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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 just started taking the classes for foster to adopt in Ohio, so I am excited to follow this thread. We've got 1 spare room and are looking for 1 or 2 kids (if siblings) that are younger than our 2 kids (who are 6 and 11). The woman who led our first class kept telling everyone they needed to go for the maximum kids per room because of how many kids in need there are in our area but we just can't offer that kid of support, I don't think.

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Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


I have a theoretical question (and it may differ state to state - I'm in Ohio FWIW).

First - I'm sure some of these/most of these questions can get answered in the classes, but they canceled our most recent set of classes because of lack of interest, so my wife and I are driving between 4 different counties over the next 2 months to get them done and I would like independent verification of what we learn there.

If we foster to adopt, from how I understand the process, the child(ren) will be placed with us for anywhere from 6 months to a year before adoption is possible. At that point, the stipend/reimbursement stops and the medical coverage stops, correct? What if the child develops medical or special needs due to something from their birth (drug exposure, etc). Is that something that medicare would continue to cover or that my insurance would then cover as their adopted parent?

quote:

I'm also a single parent household

Agreeing with VorpalBunny here - that sounds overwhelming. I don't know how you do it. My wife is a professor who teaches online classes so she's able to be home 99% of the time, luckily.

VorpalBunny posted:


Once my kids are all older and out of the house I'd like to focus on fostering older kids. Right now we have toddlers and little kids, so taking in another toddler or little kid makes the most sense.


That's our thought too. Once our kids are out of the house, we would definitely be interested in fostering older kids. It just doesn't make sense for us right now.

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 finished our 36 hours of training last week (did 21 hours of it last week). It was pretty pointless - I understand the idea behind it and I think training is important, but this seemed designed to let someone check off a box somewhere and that's it. There were no tests or reviews, most of the videos didn't work or were skipped by the presenters, the slideshows didn't follow along with the manuals very well, etc. In order to get the classes done in a timely fashion, we went to 4 different counties and had 5 separate teachers. That said, it's nice to have that out of the way. We've been assigned a case worker for our county but now we have do do the home study process, which I've heard can take between 3 and 6 months.

Cincinnati's heroin problems are creating some pretty huge strains on the system so I'm hopeful that we will be able to complete the process quickly.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


I've tried to find some information for Ohio but only find generic stuff or else the one for permanent adoption - I'm just looking for what I need for fostering, for now. I hope I don't have to babyproof my garage. I knew about locking my medicine away, but hadn't thought about my water heater temperature.

We've been assigned our case worker, but haven't heard from them yet and the office phone goes right the voicemail. Exciting!

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


We've had our first home study, and our fire inspection is next Monday. In Ohio (or at least, our county/agency), foster kids don't need separate dressers but they do need separate/individual drawers and areas that are theirs to store their stuff. But 1 large dresser is fine for 2 kids, especially siblings, for instance. We're hoping we'll be all ready to get our first placement in January.

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:

Congrats! Please remember that you can take a little while to think about whether the child is right for your home before you say yes to a placement

Also I did respite care for a 15 year old this weekend and my 17 year old was incredibly surly the entire time and has informed me I'm not allowed to have any more kids until she leaves for college. Kids really don't make this easy, do they?

Do you think it was having another child so close in age to her or just having another child there in general that she responded negatively to?

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


We're set to be licensed on Tuesday, 1/24! From talking to other foster parents in our county, most of them had a placement within a week. We'll see how long it takes us since we're looking for kids under 6 years old and can only take 2 at most.

The experience hasn't been too terrible so far but we haven't had a placement yet so we're getting nervous.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


We have a sibling group of 3 - 30 months, 20 months and 2 months old - and the 2.5 year old refers to my wife and I as 'mommy and daddy' and his bio parents as 'other mommy ' or 'other daddy'. When he's with them, we're other mommy and daddy. But it's looking increasingly likely that they are going to have their parental rights terminated - the 1 year mark is in 2 weeks and they have more to do now than they did when the kids were first taken - so we're definitely trying to think about how to frame this to a kid that young. His parents' messaging is unrealistic and makes the day or two after visitation pretty difficult. Thanks for the insight!

