weight ticker

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adopting through FC: How to start the process

I'm going to abbreviate F0$+er C@re for now because I really don't want someone googling this topic and finding it until we are done with our adoption because you never know who's reading!  Once we are finalized, I'll go back and edit, so bear with me for now please!

Make the Call-  Please visit this website http://www.adoptuskids.org/resourceCenter/rrtPackets/chooseState.aspx and click on your state and you should find a number to call your FC system.  Our state has a lot of information on their page (I'm very impressed!) and what we did was call and ask if there was an orientation we could sign up for and there was and we did.  It was about an hour long, there was about 6 families at ours and it went through the basics of how children come into the FC system, what resources are available and what's involved in the approval process to do FC and adoption.  In our state, you have to be approved to be a FC home before you can do adoption because it's not like this all happens in one day, so technically you are fostering a child until the adoption is finalized. 

Fill out the paperwork-  We received a large packet of papers at orientation to be filled out and faxed or mailed back to our state office.  Don't be super worried about any of that, unless anyone in your household has been convicted of violent crimes, crimes against kids, etc.  We filled out the packet of paperwork and then they assigned a licensing worker to us.  Also at this time, make sure whether you need to be getting finger printed or any other steps.  Again, none of this costs us any money at this point.

Home Study- The FC home study is a little different that the adoption home study.  Prior to the licensing workers arrival, we received a copy of the rules of FC and a sheet of "Saftey Requirements."  The safety stuff had to be completed prior to her arrival and it doesn't mean child proof your entire house.  It does involve (for our state), installing extinguishers, working smoke detectors, making sure the water temperature isn't too hot, storing chemicals in a place where kids can't get to or putting a child proof latch on your cabinet, and making a box in case of a natural disaster (radio that works on batteries, a first aid kit, a couple gallons of drinking water and non perishables which can be soup and granola bars, my ex-military husband bought a ton of MRE's, yuck!).  So this step may cost you a little bit of money but you should be able to keep it under $100.  Then the licensing worker came, went over all the rules, then checked that we met the safety requirements.  At this time, depending on your state, you should be able to show the licensing worker where the child would sleep or if necessary, have the room set up.  The licensing worker will talk to you about what your preference for children is and please speak openly and honestly with her because when she goes back to her office and talks with the placement worker, you want to make sure she conveys your wishes (even though they are written on paper) clearly!

Room Set Up-  By this time in the process for us (the first visit from the licensing worker), we thought we would not get pregnant, it was late January, or early February but we decided to create a neutral bedroom that could be easily changed depending on gender.  Now this is where you spend what you want and can afford.  We bought a crib, painted the walls and did a little decorating (I think you can go back to one of my YT videos in February and it's on there) and set it up with a dresser and a twin bed.  You obviously can do this on the cheap if you go on craigslist or know someone with a crib.  But you do need this stuff.  They will not give you a baby on the premise that you'll rush around the day off and get a bed for the kid!  This part can be emotionally a really awesome feeling, or really hard.  I was excited to do it personally. I felt like I was moving forward to becoming a mom and FINALLY I could go baby shopping for myself and not for another damn baby shower! HA!  Also, I'm going to assume most people reading this are thinking of adopting an infant so I'll just use that example.  You will need to get just a few toys (they can be used, whatever you want) and some basic clothes.  The licensing worker needs to see that the baby will be clothed!  We went to once upon a child and I picked as much gender neutral options as possible and very basic onesies, pants, socks, pajamas and I bought about 2 outfits and a pair of pajamas in each size up to a year (because at least the next day you can go shopping after the baby arrives, but the first day, don't count on taking a baby for a couple hours shopping!)  You DON'T have to buy diapers, formula, bottles, etc. (at least where I live).

