Tuesday, July 29, 2008

state licensing

Today we had our first meeting with the social worker who will be working to license us as foster parents through the state of California. In order to adopt through California's foster care system, one needs to be concurrently licensed as a fost/adopt parent. It was a painless meeting, though it seemed to focus more on foster parenting! We had to keep reminding the social worker we were there to start the process to adopt! Anyway, we got a bunch of paperwork and once we complete and return it, then she will do a homevisit. The last time she did licensing through the State was three years ago, so she had to dust off her manuals!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sandals for Baby!!!

As I had stated in an earlier post, we have to totally rely on faith if it is God's plan that we are to complete our family by adopting internationally. I am trying to brainstorm how to raise $25,000 and one of the ideas is to sell sandals from Africa. I went to a bar-b-que today and I told my niece about my adoption plans and selling sandals to raise funds, and she promised to buy 2 pairs! Praise God! I know that is $40 down and $24,960 to go, but I am on cloud nine. With so many valleys in adoption, you quickly learn to stop and thank God any time you are on a hill--big and small! The sandals are not even here--I have ordered 25 pairs from Africa and hope they are mailed soon, but already I have made a sale! As soon as they arrive, I will post some pictures--as soon as I figure how to do that on a post. I am not techy at all, I got my first digital camera last december and I am still trying to figure it out! So, any techies out there, please give me tips on how to add pictures on a blog :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A few steps backwards or new steps forward?

We finally received a call from the other County Child Welfare Agency and were scheduled to have our first Home-Study meeting with our Social worker this evening at 6:00 p.m. He just called at 1:30 p.m. to advise that he needed to re-schedule!!! No apologies, just letting us know that his schedule is tight for the next two weeks and we would need to re-schedule!!! Argh!!! I am of course quite miffed—my husband had taken the day off today to make sure the house was spick and span and I was also leaving work early to make sure I had dinner ready since the meeting was likely to be about 2-3 hours!!! As you can imagine, I am beginning to second guess my decision to first go through the foster system in our adoption journey. So for those of you who are still curious why anyone would consider International Adoption instead of adopting through the foster system, this is one of the reasons!!!! I am really praying that God would give us clarity in the direction to go—is there a child in the foster system that God has planned for us to parent or is this a sign to go forward with international adopion? Please pray that we would not be easily be discouraged and choose the path of least resistance, but instead be committed to being in God’s will as we travel on this adoption journey. Someone has aptly said that adoption is not for the faint hearted!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

movement on our domestic adoption

We received a call today from the State Community Licensing Unit. If we are to adopt from foster care (still struggling with the direction to go--domestic or international), we will need to be licensed as foster parents by the State and then the County where we were referred to will do the homestudy and placement of the child. I had been calling the supervisor in the home finding unit in my county (they do the homestudy and licensing as foster/adoptive parents) for a month trying to follow up on when the state would contact us to start their licensing process. I had not been getting any answers to this is a huge step forward! During the call we scheduled an appointment for next week to begin the state licensing. It was not very inspiring when the Social Worker told me she had not done licensing in a situation such as mine in 3 years and she has to read up on the process. My situation is a little unique-- I work in my county of residence and have access to information on the birth parent/s addresses. The Child Welfare Unit felt that this would pose a conflict of interest--not sure how, since I would be required to take any child I was fostering in the hopes of adopting to any court ordered visitation with the biological parent/s. Anyway since I had to be referred to adopt from another county, I additionally have to be licensed by the state. I know this is all so very confusing. In California, you can only become licensed to adopt in your county of residence. If you need to be referred to a different county, you have to be licensed by the state as a foster parent and not by the county you are adopting from. The county just does the homestudy and placement (matching you with a child and placing the child in your home and the subsequent home visits and adoption process). So, we will see how this process goes. We still have not started with the homestudy with the county which takes a couple months, so..........

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why International Adoption?

