Saturday, June 21, 2008

Classes anyone?

We were scheduled to begin the state mandated pre-adoptive classes today, but we still have not yet received the go ahead to take the classes in my county. I have called the supervisor in my local child welfare agency and left messages for three weeks, but she still has not called me back! I needed her to contact the other agency she transferred our application to for verify if it was okay to take the classes or at least give us a contact person in the other county, but she has not responded to my calls. We don’t want to spend the next three Saturdays taking classes only for the other county to tell us that we have to re-take the classes in their county! The classes are all day (9-4 p.m.), so that is quite a lot of investment in time, if they don’t’ accept the classes. I am a bit envious of private adoptions since they have a much shorter training requirement. I wish I could do the class online! The next classes in our county are for September and we hope we will have been given the okay to take them here since it is 3 hour round-trip for three Saturdays to take them in the other county.

During our first home-study meeting, the social worker we had been assigned to advised us it was best to take the classes in the other county so we could meet and develop relationships with the social workers there. She said the social worker doing the "PRIDE" training would be the same social workers placing the children, and depending on our relationship with the social workers, this would determine how fast a child was placed in our home and the “quality” of the referral. What!!! So, the placement is based on favoritism and not the best interests of the child??? It was nice that she gave us this insight, but it left a bad taste in our mouths. I thought I was turned off by private domestic adoptions because you had to “sell yourself” so that the birth parent could "choose" you. Now we have to “sell ourselves” to the social workers doing the placements? How do they determine the “quality” of a referral? The looks? The age? The child not having been alcohol and/or drug exposed in utero? The gender? The race? What??? I pray I misunderstood her.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fost/Adopt here we come.....or not!

We were scheduled to start our home-study today with our local Child Welfare Agency and midway through the introduction, the social worker realized that I worked for the County and had access to a database system which has addresses of the parents of children placed in foster care. Incidentally, I had provided this information with our application two months ago, but I guess no one caught this. Anyway, she went to confer with her supervisor who felt that this posed a conflict of interest—I am not sure why since in California, you are licensed as a concurrent foster/adoptive parent. This means that a child first comes into your home as a foster child, while the foster care system is trying to reunify the child with their parent/s, relatives or as a last resort, making a permanency plan that involves adoption. In the interim, the foster/adoptive parent must take the child to the parent/s for any court ordered visitation until parental rights are terminated by the courts and the adoption is finalized. I pointed out that they would already provide me with the parent’s addresses for court ordered visitation, but the decision was made to refer us to a different Child Welfare Agency in a different county.

Could our local child support agency have saved us from having to take the afternoon off for this meeting? Yes, they could have read our application and made the determination two months ago, but oh well. The social worker did not even apologize for the oversight; she was just thrilled for me that I would have the afternoon off to enjoy lunch with my husband. Yes, I do enjoy having lunch with hubby, but I am trying to save up all my time off to bond with the munchkin when we finally get a referral. So all the mountains of paperwork we had completed is now in the shredder!