B.L. asks from Hope, AR on April 15, 2008
Completing Our Family Through Adoption
Hi Moms! This is the first time that I have requested advice, and since I never do anything half-way, it's a doosey! :)
I have a ten and a half year old son that my first husband and I adopted. My second husband and I have been married for five years and we both want to adopt a baby girl. He absolutely loves and adores my son (and vice versa) and he is so good with children. In September of last year, my husband contacted our state DHS office to speak with them about adoption. (Although we have the money to support a child, we do not have the money that private agency adoptions cost. My son's was nearly $15,000 ten years ago!). After my husband contacted the DHS office, we had a home visit, then we began a parenting class in October which lasted six weeks. We then became CPR and First Aid certified (all are requirements for adoption through the state). In the meantime, I began getting really excited about this! Then we hit a brick wall. Along with the classes comes a huge packet of paperwork. It asks very personal questions about your past and present and your views of raising children. I had everything for mine finished in December although it wasn't easy. My husband has not finished his. He had a difficult childhood and I don't know if he just doesn't want to relive it on paper or maybe he doesn't know how to bring out the positive aspects of his childhood. He even went to see our state adoption specialist one day to have her help him. I know he wants a child because he tells me, and he is the one that set everything up with the state. I just don't know how to get him to finish this last thing. It is beginning to affect our relationship because I am becoming very resentful. I see him sitting on the couch and think that he could be using that time to work on some of his questions.
I will be 36 in three months and my son will be eleven. I don't want to wait much longer to bring a baby into our family. I've told him my feelings, I've even offered to help him with his paperwork but nothing gets done. All my stuff is finished, we're just waiting on him.
So What Happened?™
MY HUSBAND TURNED IN OUR PAPERWORK!!!!! We will be having our homestudy in the next two to six weeks!! Thank you for all of your kindness. Just knowing that I wasn't alone took away a lot of my stress. THANK YOU SO MUCH AND WISH US LUCK!!!
K.B. answers from Birmingham on April 16, 2008
Is he having second thoughts?He had to answer questions for the first adoption, I know it wasn't through the state, but there were personal questions then, I know, we had to answer them!Me, I'd fill them out myself.K.
S.A. answers from Dothan on April 15, 2008
Been there...done that. I was in the same boat with you until last summer. Finally I had to sit down and complete the majority of DH's answers for him. I filled in what "I" personally knew to be true. As far as his input, you just have to catch him off guard and say, "you know, this is VERY important to me, here is the paperwork, we are going to devote today to completing it. I am helping you." Ask him the questions and you write the answers down. MOST social workers do not want the "in living color" version. Ours just wanted brief explainations of things and there is no WRONG answer. The main concern when they read over those things regards a persons feelings about the issues NOW...how the perspective parent dealt with the bad situation...what POSITIVE insight they brought away from the situation. I KNOW it is frustrating to look at that packet. You wonder WHEN you will find the time or HOW you can possibly answer those "sensitive issue" questions. I do believe that it is far more difficult for men than women. (as was my experience with my DH) but once I really EXPLAINED just HOW important it was to me that he work with me, he complied. We were approved in 9/07 and since then, we have had three infant placements. Unfortunatley for us, they are all reunification plans---they went back to the parents. But, we know that is what the whole foster system is about...reunifying children with their families when at all possible. We are searching the state sites now in hopes of a good match (young sibling groups)and have gotten some good responses. I wish you good luck. Join the 2adopt group at Yahoo for support!
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B.L. answers from Oklahoma City on April 16, 2008
Before being a SAH mom, I worked in the DHS adoption unit.
First of all, I hope no one has promised you a baby to adopt. It is rare for DHS to have babies available for adoption. Even if infants are placed in DHS custody, by the time the case goes through court and the parents are given a chance to correct the conditions (ie get off drugs and stay clean or whatever lead to the pick up) the child will be at least a year old before he/she is legally available for adoption. Often relatives and foster parents choose to adopt young children. I don't want to discourage you, I just hope your social worker has been very honest with you.
Second, as to your husband's paperwork. . . I'm sure he is thinking that if he is honest about his past you will be denied for adoption. That is not the case. There are no perfect families and everyone has thier issues. What they will look at is how have you responded to your issues.
I don't want to put words in his mouth, but something along the lines of "My parents were often angry, inconsistent, not involved (whatever the case may be, admit to the problem)" then he goes on to say, "This has helped me to see why it is important to be patient, involved, consistent (whatever the case may be)". You are turning a potential negative into a positive.
The other thing you have in your favor is that he is helping you to parent your son. So he can say things like "I try to parent like this. .. I always try to act like that . . . " He can give real examples. He is not saying what he hopes to do, but he has an actual history of being a good parent and putting these skills into practice.
