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Can anyone provide me with some information about adoption? Any little tidbits will help :) We are just beginning our first steps with this and I have so many questions. I was hoping to find a forum but the only ones I found didn't have much, if any activity. I'm guessing there are some active adoption forums out there, I just don't know where to find them.

 

We are doing a domestic adoption, hoping to adopt an under 10 sibling group. If you have any advice to share or resources I could use I'd really appreciate knowing. I'm not even sure how to find a licensed homestudy place - or if we even need to since we are going through the state for this. From what I can tell though, if we pay for a homestudy on our own we can adopt in different states, not just our home state.

 

Thanks in advance!

Laura

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I'm by no means an expert on this, but a friend who was adopting was very strongly advised not to disrupt the existing sibling order/age distribution. The advice was to bring in adopted children as the youngest. This was to reduce any negative reaction by the existing children of the family, as well as to lessen the likelihood of any abuse. Sorry to bring this up, but I wouldn't want you not to think about it....

 

Laura

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That is a great point about not disrupting the birth order. I know it CAN work out in some cases but generally it causes a lot of struggles if you adopt a child older than your youngest child.

 

Our homestudy was done by Bethany Christian Services and we can adopt in state and out of state--kids through the foster care system. We did not pay for the homestudy and we are also licensed to do foster care.

 

I would try to network with other foster to adopt families in your area to learn the ropes for your area, what services are available, etc.

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Can anyone provide me with some information about adoption? Any little tidbits will help :) We are just beginning our first steps with this and I have so many questions. I was hoping to find a forum but the only ones I found didn't have much, if any activity. I'm guessing there are some active adoption forums out there, I just don't know where to find them.

 

We are doing a domestic adoption, hoping to adopt an under 10 sibling group. If you have any advice to share or resources I could use I'd really appreciate knowing. I'm not even sure how to find a licensed homestudy place - or if we even need to since we are going through the state for this. From what I can tell though, if we pay for a homestudy on our own we can adopt in different states, not just our home state.

 

Thanks in advance!

Laura

 

We are trying to adopt and have been on the waiting list for a loooonnnnggg time. I'll throw out some random information.

 

I'd start asking around to your friends about places to do homestudies. In our small group of friends we know five people who have adopted and two people who made adoption plans. Also check with your church for recommendations. I'm Catholic so it was an easy decision for us to look into Catholic Charities (along with three other agencies). I would strongly advise you to look for a Friends of Adoption group in your town.

 

It is a very bad idea to adopt out of birth order. If your youngest is 3 then you want to be looking at a child younger than that.

 

You might want to look into foster adopt also. Depending on what state you live in it's a decent option for adoption.

 

The costs range from $12k-30k. Payable at time of placement so start saving money now.

 

Start talking about what you'd be open to. Other races? Mixed races? Boy or girl? Birth defects? Alchohol exposed? Drug exposed?

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Thank you for the replies :)

 

We initially wanted to just do younger kids. Our youngest is almost 4 so we thought maybe we could adopt a child or a sibling group that was age 4 or younger but the intake person on the phone said there are not any kids this age so we upped it to the 10 and younger group. I was wonder how accurate that was because I see on several different websites that the listings of kids includes some that are under 5 so I'm just not sure what to think.

 

That is good advice the birth order though and I honestly hadn't thought about it before. We are open to any races and either sex. We could handle certain birth defects or degrees of exposure so I'm hoping that opens up a few extra doors.

 

Amy - you said the costs range from $12-30k, is that for adopting through the state agency? We were told there were minimal costs - probably just lawyer and home study. Did we miss something? We can handle a small/moderate amount but really don't want to take out a loan if we can help it.

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I would start with your state child protective services website. Or just google "statename foster/adopt" and see what comes up. Costs are often lower for sibling groups, children with special needs, and older children (over 6 usually).

 

I have a brother and sister who are biologically half siblings, with the same biomom. They were placed with my mom and stepdad shortly after birth in each case, about a year apart, and adopted when my brother (older of the two) was 4, when his bio-father had been identified and finally had rights terminated (termination went quicker for my sister but they waited to adopt them together on the same day).

 

They are definitely younger...27 years younger than mom's youngest bio-child!

 

That said, I also have a sister a year older than me, who was fostered by my parents until she aged out. Though not legally adopted, my mom and sisters and I still consider her family, and vice versa. She was placed with us when she was 13, I was 12, and bio-sisters 10 or 11. So the rule doesn't always hold true.

 

We did have one foster placement when I was a kid (early elementary age) of a 13yo. Boy that was a big mistake and had to be interrupted with a call to the police. But that situation was one that could have been avoided with some consideration of the best placement in light of the kid's particular history.

