Has Anyone Had Experiences with the Foster to Adoption Program?

Updated on May 31, 2009
K.L. asks from Walnut Creek, CA
14 answers

Hi Ladies,
My husband and I are thinking about doing the foster to adoption program and are wondering if any of you have had experiences with the program - good, challenging, etc. We just would like a realistic picture of what we may encounter. We have two children 4 and 2 and would like a 3rd, but he or she does not need to be our biological child to complete our family. Plus we like that we will be giving a child opportunities he or she may otherwise not have growing up. Thank you ahead of time for your responses.

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A.L.

answers from San Francisco on

K.,

I just adopted my child through the foster care system. It had its challenges, but they were all worth it in the end. I would recommend it as an option for adoption. If you would like to talk in more detail please feel free to email me directly at [email protected]____.com and I will share my phone number or we can continue via email.

Take care,

A.

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A.R.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi K.

To give you a perspective as a child who WAS in the fostercare system and can therefore relate to how the kids might feel and act.. Sure, some kids come with bigger issues, like say abandonment and rejection, but there are many such as myself (who entered the system when I was 10) who are like your every day typical kid, I played, loved and sure, constantly wished to live back with my biological family (who wouldn't) but I also knew deep down in my heart it was my parent's problems that got me where I was, meaning I wasn't the problem..They were....

What I especially didn't like about being placed in fostercare, there was all this talk about how "these children" need therapy, or "these children" have major issues, again, some do, but there are also kids who live with their biological parents and who are more messed up than foster kids. My point is... I hope that IF you do take in foster kids, just remember WE, they are kids like other kids.. they might have gone thru a lot but it doesn't mean they don't want to be loved like anyone else and too, if you do adopt, I hope you would treat your foster kid equally as you would your biological children.
One of the big things foster kids feel is a delineation between the biological kids and being a foster kid... I know "some" foster parents try to close that gap, but not all do.. so my best advice to you is.. follow your heart, if you do find a child you care to adopt, embrace them completely and just know that with time and love, a foster kid can get back on the right track. I wish you and your family the best.. sounds to me like you have a big heart and honestly, you don't always find that in the foster care system, some parents are truly in it for the money, but you sound like you honestly would do it out of love..
for that reason, I say go for it because some kid out there is going to probably be one lucky soul..
best to you!!

3 moms found this helpful
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M.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi K....it is wonderful to find another soul. I am a fost to adopt mom. I have a 9 y/o bio child, and a 3 y/o and a 2 mo old foster. I would love to talk to you about my experience but there is so much I wouldn't even know where to start. Feel free to ask me specific questions or give me a call 1916 ###-###-####
M.

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L.C.

answers from Sacramento on

We've adopted six kids out of foster care and were foster parents for 11 years.

Your experiences will depend on what you can handle. You tell the social workers what things you can and cannot handle in a child. Even if you are getting an infant this is important. You must be honest with yourself and what you are really willing to commit to. If you get an infant, there is a good chance that child was prenatally exposed. If the bio-mother was using drugs, you can bet she used alcohol which does more damage than the drugs (do some research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). If you get an older child (3 or older) then you have all the trauma to deal with including possibly attachment issues (research Reactive Attachment Disorder).

One thing to remember is not to disrupt the birth order. The other thing is we did not take in kids over 3 y.o. We allowed older kids to be placed with us once (not for adoption) and it was a total disaster. It reaffirmed why we made the no over 3 rule. The other reason is before 3 y.o., kids brains are still forming. There is a better chance of retraining them from the trauma they experienced before coming home.

L.

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C.W.

answers from San Francisco on

HI K.,

My husband and I just finished adopting our 3rd child through the fost/adopt program. Our first 2 girls we got together and they were 3 1/2 and 7months at the time. It took about 1year to adopt Hannah the 7month old and Alexis 1 1/2years. Our son has the same biological mom as the girls and share the same dad as Hannah. We got him when he was 2 days old and it took just over 2years to finalize his adoption. The county can be frustrating at times believe me my husband and I have been through it all. In the end to have all 3 siblings together and have our family we wouldn't change it. We love them all. It hard to hear what these kids have gone through in there short lives and who lucky we are to be there parents now.We were happy to get the girls and thought we were done until we found out the mom was pregant again. Then we told the social worker we wanted the child if he/she ever came into the system. When we started this we had said we would take either boy/girl or siblings to increase our chances. I'd be more then happy to talk with you if you would like. I could give you the good and bad side of the system. I have a co-worker in my office who also adopted 2 boys after having 3 biological kids and is back in the foster system again.

