is end of August.

Our placement is great! We've had her for a few months now. Bio-mom was initially difficult and not wanting to do visits, but has opened up and we've given them a lot of support and made visits happen. Our FD has anxiety and separation issues which with trauma cases is to be expected. She finally considers me "safe" and will come to me for comfort and fun now that she's realized I'm the goofy fun parent that will play games and goof off where as my wife is more of the provider roll than the fun roll.

Our new case worker is outstanding as well (we saw her last night for our monthly inspection) and openly communicates with me and keeps me in the loop on everything. Overall we're having an excellent experience and I know that's not common (knock on wood) but it's great.

It will be a few years down the line when we hopefully get a bigger house, but we've discussed taking in a gay teen in the far future as there's a VERY large population here of gay teens who were kicked out and ostracized by their parents with no support. Those are the one's we just want to bring into our home and give them a chance to be successful. Wife tells me my heart is way too big because I want to save all the children but she's good about limiting me to two... for now!

Kodilynn fucked around with this message at 20:35 on Apr 5, 2017

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Didn't expect this turn of events, but since we have some case workers (past and present) in the thread...

We've found out that our bio has failed to do... anything that was required of her for a year unbeknownst to us other than visits and they're moving forward with termination of rights. It's a sad state of events and my wife and I aren't anywhere in the mindset of what the hell is going to happen or what the timeline is going to be with the foster child in our care once this goes down. The judge gave the bio 3 months and 2 weeks to get all the classes she neglected to complete (takes longer than that to even do them really and both attorney's talked to me privately about it) on top of the required family therapy and she's failed to do any of her drug screens since October. The judge issued to move forward with the motion and asked the state prosecutor and child's attorney if there were any objections and neither had any objections as both stated it's been a year with no results and they don't expect that to change.

On the bio's behalf I did speak to her success with visits and that she hadn't had the support prior to us (we encourage her a LOT and stay in constant contact as opposed to the previous placement wouldn't even let her do visits and never called her once) so to give her the opportunity to get this done. I've been on her since to make sure she got her poo poo in line, but she's still failed to get her required calendar together. I don't see this ending well regardless of my attempts to help as I can only do so much.

Back to my point, if termination does happen, what's the timeline of events in your experience? I assume the child remains with us in the interim, but what else should we expect? I feel so bad for her and the child right now, this is going to hurt everyone involved.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


Kodilynn posted:

Didn't expect this turn of events, but since we have some case workers (past and present) in the thread...

We've found out that our bio has failed to do... anything that was required of her for a year unbeknownst to us other than visits and they're moving forward with termination of rights. It's a sad state of events and my wife and I aren't anywhere in the mindset of what the hell is going to happen or what the timeline is going to be with the foster child in our care once this goes down. The judge gave the bio 3 months and 2 weeks to get all the classes she neglected to complete (takes longer than that to even do them really and both attorney's talked to me privately about it) on top of the required family therapy and she's failed to do any of her drug screens since October. The judge issued to move forward with the motion and asked the state prosecutor and child's attorney if there were any objections and neither had any objections as both stated it's been a year with no results and they don't expect that to change.

On the bio's behalf I did speak to her success with visits and that she hadn't had the support prior to us (we encourage her a LOT and stay in constant contact as opposed to the previous placement wouldn't even let her do visits and never called her once) so to give her the opportunity to get this done. I've been on her since to make sure she got her poo poo in line, but she's still failed to get her required calendar together. I don't see this ending well regardless of my attempts to help as I can only do so much.

Back to my point, if termination does happen, what's the timeline of events in your experience? I assume the child remains with us in the interim, but what else should we expect? I feel so bad for her and the child right now, this is going to hurt everyone involved.

I think it's different per state (and in some places per county, just based off of the different agencies interpretation/enforcement of rules). I'm very interested as well because we're going through a similar situation; bioparents are a mess, have not completed any of their required items, have failed drug screens recently, were failed out of their parenting class, and the 1 year review is in August. Biomom is due in July and we were told to plan on that baby being placed with within days of birth.

I know that relatives can come forward at any time as well, even last second, and have the children placed with them if parents lose custody permanently. Because the youngest foster child has special needs, the bio family has not expressed any interest (and the few times we've spoken to them have expressed outright fear) in taking care of someone with those needs long-term. Our case worker told us last week that we might want to have conversations about whether we are interested in keeping all 3 permanently, once the baby is born.