 

I know in my state foster parents are allowed to see a child's records and history to make an informed decision about whether that particular child is one they believe they can handle, in addition to having caseworkers, and a guardian ad litem and a judge involved in placement decisions.

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They tell you there aren't kids in that age range for several reasons. First, there won't be as many under 4 available for adoption as foster kids would be adopted by their foster parents a lot of the time. Second, there are a lot of people who want those kids so more "competition." But *someone* *is* getting them. Why not you? Third, their numbers look better if they can get you a situation and you complete. If you just sit there for three years waiting, it brings their numbers down. Additionally, they aren't making the money for those kids while you are empty. But everyone I know has adopted kids in the age range they wanted to adopt from, including infants and young sibling groups.

 

Here is a forum with many active boards: http://forums.adoption.com/foster-care-adoption/

 

We have had kids from 4months to 16years old. Honestly, I don't totally agree with the idea of keeping kids younger (and some wisdom says "at least five years younger than your youngest"); but I definitely think it is a STRONG consideration. That said, I would accept a 2 or 5 or 8yo who was within our other requirements (and my requirements increase as the age of the child does) though my youngest is almost 5.

 

Your state's website should list how to go through the process. Here, it is advised to go through an agency. That won't be the case everywhere though.

 

Are you considering fostering, helping until your kid/s come along? Or are you think straight adoption. Again, slower, but not impossible for the latter.

 

I wrote about three times more; but it is pretty harsh. It is our reality and I think you should know it; but it should be on your terms. Just don't go into adopting from fostercare lightly.

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Amy - you said the costs range from $12-30k, is that for adopting through the state agency? We were told there were minimal costs - probably just lawyer and home study. Did we miss something? We can handle a small/moderate amount but really don't want to take out a loan if we can help it.

 

 

At least in our state, foster adoption is essentially free. It's a hard system to navigate, but not costly out of pocket.

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Unless you have experience with foster care or kids with adoption issues, PLEASE do not adopt a sibling group, ESPECIALLY kids who are not newborns.

 

Kids who've been placed for adoption have had traumatic experiences -- no matter WHY they were placed. Even "non-abuse" situations start with a child losing his parents.

 

Any child who has suffered that kind of loss needs 100% of your attention for months or years to begin to feel safe and stable, especially if he has been in foster care or in an orphanage. Adopting multiple children means that your ability to focus on that child is decreased. In addition, kids with a background of abuse, neglect, etc., are *masters* at keeping the level of chaos high -- making sure that if one child begins to heal, things are disrupted in such a way that he cannot.

 

It sounds so sweet to adopt sibling groups. "We'll keep them together!" "We have a loving home, they just need love." "We're good parents; the kids will be so happy in our family." The reality is much, much different. Kids with a background of foster care or parent loss need focused attention. Adopting siblings makes is almost impossible to give it to them.

 

If you hope to adopt siblings, please consider fostering first. That way, you can learn how to parent kids with a history of loss or abuse before bringing a sibling group into your home.

 

Lisa

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Laura, I don't know how to say this gently, but you already have 6 kids. (I know that at least one of them is grown, but I don't know the ages of all of the others except your 3yo.) Are you sure you're up to adding a group of additional children to your home? Are you sure your kids really understand what is involved? Are you certain that you'll be able to handle a sibling group, giving each child all of the extra attention they will require, while still being the "same mom as always" to your other kids?

 

I may get flamed for even posting a negative thought about this, because I know you have the best of intentions. I'm just concerned that you may not be thinking of what will happen if you don't get an ideal little group of siblings who are bright and healthy and who don't have emotional problems. It's so easy to overestimate our own capacity for dealing with unexpected problems, but once you get the kids, they're yours to keep, and if they have a lot of issues, will that be something that you can deal with, or will it be harmful to your existing family?

 

I'm sorry. I don't mean to sound so negative. I'm just thinking that, if I was one of your 6 children, I wouldn't be too excited about suddenly having another group of siblings living in my house and taking my parent's attention and causing a lot of stress in the household. One kid might be OK, but a group? No way. The adjustment would be too hard. (Maybe your kids are nicer than I would have been, though! ;))

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I had a friend (and her spouse) go through the process of fostering with intent to adopt with 3 different sibling groups. And they had no other children. I can't tell you what a nightmare it was for them. They ended up with NO kids out of it and are left with absolutely broken hearts. They had problems with these kids that you would definitely not want to expose other young children to without possibly damaging them. I don't want to go into specifics, but their experience did involve RAD and previous severe abuse. And they were not given full histories before these kids were placed in their home.

