Step One – Adoption Information Meeting

Did you know that there are over 9 thousand children in Wisconsin that are in the system waiting to be adopted?  Between June 2016 and July 2017, only a little over 600 of these children were actually adopted.  How heartbreaking is this?  This is just a small part of what we learned about at our first adoption orientation class this past Thursday night.

Jason and I showed up to this orientation not really sure what to expect.  We had many questions and concerns, and thankfully everything got answered during the presentation.  We learned about the different steps we will have to take and what we’ll need to do or have done for each step.  The length of time it will take for us to adopt will really depend on how quickly we can fill out forms and have our home ready for the agency to go through and approve.  Honestly, there was so much information received, it was a bit overwhelming and too much to really share with you all right now.  Here is the information we can share so far.

This is our Adoption Licensing Process Timeline:

  1. Attend Information Meeting
  2. Discern about children with special needs and your skills/abilities to meet their needs.
  3. Mail Permanency Resource Family Survey to State Program Office
  4. State Staff – Initially screens for compatibility with Program.
  5. Initial Screen In – Noticed by letter and assigned for In-Person Screening Visit
  6. In-Person Screening Visit with Public Adoptions Staff
  7. Public Adoptions Staff consults with supervisor about visit.
  8. Adoption packet is mailed out.  We complete and return materials.  Can enroll in Public Adoptions education classes with returned application.
  9. Application is assigned to an adoption home study worker.
  10. Adoption worker schedules visit to begin home study.
  11. Licensing Timeline – Varies depending on schedules, visits completed, meeting education requirements, all materials completed and returned to home study worker.

We both have to have 16 hours work of education classes completed.  The Adoption Classes we will have to attend are:

  1. Understanding of Adoption and Impact on Parenting/Family Dynamics
  2. Understanding of Issues for Child in Adoptive Placement
  3. Understanding of Loss and Grief for the Adoptive Family
  4. Understanding of Attachment Issues in Adoptive Placement
  5. Understanding of Support and Resources for Adoptive Placement
  6. Understanding of Cultural Sensitivity in Adoption
  7. Understanding of the Effects of Abuse and Neglect in Adoption
  8. Understanding of Legal Issues related to Adoption
  9. Understanding of Children Coming from an Institutional Care Setting
  10. Understanding of Educational Issues in Adoption

Once we have completed all the forms, the home study, the classes, and we are approved, then we will become a “waiting family”.  During this time, we will have our agent share our information with the child’s agent and see what they think we could be compatible with.  We can say no as many times as we want, or we can say yes and try things out with having the children in our home.  Once we find a compatible match, we will have to have the child(ren) in our home for a minimum of 6 months before we can officially adopt them.

So where does that leave us right now?  We have to fill out the Permanency Resource Family Survey to our State Program Office, and hopefully get approved for this first step to enter into their program.  This Permanency Resource Family Survey is a packet where Jason and I will fill in basic introductory information about us as well as our licensing knowledge and experience.  Then the form continues with characteristics of child(ren) we are desiring for adoption… we pick out health characteristics we have experience with or are willing to consider as a match to our family.  This includes physical health, emotional/behavior health, and risk factors.  The whole packet consists of 10 pages.

Asking for prayers and good thoughts that we get approved after we submit this packet tot he State for review.  If you have questions or words for encouragement, feel free to reach out to us or comment below.

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Home Study

Many people have asked us, “What is a home study?”  I joke and say, “It’s where you get every aspect of your life investigated and you are left feeling a little violated.”  All jokes aside, I completely understand why agencies conduct home studies.  The children that are being adopted have more than likely been removed from a bad situation, and the agency wants to make sure they are placing the children in a safe environment.

Everything I have read says to “prepare for your interviews with the social worker”.  What are some of the questions they may ask us?  It could range from the following:

  • Why we want to adopt
  • Asking about our marriage/relationship
  • About our finances
  • Our health history
  • Our education
  • Our occupations
  • Our childhood and the environment we grew up in
  • How we handle stressful situations
  • Our parenting style and how we plan on disciplining our children

We’ll more than likely have to fill out paperwork that asks about our employers, financial statements, criminal background checks, etc.  We’ll need to offer personal references of people in our lives that know us best and would recommend us to adopt and become parents.  We’ll have to provide copies of a marriage license, birth certificates, social security numbers, house insurance, car insurance, etc.

Everything varies state-by-state and depends on your agency.  This is a sample break-down of what could be included in a home study, which I found through 1800 Homestudy.

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National Foster Care Month

In case you didn’t already know, May is National Foster Care Month.  Have you ever looked at the statistics of foster children?  It’s very heartbreaking. This is an image from 2012 that I got from https://www.fosterclub.com/article/statistics-foster-care.

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Here is another image from 2014 that I found at http://trinitykids.org/TheirStory/FosterCare/tabid/101/Default.aspx.

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These statistics are eye-opening and very sad.  Our hope is to adopt older children and quite possibly a sibling group.  We are not adopting in order for us to be “praised” about how selfless we are or giving or whatever.  We are not doing this to look good.  We are passionate about helping children in need.  And of course we want a family.  We do believe we have a lot of love to give to these children and we hope that us showing these children that they are loved and wanted will help change their future.  We can only imagine what they have gone through and what they continue to go through.  We want to help in every way we can.

I currently have my eye on a specific sibling group, but all will depend on our how fast we can fill out a ton of paper work and how our home study goes.  We’ve been reaching out to a couple of agencies gathering information.  I have a list of things that need to be done for the home study and to help speed up the paperwork process.  I have sent the bio of the sibling group I have my eye on to a couple of people, and they have all said how these children would fit in perfectly with us. It seriously couldn’t be a better match for us.  Now, it’s in God’s hands.  He knows our what hearts desire.

If you’re the praying type, please pray for us and our journey that we’re on. It’s honestly a bit scary not knowing what will come of all of this.  We have a couple concerns, which we will share a little later on, but for now we are just holding onto faith that everything will work itself out.

Feeling Overwhelmed

From:  Wednesday, April 5, 2017

We’ve been doing a lot of research about adoption, ways to raise money, what’s needed to apply for grants or loans, etc. There are so many things going through our minds. It’s hard to take a step back and just breathe and move forward slowly, one step at a time. We fully understand that adoption is a long process, but it’s so hard to move slowly when you have been wanting a family for so many years.  Our biggest worry is money.  Obviously the majority of new parents fear about finances; how will you provide for your child?  For us, it’s more about, how will we be able to afford the costs of adopting?  Seeing the numbers for adopting is eye opening and very overwhelming.  Trying to hold on to faith and trust that God will provide.

Many may be wondering why we are waiting before contacting an adoption agency.  We’ve been in the middle of house projects and we would prefer to have most of the inside stuff done before we go through a home study. We want things to be ready and safe for a child to come into our home.  We have a checklist of items that need to be done before we can successfully pass a home study. So that’s what we’re working on for now.  We will hopefully meet with an agency soon (we are fairly sure which agency we will be going with).  From what we have read, once we meet with the agency, we have to go through an orientation class, fill out a ton of paperwork and get ready for the home study.

So besides our house projects, we continue with getting things ready for our adoption fundraiser/rummage event.  I contacted our church secretary, so now we wait for available dates for the event.

We have many busy days ahead of us, so keep checking in for updates.