If his parents were particularly horrible, he will want to touch on how his own child will be protected from them. For example, "Due to their previous behavior, my children will have a limited relationship with thier paternal grandparents. They will visit the children at our house, but will not have unsupervised visits with them." (or whatever the case may be)
My guess is that this paperwork is preliminary to another home visit. The social worker will use it as a starting point to ask more questions. So even if he gives basic answers, the social worker should be able to ask about the details. Social workers are very use to men having a hard time discussing personal issues.
As people have a hard time saying complimentary stuff about themselves one of my favorite questions was always, "Tell me what makes your husband a good father." If something similar isn't on your paperwork, find a way to work in it or add it somewhere. List the qualities that you admire in your husbands parenting and give some examples of how he interacts with your son.
Good luck to you! There are many wonderful children awaiting homes! If the adoption wait seems long, perhaps you would consider foster care while waiting?
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L.B. answers from Fayetteville on April 16, 2008
That must be very hard for you both. As much as he wants to adopt, he's still obviously feeling very upset about the things he'll have to write about.
And writing doesn't tend to come easily for men, to start with! Then of course there's the difficulty that most men face of discussing emotional things. All in all, a severely daunting task for someone in his situation.
So here's what I'd do:
I'd actually let him know ahead of time that *I'll* be taking an hour or two to work on it on a particular evening in the next day or two, and ask him to plan sit down with me then so he can answer my questions and help. At the appointed time, put on some coffee or make some tea, then pull out the paperwork and start filling in as much as you know about his past. Do the easiest parts first, and have him do the same. If he gets stuck or upset, tell him to skip it for the time being.
Be very encouraging ("See? There's one chunk done already. We're doing great.") Have him take one form while you work on the other. Start asking him questions to fill in the rest.
This can also turn into an opportunity to get to know him better - hearing stories that never came up before - and to show your support and that you care. It will also of course get the thing done :)
He will cherish you for it.
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A.E. answers from Tulsa on April 16, 2008
Hi B.! It looks like you have gotten some good respones already. I am a contractor that does the adoption paperwork for DHS (I go into homes and interview families and the compile a report). In my expierence, I have found that men can be very guarded and protective of disclosing personal info. I try to remember how I would feel if someone that I didn't know was in my home asking personal questions (or asking them on paper!).
Without knowing how your husband is in everyday life I would just be guessing that he is unsure of how sharing all that very personal stuff is helpful to DHS. I would reassure him that the reason all of these questions are asked is to get a glimpse into what a person has been through and how those expierences shape them as a person and parent. It is also to help determine if a child will be safe and be raised in a loving, stable home. I know I would freak out if questions were asked about me as a parent and about my childhood! Just because you had a painful past doesn't mean you are going to be looked down on, it actually can be a huge benefit to a child that has been through so much. Many times it is a benefit because it may make him more sympathic to a child that may have been through similar expieriences, etc.
My suggestion is just to reassure him and have him ask the adoption specialist if he is uncomfortable or unsure of a question! Best of luck to you and your family and I hope your husband can find some reassurance that he is not being judged as a person!
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K.S. answers from Jonesboro on April 16, 2008
I understand what you are going through. I am a mother of two biological boys 10 and 11. My husband and I wanted more children and since I can no longer have children we decided to adopt a baby girl. We contacted our state dfs office and started the long process of classes and paperwork. My husband took longer than I to finish his part of the paperwork. All of this took several months to complete. I was very anxious and excited. After doing everything that was required of our whole family (including our children and our parents and siblings)we were ready to adopt a child (children). That was almost 3 years ago. We are still waiting. I had very unrealistic expectations when it came to working with the state department of family services. We were informed that it is almost impossible to get an infant girl or even a little girl up to 7 years old. We have since given up on the idea of having a little girl. We came to the realization that God ment for us to be the best parents we could be to our two boys. I pray you have better luck than we did.
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J.J. answers from Jonesboro on April 16, 2008
perhaps you hubby is like mine. He knows what to say but does know how ot put it down on paper. OR doesn't write quite as well as he thinks he needs to. SO you can do what I did I filled it out for him cuz I knew his past after being married for over 10 years I knew him quite well. Fill it out on scratch paper go over it with him. IF he agrees write it up for him or type and let him sign. That should get the ball rolling! My hubby child hood wasn't a good experience either and that wasn't a big deal
M.K. answers from Pine Bluff on April 16, 2008
If you really think its about his childhood, maybe you could help him through this by letting him know that everything that has happened to him in the past, good or bad is what made him the loving, caring gentle father and husband that he is today. I'm betting he wants to adopt/ have a baby in his life so he can give a little one a better life then he had and at the same time he is probably worried about messing up. THis is a tough one and I hope for your familys sake you all can work through this. May your life be full of love and light, M.
N.M. answers from Texarkana on April 19, 2008
I would think the fact that your e-husband has custody of youe boy would be a factor in them tell you no but there is alway private adoption I am adopted my parent wanted another child but back then it was harder then now that was 65 years ago but there are a lot of ways to adopt you could even go for a child a little older there are harder to place cause everyone wants babies ask your pastor he might know agency you can contact good luck