 

If your own children were maybe 13 and up (at the very, very minimum.), I probably wouldn't have even commented on this thread. But a 4 year old is still so little.

 

Before you accept older kids, I'd be thinking very hard about what you want to open your current very young and vulnerable child(ren) to.

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We will consider fostering first. We are trying to spare our own kids the pain of having kids come into our home and then leave again so that's why we wanted to go straight to adoption. I guess there are positives and negatives to both ways. We'd also like to find out if the potential child(ren) would blend in well with our family but then we are scared to get anyone older than 5.

 

When I say sibling group, I should clarify. We would actually prefer just one but would be willing to accept 2 siblings. From what I've read online and what the intake worker told me, sibling groups are harder to place and so many are waiting for homes we thought we'd be doing a good thing by being flexible to accept more than one. Maybe that's not the greatest idea but we'll see what comes up and go from there. Lots to think about! We haven't been to training yet and none of these things have come up in my husband's and my conversations about adoption so I really appreciate the words of wisdom.

 

We have 6 kids but 3 have gotten married and moved out so we are "down to" just 3 and it seems pretty empty in our home :)

 

Those of you who have mentioned reconsidering the maximum ages - do you feel like there may be younger kids out there available or are you saying to hold off on the whole idea for X number of years?

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If you were experienced and knew what you were truly getting into, it'd be different. I'm telling you that I cringed at what my then teenagers (16 and 18) heard from my foster children.

 

<I"m going to be graphic here because I think it is necessary. Please do not read if you don't want to hear it. >

 

.....

 

....

 

....

 

Fair warning.....

 

Not for children's eyes....

 

It was one thing for my teens, but think of your 3 or 6 or 10yo (not sure of your children's ages)....

 

"That's enough m@sturb@ting now. Just go to sleep."

Said child getting stressed out when people come to visit so doing it in the living room.

After a time, you haven't seen certain behaviors so let two children out of sight for up to 3 minutes at a time and walk in on one on the other while both are "messing with" the other.

4-6yos performing "s*xu@l @cts" on every doll, stuffed animal, etc around.

The pee.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYcMgFrHUT8 Seriously, every single time you redirect, they get scared, they get angry

The poop....yes...really...

The puke. Uh huh...

The getting up 8 times per night.

The war stories - Daddy hit me in the face with a hammer. Daddy hit me for helping mommy up when he pushed her down. Mommy threw me into the foot of the bed.

Playing drunk like their bios. Putting "beer" in your medicine, coffee, etc (in play).

The anger towards their birth mom (usually her) directed towards you.

You won't protect them. You will hurt them. Two years later, you won't feed them the next meal though they have never missed a meal or snack in 23½ months.

The head thrashing ALL NIGHT LONG.

The physical effects of FASD, neglect (my son has three craniofacial issues because of neglect that couldn't get fixed because I didn't get him until he was 35months old).

The literal trying to kill other people....and if not that, maim or at least hurt.

The pictures of their birth home.

The birth parents FB pages saying how the children are their world when they are still X, Y, and Z.

Children refusing to change certain things (speech patterns, grammar, making pants smell like pee, tearing up every nicety) because that is how it was at their first home.

Children in so many homes they can't remember any of them.

 

The secondary/vicarious trauma is real and bad. I linked an article on my blog, if you're interested.

 

I"ll add more later. Supper is suffering and I'm already late.

 

ETA: ALL of the above was regarding children under 7 years old. The issues I had with 10-16yos were ExTRA minor and could have been around my younger kids. Of course, having older kids often triggers younger kids because of previous experiences and such.

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I really am pro foster to adopt but I have to agree with much of what was said here. I have parented over 100 foster kids, each with their unique story and set of issues.

 

One boy that was "Batman" for over 9 months because no one could hurt Batman but they could hurt B( he was 4-5)

2& 3 year olds that had "starred" in adult films

a child that was treated like the family dog

kids who witnessed adults killing pets in front of them

kids who had watched mom prostitute out the oldest sibling for drug money

a child that was strapped down and covered much of the time so that on one would notice that mom had a baby (she had lost 6 older kids previously)

kids in the home when a parent tried to commit suicide

kids whose parents "educated them" in adult intimate behaviors

kid who attempted to rape a 6 year old cousin

a baby that weighed less than 6 pounds with 2 broken legs and 2 broken ribs

 

 

The stories could go on and on. Many of these kids are doing well BUT there are sitll issues to be dealt with and trauma that surfaces at different developmental stages.

