Yesterday we attended the adoption orientation.
It was really informative of what to expect, and what the process typically looks like, and the speaker was very good at answering the group's questions.
It didn't scare Blake or I away from adoption, and it actually confirmed that there is a big need for sibling groups and for kids 1 to 3 (I didn't expect that part!), both of which we would love to do.
There is one major "catch" that we learned about yesterday... I had understood from the website that by definition, the foster adoption program means that you foster the child first, and then after a set time passes, you adopt them. What I didn't fully realize is that during the fostering time, you really are a foster parent in every sense of the word.
That includes meeting with the birth parents and the child for their twice a week visitation time. That includes trying your best to help the birth parents get the kids back. Only if they fail, and their appeals fail, do the kids get released for adoption. Its called concurrent adoption, and I fully support the idea of it. The point is that the kids are able to get stable in their foster parent home because they might never have to move from there again, but if the parents can shape up their act, they can still get the kids back for the beginning stage of it.
The scary part is that it could be up to a year of the parents still having potential to get the kids back. That's a long time of meeting with the birth parents...
There is still cases where you can do just adoption, and say that you are only willing to take kids where parent rights have been terminated. However, there are very few of these cases available because whenever possible, they do the concurrent adoption, and so the only kids left would be ones where they couldn't find someone willing to do concurrent for them. Also, these kids have more emotional issues because by the point they would come to us, they have left their birth family, and left their foster parents, and are now coming to a third family. The concurrent way skips the middle step, so there is a better chance for less emotional damage, and better chance that they will be able to bond to us.
Other ideas that we talked about is considering international adoption, and this is still an option, but it is really expensive, and I don't do well on 5 hour plane flights, so trying to imagine a 15 hour flight that I would have to do 4 times is really daunting for me. Besides there is something that bothers me about paying so much for adoption when there are children in need here that don't cost anything. It bothers me too that they are local kids that need homes, but I would be skipping all of them and helping kids thousands of miles away instead.
I honestly don't know what Blake and I will do at this point.
If we decide to go through the regular system in our area, our next step is taking pride training classes, and that is for whether we were just going to do foster care (not our plan) or do the concurrent planning or say that we are only willing to do straight adoption.
My thoughts at this point is that even though the concurrent scares me, I think that is the best thing for the child, and in any case we would need to complete the training classes. So, we should just keep taking steps of faith forward through the training, through the paperwork, and then when it comes to placement time decide what we want to do. Who knows... the perfect kids for us could be already clear for adoption at the time that we are ready to be approved for them, and then all the worry about concurrent planning will have been unnecessary. Or maybe we will go through the training, and at the time it is needed, God will overwhelm us with peace about going through the concurrent thing with the right pair of kids.
If I had tried to tell myself a year ago that I would be totally fine with not being pregnant, I don't think I would have believed it, because it was such an overwhelming consuming passion at the time. But at this point, I don't have a problem with forming our family through adoption. So although we are both worried about the kids possibly leaving us, and the birth parent visits, I have hope that by the time comes that we have to possibly face those fears, we will have peace about that too.
As a side note, although this is to inform friends and family about our current thoughts, it was also because I learned in college that writing about what causes you stress actually helps relieve it, and I truthfully feel much better just after writing this blog.