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Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

I should mention that in California, families that fost adopt get adoption assistance through age 18 even after you fully adopt them.

And FMLA treats foster and adoptive kids the same as bio kids in regards to needing leave for various things (bonding, disclosure meetings, home study, etc.)

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Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Kodilynn posted:

4th placement calls the charm! We're getting our first placement tonight! Major mix of anxiety and excitement. We've had 3 calls previously fall apart as they were splitting sibling sets that later found placement for siblings. This one is solo so we don't have to worry about that and it's long term foster to adopt as the parents have failed for 3 court hearings and have no interest in even trying to get their kid back. Going to do right by them and give them the chance their parents didn't.

This one is only concerning as the case worker really knew nothing about them other than why they were removed from the home and couldn't tell us what, if anything, they are coming with. So, totally by ear and on the fly for our first go-round!

Have you had a disclosure meeting yet? During that meeting they'll answer everything they know at the time, and in subsequent hearings along the way more information may come to light.

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.

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/adoption/#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.

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

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.

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.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

This may have been said many times before, but I cannot stress it enough: People who think that adoption is 'too expensive' for them really need to look into the process. I'm a big advocate for fost-adoption, because it both encourages stability and permanence for kids whose bio families may never be in a position to reliably care for them, and provides adoptive parents with far more support than they'd get via private or international adoption.

I'm not knocking the alternatives, because everyone is going to have their own legitimate reasons for choosing what avenue of foster care or adoption they want to partake in, but if cost is an issue they should really look into fost-adoption. I feel like it is the best of both worlds; there is plenty of capacity toward maintaining a relationship with bio family, you can network with other fost-adopt families for play dates and share experiences, and you have the financial support to ensure your child gets the best possible opportunities in life.

I've heard some people mention they don't want to fost-adopt because they don't want to jump through all the hoops to get licensed (First Aid certification, Home Study, Background Check, etc) and this is too bad. In a lot of counties, by the time fost adopt parents are licensed they are much closer to being prepared for children than a bio family is, who doesn't have any oversight, bimonthly social worker visits, or legal matters to deal with. I've heard some families flat out say stuff like "Its not the county's business what we do with our lives, we want a child with less judgement/scrutiny" and I wanna scream that poo poo like that is why these kids are in foster care in the first place

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

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.

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.


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! 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.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Tribal adoption can be complicated, though consider the alternative it it wasn't a thing- I had heard back in the day it was really common for low income white families that lived near reservations (particularly common in the Dakotas) to foster as many of these kids as possible and just use it as a paycheck for themselves. Since their motivation was an income stream, not caring for a child the native kids were often neglected and seldom if ever got a chance to maintain their birth tribes traditions.

This would be a double whammy for the tribe- not only would their own culture slowly get erased, the people that would foster or adopt the kids were seldom much better than the parents that lost custody in the first place.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

I've heard a lot of heartening stories along those lines. Some people, either through poverty or drug addiction are cognizant enough to know they aren't fit to be decent parents for their kids at that point in their life. I can't help but feel that someone self aware enough to understand this is going to be much more cooperative with their case plan to get custody of their kids back later on.

The flip side I've heard is kids that went in foster care, and their foster parent was so wealthy/well-connected that for a year they got access to services and privileges they never would've dreamed of with their birth family. Then when their parents sorted everything out, they went back to their parents, who might be living on the borderline of poverty and never able to provide the same experiences as the foster parent for that year.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

That type of discussion really needs to happen as early as possible, at the same time as your 'do you want to have kids' discussion happens. Unfortunately people can be really nonspecific with what they really want, and this causes problems. I can't imagine how lovely some fost adopt child would feel if one of their adoptive parents acted like they lost a bet/arguement and were reluctantly going along with it.

Some people might say they wouldn't want to fost adopt but then later on it turns out they just don't have the energy/patience for handling a toddler. In that case they might be a great parent to an older kid and if so need to be specific about it. I'm sure there's a nonzero number of people who are themselves fine with adopting a child of another race, but perhaps can't deal with the reality of how their family will act and stuff. They might not think this is a valid excuse, so they just say nothing or just flat out refuse. Again, they need to speak up to their partner about things like this in case it ends up being a deal breaker.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Triangle Shirt Factotum posted:

So, not parents yet, but my wife and I actually talked about adoption while dating. We both independently figured on "have one, adopt one," which has morphed into "have one (or two?), adopt one (or two?)" but it's easier to imagine raising kids when you can save money after leaving grad school.

This is the best time to do it. Better you both know whether you are on the same page about things right away then find out one spouse has some issue they never talked about when you are halfway through the process.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

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.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Mocking Bird posted:

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

Oh, that rules. I had assumed it was till eighteen like the adoption assistance money.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

I believe the process from placement to full adoption is typically much faster for children under 1,compared to older children whose parents are given more time to restore parental rights and custody.

So for a lot of fost adopt families they are more likely to fully adopt the child, with the child having more overall stability.

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Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Bitcoins, Fortnite Loot boxes, or Kickstarter pledges.

If it was anything that could be easily returned/refunded she probably would have told you pretty quickly. My guess is that it isn't something terrible per se, but rather a regrettable purchase(s) that she might be too embarassed to admit to.

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