 

We need a lot more adoptive and foster parents but it is tough and stuff you never thought you would have to deal with (and never did with your bio kids) you are dealing with with these kids. I suggest that many people who are interested in foster care sign up to do respite first. That means you care for foster kids for a few hours to a week or so while the regular foster parents get a break or take a vacation, etc. You can get then a better feel for the types of kids out there, their needs, and if you are prepared to deal with them.

 

I have had mostly babies and toddlers even though they said that we wouldn't get little ones. Once they knew we were good with the little ones we got the calls for them. Even the tiny babies bring baggage with them from their experiences----after all, there is usually something major at play that causes little ones to be removed. My youngest that came was 2 days old and is now 16. The oldest I had was a 17 year old with her 1 year old baby.

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Well I think you all have successfully talked me out of this :)

No, but really you've given me so much to think about. It sounds like the only child that might work out of us is a single child that is quite young. I don't know if we'll ever get a child like that. The whole reason we wanted to do this is to make a child's life better - we wanted to give someone opportunities that they wouldn't have otherwise had.... but I definitely don't hurt my own 3 young kids in the process of trying to help someone, that would defeat the purpose.

 

Thanks for posting these sad and awful (I can't come up with the right words) stories. It's horrifying to hear what some of these kids have been through. Things I'm sure I can't even imagine.

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Adding: The secondary/vicarious trauma is real and bad. I linked an article on my blog, if you're interested.

 

Please read this post also: https://hfamcourse.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/ob-they-seem-normal-to-me/

This is one that I feel my life is today. Why do some foster or adoptive moms seem so incredibly tired or frustrated? Because others don't see what we deal with. My kids wore me out before 8am this morning and were nonstop until the housecleaners got here at 10am. And then...well, does it matter? Now, do I know why? Absolutely. My kids are hurting right now so it is a little worse. And I'm a little worse in how I'm handling it which makes them even more off so even worse. It's a mean little cycle. But it is so hard to hear how cute, sweet, smart, talented, etc they are (though they are!) when I just dealt with hours of them playing dumb, using ridiculous grammar, peeing, taking 5 times longer than necessary for each thing, etc.

 

I want to be ABSOLUTELY CLEAR - I absolutely adore my children. I am so blessed and thankful and fortunate to be their mother. They *are* incredibly bright and fun and witty and talented and smart and cute. They are NEAT kids. And the progress they have made is insanely cool. I wouldn't give my kids up for ANYTHING.

 

But there is no way I could have taken them on if I already had had young children. I definitely would have had to disrupt placement early on. I only could hold on and be their mother because they could be our primary focus. Each other placement had to be chosen in light of having them (and unfortunately, I did make a mistake in Nov).

 

One big thing to consider is that they NEVER give you the whole story. Seriously. I would not have accepted my children had they told me what they knew (and with a five year history, they did know). With several other placements, they also knew more than they told us. Would I have accepted them? Possibly. But I would have known. Also, some things are *really* hard to put into words so it isn't that the application or psych report is wrong, it just isn't complete enough, can't be detailed fully, etc. For example, my one son was by far my toughest child, but it took me a YEAR to get him "leveled up" (put into a category of higher level of care) while it took only two tries (because I was new and didn't know how to write my reports to get it done) for the other two. In fact, I've helped many families get kids level'd up since. My reports are used as examples for people in our agency. But I couldn't describe the situation for the one child in a way to get it done. So if *I* couldn't do it, I can see how it may not be easy to convey various things in writing (and even if it is understood, workers have to decide certain things to highlight).

 

Anyway, just saying that I think you *can* do this; but you're really going to have to be SUPER careful if you take older than infants and young toddlers...and possibly even then. Fact is that they grow up. Attachment issues can be problematic even in babies and can just grow with the kiddo despite your best efforts.

 

I just think you need to know what you're getting into. Hopefully, it's PERFECT. But most probably there will be some things that come up. You have to be DETERMINED that you will spend the time and effort to help them heal NO MATTER WHAT. Do you have that available on top of the three you still have at home, the rest of your family, etc?

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Well I think you all have successfully talked me out of this :)

No, but really you've given me so much to think about. It sounds like the only child that might work out of us is a single child that is quite young. I don't know if we'll ever get a child like that. The whole reason we wanted to do this is to make a child's life better - we wanted to give someone opportunities that they wouldn't have otherwise had.... but I definitely don't hurt my own 3 young kids in the process of trying to help someone, that would defeat the purpose.

 

Thanks for posting these sad and awful (I can't come up with the right words) stories. It's horrifying to hear what some of these kids have been through. Things I'm sure I can't even imagine.

 

My personal feeling is that you may want to consider doing an incredible job raising your own three young ones, and when they're older, deciding whether or not you still want to open your home to other children.