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


Our situation is still up in the air here. We have 3 boys now, a sibling group - 2.5 years old, almost 2 and then a 3 month old who was born almost 2 months early. It's been a year and there has been 0 progress from the bio parents - as mentioned before, they have more to do now than they did when the boys were first taken. We've had the older boys for almost 7 months now and the baby since he came out of the NICU. The boys were removed from a previous foster home for neglect. Our 2 bio children (12 and 7) are amazingly helpful and loving towards the boys, which has made this entire process so much easier.

Since it's been a year, we just had the annual review. The judge was very blunt with the parents, but they swear that THIS time they are going to get it together and make it work. They have moved (for the 9th time in the last year) to stay with an older family friend who is able to give them rides sometimes, but they're still very resistant to some of their case plan (primarily the requirements around mental health). So, they've been given a 6-month extension with the understanding that if significant, immediate progress isn't made by the parents, the county will be filing to terminate their parental rights next month.

It's such a strange situation to be in. I want to advocate for the parents and be there to support them, but they've consistently shown that they don't have good priorities, don't seem to care about getting this stuff done or about learning what to do to be able to be good parents long-term. The second child has fairly significant medical needs that require multiple weekly medical appointments, feeding tubes, etc and we've seen some really incredible progress in the last 6+ months. We're afraid of that all going away if the parents manage to half-rear end this case plan and get the boys back somehow.

So whether or not we're going to keep the boys, we'll at least have them through the holidays - which may be bittersweet, but we're trying not to think of that.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


EDIT: OOps, responding to Anne Whately / KodiLynn here!

^^^^ Definitely - I'm assuming just not translating their thoughts clearly, but that really isn't the way to think of or talk about LGBT (and oftentimes is the kind of language that has contributed to their situation).

VorpalBunny posted:

This actually brings up an interesting issue we've had to deal with for the past few years. Before we adopted my youngest son, we had him for 2 holiday seasons. We included him in every family photo, gave him a stocking like everyone else, essentially treated him like a permanent part of the family even though we knew he could leave at any time. We had some friends who were fostering at the same time, and they took the opposite approach. They didn't include their foster kid in photos and didn't do the same traditions as their bio kid. Their argument was they weren't sure how long the kid would be there, it would be too painful to look back on photos for a kid they no longer had, etc. It's just one of those little issues you don't think about too much while you are in training. We actually have photos of those friends' old foster child hanging on our fridge, while I assume they have purged all documentation of him from their lives. They recently gave up their foster license, which is probably the best for everyone.

We now have our latest foster placement for the holidays, and her parental rights termination hearing is 3 days before her first birthday in January. This is going to be an interesting next few months!

And her bio mom cancelled her visit this morning ONCE AGAIN, at the last minute, so I emailed all the social workers involved to revise her visitation to one day a week. She hasn't seen her daughter in weeks, I could be doing so much more with this time I am wasting preparing for (and often driving to) these cancelled visits. After this mom decided to skip court last week (her one big chance to advocate for her daughter), I have given up responding to her random text messages and playing these erratic games and am going to stick to communicating strictly through the social workers. I don't give a poo poo if you think we should be dressing her in princess clothes, actually make an effort to visit with her and then we can talk.

Yeah, we have the boys in our family photos and include them in anything and everything we can. If we do lose them, it will be sad and I'm sure it will be painful, but I would rather look back and have those memories.

As far as visitation goes, after the parents missed a few in a row, we talked to the agency and they implemented a new rule that the bioparents have to call 1 hour in advance before each visitation and confirm with the agency that they are going to be there. If they don't call, we don't take the boys - and they've neglected to call a few times and shown up anyway, only to be turned away. It's helped us with the pointless trips (and loading up / taking a 30 minute car ride with 3 boys under 3 is not an easy task by itself).

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


We're having a rough time right now. The middle boy in our 3-sibling-group has some medical issues (cerebral palsy, epilepsy, feeding tube), is in multiple therapies every week and was recently placed on a ketogenic diet, requiring multiple daily blood glucose and blood ketone tests, special formula we have to weigh and mix and a lot of pills we have to measure and grind. The county agency says that they don't deal with 'therapeutic' cases and for a child like this one, they don't have any support structure really. We're losing sleep and going a little crazy monitoring him and taking care of all of his needs - and getting respite is about impossible because of the specialized training required that scares most people away.

Don't really have any questions, just venting right now.

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:

Does the child have an attorney? Is there a foster care advocate or ombudsman?

