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Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


That sounds so hard, I'm so sorry this stress is so intense right now.

If your caseworker is on your side you've really got the best shot possible. Just continue to be available and take excellent care of your baby and try not to let the wait kill you. Dysfunctional families can't hold it together long enough to establish a guardianship through court strife usually.

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Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


amethystbliss posted:

I can try to answer some questions. We were legal guardians for 4 years after an unexpected family situation. Just adopted the boys this summer .

I'm so happy to hear that you made that happen!!

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


If you're concerned that baby is in danger at any point, call cps. Just do it. The only infant deaths I've had to cope with were newborns who's drugged out parents rolled over on them - preventable almost every time if a relative or friend had clued us in that they were using.

After that, cps will handle the legal arrangements. There are no involuntary guardianships without at least brief cps involvement in this situation. Make sure if that baby goes to foster care that you are active and available when they need you.

Also, the parents would have the opportunity to have at least six months to get clean and straighten out and get their child back. That means visitation and family drama.

Guardianships are also not preferred for infants, they would want you to adopt.

Is anyone helping the parents? Are they able to use support properly? The path of least resistance is to babysit the baby so much that eventually you go and file for a probate guardianship because you don't know where the parents are.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Solaron posted:

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.

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.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


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?

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Good luck!!! Always fight for what your children need, most places need good foster parents so badly they will have to listen

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


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

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Tulalip Tulips posted:

Super late but congrats! In my state we have an entirely separate branch specifically for foster care licensing, out reach, investigating complaints against licensed foster homes/group homes/facilities and everyone I've worked with who has transferred there loves it for the same reason.

Thanks girl! Itís a separate operation here too (though still sharing a program director) and Iím actually in the in-between space because technically they canít supervise me in case they try to pressure me to favor our foster or adoptive parents over relatives - more than 50% of my work is relative outreach and screening.

Panfilo posted:

Adoption assistance and Medicare should help with these expenses. I don't know how it is in other states, but people that fost-adopt special needs kids in CA continue to receive funding and support for these children. The social worker(s) may be able to help provide info about tax stuff, along with a tax preparer as well.

Congrats! Concurrent Planning is probably less stressful than Family Maintenance/Family Reunification or Emergency Response, both of which can reveal the particularly ugly sides of CPS. But don't be shocked when you deal with lovely Foster Parents that make you scratch your head and think "How the hell did you guys ever get licensed?". You probably know the types, the ones that get super passive-agressive when they realize did emergency foster care or fostered a newborn that doesn't necessarily mean they'll the at the top of the list for adoption if they aren't already licensed for it as well.

Iíve been a social worker for five ish years so Iím definitely not shocked by that. I work in a very small county now so we only have about forty foster families total - less places for terrible foster parents to hide! We have a pretty good group, and Iím working more directly with them now which has been wonderful.

Fostering to adopt is so emotionally hard I canít even bring myself to be upset at a parent that wants to keep a child, we can all be selfish when it comes to our children.

Solaron posted:

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?


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

Your child welfare agency should absolutely be helping and guiding you through this process - if your social worker doesnít know whatís up, someone at their office must! Politely ask to speak to whoever handles adoptions and post adoption cases. You can also call the state social services agency and ask for information on adopting medically fragile children.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


My favorite foster parents pay close attention to the relationship building between all the children and spend a lot of time creating a welcoming and stable environment before fostering. If you've got a jealous angry preteen, sometimes it's best to wait. If you've just got a confused former only child, you emphasize empathy and that sharing a family to make someone who is scared and alone feel safe and loved is better than anything Santa does.

I have a foster mom who does a welcome to the family party and everyone has to ask each other questions and learn about each other's family, starting with "everyone in our house are brothers and sisters when we're happy and also when we're mad"

In a more practical sense kids accept children younger than them most easily, just like there might be growing pains when Mom has a new baby. My daughter and I are going through the adoption process and she's very threatened by other teens (especially ones of my race) but is enthusiastic about me fostering babies.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Thanks JIZZ DENOUEMENT that means a lot

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Talk to them. I personally think they might be thrilled to not have to say goodbye forever. But they're the only ones who know what the want. Maybe they'd like to be his godparents.

I'm social worker as well as a foster parent so my opinions skew a little differently than some of the others, I'd love to hear what they have to say.

That said, be careful about presents. Technically they probably aren't supposed to accept them. Maybe ask them first? Your funds and energy should be going toward your child, and I'm sure that's what they want. A heartfelt card and letter? Now that is something I would openly weep over if I got one from my daughter's family.