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J.H.

answers from San Francisco on

My close friend just adopted her daughter after fostering her for about a year, a little less maybe. I don't have personal experience, but she didn't have any problems. She was pleased with the staff and the Dr's she worked with. She also got assistance while fostering and was placed in a program with WIC (healthy food, milk, ect) The adoption was really very sweet, the court house gave little teddy bears out to all the kids,balloons and decorations, had a lunch provided and also provided family photos for the newly legal families. It really was a special party.
The baby was high needs at first because her parents were/are drug users and she was born an addict. She did really well and didn't have any issues once she "got clean" so to speak. :)
I think that it is a wonderful thing to adopt. It will teach your kids through your example to be excepting, good people. Good luck to you and your family!

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K.J.

answers from San Francisco on

I am a licensed foster parent as well as the mother of 3 beautiful children through the gift of adoption. I couldn't recommend it more. I got my children very early in their lives (six months; six weeks; nine months) and while all were concurrent adoptions (meaning there was a chance of re-unification with birth parent)it was with the understanding that it's what's best for the child involved. With you already having biological children, there may be some concern with attachments if the child is re-unified with their birth family or another relative; but how I handled it with my older children when my son came to live with us, is that his mother was sick and had some problems, and we would keep him until things got better; he was 9 months old, and my oldest daughter was 3. . .but after 18 months he became part of our family and as it is, ended up being adopted by me as well. I should note, I am a single mom as well as a full time employed, so the transistion would be easier on a SAHM. But the rewards are so great. Not to knock anyone else's decisions, everyday there are tens of thousands of children in the US in foster care and needing homes, I don't understand why someone would pay thousands of dollars for foreign adoption. Also with the county/state, there are services that the children are entitled to such as counseling, medical etc. I hope this information helps.

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D.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Greetings K.: I have been a foster parent for many years. We at one time did newborns that were being placed for adoption yet had not cleared the system. I think it is a rewarding and loving idea. Our 4th child (age wise the oldest) was a foster child we raised. I want to warn you there are pitfalls because many of these children have been wounded deeply and fear of rejection is always there. Even the youngest of children may have been harmed by someone and left a lasting wound. That does not mean that they can't heal it just means that you have to be open to a 6 yar old doing things like a 4 year old or a teen being "different" . Sometimes because of what they have seen they will pack everything they have and carry it with them at all times for security or sneak food because they fear not eatting or being passive or aggressive. I have a friend that is in her 3rd foster adopt process. One has been horible painful and finally didn't work out but the others have been heaven sent. If you want a special needs child believe me the foster care program will be grateful to hear from you.
Every child deserves a loving set of arms to hold them and cherish them. Every child is special and if they only get to hear it once let it be from you! Because of the foster children in our lives we have 12 extra grandchildren to love and adore and rule my life! If you want any information about my friend and what she has done please contact me. I wish you well, Nana G

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N.S.

answers from San Francisco on

One friend and one family member adopted from the foster program. My friend knew that his son had a lot of issues but he was willing to take on the challenge. They are doing very well and it has been good for all of them.
My family members adopted two girls. One had no special needs but the other did have behavioral challenges. They are both loving adults now.
You have to be prepared for the possibility of extra challenges with a foster child. Many times you don't have the full history. One or both of the parents may delete things about themselves or outright lie.
The idea is wonderful. There are many classes you can take and much support from other adoptive families. Make sure you consider the impact on your entire family.

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K.M.

answers from San Francisco on

My parents are both social workers in CPS. I have heard about ll this my whole life. You would be doing a great thing. My Mom is of the school of thought that Fostering is the way to go for two reasons; 1 You get to help and give opprtunities to many children. You get to give Love to many children that may never get that again (sad to say). Also, from her perspective, If they are in a foster situation the State still has say in their lives. They get kept track of and monitored. My Mom is very controlling. My Dad always liked the Adopting because, even though it can take a child years to adjust to a new family, they always know what to expect forever after that. Stability, Love, all the things they couldn't get before.

Growing up I had two foster brothers. My Mom and Dad got devorced when I was 12 and the boys weren't adopted so they went back into the system. We saw them once or twice after that but I havn't seen them for 15 years. They had emotional and psychological issues, but they were my brothers. I miss them.

Our family had very close friends that did this in a different way; They always had as many as 12 kids in their family but each year they were different kids. They keep in touch with many of them still and wouldn't change a thing. They adopted about 6 of them.

I dont know where you are, but my Mom now teaches foster parenting at Napa Valley college and would be happy to turn you on to resources with pros and cons and info in general...

Thank you for doing this.

