6 Questions I Need Answered Before We Apply to Be Foster Parents

Jonathan and I have a joke that he’s an easy sell and I’m a hard sell. Jonathan is pretty easy to talk into most things by people who are enthusiastic about what they’re “selling,” (literally or metaphorically) while I’m much more skeptical, even if something was initially my idea. I’m kind of proud of the fact that I don’t allow anyone to put one over on me. I do thorough research and prepare lists of questions ahead of time. Like the one below.

Tomorrow I’m calling an agency here in town to get some questions answered before Jonathan and I think any further about pursuing foster care/adoption, in general or through this agency in particular. In North Carolina it is possible to become foster parents through the Department of Social Services (the government) or through private agencies to which the government contracts. I’ve learned that the agency you choose is very, very important, and can make a huge difference in what your experience is like and even if an adoption happens or not.

The agency we are considering is more than 100 years old, and finalizes more adoptions than any private agency in the state. I heard a member of their upper management speak at a community event where my boss was also speaking, and I was impressed with his passion for children in foster care.

But still. I need more before we take the leap. I need to know if this is the right thing for our family right now. I want to know the answers to the following questions:

  1. How long does the process typically take from the time you apply to be a foster parent to being placed with a child?
  2. What is your position on transracial placements? Transracial adoption? I notice that you don’t have any transracial families featured on your website.
  3. Why should we agree to be foster parents through your agency rather than just through DSS? What sets you apart?
  4. What is the average length of time that your foster children are in care before they achieve permanency? (This means either being reunited with birth families or being adopted.)
  5. What is your position on adoptee rights? For example, will you allow us to make a copy of our child’s original birth certificate? Get information about medical history?
  6. Do you get paid a fee to finalize adoptions? How much? If so, where does that money go and what does it support?

We’ll see. I’ll update when I get some answers.

Dreams, Hopes, Thoughts and Plans

The following post may be ill-advised. I’m going to write about a dream that Jonathan and I are developing for our family. We haven’t completely decided on it yet, and it has been more or less a secret. Not for much longer.

Writing about something is one of the main ways that I process it. This topic being one of the main things I have been thinking about recently, the time has come to write about it. Here goes.

Jonathan and I are thinking and praying about adopting a child from foster care.

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This idea developed in the way that a lot of plans do in our marriage. Jonathan mentioned something, I agreed, and I got to work on researching the details and the best way to carry it out. I’m obviously the planner in our family. (I kid you not, this seems to almost always be how we make major decisions. This is how we came to rent a house, get a dog, buy a house, get another dog, have a baby, and buy another house).

We have talked about adopting since before we were married, and I’ve read about adoption issues in the past, but we hadn’t discussed it recently. About a month ago, Jonathan mentioned in passing that we could adopt for Baby #2 rather than get pregnant again. “Why have another biological child when we could give a home to a child that’s already here and needs one?”

And so I began to research again. I decided pretty quickly that international adoption and domestic infant adoption weren’t for us, partly because of the expense, and partly because of the potential for ethical issues in these types of adoptions. (Especially international adoption).

Foster care adoption is not without its own ethical issues, but to me it feels the closest to finding parents for a child who needs one rather than finding a child for parents who need one.  I’ve been reading a lot, and I’ve learned a lot, especially from blogs written by and for adult adoptees. (Like these here, here and here). I’ve read some things that almost scared me off. That’s right: I’ve learned that adoption isn’t cut-and-dry, all positive happily-ever-afters. (I plan to write a post about all the things I’ve learned about adoption, and problems with the way many Christians discuss adoption, another time.)

But still I return to the idea: more than anyone else in modern society, infants and children in foster care need homes. They are truly the “least of these.” The statistics for those who age out without a family are horrifying. 

Do you ever feel like God puts an idea in your head, and then keeps pointing you to it to make sure you don’t forget about it? Rarely have I felt as strongly like God was telling me to do something as I have with this. Ever since we first began talking about it, something related to foster care or adoption has come to my attention at least once a day, without me seeking it out. One of many examples: I pulled up one of my favorite blogs earlier this evening and this post was staring at me from the front page. Alright, I get it, God.

So, yeah. This is what has been going on with us. I’m a little scared of it. I’m not sure exactly where it will take us, or when. We may decide now isn’t the time. We may decide to wait until our biological kids are grown and then to foster/adopt older children or teenagers. Who knows? What I do know is that God’s heart is here. And it’s where mine is, too.