Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Take on The Definition of Fost-Adopt

I've had a lot of people ask me about what-all is involved in the fost-adopt program. Is it fostering or adopting? Well, it's actually both. The county is the first to say that they are not an adoption agency.. their primary goal is the reunification of the child with his/her birth family. If a child needs to stay in foster care while mom and/or dad gets their act together and said child matches the criteria we are looking for, we get the phone call. We meet with all the little one's social workers and therapists and go through the file. We're given their whole history.. the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes there is a picture, sometimes not. We go home and have 24 hours to decide if we feel we are a good match. There's no trial period.. the child needs as little movement within the system as possible. It's a decision we won't have much time to make and will effect our family for the rest of our lives.

If we decide yes, the transfer process from the receiving home to ours begins. It's a transition that is taken with great care and ease to cause as little trauma to the child as possible.. poor little things have been through so much already!

It could be months before the parent's rights are relinquished or terminated and the child is available for adoption .. or the flip side and the child goes back home. This is the time period that scares me the most. I about come unglued when one of our foster min pins gets placed (I'm such a wuss, it's not even funny). The kicker is that I have almost 100% say in that case.. after the application is approved, I typically take the dog for the home check and, if I'm not comfortable with the situation, out we go. In this case, it's a little human being we're giving our hearts to and will have absolutely no say whatsoever. We're totally at the bottom of the totem pole.

The following is an excerpt from a county web site that explains it all in much better detail:
Fost-Adopt Families
When it is determined that a child cannot return to their birth-family home, Department of Social Services is responsible for finding a permanent, adoptive home. When a child is living in out-of-home care and the birth family is working to learn to parent their child, we ask the caregivers to become a Fost-Adopt Family for the child. That means that our Fost-Adopt Families agree to love and protect the child for as long as the child needs care. In cases where the birth parents are able to make changes to protect and care for their child, the care needed is temporary (Foster) and the child and parents are reunited. In cases where the birth parents are unable to make changes and cannot protect and care for their child, parental rights may be relinquished or terminated. The child then needs a permanent family (Adoption). Our families who are interested in adopting are called Fost-Adopt or Resource Families. That means they give their hearts to a child, not knowing if the child will be returning to their birth family or if they will become legally-free for adoption.
Resource Parents provide the safety net of a possible permanent home to a child when his or her birth family's ability to become adequate parents is not possible. By asking you, the adults, to take this risk, we reduce the losses that the child would have to endure if you were not available. While some of our Fost-Adopt placements result in finalized adoptions, it is important to understand that we cannot guarantee that outcome.

1 comment:

Kadi said...

Your bravery and willingness to open your hearts with the risk of having them ripped out, is an inspiration to me. You two are simply wonderful.
I looked at the album of your pics. So cute! I statred bawling when I saw grandpa. When does the hurt die down?


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