 

As I said before, I think your intentions are absolutely wonderful and generous, but if I were in your shoes, I would put my own children's happiness, safety, and well-being in front of my personal desire to help other kids until my own dc were much older or grown up.

 

Whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out perfectly for you. :)

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Well I think you all have successfully talked me out of this :)

No, but really you've given me so much to think about. It sounds like the only child that might work out of us is a single child that is quite young. I don't know if we'll ever get a child like that. The whole reason we wanted to do this is to make a child's life better - we wanted to give someone opportunities that they wouldn't have otherwise had.... but I definitely don't hurt my own 3 young kids in the process of trying to help someone, that would defeat the purpose.

 

Thanks for posting these sad and awful (I can't come up with the right words) stories. It's horrifying to hear what some of these kids have been through. Things I'm sure I can't even imagine.

 

 

As I mentioned earlier DH and I are trying to adopt. It was after reading tons of information here and elsewhere that DH and I decided to adopt a newborn at birth through an agency instead of through the foster system. Our intentions aren't noble in anyway, we simply want another child. We took a long hard look at our life and decided that we couldn't be the parents we would need to be. We both work 40+ hours a week. We have our own business so our hours can be flexible and we work from home but we couldn't provide the attention a child might need and still be a super involved parent to DD. Another consideration was health care - we have a high deductible plan and wouldn't be able to afford specialized therapy. Of course, we could end up with a special needs child still and we'll do what we need to do but we couldn't vountarily take it on.

 

:(

 

I'm sorry you had to come to the same conclusion we did. It's hard to want to help and not be in a position to do so.

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I have to add a success story here. They aren't all bad. We adopted 5 children from the foster care system. Our oldest is almost 10. We had three adoptions - 2 sib sets and one single. We got all the children under the age of three. Not all children in the system have horrific stories. Yes, many do, but not all. We've had our oldest boys for almost 9 years now, and haven't had any significant problems. Sure, there are issues, but more due to personality types (strong willed children with two very compliant parents) than adoption problems. I'm not trying to "talk you into" anything, but I would like to raise a voice for positive fost/adopt stories. They do happen.

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I, obviously, am an adoption advocate (check my siggy.) While ours is international, it still applies. You have to be prepared for things that aren't disclosed initially. We were told our daughter had a minor vision problem, but in reality she is totally blind in one eye and has only partial vision in the other. More than that, she is severely mentally insufficient and suspected ASD. We didn't know this until we got her home and had medical checkups. Of course we love her dearly, but it is so hard. She does a lot of self-hitting and has a limited amount of communication skills. To say this is hard on me and my family is an understatement. I do not want to discourage you, and if God is calling you to do this, then I definitely do NOT want to be a stumbling block. I just want you to be prepared for the unexpected. I don't want to be negative. It is just that I've BTDT, and I am a firm believer in truth in adoption.

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I think you could have a great experience with adopting from the foster system, but it seems unlikely that will start with changing your requirements based on what children are available. Please know I say that with all gentleness and as a mom who has been working on adopting for a long time now. (6 years if you count a situation we eventually & painfully turned down with a distant relative in a messy foster care situation.) Do you know some folks who have recently been through the process? I would really urge you to speak with them about what is really possible in your area. If you are determined, it is possible to have children placed who are within your original boundaries. For us, though, that felt a bit like working a system for our own benefit. Even though I think the system is broken, I didn't feel right pushing at the cracks to get what I needed, KWIM?

 

We're now in process for China, which had honestly not been on my radar before, and I am totally excited about it. The agency we're using has a mild special needs program that is very well respected: Holt's China Child of Promise.

 

There are many many ways to help children both here in your backyard and internationally who are in the system or are waiting for a family. Please don't be scared off of that impulse: find ways for your family to be involved, to be advocates, and to support adoptive families.

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Lisa in Jax,

 

I don't want to quote you but I wanted to {{{hug}}} you. I remember your joy and enthusiasm on the old old boards before you journeyed to adopt your kids. I learned a lot from you then, as I was on my own journey to adopt our son (6 at the time) from Ukraine. On those ancient boards I was Diane in Phoenix. I'm so sorry how things turned out. :(

 

:grouphug: :grouphug:

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Yes, there are good stories.

 

Our oldest was adopted at 7 1/2 and has had NO adjustment issues, no attachment issues, no big behavioral issues, etc. He was one of a sib group of 6 that was split up for some very good reasons. On the flip side, he does have FAS nad is cognitively impaired. Maybe that has helped to lessen any trauma/attachment issues. He will never live totally on his own, manage his own money, hold down a typical full time job, etc. but..............he really has been quite easy to parent through the years.