The good thing for us is that only the oldest child, who is 28 months, will really be aware of this in any real sense. It's still heartbreaking, and he cries when they cancel visitation last minute (and we have to drive him back home) but it could be a lot worse.

We were told that they'll usually grant a 2 month extension to the parents (so October) and then if no progress has been made, the county submits paperwork to move into the adoption phase and that the rest depends on the prosecutor to schedule - anywhere from 1 - 3 months.

I'm really interested to see what others say here!

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Kodilynn posted:

Didn't expect this turn of events, but since we have some case workers (past and present) in the thread...

We've found out that our bio has failed to do... anything that was required of her for a year unbeknownst to us other than visits and they're moving forward with termination of rights. It's a sad state of events and my wife and I aren't anywhere in the mindset of what the hell is going to happen or what the timeline is going to be with the foster child in our care once this goes down. The judge gave the bio 3 months and 2 weeks to get all the classes she neglected to complete (takes longer than that to even do them really and both attorney's talked to me privately about it) on top of the required family therapy and she's failed to do any of her drug screens since October. The judge issued to move forward with the motion and asked the state prosecutor and child's attorney if there were any objections and neither had any objections as both stated it's been a year with no results and they don't expect that to change.

On the bio's behalf I did speak to her success with visits and that she hadn't had the support prior to us (we encourage her a LOT and stay in constant contact as opposed to the previous placement wouldn't even let her do visits and never called her once) so to give her the opportunity to get this done. I've been on her since to make sure she got her poo poo in line, but she's still failed to get her required calendar together. I don't see this ending well regardless of my attempts to help as I can only do so much.

Back to my point, if termination does happen, what's the timeline of events in your experience? I assume the child remains with us in the interim, but what else should we expect? I feel so bad for her and the child right now, this is going to hurt everyone involved.

Since I'm a case worker I'll field this and offer you some advice.

You seem like you're doing a wonderful job fostering and supporting family relationships. Kiddo and mom are both lucky to have you.

However, and I tell this to all new social workers as well as foster parents, working harder than the parent helps no one. You could create an artificial appearance of success if you hold moms hand through every step of the process, but you also need to think about what things will look like when that support goes away (in your case, if kiddo goes home). Mom has got to show an ability to maintain. This process should have started a year ago.

A year of no progress and intermittent visits (prior to you) is a poor prognosis. Drug addiction is a monster, and caring for a child is drat hard.

In California, reunification services are terminated and then within 120 days a hearing is held to decide whether parental rights are terminated (adoption), a legal guardianship can be established, or the child enters long term foster care while they search for a permanent home.

If parental rights are terminated the adoption is usually finalized in 6-12 months, but you would have additional rights in court as the prospective parents.


Now is the time to have a frank discusssion with your case worker if you want to adopt this child if mom can't do it. Don't get left out of the running if your worker isn't sure where you stand.

Good luck to you and this family, remember that adoption isn't the end of contact or love between a child and a birth parent. She'd just have two sets of parents who love her.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Supporting what Mocking Bird said, I can't stress this enough-

Depending on what state you live in (I can only speak on California) there is a difference between Foster parents and Fost-Adopt parents. The licensing is different, and when the time comes for permanent placement, there are a lot of foster parents that get left in the dust because they didn't get the licensing for Fost-adoption. Some people think that because they were in emergency foster care they would get priority if the child needed to be adopted, but this isn't necessarily the case.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Yes, if you don't have an adoption home study completed and approved, you now have 3 months to complete one! (And that's usually how long they take in the first place)

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Panfilo posted:

Supporting what Mocking Bird said, I can't stress this enough-

Depending on what state you live in (I can only speak on California) there is a difference between Foster parents and Fost-Adopt parents. The licensing is different, and when the time comes for permanent placement, there are a lot of foster parents that get left in the dust because they didn't get the licensing for Fost-adoption. Some people think that because they were in emergency foster care they would get priority if the child needed to be adopted, but this isn't necessarily the case.

We are registered as foster-adopt as that was our initial plan. We took the child on under the pretenses that adoption was definitely a possibility, but reunification was always the goal. We have meetings with the attorney, agency worker, and case worker this week to do some Q&A with what to do/expect as I e-mailed all of them and asked for a face to face. As you both said it differs state to state so I'll be very curious to hear what our process is for this state.

quote:

However, and I tell this to all new social workers as well as foster parents, working harder than the parent helps no one. You could create an artificial appearance of success if you hold moms hand through every step of the process, but you also need to think about what things will look like when that support goes away (in your case, if kiddo goes home). Mom has got to show an ability to maintain. This process should have started a year ago.