When I tell friends that we are hoping to adopt a child and are looking researching International Adoption, most ask why we won't adopt from fostercare. This lenthy blog helps to explain the state of adopting from foster care in California and why are exploring other options! So, put up your feet and ..............

I will attempt to provide some information on some of the laws that impactthe foster care system as well as my own personal experiences in trying toadopt from the foster care system. Public law 96-272, was passed by Congress in 1980. This act was passed to correct or alleviate problems in the foster care system and to promote permanency rather than multiple foster placements. Another goal of the act was to encourage social workers to work toward reunification of the family and to avoid long-term foster care for the children if possible. Many child welfare agencies developed polices that emphasized family reunification as this was politically popular. The primary goal for children placed in foster care was to provide support services such as parenting classes for the parent/s with the goal of returning the children back to the parent/s. Most people will agree that it is best for a child tobe raised by their biological mom and dad where possible. However, it seems to be a no-brainer that a parent who abuses his or her child to the extent that the child is removed from the home (most child welfare agencies require heinous abuse to occur, before they will remove a child from an abusive home) will not suddenly become a better human being because they take some parenting classes. It is instinctive to protect and nurture your child and if a person does not have this instinct, no amount of classeswill make this person a better parent. No one needs classes to figure out that putting out cigarettes on a child's skin, starving them, locking them up in a bathroom or sexually molesting them is wrong and heinous! The article below demonstrates why this policy was failing:


After public outcry over the number of children who were getting killed after being reunified with their parents from foster care, Congress enacted the Adoption and Safe families Act of 1997 (public law 105-89) which sought to address 3 main concerns:
1. Child welfare system that was biased toward family preservation at the expense of children's safety and well-being,
2. Inadequate attention and resources were devoted to adoption as a permanent placement option for abused and neglected children, and
3. Children continued to remain in foster care too long.

In my state (California), it appears that the child welfare agencies have never moved from the 1980 law that emphasized family preservation over child safety.This is not just anecdotal information, I work on the opposite end of theChild Welfare system. When children are placed in foster care, my office receives referrals from the Child Welfare Agency to seek reimbursement of monies spent on foster care placement from the parents. I cannot tell you how many times we open, close and re-open cases--we first open a case when a child is removed from the home and placed in foster care, close the case after the child has been reunified with the parent, re-open thecase once the child has been abused again, and on and on again. The court orders detailing the abuse read like horror stories and it is unimaginable that the children could be reunified with their abusers again!

Most people are under the misconception that it is easy to adopt from the foster care system and that people are just not willing to adopt from the foster care system. I was under the same misconception--I believed that the children were being returned to their abusive parent/s because of a shortage of prospective adoptive parents. That was before I started on my own adoption journey and got a quick education! During our orientation meeting which is the first step in adopting from the foster care system, the social worker asked people who were there to start on the adoption process to raise up their hands. About half the room raised their hands--the other half were there to become licensed as foster parents. The social worker proceeded to make a pitch to the prospective adoptive parents to reconsider adoption and instead begin the foster parent licensing process because the county had a shortage of foster parents! It has been 3 months since we started trying to adopt through the fostercare system, and the Child Welfare Agency has not yet even started on our homestudy!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Confirmation of God's plan? Domestic or International Adoption?

A month later, we still have not heard back from the County agency we were referred to. The supervisor in our local County agency had promised a month ago to send us a copy of the referral letter she sent to the other agency. However, we have not received a copy of the letter--though I have spoken to her twice since her promise to send us the copy! At this point, I am not even sure if she sent our referral to the other agency. I have been praying for clarity about pursuing a domestic or international adoption, and I wonder if this is my answer.

I have been stalking different blogs by people who have or are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia and educating myself on the process and culture! I am very excited and hope to meet a family that adopted from Ethiopia when we go out of state to my husband's family reunion at the end of this month.

Please pray for all the millions of orphans around the world who will go to bed tonight hungry, not sure of tomorrow and with no one to call mom or dad.