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Yes, there are awesome stories. Honestly, I think we are one of them despite the trauma and attachment related behaviors. Go figure.

 

And maybe that is where the answer is. If you read all of the above, the good stories and bad and said, "If that is what we end up doing, then we'll trudge up Mount Everest with no shoes if need be. And if we lose our feet and have to be rescued, but our precious child gains any better of a life because of it, makes ANY progress in ANY way, then it was worth it." ADDED AS THIS IS WHAT I MEANT: If THAT is what you think (and can back up) after reading the above (and tons of other stories, websites, blogs, etc), then maybe you *can* do it (though I still suggest EXTRA conservative and careful and learning to "read between the lines" and asking hard questions....we were passed up for a little boy because I asked to meet him, do respite, etc first. This was a specialized level kid and there was no way I was bringing a 7yo with his *known* issues into my home before meeting him....and yet I did feel something for him from the paperwork...My kids' therapist never accepted ANY child without a respite weekend first.).

 

It has been SO worth it. My kids have been here almost two years. Monkey was here 11½ months. Trauma and Attachment issues, along with the what they bring, are awful. But I have been so incredibly fortunate to be their mother. It has been HARD. It has changed my life, made me realize how powerless, and yet how strong, I am. It has ruined certain aspects of our lives. It has given us other aspects. I get to do the neatest things I never even thought of. I have learned so much. But mostly, I get to experience raising these three beautiful children, watching them progress, grow, learn, etc. And I get to hope for them. A year ago, I never dreamed they'd be where they are. NEVER. The sky is the limit for these kids. Will they ever love me or accept me as their mother? I don't know. Will they ever trust me? I don't know. Will certain behaviors ever end? I don't know. But I now know that anything is possible. And if not in this life? Then the next :)

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Lisa in Jax,

 

I don't want to quote you but I wanted to {{{hug}}} you. I remember your joy and enthusiasm on the old old boards before you journeyed to adopt your kids. I learned a lot from you then, as I was on my own journey to adopt our son (6 at the time) from Ukraine. On those ancient boards I was Diane in Phoenix. I'm so sorry how things turned out. :(

 

:grouphug: :grouphug:

 

Thanks, Diane. :)

 

Despite the negative tone of my post, we're all doing quite well now, even M., in her "new" home. (It's not "new" anymore, of course, after 5 years.)

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I have been a foster parent for five years now. My husband and I longed to have more children (having more biological children did not make sense for us for many reasons). We could not afford to privately adopt, so we looked into foster to adopt. It has been a long and emotional 5 years. We have had a lot of babies in those years. So far, none of them have stayed. :( While I agree with everything posted before, I too, wanted to encourage you a bit in this.

 

Our first placement was probably our hardest. She came straight from the hospital after an extended stay in which they did not know at first if she would make it. She had allegedly been a human barricade during a domestic dispute. She came to us with a helmet and missing a portion of her skull (which they removed to allow for her brain to swell). I took her to therapy daily for months. Eventually, she regained nearly all use of her left side and was able to have her skull replaced. She went home to her mother when she was 3.

 

Our second placement was a boy, who was placed with us as a straight adoption. He was barely 3. He had been in foster care since birth. When we took him, we were his fourth home and his third adoptive placement. We adopted him 7 months after his placement. While he did not have trauma from his bio family, he had the moves from home to home, the disruptions of two adoptive placements. He is a joy, but it has been a long 4 years. I can tell he still does not trust us at times. There is a hesitancy about him, still. For the most part, he has adjusted well and I have had social workers (who did not know his story with us) who were quite surprised to learn that he had not been with us since birth.

 

Our third placement was a newborn. Straight from the hospital. 3 days old. We had her for 6 months. She was a joy. Her case was going permanent and we wanted to adopt. But, we were not willing to take her 3 siblings (whose ages mirrored my own kids and suffered from a lot of trauma). A family was found to take all 4 of them. 2 months after my baby girl left, that family gave up and the kids were moved to yet another home. I never asked about her again. My heart couldn't handle it.

 

The fourth placement was a 5 month old boy. 3 days before his first birthday, an aunt and uncle swooped in to take him. To help out family, just until she got back on her feet. Family was important, they told me, as they apologetically took this boy from us with no transition period at all. He was miserable with them for a long time and they later said they greatly regretted taking him away from us when he was clearly attached to us.

 

The fifth placement was the triplet infant siblings of placement number 4. Oddly enough, family was important, but not enough to triplet siblings. lol. We had them from two months old to 6 months old. They went home to their mom. Even though she had not yet taken back her then 2 year old son from her aunt and uncle.