Remember that you are still his parent, and not having a yard or lots of money doesn't change that.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Stuff like that has been on my mind too.

My daughter is 18 now and had made plans to spend Christmas with her bio family, which was ok with me and I bought her plane ticket. At the very last minute she begged me to change her ticket so she didnít have to go because they were making her feel so unwanted. She was in tears outside the airport. It was crushing. Sheís such a great person and is doing so well, how can they exclude her over and over? I donít think it ever gets easier for a foster kid to cope with rejection.

She spent Christmas with me and my dad at home and seemed to enjoy herself. My family really got their poo poo together this year and mailed her gifts and cards and respected her wanting to be referred to as my child (eg referring to her as "niece" and "grand daughter"). She sat with us and participated in our Christmas phone calls and told everyone about her grades and her college experience. She also told them that we're meeting with the adoption supervisor in January. She got really excited that my brother wants to fly out from Texas with his family for our finalization.

We went to her bio paternal grandmothers last week and she told them about the adoption and I actually got a huge hug from grandma. Grandma knows there's not a whole lot of people looking out for her. Her bio mom is happy for her too.

I'm also the on call social worker for my small county this weekend and holiday, so I am answering the hotline calls for abuse and neglect. Nothing I've had to go respond to yet, but man does domestic violence take an unhappy upturn over the holidays

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


I broke up with my boyfriend that didnít want to get on board the foster train, choo choo. Now I have a new boyfriend who is capable of loving children from any background as if they are his own, but weíre waiting a bit after the current adoption before we start again.

Kodi, I hope someday you and your family try again, you did such a wonderful thing for that family and youíre wonderful parents.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


I always thought my family was a little biased/discriminatory against black people, though not outright "we hate black people." (Rural Canadians and NYC Puerto Rican communities are p racist). Adopting my daughter is having a ripple effect through my immediate family where they are actually more open minded and will aggressively defend her from any perceived slights or micro aggressions. Sometimes you make a choice you think your family won't support and they rise to the occasion.

She said I could post this picture of her and my dad from Christmas

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Triangle Shirt Factotum posted:

If I may add something else I think is important, what kind of personal limits you might put on adoption before you get there too. Wife and I are both working professionals (she's a MD, I'm an engineer), and I don't think we could handle taking care of a kid with intellectual disabilities like downs or what have you, due to the time and emotional costs of it. I learned that I am super skittish around kids with intellectual disabilities from time I spent volunteering for disabled kids, and I've been unable to get over myself, and my wife also thinks that she'd have trouble connecting with a kid with such issues.

I also learned that she did have some minor ethnic preferences, because she wouldn't want to deal with having to explain to people that "Yes, this is my adopted child" over and over again, which I never thought of.

Trans-racial adoption is a whole can o' worms in and of itself, and when we do foster parent training we definitely talk about it because we'd rather people let us know than have to have an awkward conversation when we keep calling them to place children they have to say no to!

My favorite foster mom is a black woman and she strongly prefers black children because she had bad experiences with people treating her like she's a nanny when she walks around with a light skinned child. That's ok as long as you're up front and honest!

My kid thinks it's funny and really wigged out all my brother's extended Mexican in-laws by introducing herself as my daughter and then making jokes about the hypothetical dad being "heart-of-Africa level black" which I gotta tell you is NOT a joke I can make without looking like a terrible racist.

I also am not in a place to care for a child with round the clock supervision needs - including infants and intellectual/physical disabilities. Knowing or finding your limits and your abilities and strengths is part of the training and process!

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Panfilo posted:

That's also perfectly reasonable. Generally the best foster/adoptive parents for a medically fragile child are ones emotionally equipped to handle it, and no agency is going to ethically place a medically fragile child with parents that aren't 110% on board with the reality of it. Fortunately in California parents that foster medically fragile children get much more financial assistance (as well as medi Cal until they are 18) so that the parents willing to it but worried about the financial impact are taken care of to some degree.

Race can be a dicey issue, of course it boils down to preference. Though at the same time the more particular a couple is about things like race, the longer the process takes. But at the same time, nobody should be pressured into going along with something they aren't comfortable with.

In California, foster kiddos actually qualify for medi-cal until they're 26

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Adoption affects benefits - that applies to children who age out of the system without being adopted, as children with severe disabilities often do even if they have consistent caregivers. I'm not sure of the age stuff for adoption, but I can find out if you'd like!

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Thatís so hard

Parents have a right to contest, so youíre probably right about the delay, but the courts do mostly side with what social services recommends, so if they want termination itís more likely to happen than not...