They should be paying you a special rate to the degree that you can afford to pay a CNA to watch him for respite or be able to check him into a low acuity residential Childrens hospital temporarily. What's the structure in your state for gravely disabled children? Are you connected to those resources?

For comparison San Francisco county pays $5k a month for foster parents of medically fragile children.

We were told that some agencies in the area that handle medically fragile or 'therapeutic' children have those kinds of setups, but that our county agency doesn't handle any children with those kinds of needs. So when a child does have those kinds of needs, as part of a sibling group, they simply have no processes to deal with it. We get the same rate for him as we do for his brother who is ~10 months older and has 0 issues.

We have a CASA worker for him but that's the extent of it. The kids are over their 1 year mark, and the county *might* file for PC as soon as October... or as late as next February. A CNA occasionally or something would be simply amazing.

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:

Can I ask the state? Or county? Or you could PM me, I can see if I can dredge up some guidance for you.

Have you considered becoming certified with those local agencies that care for the medically fragile kiddos?

After your comment yesterday I dug in and did some more Googling and talked to our case worker and a couple other families in our area. I'm still new to fostering (we got our placement the day after we were licensed, these 3 are our first) so I may be incorrect on my understanding of some of these.

It seems like Ohio is fairly unique - each county and agency set their own rates. So the county next to me has a smaller stipend but separately fully covers childcare, diapers, some respite, etc. Our county has a higher rate but only offers $125/wk for childcare regardless of age/needs of the child. The county has also decided that they don't have a category for therapeutic needs children - so while they acknowledge that they exist, they say they aren't equipped to deal with them and normally send them to other private agencies. In this case, since it's part of a sibling group and initially, 12 months ago, they were expected to be an easy reunification, they just kept them both in the system (before their baby brother was born).

My wife and I plan on talking to the county again. We don't want to mess anything up as far as timelines go by trying to move to a different agency and we really like the caseworker the boys have, but we also know that the way Ohio handles adoption subsidies is tied directly to the amount that the child gets today - so if we get $20 / day, that is the max adoption subsidy you could ever get (and odds are it would be half of that or so). So we really just mostly want to know that if we adopt, we will be able to have the support we need for him.

If we don't adopt these three, we've been talking about changing agencies. Until you mentioned it, I wasn't aware that there was more certification we could do to work with medically fragile kids, but you're right - there's a whole separate thing we could do to be qualified to work with more kids like him. That is definitely something we will look into.

Depending what the county says I may PM you for advice! Thank you!

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


It's looking more and more likely that our 3 foster boys will be available for adoption. The county files the paperwork tomorrow for permanent custody - there will be a hearing scheduled sometime in the next few months to decide and then the adoption process would start. It's conceivable that the parents could start to make progress now, but it's been 14 months and they've not done a single thing from their case plan so I doubt it.

Since one of the boys has significant medical/special needs and the baby was born 2 months premature, we know there will be extra expenses and things as the kids grow. If we did adopt, for instance, we would need to remodel our home to make it more workable for a child in a wheelchair who has very little control of his own body (at this point at least).

It seems as though there are some tax benefits and credits that can help with this. My understanding is that the boys, being part of a sibling group and with 1 of them having these special needs, would all be considered special needs by the state for purposes of this tax stuff, but I don't fully understand it. Is this something I could go to an H&R block type place for or how do I find someone who is trustworthy and specializes in this type of work?


Mocking Bird posted:

I wish that situation was more unusual

Also, I took a new position at my job and am now the "placement and concurrent planning social worker" which means I make sure all our kiddos have good places to live and people to love them and I do the family finding/outreach/licensing.

It's nice, I see more good thing and less chaos now

Congrats on that! I bet that feels a lot better than the chaos and negative stuff.

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:

Trip to Disney World with our foster was incredible Everyone had a blast, pretty sure my wife and I had more fun than the kids. I'm so glad our foster child got to come with us!

In other news, family that wanted kinship was uh... denied. No beds available, unlivable conditions, no food, not enough income, among other issues. SO that is out the window. Next being tribal I guess they're going to ask anyone in the blood line if they want to try before putting them up for adoption in which case HERE WE COME! We still have court in November but I'm not sure what will actually happen since family options are running dry. The state already said reunification has failed and won't happen, but didn't terminate rights at the children's request.