To this end I'm certainly guilty of trying way too hard to make reunification happen. I facilitate visits (beyond what's required), I keep in contact with bio parent to ask about her calendar, classes, work, make sure she's at least trying to keep up with it all. It's a shame it went this way but I've definitely done more than any other foster parent they've dealt with and they've actually said that in e-mails thanking us for doing so much compared to most parents they work with. I'll do an update after the meeting.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Kodilynn posted:

To this end I'm certainly guilty of trying way too hard to make reunification happen. I facilitate visits (beyond what's required), I keep in contact with bio parent to ask about her calendar, classes, work, make sure she's at least trying to keep up with it all. It's a shame it went this way but I've definitely done more than any other foster parent they've dealt with and they've actually said that in e-mails thanking us for doing so much compared to most parents they work with. I'll do an update after the meeting.

I understand that feeling completely. We are fixers, we are compassionate, we want everything to work out for everyone. Somehow.

When I went to our first court date, I met our foster daughter's bio great-grandmother (maternal). She had no idea what was going on with court, what the process it, anything. I gave her my mobile phone number and texted her to make sure my info was in her phone. I showed her pictures and video of the baby, and I gave her the county social worker's contact info. A week later I got a text from a random number that turned out to be the bio grandma (maternal). All was pleasant, setting up a regular weekly visit. They would text me randomly asking how she was doing, I would text back a photo.

Then bio mom suddenly showed up at a visit with them. Ok, no problem. But bio grandma has a restraining order against bio mom, so I had to alert CSW they were together. Suddenly bio mom was texting me from grandma's number, demanding tons of visits. Ok, but we'd need to coordinate with CSW. Then I would get texts late at night, phone calls from random numbers, all from bio mom demanding visits at the last minute. I actually got a call from the CSW, while I was en route to a visit, telling me to turn around as no one had cleared visits with her. And just this morning we had a meeting with the CSW where it was revealed bio mom thinks she's pregnant (she missed her period) and that she is giving up that kid but fighting for our foster child. I was told if she didn't make efforts to comply with all the rules, they would likely move to terminate parental rights. She's hasn't done a thing and she admitted to currently doing drugs - yes, even though she thinks she's pregnant.

At the end of the meeting today I promised to stop being so lenient with texts and visits, to stick to the current visitation schedule, and to not let them get away with calling late at night to change things all around. They appreciate what I am trying to do, but warned me to pull back and not be so helpful as we were likely only delaying the inevitable. I, of course, want all my kids to have contact with all their bio relatives, but if it's chaos 24/7 I have to do what's best for them and I guess we'll see if the bio mom gets her stuff together. All signs point negative.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


VorpalBunny posted:

I understand that feeling completely. We are fixers, we are compassionate, we want everything to work out for everyone. Somehow.

When I went to our first court date, I met our foster daughter's bio great-grandmother (maternal). She had no idea what was going on with court, what the process it, anything. I gave her my mobile phone number and texted her to make sure my info was in her phone. I showed her pictures and video of the baby, and I gave her the county social worker's contact info. A week later I got a text from a random number that turned out to be the bio grandma (maternal). All was pleasant, setting up a regular weekly visit. They would text me randomly asking how she was doing, I would text back a photo.

Then bio mom suddenly showed up at a visit with them. Ok, no problem. But bio grandma has a restraining order against bio mom, so I had to alert CSW they were together. Suddenly bio mom was texting me from grandma's number, demanding tons of visits. Ok, but we'd need to coordinate with CSW. Then I would get texts late at night, phone calls from random numbers, all from bio mom demanding visits at the last minute. I actually got a call from the CSW, while I was en route to a visit, telling me to turn around as no one had cleared visits with her. And just this morning we had a meeting with the CSW where it was revealed bio mom thinks she's pregnant (she missed her period) and that she is giving up that kid but fighting for our foster child. I was told if she didn't make efforts to comply with all the rules, they would likely move to terminate parental rights. She's hasn't done a thing and she admitted to currently doing drugs - yes, even though she thinks she's pregnant.