Training and Classes- Our state requires 20 hours of classes and we did them over a Friday night and all day Saturday.  Both parents had to attend and it was AWESOME!  I can't even explain what it was like to be in a room of about 12 couples that were all super excited to become foster parents (a few already were because of emergency placements so it was nice to hear their experiences too).  I can't tell you how many tears were shed during these classes.  Most of the men included.  Obviously classes are different across the country so I really hope you enjoy your classes and have a great teacher like we did!  About 8 of us went out to lunch each day together and had a blast and on Saturday night 6 of us went and hung out together at one of their homes, it was crazy that we just all had this instant bonding and we are all still great friends:)  So definitely try and meet other couples at your classes so that you start creating a support system.

Second Home study- So now the licensing worker came back, did her final approval, looked at the bedroom and it was short and sweet and she left saying, "Expect a call from us any day with news that we have a child for you!"  We were stoked, I randomly took a pregnancy test as soon as she left and BAM, I was pregnant.  I talk about that in my YT video, that was a crazy day!

Next I'll do a post of questions to ask and some things that might be helpful to you!


  1. I love that you are writing about this. We are just beginning our journey with fostering to adopt and its great to have some insight, although i'm sure some things will be different with us being in Canada.

    Approximately how long did the whole process take, From initial paperwork to first home study, and then to when your son came home?

    Right now we are being told we have a 2 year wait until our home study, and another 6 month to 2 year wait for a placement!

  2. With my cousin she became a foster mom at first so she could get custody and adopt her niece (she had a rough road because several people wanted baby D). Her adoption was finalized when she was 2-3 sadly because of what her birth mom did (Shaken baby syndrome) when D was 5 weeks old she has some issues.

    Their second daughter was 2 weeks old and the birth mom had two mental issues and wasn't feeding her and from what neighbors were saying she was leaving her alone when she'd go out she never took the baby with her. When my cousin got her she was very underweight for her age and hadn't eaten in 18 hours. She wasn't legally free, and every other time they'd go to court the judge would say she was going back to her birth mom. The next time he said they would keep her.

    When she was 10 months old on Christmas eve she went back to her birth mom. We were so worried for her especially after the birth mom said in front of the judge that baby M could go into the kitchen at 10 months old and make herself something to eat. BM's own lawyer put her in her place right in front of the judge.

    We prayed for her safety, and again the neighbors would report that she was going out of the house (we'd seen her at walmart without the baby several times) without the baby and no one was at the house watching her.

    In April (they live in a moutain area) Birth mom was stopped and found to be drinking and driving with Baby m in the backseat without a car seat. So 3 days later my cousin got her back. Eventually both parents signed their rights over and she's legally my cousins now.

  3. Jo, that's so interesting that Canada is taking that long. I called to sign up for orientation the first week of January, took the orientation in mid-January, I turned my application in 2 days later, my licensing worker came in February, I took the required classes in February....then the licensing worker kept rescheduling our second home study and so finally on 3/21/2009 she came and we were approved. So less than 3 months to get approved. After that I should have just called each day to check in with the placement worker, instead I waited for the call and finally in late April I called the licensing worker back to ask why we hadn't received any calls about placements and she said "Oh, are you ready?" HUH? Yes, duh! Within a few days we had our first call, a week later we had a call that resulted in our placement. But our friends that were on the same timeline we were had their foster kids placed with them in late March, so less than 3 months for them. As far as JUST adopting, my coworker looked into it in July of 2008, and by September a baby was placed with her that had a really good chance of being legally free and by February the adoption was complete! Our adoption process once the child is legally free is typically 4-5 months. That's why I'm trying to figure out how to explain that a lot of the time the social workers know when the child is going to be legally free (like my son's baby sister, they knew when she was born, there was not a chance the birth mom would get to keep her even though it hadn't been finalized in the courts until the baby was 4 months) and so if I had to do it again, I'd look for a situation like that.

  4. Elisabeth,
    that's heart breaking to hear it took SO long. Anytime there is someone that wants the baby, it takes forever in my opinion. In our son's case, the mom really wanted him so the courts tried to get her the treatment she needed. I think in situation where other kids have already been taken away and parental rights terminated on those kids, the newborn has a really good chance of having a quicker adoption. I think it's also important to stay on top of the social worker about how the family placement search is coming or is completed, don't leave any stone unturned! It's not fool proof though.