Tribal adoptions sound so complicated - seems like it's looking more and more likely for you guys though, good luck.

Yay for Disney! I've taken my kids there a couple times and they loved it. We want to take a Disney trip with our foster boys one day - it can get expensive but it will be worth it. The county filed for permanent custody on the 17th so we're just waiting for the hearings now. Theoretically the parents can still do something to make progress but that hasn't happened for 14 months now so who knows.

Also, we were just notified that my wife and I won an award through the county Board of Developmental Disabilities for Foster Parents of the Year because of our work with our foster son with CP! We're excited - free food and a night out, yay!

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:

I totally understand your break, sounds like you've been put through the ringer.

Our 10-month old's biomom had her second child a few weeks ago (the math doesn't even really add up, but whatever) and we're struggling with the idea of potentially taking him in. We already have 4 in the home, our oldest turns 7 next week, and a newborn on top of that would be rough. My husband and I agreed that if the baby is detained further down the road we can potentially take him in, but it would be too much with a toddler and a newborn on top of everything else.

But we were also informed that since mom is currently in rehab and clean and "doing well", even though our social worker hasn't really had direct contact with her rehab or whatever social worker might have been assigned to the case, she may be on track to reunify with our foster placement. So we currently could either sever parental rights at her next court case on Jan 9th, we may get a call any day about the newborn, or we could lose our placement if mom keeps on the right path. All are equally possible, all are possibilities we need to prepare for.

The roller coaster continues!

Seconding the break - I totally get it. If the 3 boys we have now go back, we're going to take a little break as well. It's been a whirlwind.

When we accepted the boys, it was just the 2 of them, both 2 years old, (separated by 9 months and 11 days, so I know what you mean with the math... they didn't waste any time!) and then we got the newborn when he was born in May. 5 kids in the house, with 3 under 3 and still in diapers, was a gigantic undertaking and has definitely required some sacrifices in other parts of our life, so I definitely understand the hesitance. If my wife wasn't able to work from home and have a very flexible schedule, it would simply not be doable.

We've definitely had back and forth regarding the parents. There seems to be a cycle where they start doing well and getting their act together and then they backslide for a month and then it starts again.

We have the hearing for severing parental rights for the boys in February, with pre-trial hearing scheduled for January. The bioparents have split up again and are have missed the last few visitations. When they were informed the new case plan is focused on adoption, they didn't seem to care. They asked my wife and I in the elevator afterwards if we would be the ones adopting the boys, and if so if we'd let them see the boys sometimes. We said yes, of course - especially for the oldest boy, not letting them see him would be traumatic. Since then they just seem to have given up. It's sad and such a change from when they were placed with us 9 months ago and we were told by the case worker to expect them gone within 3 - 6 months.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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



Really great advice here.

For my family, we have 2 biological kids (12 and 8) and we involved them every step of the way. We would discuss the things we learned in training, talk about what to expect, imagine what life might be like for kids placed in foster care, etc. This is an experience that doesn't just impact the parents, so we wanted to ensure our children were on-board and supportive.

It has definitely worked out great for us. The kids have felt invested and empowered, they communicate with us on their own needs and feelings very well and feel as though they're full stakeholders in the experience. They watch their foster siblings, my daughter loves to change diapers, etc.

It helps that our foster kids are much younger (3, 2 and 6 months) - we haven't had older kids placed with us yet.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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



How long have they had your son for? I can understand growing attached, certainly, but this is covered in training extensively: Reunification is the ultimate goal until that's no longer in the best interest of the child. Framing this as two sets of parents who both love and care about your son and want this to be as smooth as possible is going to go a long way.

I can understand if they are upset or a little resentful since adoption had been discussed with you guys, but they are parents as well and can surely understand the situation if the tables were turned.

I think it's best to be straight-forward and realistic, provided you are fully following your case plan and the case worker confirms that you are on track to get your son back. In this case, the case worker would also be a great advocate of the process/system/reasoning to the foster family, if they were to problems.

The foster family needs to be aware and address the reality. More than likely, they will be sad and possibly a little bitter but will want to maintain a relationship. They may also want to ensure that, if some sort of relapse/issues were to recur, they would be the first choice to have your son placed with them again (we had discussed a similar scenario when it looked like our boys might go back with their bioparents, a few months ago).