 

The sixth placement, we still have. He came to us at 7 weeks old. He was supposed to stay "just for a few days." He's been here over a year now. He couldn't be loved more if I had birthed him myself. His case is coming to an end, though. I don't know what will happen. His mom won't be getting him back, but there is family that want him now (even though they knew he was with us all this time). We would love to adopt him, but we just don't know what will happen. It is so very hard.

 

So, we've had relatively "easy" placements. Kids with no major issues (ok, the first one was kinda major, but after a few months, things settled down and we had a pretty normal life with her). However, the emotional turmoil is so very hard. When you take classes, they tell you about all the horrible things you might encounter, all the drama of bio family, the attachment you'll feel, the loss when they go. But nothing they say can actually prepare you for the reality of taking in a child. A child who is scared. Who doesn't know what to expect. Who much now navigate this strange new household. But I wouldn't change it either. I have foster parent friends irl who have the horror stories. Any and all of the things mentioned above.

 

I had a nurse at a stat care tell me once, she wanted to foster, but was told there weren't any babies available. That's bull. The oldest child we took was the barely 3 year old we adopted. Everyone else (with the exception of A, our first) was less than 6 months old. There are many foster parents who do not want infants, so when there are people willing to take them, you get called. Believe me. ;)

 

lol. This probably doesn't seem terribly encouraging. But, I wanted you to know that there CAN be outcomes that work. Our son really is doing great. We have not been able to adopt again, but in the mean time, we've been able to love on, and help along in life, a lot of other little ones. I think of them all often and wonder how they are. I hope that one day they may come looking for me as they try to piece together their early history. (My grandma was a foster parent who experienced this! It was awesome!) And we wait now, to see if our little guy will stay with us forever. :)

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Laura,

 

I think that this is such an individual decision and so many things play into whether a foster or adoptive placement becomes a miraculous blessing or a devastating curse or anything in between. Some of the factors are child dependent [although not necessarily within their control] from their own backgrounds (and how those backgrounds may or may not mesh with the new family culture), needs (both emotional and physical and how well these mesh with others in the family’s needs). Other factors are parent dependent from expectations, to skills, and even just innate personality, temperament, set shifting ability and patience factors. Then there are resources [tangible, intangible, and human, etc] which can certainly help support the family and the child through the transition. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from fostering or adopting but I would encourage everyone to really take a hard look at their expectations, their resources and their marriage and family and make the decision that is right for them and the family.

 

Our children currently at home are a mix of foster and biological. Our biological daughters are 17, 3, and 5 months. Our foster daughters are 13, 8, and 4. The younger two are full biological siblings.

 

Our now 13 YO daughter came to us just over three years ago, when she had just turned ten, as a medically fragile placement. She had rhabdomyolysis as a result of blunt trauma (thanks to a final nearly fatal beating from her biological parents). She had an extensive PICU course but ultimately she survived with a degree of renal insufficiency. She was still very sick when we brought her home but she got stronger with good nutrition, regular medical care and love. She had actually been a quite accomplished gymnast before everything fell apart completely and she had often associated the gym as her only safe place. We cautiously allowed her to return to gymnastics and worked with the coaches and her pediatrician to adjust hours to ensure that she wasn’t doing too much as there were/are concerns for recurrence/relapse of the rhabdomyolysis. She has thrived in the gym and she loves swinging bars so we’ve worked to allow it to work for her. She’s just beginning her second L10 championship season and hoping to qualify for JO Nationals.

 

I will fully admit she was miserable at first which was heartbreaking. It did take us awhile to figure out what was comforting to her. She definitely formed a sibling connection with our oldest daughter before she really started to see herself as our daughter. Their tentative initial sibling bonds were healthy and it was through our daughter that she allowed herself to reframe her perspectives on parents. Just because her biological parents had not been kind or loving did not mean that parents couldn’t be those things. In time she became our daughter and we love her dearly.

 

I will also acknowledge that in many ways helping her navigate through the PTSD that stemmed from the abuse and from one of her biological parents continued thwarting of a protective order was much more complex than dealing with her initial medical issues. By the time these issues really cropped up she had become our daughter in our hearts and there wasn’t an option other than helping her that felt right. We ended up needing to pursue a temporary family split so she could participate in an out of state partial day treatment program. This was hard but necessary and ultimately we have weathered this as a family. She is our daughter no more or no less than the four children I gave birth to. We’re hoping the TPR will finally go through next month and then we will adopt her officially.