In California they would be hard pressed to prove that someone who could be trusted with a newborn (Aka the most vulnerable child) shouldnít be trusted with an older, less vulnerable sibling...

A lovely situation all around, I hope it works out the best for your foster child.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Youíre doing such a good job, I would feel privileged to work with you as a foster parent

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


I wish I was in SoCal, I would be totally down to help you with some respite/support care

As a ďpositiveĒ if your older child has had parental rights terminated they often fast track the younger siblings when they are detained...

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Are you connected at all to foster parent support groups or anything? I donít know what that scene looks like in LA but thatís how I managed to get some respite help for my teen.

Donít feel like the only choice is to say yes - there are definitely homes for newborn babies, and you can foster a relationship with the other foster or adoptive home to keep siblings connected as well. You canít fix everything, so itís ok to really think critically about what you want to take on and what is best for everyone!

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Those feelings about new siblings just need to be an open conversation with support from a counselor if needed. I ended up delaying fostering again for a year because my daughter was worried that she would go away to college and I'd replace her with a younger, cuter kid. Moving towards adoption seems to have reassured her, and she's now more open to talking about future brothers and sisters. And you're correct - they're all your kids, and emphasizing that is important. Lots of older kids need help adjusting to a new baby! The trauma of loss and rejection can just make the reaction less predictable.

Fostering is HARD and if you have any weak points in your psyche it will often find and hit them hard. Some foster parents I've worked with did couples counseling off and on before and during their fostering experiences and raved about how good it was for being able to roll with the punches as a unified team.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


I don't know about Ohio, but here in California I would only be addressing the new boyfriend in a case plan under the heading of "enough rope to hang themselves." You want to participate? Great! Here's a standard you have to meet that is entirely outside of your lovely abilities.

Deep breaths. The telling information will come at next months hearing, and based on your post history I wouldn't be too worried.

Remember to be there for the kids while court fights it out - you aren't part of that process, and the decisions are out of your hands, and you're the only people the kiddos have that are there just for them.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Just submitted my new application to foster ages 0-2

Also looks like I'll be adopting my daughter by June for her birthday

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Solaron posted:

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!

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.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Oh, and if you need to find an attorney with expertise, call the director of the private foster family agency that handles the special needs children usually and ask who theyíve worked with

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


All of you taking in siblings are phenomenal, it will mean so much to your children to grow up together if theyíre able to.

I finished my millionth round of foster parent training and got assigned to a licensing worker, who I sent an overly bubbly and obnoxious email to in an attempt to speed this poo poo up. My boyfriend and I are swapping the bedrooms this coming week. Weíre probably going to license for ages 0-12 around summertime.

My adoption hearing for my 18 year old will be in May, we think

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


You're doing a good job. Your job isn't to be the saintly keeper of positivity and hopefulness, you're doing your real purpose - loving and caring for your children. You do it so well. You're amazing.

This newly detained toddler will benefit from even a temporary stay with you and their siblings, and maybe their forever home will be open to taking a potential future sibling.

You can't control the actions of others, however destructive and sad it is for them and their children.

I was just working with another family who had to say no to a younger sibling (due to the aging of the couple and the needs of the older sibling), and what they told me was "our daughter was magical to us and made us parents and gave us such joy, and we want this new little one to fill someone with that same joy and purpose, and we know it would be better for them"

This new little one is going to bring someone so much joy. It's ok if it isn't your family, or a family near you. Be open, and know what you can control, and what you can't. You're doing an amazing job.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Whereas in the bureaucratic nightmare of California's new licensing regulations, we are sending kids throughout the state because the counties are so far behind in licensing new families that they don't have the option to place kids locally.

I applied to get my new license in December and they won't even give me an estimate for how long my home study will take, but rumor has it my county hasn't licensed an unmatched foster parent since 2016 and are only just now addressing the back log (relatives and existing foster parents get priority for conversion to the new rules which involves EVERYONE getting an abbreviated adoption home study)

It's looking like I might not get to parent again until 2019/2020. I'm adopting my daughter on may 15th though.

Send me a kid, Ohio

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


What a whirlwind! How are you holding up? I hope you're taking care of yourself and enjoying that you're in the next step of the process.

I'm so glad you're able to maintain a connection with little brother and have him close. I'm sure his foster parents are lucky to have you for guidance with the bio family. He's going to be a joy in their lives as much as his big sister is in yours.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


You did good, you made a hard choice that was the right one for you guys and also means baby gets a ton of one-on-one attention from loving parents, and also means your kiddos (and husband) get the attention and love they deserve

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


If this were California, the answer might be ďno oneĒ especially if the sister has actually been adopted. The pre adoptive family would have to give consent for contact with you.