At the end of the meeting today I promised to stop being so lenient with texts and visits, to stick to the current visitation schedule, and to not let them get away with calling late at night to change things all around. They appreciate what I am trying to do, but warned me to pull back and not be so helpful as we were likely only delaying the inevitable. I, of course, want all my kids to have contact with all their bio relatives, but if it's chaos 24/7 I have to do what's best for them and I guess we'll see if the bio mom gets her stuff together. All signs point negative.

Yes, this is not uncommon. Boundaries are so important when it comes to fostering, because of course mothers and fathers want to have 24/7 access to their children. It's not your fault as a foster parent that they don't, but if they want to reunify they need to work with the system, not around it. Helping them navigate to their case worker, coming to team meetings, passing along information is all good - giving them under the table visits or contact really muddies the waters, though.

I use a google voice number that I turn off at night, personally. And I text instead of calling so I can take screenshots if I need to. And I say this as someone who is hosting six (six!!) adults and 2 children in my home from my daughters bio family for her high school graduation/birthday combo next month.

She's going to college in August We paid the enrollment fees and everything.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Had our meeting last night and voiced our concerns about what's going forward.

From the sounds of it, bio has the opportunity (3 months 2 weeks) to complete their plan per the judge. If they make significant progress they can ask for an extension up to 2 months to be granted to complete the plan. They still haven't started the family therapy that is required so that's not a great sign. If the Judge thinks that not enough has been done, or not enough, they'll set a day within 30-60 days for a termination hearing where the parent can appeal, request a judge trial, or a jury trial. If it's a judge trial, it's pretty quick. Jury trial can take awhile because it's the same process as any other case. Or she can choose to flat out relinquish.

We did find out that we can word our adoption contract very carefully with "continuity of care" as opposed to "we can't afford this" if we move forward to adopt the child to get the stipend and daycare to continue to be paid for by the state which would definitely be required. We ran the numbers and we really can't afford to take on another child due to daycare costs based on age with what we're making now without cutting out our monthly safety net that goes into savings; and given that we had to replace our furnace last year, I'm not willing to jeopardize home repair threats and those associated costs. It's sad, but it's just reality. I don't want to lose the child but I can't disrupt my own family for it in the end either, so this is going to be incredibly difficult if bio fails completely.

If they move her to an adoptive status, we'd help write a short bio and they'd approach families that are adoption only for trial adoption that goes for 6 months and it kinda goes from there. This is going to suck.

If we adopt the child, then we have to have a discussion about open or closed adoption and if we want to continue or terminate contact with the bio. The pro's and con's of that are another argument. Ugh. This whole situation and process sucks, but I'm glad we did it.

Edit: It's depressing as well, and I know there's nothing I can do, but the child has a sibling that is a bit older but is in a therapeutic home due to behavioral issues that I can't have in my house due to other children. Because of her age and behavioral issue she'll probably be stuck in the foster system until she ages out. Her chances of being adopted are slim at best and it kills me knowing that.

Both kids are tribal which makes this sooooo much more complicated. None of their family/kinship passed the clearance to take them either.

Kodilynn fucked around with this message at 14:41 on May 10, 2017

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


The adoption assistance program exists for exactly this reason, daycare is the subjective issue. Ask for what you need, most places would rather help than traumatize a child with another move.

And I hate to think of the six month placements prior to adoption as "trial adoptions" as if the child must perform to their expectations or be returned like a puppy to the pound. The realty is that legally an adoption or guardianship can't be finalized before a child has been in a home for at least six months, which is meant to allow for full disclosures, arranging care, and evaluating if the FAMILY is meeting that child's needs.

Good luck, you sound like you're working so hard! And remember that "open" can be as much or as little as you want - letters only to a PO box to weekend visits in your home. Don't overstretch yourself - only offer what you can provide and keep your sanity. Keeping track of their sibling you aren't able to care for is just as important - they don't need to live with you to get support and a chance to know their sister.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


Mocking Bird posted:

The adoption assistance program exists for exactly this reason, daycare is the subjective issue. Ask for what you need, most places would rather help than traumatize a child with another move.

And I hate to think of the six month placements prior to adoption as "trial adoptions" as if the child must perform to their expectations or be returned like a puppy to the pound. The realty is that legally an adoption or guardianship can't be finalized before a child has been in a home for at least six months, which is meant to allow for full disclosures, arranging care, and evaluating if the FAMILY is meeting that child's needs.