 

Our 8 YO daughter originally went into foster care with her newborn sister shortly after she turned four. Her parents were both killed in a car accident and family placements were not available. She had some medical problems which were not a good fit with the foster home she was placed in. We don’t think this was identified initially and once things had reached a crisis level the foster parents and her younger sister had already started to bond and attach. CP/FS tried to support the placement by offering escalating amounts of medical respite so the foster parents would not disrupt. In retrospect, this was not the best plan but I do believe that it may have been the best plan the caseworker thought was truly deliverable.

 

She came to us as a medical respite child during late Summer 2011 (during part of this time DH and our now 13 YO were living out of state so she could attend a day treatment program for PTSD) through November 2012 when her foster parents abandoned her at our house after an extended respite weekend. By the time she was abandoned at our house we knew her quite well and truly had a bit of Aunt and Uncle type relationship with her. Our daughters cherished her in the way they cherish their cousins. We had actually arranged the respite for the particular long weekend because our oldest had an orchestra concert that she wanted to attend. Although we weren’t sure we were really in a position to take her [i had just given birth to our youngest the month before and had returned to work as an EM physician] we felt that we were probably her best chance and that we had to try.

 

It soon became clear that she still had a lot of pain, loss, fears, and questions related to the death of her parents. We got her set up with a grief therapist that works with kids. Her maternal grandfather (her only surviving biological grandparent) has been able to attend some of the sessions with her which we think has been good and seems to be helping her to finally work through some of this. In many ways we have seen healing and growth. She is still so young (she will nine later this spring) but she is approaching a point where she seems to understand that it is natural for her to miss her parents and to wish that life had worked differently and they were still alive and raising, loving, and cherishing her. [From all that we understand when they were alive they did love and cherish her and were wonderful parents.] She is also starting to understand and even accept that life doesn’t always work out the way we would like and that sometimes we have to do the best we can with where we are and what we have. We’ve had several hard, and a bit heartbreaking, but also really good conversations with her and we have come to love her so much. There is a part of my heart that wishes the circumstances had been different for her and her parents. There is another part of my heart that just cherishes her as the special little girl she is. I appreciate that God brought her into our lives and is giving us the opportunity to become her parents. I pray in time that we will be able to feel the same way about her little sister and I pray that she will find her peace and build her own connection into our family.

 

Our 4 YO daughter is the younger sibling of the 8 YO. Her foster parents (who are the only parents she has ever known) took her with them when they fled and abandoned her sister at our house. The police located the family when the foster father was arrested for DUI. When CP/FS brought her back to our state she was placed with our family a little over a month ago. She is really struggling which is understandable but heartbreaking. She is so sad and so shut down and it has been hard for us to get her to let us in. We’re trying to channel patience, compassion, love, and understanding because we grasp that she has to be grieving the foster parents who essentially raised her since shortly after birth. It is heartbreaking to see her like this but we’re continuing to pray for guidance and more patience. [Yes, we’re also working with a therapist with theraplay with her and we’ve seen just a few small glimmers in the past few weeks.]

 

As you can see we have disrupted natural birth order. This has worked out for our family but I do think it can be a valid concern with some children and I would advise parents to look closely at all issues and factors before making a decision. There are some children that should probably be the youngest child in their family, some children who should probably only be in families without other children, and even some sibling groups that all siblings would benefit from being placed separately. Every time we have added a foster child we have only done so after significant discussion and prayer. Admittedly our two most recent additions did come a bit unexpectedly and we did feel pulled to follow our heart. Right now we’re taking this day by day and we know we’re blessed to have the support that we have. We're praying for the guidance that we need to continue to do what is right for all of our children. I wish the same for you and your husband.

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We adopted one as a newborn baby, through and agency that specialized in open adoptions. We have had no issues with her (she's almost 17). We adopted our boys, who were 4, through social,services. They were in foster care since birth.

 

We love them all.

 

In the beginning we thought our one son was just a strong willed child. By the time he was thirteen we knew we were in big trouble with his explosive behaviour that took a huge toll on our family. Our other son struggled academically but we were shocked when a psych-Ed assessment showed he has a mild intellectual disorder. Both boys struggle with understanding consequences for their decisions and make some very impulsive (bad) decisions.

 

Turns out both our boys are FASD one with RAD. We had no idea about the alcohol exposure until recently. (In fact we had said we were unwilling to adopt FASD kids ...oh the irony).

 

It is not easy and not at all what we envisioned. There are days when we aren't sure we have strength for another day.

 

Having said that, there are so many children that do need families. I am still an advocate for adoption I just want people to realize they need to expect the unexpected. I also want to say that this journey has not been easy for our daughter. I do sometimes feel badly for how our choice has impacted her. When you have other children you must consider the impact on them.

 

 

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