Monday, November 17, 2008

What scares me about adoption through the foster system:

As excited as we are to adopt, we are also terrified.

In the best interest of the child (which I agree with totally), when a parent is likely to have their parental rights terminated (due to previous children being taken away) our county places that child(ren) in a pre-adoptive home. Meaning, the child lives with parents who are interested in adopting the child and not just fostering. Then, when the rights are terminated, the child is legally adopted and stays with the family he or she has already been living with. It saves the child from having multiple placements during the 18 months or so that it takes to terminate the parental rights. It's good for the child and the adoptive parents get the child 18 months younger (at age 10 months, say, rather than 28 months)

This is different from a child who parents seem likely to get their act together - those children go to a standard foster home and the plan is for them to go back to their parents, assuming their parents do what they are supposed to do.

So, we are likely to take in a child(ren) who is not yet legally available for adoption. We'll care for that child(ren) for the up to 18 months it takes and then, wallah, we'll adopt and live happily ever after. Unless, the parents surprise everyone and get their act together. Then, the child(ren) goes back to them. And leaves us.

This is what terrifies us.

That we would love and care for child only to have him/her leave us. That happens in 10% of the cases. Seems like a small number but regular EggedOut readers will remember that we had a 20% chance of failure in our egg donor cycle and yep, we managed to fail.

We don't trust our luck. And we really don't want to be routing for the birth parents to fail.

This is our situation. Scary. But we will proceed. Because we are: brave? gluttons for punishment? deluded? hopeful?


nancy said...

Yeah, that scares the crap out of me too. I think it's the sole reason I wouldn't be able to do that kind of an adoption. I'm a very "worst case scenario" type of girl. Not that I ~expect~ it to happen, but I very definitely get ready for that outcome. I would be afraid I couldn't bond appropriately. I am SURE I would, but if I fell into that 10-20%? I dont' know if my heart would survive.

But I also think for the 80-90% of cases, it's definitely a wonderful thing! It's just so hard for me to look at even good odds. But it's plain and simple that is where most people will end up.

And I am SO sorry to "poke fun" right now, as I am not someone who points out typos, but you did something so freaking funny which fell into a personal joke with me and my friend... The word "voila". I used to write it wrong and use "viola!" and my friend used to bust on me and now I use it wrong on purpose, but sound it out wrong, such as Vee-O-La! and then I saw you wrote it out "wallah" and I freaking cracked up. :) :) :)

Egged Out said...

Hi Nancy,

when I was trying to type "voila" I realized I had no idea how to spell it. I was too lazy to look it up and now I see I was way off. That's funny to me, too. Thanks for pointing it out.

Karen said...

Can I give you my personal take on this? I have a slightly different but somewhat related experience to this sort of an issue.

Four years ago, my husband and I received a call from my rabbi's wife. She wanted to know if we would be interested in/willing to take in a one year old boy for a year. There was a possibility that at the end of that year we'd be able to adopt him, but the other possibility was that he would go back to his mother at the end of that year. The idea was that his mother needed to get her life together, and this year would enable her to see if she could do that. If she couldn't, she would be willingly to voluntarily terminate her parental rights and allow us to adopt him.

We thought long and hard about whether we could possibly take care of a child for a whole year and fall completely in love with him, bond with him, make him a part of our family, and then hand him back to someone who we knew we would likely never feel was going to be as good for him as we were. What we ultimately decided was that if we could do nothing more for this child than provide him with a stable loving home for a year, then that was the MOST important thing we would probably ever do in our lives. This child needed that, and we could give it to him.

A year passed and his mother wasn't ready to take him back, but neither was she willing to let us adopt him. We don't have grounds to have her parental rights terminated against her will. Four years later, we still have that beautiful boy in our home and will likely have him forever (note that he is not the product of the foster system - he was a private placement, so in this sense, it is an entirely different situation, with entirely different legal issues and obstacles, so don't worry about THAT kind of limbo happening to you!).

I will never regret taking that risk. Never.

Egged Out said...

Hi Karen,
I appreciate your comment. Our hope of hopes is that our situation works out for us to have forever children. We have told ourselves that the time the child(ren) spent with us would be helpful for the kid(s) even if they go back to the bioparents.

That's our logical response but it would be heartbreaking. And we would be back to square one - childless adults with brokenhearts (be there before).

That being said, we are going to take the plunge and have faith that it will work out.

Christy said...

Yeah, adoption certainly isn't for the faint of heart. While it is certainly scary, and uncertain for a while, you do it because the payoffs simply are so great that they can't be calculated.

Hang on. You are certainly in for a ride.