Good luck, you sound like you're working so hard! And remember that "open" can be as much or as little as you want - letters only to a PO box to weekend visits in your home. Don't overstretch yourself - only offer what you can provide and keep your sanity. Keeping track of their sibling you aren't able to care for is just as important - they don't need to live with you to get support and a chance to know their sister.

This is good to know. My wife and I are considering this as well, since we've been told that the 2 boys and the newborn will probably end up being available for adoption since the parents aren't making any progress. We can take on the 3 kids but with one of them having fairly severe special needs and ~20 medical appointments per month, we can't afford to adopt them without retaining some of the subsidy. We don't want to appear greedy or anything, and we don't know how Ohio handles it and what we can keep if we do adopt them, but the financial strain just isn't doable otherwise.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Solaron posted:

This is good to know. My wife and I are considering this as well, since we've been told that the 2 boys and the newborn will probably end up being available for adoption since the parents aren't making any progress. We can take on the 3 kids but with one of them having fairly severe special needs and ~20 medical appointments per month, we can't afford to adopt them without retaining some of the subsidy. We don't want to appear greedy or anything, and we don't know how Ohio handles it and what we can keep if we do adopt them, but the financial strain just isn't doable otherwise.

We're in the same boat. Affordability is definitely the issue and I hate that to be the excuse, but the fact that daycare is covered as is the clothing allowance (children destroy shoes/clothes) and the monthly stipend make it less painful. It's a far cry from enough, but we're fine as it is right now. If that all disappeared with adoption, we would end up in debt that we've fought pretty hard to get out of.

Glad to know that stuff is an option though, I'd hate to lose the child at this point as I've grown a bit attached as they've become really attached to my wife and I.

I actually go out of my way to make sure that the child sees her sibling at least once a month and we have phone calls at least once a week (unless said sibling is grounded which... happens a lot). She's a couple hundred miles away so we unfortunately can't just get up and go on a whim. It's usually that we're in the area for a trip over the weekend so let's get together which is a sparse occasion. The state has issues with bio getting her to communicate to bring the sibling down so they can have time as a family which is unfortunate. I've been pushing bio to be more responsive to the case worker and she's been doing a little better lately. I think the reality of all this is finally setting in for her albeit a bit too late.

The 'open' adoption, if it did happen, I want her to continue to see her parent but at the same time the less friendly part of me wants to go "You had your opportunity with all the encouragement and support we could give and you still failed. Sorry." but I know I can't bring myself to do that.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Solaron posted:

This is good to know. My wife and I are considering this as well, since we've been told that the 2 boys and the newborn will probably end up being available for adoption since the parents aren't making any progress. We can take on the 3 kids but with one of them having fairly severe special needs and ~20 medical appointments per month, we can't afford to adopt them without retaining some of the subsidy. We don't want to appear greedy or anything, and we don't know how Ohio handles it and what we can keep if we do adopt them, but the financial strain just isn't doable otherwise.

http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsid...files/ohio.html

Kodilynn posted:

We're in the same boat. Affordability is definitely the issue and I hate that to be the excuse, but the fact that daycare is covered as is the clothing allowance (children destroy shoes/clothes) and the monthly stipend make it less painful. It's a far cry from enough, but we're fine as it is right now. If that all disappeared with adoption, we would end up in debt that we've fought pretty hard to get out of.

Glad to know that stuff is an option though, I'd hate to lose the child at this point as I've grown a bit attached as they've become really attached to my wife and I.

I actually go out of my way to make sure that the child sees her sibling at least once a month and we have phone calls at least once a week (unless said sibling is grounded which... happens a lot). She's a couple hundred miles away so we unfortunately can't just get up and go on a whim. It's usually that we're in the area for a trip over the weekend so let's get together which is a sparse occasion. The state has issues with bio getting her to communicate to bring the sibling down so they can have time as a family which is unfortunate. I've been pushing bio to be more responsive to the case worker and she's been doing a little better lately. I think the reality of all this is finally setting in for her albeit a bit too late.

The 'open' adoption, if it did happen, I want her to continue to see her parent but at the same time the less friendly part of me wants to go "You had your opportunity with all the encouragement and support we could give and you still failed. Sorry." but I know I can't bring myself to do that.

Think of the open adoption as a way for the child to have access to their past and history, not as a favor to the parent. Children seek out the bio families, wouldn't you rather it be in your control with your help and support?

