How does the foster care system talk about adoption when the main goal is NOT adoption, but rather to reunite kids with their birth families?
Here’s what it looked like for us.
When we decided that we would like to become foster parents and provide a temporary home to children, the County required us to be trained as and approved as potential adoptive parents. This dual licensing is required for all foster parents where I live, because so many foster parents end up wanting to adopt if the kids don’t go back home.
When our 11 year old foster daughter and 9 year old foster son joined our family, the County noted that their case could end with the children going home or going to a relative or being placed for adoption.
Months later, the County told us that a relative placement wouldn’t happen. So it was going home or adoption.
The children’s lawyer explained to us that she was going to request adoption as a concurrent goal. That means she asked the judge to tell the County to simultaneously pursue reunification and adoption. The judge agreed.
The judge was open in court, saying he would find in favor of adoption if dad didn’t take certain steps by a particular date.
The County, the lawyer (GAL), and CASA were all open in asking us if we were interested in adopting. They didn’t know if they’d ask us to adopt just the two children who lived with us or their little brother, too.
The foster family for the little brother frankly shared with us that they could adopt the one child they had, but didn’t feel they could take on all three children.
We adamantly assured the kids’ dad that our first goal was returning the children back to him. But if that couldn’t happen, we would consider adopting and would like him to be part of their lives going forward.
He made sure we knew that what he really wanted was his children returned home.
No one told the kids that adoption was being considered. The idea is to not confuse the kids and only cross that bridge after the decision is made. Ultimately, the kids returned to their dad.
How does it feel to talk about adoption as a back-up plan? It’s weird. You’re pulled in different directions, wanting both outcomes. Or neither. Or see sawing between one and the other. You feel more attached, because these could be your forever children. But overall, it feels good to know that the children will find a permanent, loving solution no matter what.
This posting is part of Adoption Talk Link Up. Check out what other people have to say about “Talking about Adoption.”