My husband and I are in the very beginning stages of adopting three children from foster care. The kids are relatives of mine and currently living with another family member who cannot keep them permanently. This will be a win-win situation when/if it goes through, but until then it's an emotional nightmare. Dealing with dependency courts and the adjoining social service agencies is like dealing with the legal system of a foreign country, one that
- My husband and I are not allowed to speak in court or have a lawyer speak on our behalf. Actually:
- We aren't even allowed to be in the court during hearings. And even outside the court:
- The social worker is not allowed to talk to us about the situation. In addition:
- We are not allowed to talk to the children about the situation. Even when they ask us. They would like to know what's going on as much as any other person would, so they DO ask. Until then:
- We have to drive nine hours each way once a month to visit them to maintain the bond that will make us their top adoption candidates when/if they need adoption candidates. And on our three weekends off:
- We have to prepare our house to hold these three children, fence our above ground, completely inaccessible pool, and buy a huge van before we will be considered as candidates for adoption. Remember, they won't tell us anything about whether said adoption is even a possibility. Except what we need to buy. That's because:
- The ultimate goal is to reunite the children with their emotionally disturbed parents at all costs. In 6 to 18 months, that goal will change suddenly in a court hearing I am not allowed to know about or attend. Then we can begin another long, scary process:
- Out of state foster care adoption. The social worker says it requires an immense and maybe impossible amount of paperwork. All in the best interest of the children, but he likes to remind everyone that there is a limit to what he can do. This might be just short of that limit, or beyond it. And then he remembered that he isn't legally allowed to discuss anything and clammed up. If you still don't think it's a scary, precarious process, consider:
- One of the children is still in a state foster home because the wheels that turn the justice system sometimes get stuck. She is honestly just waiting for the right things to be filed, and the worker will be out sick this week, and his supervisor is on vacation. Whenever they get around to it, this infant will be reunited with her brothers and the extended family members who care for them. Right now, she is literally lost in the system.
Adopting children is a great, green way to enlarge your family, and foster care is full of children who need families. It's just the 6-18 months of labor pains that bring me down sometimes.