Our process to begin adoption

After our evaluation of these several concerns we decided to begin the application process with our agency of choice. We completed the entire application in one day and submitted this. We were so excited to begin our journey. We were advised that they typically work with

parents looking to adopt newborns but also offer home studies and help to parents adopting from foster care. We were advised that we need to complete PRIDE classes to complete our Home Study and be eligible to inquire on the waiting children in foster care. We chose an agency vs. the free home study as we were excited to complete all the processes and match. You can opt for the free home study with the Department of children and families.

Have you ever wondered how many children are in foster care? How would you feel if you knew there were 289 pages of waiting children in the department of children and families web page. This does not include other foster/adopt listings. We were overwhelmed. All of these children just want a family to love. Someone to take care of them. You can filter your search based on gender, disabilities, race, age, and even by sibling group or not. Thousands of children from the ages of newborn to twenty-one years old awaiting their forever home.

Have you ever thought about why children end up in foster care? I am sure most of you assume children are in foster care because their parents passed away in a terrible accident. However, that is not the circumstance majority of the time. We learned fast from our PRIDE class that the children in foster care are most likely in foster care because they were removed from their families. Some of these children have parents who were not taught to love. Some of the children have siblings who were removed from the home and separated from them. These children may have experienced severe traumas. These children may not understand their circumstances and why they were removed from, in their eyes, their loving parents. These children suffered their entire lives fighting for food or love. They sacrificed themselves for their siblings to be better off. Every single one of these children deserve love and respect. They deserve kindness. They deserve the understanding and empathy of their situations.

We researched information on adoption with a bio child in the home. I connected with other families on Facebook groups and asked them for their experience and advice with adopting a child or a sibling group and already having a bio child. We learned about adapting. We read about how your bio child will adapt. Your bio child will understand. We learned the best processes on how to make your bio child comfortable during the process for adoption. We researched how to make bio children feel our attention and love during the adoption process. We learned that the best scenario for a bio child during adoption is for the bio child to be included. Include your bio child in the process. Let your bio child now that you are taking classes to teach you how to be a good parent to an adopted child. Explain to your child that you want to adopt a child to be our family. Explain to your child that your adopted child will be their brother/sister. They will be our “bio” family and will be with us forever. Ask your child how it makes them feel? What type of concerns does your bio child have during this process? If your child appears comfortable and happy with adopting please do not push that to the side. The bio child’s feelings may change throughout the process. We learned the best way to keep bio children comfortable is to keep bio children in the loop of things. Our bio child is learning just as we are.

What age range are you looking to adopt? This was the first question we were asked upon beginning our PRIDE classes. We had already discussed this as a family including our Six- year-old as we discussed in our previous paragraph. We decided we were most comfortable with a child closer to our bio child’s age range However, we decided on a two to ten year old range. We were comfortable with a younger child even though we prefer a child between the ages of four and seven. With us looking into siblings, We realize our age span would need to vary a little. We would like to find sibling groups with a child in our four to seven range but also the sibling of this child in the two to ten year range.

The next question which struck us was gender. What type of genders were we comfortable with? Our bio child is a female child aged six. Would we be comfortable with a male child? At what age could we be concerned about sexual concerns with our bio and our adopted? We decided that with the children having boys room and girls room there should not be a great concern. However, We would prefer the boys to be under the age of eight in hopes to avoid any sexual issues. We will avoid sexually abused boys as it just seems safer for our bio child. We will be searching for a girl child between our preferred age range as that is one of the requests of our bio child. This process is important to make sure you keep your bio child's needs in your mind. What will my bio be comfortable with? Then when you match with a child you will need to re-evaluate, what will my bio and match child be comfortable with?

Discrimination...How would this affect our adoptive child and our bio child? When discussing race during class and during training we learned that some foster parents and adoptive parents tell their case worker that they want only white children or only african-american children. How would this impact your family? I have brown hair (which I dye blonde), slightly tanned skin, and I have brown eyes. My fiance has a light brown colored hair, pale skin, and blue eyes. My bio daughter has natural blonde hair, tan skin, and blue eyes. I began wondering how our appearance profile would affect a child if we adopted a child with different appearances. If our adopted child has a different skin color then us, different hair colors or different eye color. I spoke with people of color who I work with and asked them if they feel it would negatively affect the child. Some of them said they would be picked on in middle/high school years. Some of their opinions said it would make no difference because these children want loving families and do not care what color their parents are. We have decided we would be acceptable to mixed children so they do not feel like they are not our children. We want them to have the option to claim they are our bio children if that is what they feel is best in the future. We also do not want them being made fun of because our bio is not dark skinned and they are. It may not affect them but we would like to make educated guesses at how it could potentially affect our adopted children.

The children in foster care are not always happy go lucky children as you may already know. All of these children have experienced trauma/loss in their process of ending up in foster care. How would you imagine it would feel if you were removed from your mom and dads home and brought to a strangers house? How would you feel if you just found out your parents passed away in a terrible accident and a stranger is at your home telling you to collect anything you want to keep that you will now be placed into foster care? How does this make you feel? Now imagine being a young child and experiencing all of these things. Some of these children are physically abused by their parents/guardians. Some of these children are sexually abused by their parents/guardians. Some of these children are mentally/emotionally abused by their parents/guardians. The amount of trauma that a child has experienced will vary on case by case but every child that enters the system has experienced trauma. They have struggles with understanding how their life was flipped upside down. You need to remember to enforce a schedule. You need to be understanding. You need to remember to be empathetic to the child. You need to be patient and loving.

We were informed that when adopting or fostering you MUST complete a class called PRIDE class. This class is a 6-10 week course which is taught by case workers who are trained by the Department of Children & Families. This class is an excellent course which I believe in my opinion every parent should be obligated to complete. The course covers what they removal process into foster care feels like for a child. This course informs you of the different scenarios children go through. This class lets you understand that some of these children have lived in several foster homes or have been bounced from their parents home to a foster home and then back to their parents home then back to their foster home.We learn how to empathize with children. We learn how to understand what they may need. We learn how to reprimand a child suffering from trauma. Should you ever spank your child? The answer overall is no. You should never spank or physically or mentally abuse your children. You can reprimand them by timeouts or grounding, taking toys away, or by offering rewards for good behavior.