Ensure that you and they both have an understanding of what the relationship would look like. Set your boundaries for what kind of involvement they can have and then present that as a unified front to your son. Be smart about the transition back - start with visits/sleepovers, extend to a weekend, let your son have as much consistency as he can.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


We had the pre-trial hearing on Friday for next month's permanent custody hearing. That's where the magistrate will make the decision about whether to terminate the bio-parents rights. For a little background, we're in Ohio, the 3 brothers have been in foster care since August of 2016 (2 of them actually, with the 3rd brother born in May of 2017). They were removed from another foster home for neglect and placed with us 11 months ago. Neither bio-parent has made any progress on the case plan at all and actually they both had more to do than they started with because of failed drug screens and mental health checks that they were supposed to keep up with.

Friday, we heard from our case worker that the bio-dad has requested to be removed from the case plan and is just going to stop showing up to anything. Instead, with less than a month until the PC hearing, the bio-mom's new boyfriend has been added to the case plan. He is rough news and we've already had to talk with the biomom about how inappropriate it is to refer to this new guy as 'your daddy' when she video chats with the boys (they have been together almost 2 months now). Since those aren't required, we threatened to withhold the video calls if she couldn't refrain, which she agreed to do.

The case worker's input has been, for the last few months, that this is basically a done deal. The parents have had almost 18 months to do anything and have failed to. The parents can work their case plan until the day of the trial, but putting in some effort the last few weeks won't mean much. That said, we're concerned about having this new person added to the case plan with his own set of requirements and goals now (they have concerns from previous conviction records and drug arrests).

Has anyone ever had such a late/drastic change in a case plan like this? Should we expect the magistrate to grant them an extension to allow more time for the new boyfriend? Our case worker is on a short and well-earned vacation so my wife and I are engaging in some light freak-out sessions.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


We had PC hearing yesterday. Biomom surprised everyone by deciding to just sign everything and terminate her rights. Biodad said, via his attorney, that he thinks the boys should stay with us. So we had a brief hearing and now we're waiting on the Magistrate's decision. We should be able to have adoption completed by the fall!

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:

Congratulations, youíve more than earned it with the serious dedication youíve had for your boys. Iím happy for you and for them.

Did you ever negotiate a higher rate or additional subsidy for your child with special needs? Now is the time to maybe get an attorney involved to help you negotiate the adoption assistance rate for him.

It's been a while - life, college, job change and the boys took up all of my free time! But I have a new job and it's fully remote, so I can post from the comfort of my home, yay.

We never were able to get the county to recognize our special needs son as 'therapeutic' or get a higher rate. We haven't gone through the negotiation process yet (for adoption in Ohio, every family has to negotiate separately with the local county agency - I've seen some previous letters and communication from other family's and it sounds like there's a lot of guilt tripping to give the family as little as possible) but I am hopeful that with his significant needs and the amount of issues we have had, they will just give us an amount that makes sense.

We're putting on an addition of a bedroom, bathroom and therapy room for him on our house, since we don't currently have a bed/bath on the main floor, and he's getting more difficult to carry everywhere inside. The neurologists are talking about brain surgery to address some of his issues so it's a lot to deal with.

Just wanna say this thread saved my sanity a number of times throughout the process.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

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


Thanatosian posted:

I am angry on your behalf at the government not giving you more money for taking in a special needs child.

This is the loving reason I pay taxes.

I wish more people felt that way, so thank you! I get the impression a lot of the county folks aren't happy either because they are put in the awkward situation of being told to focus on the best interest of the child and also trying to save the state money by giving the family as little as they can. Without being given specific details on how to do that. It's weird.

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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:

Iím a county social worker and my adoption assistance negotiations yielded me a whole extra $50/month for my daughter if that tells you how penny pinching it can be. I honestly recommend a lawyer for negotiations regarding special needs.

I also just volunteered to do child care twice a month for the post adoption support group in my county, which will be great practice for me since next year I'm starting my private practice for post adoption family counseling

Jesus, that is incredibly depressing. This poor kid was removed from a previous foster family for neglect and the amount of care he requires is really, really high (he just qualified for a nurse 56 hours a week because he's considered quadriplegic). I'm going to be very upset if the county tries to make this a big deal. I have contacted an attorney already, just in case.

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