Monday, July 29, 2013

Adoption Update: Two Licenses, Hundreds of Possibilites -7.29.2013

We have just completed the final requirement for our dual foster license.  We are licensed for ages 0-4 years old and are still open to sibling groups.  We don’t know what God’s plan is for our family yet, but we are now ready for adoption or fostering – or both!  We are trying to prepare our hearts  for all the possibilities.  A quick overview of the two licenses:
Adopt Only (an adoption placement):

The children will come in to our care as “legal orphans” after months (or years) of protective placement. Their parent’s rights will have been terminated and they’ll be labeled ‘wards of the state of Texas’.

We will sign confidentiality agreements to keep case information private.  We will not be able to share much about the children’s case history or other personal information.

We will not know the age, ethnicity, gender, or number of siblings expected to join us until we are selected and matched with the children by an advocate committee. 
The children will come in to our home with a clear plan of adoption and we will joyfully commit to being their “forever family” before placement begins.

The children will live with us for 6 months (a supervised probationary period) before we can apply for finalization (official adoption).

Once the adoption is finalized, the children are legally “ours” just as our bio-daughter is legally ours. Case closed.


Foster-to-Adopt (a legal risk placement):

One or both of the children’s birth parents still have legal rights; however the court has determined that it is “likely” they will eventually lose those rights due to past circumstances or continued negligence. 

The children will have been in protective custody for a few months before becoming “legal risk” and we will be selected and matched with them just like in an adoption placement.

The children will enter our home with a hope of eventually being adopted, but mostly for the security of a consistent home environment while they wait out the legal process.

We will not know the age, ethnicity, gender, or number of siblings expected to join us until a few weeks before we meet them .  We will not know if they are going to leave our care until very shortly before it is time for transition.

During their time with us their case information will be confidential. We will not be able to distribute photographs of the children’s faces or give out other private information.

The children will probably call us Mommy and Daddy because our bio-daughter does.  According to the caseworker, this is good, healthy, and not a life-long promise of care as we (adults) see it.

If the children’s parents are able to work through rehabilitation programs or if other family members complete a home study and are willing to take the children in to their care, we will be responsible for helping the children transition out of our home and in to their new environment. 

If the children become ‘available’ (their parent’s rights are terminated or relinquished and no other family member steps up) we will proceed with adoption.  There is no expected timeline in place.  The courts have been known to make decisions in weeks, months, and years with equal frequency. 
Not knowing if the children will be with us for 6 months or 16 years sounds emotionally excruciating, but God has given us peace, and more importantly the clarity to understand that no relationship in our life is guaranteed for any length of time. Our life is but a vapor and all we have is each day, as the Lord allows.  And as He brings the day, He brings the grace to face it.  So, bring on the possibilities!
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." - Philippians 4:13


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