Saturday, September 7, 2013

We're Adopting! Part 2

That video gets me every time.

I realized by the questions I received after my first post that I didn't explain the process at all or where we are in that process. It probably varies a little depending on which agency you decide to foster through, but here is a basic checklist:

  • Fill out an application and a few other forms (not nearly as much paperwork on this end as I've heard of from friends who have adopted internationally)
  • Attend a series of training classes, including First Aid and CPR
  • Homestudy
  • Get physicals for every family member
  • Get pets up to date on vaccines
  • Get background checks
We have done everything except we still have a little bit of paperwork to turn in while we wait for our background checks to come back (we did ours 3 weeks ago, and we're told it usually takes about 6 weeks to get them back).

Once our background checks come back, we will be ready to accept a child or children into our home! We have told Sunrise that we would accept 1 or 2 boys or girls (same gender, because they would have to share a room) ages 0-6, and we will give preference to placements where adoption is the goal. We understand, however, that the need for foster and adoptive families is so great, that we will likely get calls about children who may not fit those exact parameters.

The thing about doing foster care through Sunrise is that they are a therapeutic foster care agency. Any agency that you go through besides going directly through the state has to be this way. This means that kids usually only get placed through Sunrise after they haven't been able to be placed in a state foster family. This may be because the kids have special needs that can't be handled in a state family, or it may be because they are a sibling group and there aren't any state families who can take them, or it may be for any number of other reasons. 

A couple of big benefits to doing foster care or adoption through Sunrise are:
  • They are explicitly Christian, and serve families and children with a distinctly Christian worldview.
  • They offer much better support for foster families than the state is able to do. There are many excellent state social workers, but they are stretched so thin in their responsibilities that they just aren't able to provide the family support that a small, private agency can do. Anecdotally, we have heard many stories of families who struggled so much in the beginning that they probably wouldn't have been able to keep their foster kids if they were fostering through the state, but with the help of the wonderful Sunrise staff, are now thriving.
  • If you are a Kentucky Southern Baptist, they are supported by your tithes and offerings to your church through the Cooperative Program.
I know this has gotten long, but there's one more thing to say. For the sake of the kids' privacy, when the Lord does place a child or children in our homes, there won't be some big announcement about it until they are officially adopted, which could take years. We aren't supposed to post pictures or their names online, and even in conversation we aren't really supposed to say that they are our foster kids. If you see us with a new kid or two in tow, and we respond kind of awkwardly about how they're "staying with us for a while," or "the newest addition to our family," just understand that we're trying to respect their privacy. If you have questions for any foster parents, it is best to talk to them one on one, not in public and definitely not in front of the kids.

We'd be very interested to hear from other parents who have done foster care about how you handle these questions and conversations!

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