Did you or your daughter have legal representation through the process? Thatís where I would start, with the lawyers. Did you have a post-adoption familial contact agreement? Was there any bio family that is still involved who may have maintained contact?

If all else fails, contact the county agency - not adoption agencies or foster family agencies - where the child is a dependent and go with your own legal representation (preferably with a legal basis which can vary state to state) and say that your child would like to visit her sister. You may not have any grounds but most administrators would rather assist you than hinder you. Try to see if they will put you in contact with the sisters lawyer or county counsel to hash something out.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Thatís very exciting!

My boyfriend has to do the family orientation for our new agency tomorrow so Iím going too. This will be my fourth foster parent orientation as a participant despite the fact that I teach them myself as part of my job

California takes SO FREAKING LONG to license people under the new resource family laws. Weíre looking at our first placement in 2019 at this point. But now weíre working with an adoption focused agency so it will probably be a placement for keeps

My daughter and I are meeting with the adoption worker on Monday and Iím officially her mom on 5/15

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


As someone who cared for a 16 year old girl and nearly had a mental breakdown I am in awe of you for adding a three year old to the mix

Are you considering guardianship or adoption?

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


As a social worker, that circumstance seems as close to ideal as you can get for a sibling group with those challenges in child welfare and I would have no problem pitching it to a judge.

As a parent, my heart is melting and I'm glad I'm not the only lunatic adopting a teen girl

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Has anyone read The Connected Child by Dr. Purvis and Dr. Cook?

I'm reading it now and finding it very helpful and approachable for how to parent a neglected or abused child, but I'm also a professional, so I'd love some opinions on how it lands for a regular foster or adoptive parent. I'm considering making it available for foster parents training in our county.

As someone with a behaviorally unpredictable and withdrawn child (now young adult) I'm finding it pretty validating and encouraging to not feel like she's scorning me, and that my consistent responses of love and attention are important even when it feels like she doesn't want them.

Also as a feel good for the thread, we're trying to adopt another child, and part of the process was for my child to write a "welcome letter" to a new sibling. I thought she'd refuse to do it, and instead she wrote a genuinely heart warming letter where she says that our family loves all kinds of kids and they shouldn't worry that they will screw up because she did and I still love her. She also wrote that she hopes the new sibling likes affection because I am overly affectionate, and if I'm "being extra" the new child can come to her for advice.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


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

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


As the adoptive mom of a 19 year old who moved in just after she turned 16, it was awesome and continues to be and I also got my rear end utterly handed to me

I loved her independence and how much I could trust her with. I didnít love the number of years of trauma I was working against to gain her trust and make her feel loved and heard. Now that weíre fostering again I feel like weíre having to rehash it all again, and it breaks my heart to hear her say things about how she wishes she could have come to my house when she was ten and the envy she has for the little guys who are incoming

I forget how old your child is, but making sure they know how to self protect (no secrets, always come to mom and dad if you feel weird, what to do in emergencies) is super important because little kids love to seem cool to big kids! And big kids in foster care arenít immune to the pull of teenage antics, and can be more likely to be drawn to some of the darker roads. For example, my kid is a huge lovable nerd but sheís still the worlds worst babysitter because her role modeling for how you treat children was all warped.

I also highly recommend the book The Connected Child. It really spoke to me about how it felt to parent my daughter after all she went through.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


We just did the first meeting with our third agency today. Iíll admit to feeling a bit defeated, weíve switched twice because first our county is so far behind on approvals they couldnít guarantee licensure within a year, and then the adoption focused agency we were working with told us the earliest weíd be approved is next summer.

Iím a therapist and social worker for foster kids, my fiancť is a stay at home dad, Iíve already adopted one child out of foster care. Youíd think it would be a smoother ride for us

The new agency seems good but man are they particular. Iím going to have to buy a different fire extinguisher (different rating but equally powerful?) and put together a new and hilariously specific emergency/disaster kit. Also means having to beg my upstairs neighbors to finish their gardening/landscaping since there are shallow trenches dug everywhere....

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Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


We just got signed up for our pre-service classes at the end of the month Things are looking up!

I also spent $200 on their hilariously specific emergency preparedness requirements and now amazon thinks Iím a doomsday prepper. Freeze dried food and water purification tablets as far as the eye can see!

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