  5. Wow i cant believe how fast of a process it was for you!

    The thing that confuses me with our timeline though is that i know a couple in a city less than an hour from me that did their training and home study last year and had it done just as quick as you had. I just don't get why the wait is SO long. i mean 2 and a half years at the least is forever! I wasn't expecting a wait like that, but ill do anything to add to our family.

  6. Jo, in Canada, are you allowed to do it through your neighboring cities? It did catch me off guard with the length of the process for you. Especially the homestudy wait. Is FC not a huge problem as far as how many kids are looking for a home in Canada or just a flawed system time wise?

  7. I'm not sure if we are able to go through neighboring cities or not. I will be calling on Monday and asking for sure though.

    The province i live in has approximately 8300 kids in the system right now, so im going to go ahead and say it is a flawed system. I have heard so many times that there are not enough people willing to take this route and yet the time line is just crazy. No wonder they have a lack of people willing to consider this option.

    I have another question for you Brandi. When you got your placement with your son did they just kind of drop him off and that was it or did you have visitation with him before they made the transition to your care? I feel like you talked about this in one of your youtube videos but im drawing a blank haha.

  8. Wow again. Such a disservice to those kids to make willing and able potential parents wait. I guess that maybe translates into having foster-adopt parents that REALLY are committed to doing this but still, speed it up Canada!

    At first they called and said that the boys had been placed in an emergency foster home and they wanted us to pick them up from the visit with their parents the next day around noon. We probably could have went and visited them, but instead we just accepted the placement and ran around like crazy people getting the last minute stuff we needed to make them comfortable. But the placement was presented to us as short term, maybe a month or two so no matter what we would have accepted them. I think if the situation had been that we would have even thought one or both of them could have been adopted, we would have went and met them (thankfully, we thought they were awesome kids from the moment we met them and it was never an issue....however they were part native, clearly, and we were told they were caucasian, we didn't specify that as a preference but like I mentioned if someone is worried in the US about ICWA, meeting them beforehand would have been a great idea!).

    It was a huge rush, honestly the same rush I got when my water broke! Knowing we were about to meet "our kids"! Here they have emergency foster homes where kids are first placed if it happens say in the middle of the night, with infants born at the hospital they would not usually be moved to an emergency home. Does that answer the question? The families that I know that went into the process only to adopt always met the baby beforehand. I met my foster son's sister 2 days after she was born in the hospital and she did not leave with another family member for 2 more days, the day she was born I was notified and ask to take the placement as soon as she was ready to leave the hospital. Oh, I can't wait for you to have that day!

  9. Totally answers the question :) I am hoping i don't have problems with the whole native tribe thing. Being that it is Canada its probably worse then it is in the States as far as them having a say in the whole situation. I am hoping my great grandmother being Inuit will help us get accepted to be a suitable home for native children since it is in my background, if not i think i will steer clear for the time being.

    I know my fiancé spent a long time caught up on the idea that he would feel like he was being cheated out of feeling like they are our kids right from the start. Now that we have talked about it a lot more he has totally committed to this but it is comforting that it is the same rush of emotions in both situations. I can only imagine what it feels like but i cannot wait for that day!

  10. In our state, when calling in regards to foster a newborn or infant, we were told to go through a private agency and do adoption. No, I'm not kidding. I just got off the phone with another person who stated the same thing.

    This is off the dcfs foster website states website:

    A family is not eligible for registration if:
    a. Family is only interested in children under the age of ten.
    b. Not interested in children with disabilities (indicated zeros for physical, emotional,mental and learning disabilities on registration form).

  11. Wow, since you are anonymous, can you share the state?

    Also, I just wanted to say that you are able to adopt from other states if that is of interest to you.

    And last, they consider sibling groups, non-caucasion children, and often times any infant special needs where I live. Their definition of special needs is hard to place children.

    Sorry your state has unrealistic expectations. That really is sad for all those waiting kids:(