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Like, I am seriously not hosting for my foster daughter's graduation for the benefit of her mother or father or her other relatives that consistently have let her down in her life. I'm doing it because she still loves them and my demonstrative actions lead them to participate and enjoy the event, which is all she wants.

Thanatosian
Apr 16, 2013

Angrier, Bitterer Man


Grimey Drawer

Solaron posted:

This is good to know. My wife and I are considering this as well, since we've been told that the 2 boys and the newborn will probably end up being available for adoption since the parents aren't making any progress. We can take on the 3 kids but with one of them having fairly severe special needs and ~20 medical appointments per month, we can't afford to adopt them without retaining some of the subsidy. We don't want to appear greedy or anything, and we don't know how Ohio handles it and what we can keep if we do adopt them, but the financial strain just isn't doable otherwise.
As a taxpayer who doesn't ever want to take care of children (neither my own, nor anyone else's), let me just say that asking for a subsidy to help you take care of a special needs child who would otherwise be a ward of the state does not strike me as greedy in the least bit. Quite the opposite. It is almost assuredly going to be cheaper for the state and have way better outcomes for the child for them to write you a check every month. If anything were going to upset me, it would probably be that the checks are way to small for someone taking on that kind of responsibility. This is, in fact, exactly the sort of thing I want my tax money spent on.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Solaron posted:

This is good to know. My wife and I are considering this as well, since we've been told that the 2 boys and the newborn will probably end up being available for adoption since the parents aren't making any progress. We can take on the 3 kids but with one of them having fairly severe special needs and ~20 medical appointments per month, we can't afford to adopt them without retaining some of the subsidy. We don't want to appear greedy or anything, and we don't know how Ohio handles it and what we can keep if we do adopt them, but the financial strain just isn't doable otherwise.

It's funny, we never took WIC (ie formula provided by the state) for our first foster placement. Every other foster parent thought we were nuts, but I figured with the monthly stipend we were already getting we could afford formula and everything else. I had that guilt of not really "needing" it. It wasn't until I mentioned that here on the forums did people gently remind me that my family is what these programs are for. It's all for the kid, we're not flipping formula or anything, and that kid is technically a ward of the state. Even though people who get assistance are often looked down on for whatever reason, we are caring for the most vulnerable people in our society and the money has been set aside just for them.

Now with our current placement we are taking WIC, and while I still have residual guilt about it, I'll be honest and say it's nice to not have to worry about that added expense anymore. We'll likely drop it once she's off formula in 8 months or so, but it is nice to know she has that support no matter what happens. There's a reason social programs are in place, we need to learn to embrace them if for no other reason than the welfare of these children.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


If not having to worry about the expense allows their caregiver to relax and spend more time engaged with them, that's a good thing. If the money saved provides a more secure home and placement, that's a good thing. If the state can do anything to support a neglected or abused child, it should.

Making fostering and adoption affordable is the whole point of the stipend (technically a reimbursement!) and the other supportive services, and ESPECIALLY the federal adoption assistance program. If only comfortable and wealthy people could afford to foster then these children would be out of luck - for the most part, foster homes are working and middle class. $30 a day in stipend and 6 cans of formula a month opens up so many more homes.

I think we should be proud that we are country without orphanages anymore and focus on that rather than being guilty for accepting support to keep it that way.

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Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


We had our meeting with the case worker to play 20 questions last night given that this is a tribal case which always makes it far more complicated. We did get some really good news though. The reality of what's happening finally clicked with bio and they're actually going to the classes she's required to go to, has appointments set up for the other, and passed the first of 6 required UA's with flying colors. They still have to do alcohol screenings on the regular, but she's actually committing to getting this done. That being said, this is attempt number 4 where she starts then stops, so I'm really hoping she stays the course.

On the plus side, even if they DO fail, the grandmother has been approved to take the children if rights are terminated so they'll still be within the family and able to see their bio on the regular which was a huge sigh of relief. Being tribal we're pretty much dead last to be asked to adopt, so I'm actually glad that the grandmother got approved this close to the deadline.

After long discussion though, we'll probably be closing our house - at least for now - to any more foster kiddo's. It's been an experience but incredibly difficult and stressful on our family and we agreed we can't subject our own child to this again as it caused some issues there as well. It's a shame, I really enjoyed it but really it's not what's best for my family. I'd encourage anyone who's heart is in the right place to at least explore the option as it is very rewarding work; but it is still just that - work. It's far from easy and they don't stress that enough.

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