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S.P.

answers from Sacramento on

i may be the only mama that responds this way. i have had experiences with foster children getting adopted and they have all been on the end of a sad, angry family abandoning the child again. foster children come from difficult backgrounds. if you do not have the opportunity to bond with the child before age 6 months and don't know for certain that the child was well cared for the first 3 (at least) years, meaning hugged, fed, loved, held, sang to, etc, then please foster that older child but don't jump into adoption. when these cute and needy children become teenagers they have so many issues that come out. they are not capable often times of loving the foster parents back and/or in the same way the other children do. the become self destrutive, rebellious and can make themselves quite ugly to the family and become involved in criminal activity. i do not mean to say this is ALL foster children or all foster to adopt children. i am only coming from the point of view of someone who works with abused and neglected youth and has for 16 years. get an infant if you really want to adopt or really know the story of the foster children. ask a therapist who deals with difficult adolescents if they think this is a good and safe choice for you and the children. RAD is devestating to parents who have put in so much love and time to young people who are not capable of loving back and those RAD children become even more damaged with rejection from foster families and adoptive parents who try to return them to the system.
bless you for wanting to open your family and home. be wise and wary and good for you for trying to be prepared.

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G.B.

answers from Boise on

I don't have foster kids but I have freinds and a cousin who do.

Here is my take on it. I might be wrong, (doublecheck me) but this is how I understand it:

You can either do a private adoption where you hire a lawyer, pay thousands of dollars and the state has no jurisdiction to come into your home, check on the child, or anything like that. You get no money from the state. You get to raise the child how you want to raise them with no interference.

Or you can adopt through the state, and be beholdent to them. They will be coming in your home for "visits", asking questions, giving you perameters on how you can discipline,(at least that's what a freind who has an unruly boy told me- they won't allow you to use any punishment like spanking). Sometimes the state 'overlooks' or fails to inform caregivers about handicaps/medical issues. I think they supply money to foster care families, and will pay for special-education classes and things like that.

Your lack of privacy with the government should be a big concern. I have thought about adopting myself, but because of the power that the state has over your family privacy, I opted not to.

Further, the way you are allowed to discipline a foster child will rule how you will be discipling your biological child. (you wouldn't want to treat the children differently).

Human beings are creatures of habit and old habits die hard. If you adopt a school age child, be ready to invest ****ALOT**** of time, energy and resources into this child for re-training and other issues, because they are going to need it. On the other hand, if you adopt an infant, and lets say, the mother was an druggie/alcoholic, you probably won't be able to see possible medical issues that would be arising later.

Many of these kids have issues with attachment (especially if they have been in a few foster homes already)which can raise the stress level in your home substantially. Stress in the home puts added burden on every relationship in the house, even the relationship with your husband. Before you adopt you need to ensure you have a strong marriage. I can imagine your biological child might feel slighted to have another child move in and take away his mommy time. You will also be putting added work on those support systems around you. For example, if the child ends up having medical issues and you need to be spending a lot of hours in hospitals, do you have a "willing" support person, like a mother, who can take your biological kids during these emergency moments or overnight? When you take on these kids, your entire family takes on these kids. You all need to be persons of endurance and patience for the task of foster parenting. My hat goes off to those who can do it!

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R.M.

answers from Sacramento on

I think it's great that you are cnsidering adoption. I am not trying to discourage you, but hope you REALLY think about ALL the decision entails. I have worked in foster care agencies, group homes, and social services for about 10 years and have seen the devastation that some adoptions can end in. Ask every question you can think of to get an accurate history on the child and really think about whether or not you can handle ANY possible behaviors. Most importantly, how will you handle it if the adopted child possibly puts your biological children in danger? This is a REAL risk. Many children in the system have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or in the very least come from a chaotic environment. I have seen so many "parents" relinquish the rights to their adopted child because they couldn't handle their special needs or didn't want to risk the adopted child hurting their bio children. While I'm sure it is a hard decision, how do you think the child feels being rejected yet again? It sure doesn't help the problems they already had. I'm sure your heart feels open to helping a child in need, but please think about all possibilities and how you would handle them. There are some AMAZING foster parents that I have met who have been through a lot with their foster/adoptive children, so it is possible. From what I have seen, what sets these wonderful foster/adoptive parents apart is the fact that they have a network of consistent support such as family and friends willing to step in to give respite care or help at difficult times as well as a very supportive foster care agency. Don't think you have to do it all on your own. I hope it works for you because there are many children in need, but don't feel guilty for not doing it either. There are many other ways to help children in need.

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K.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello,

I'm sorry that I don't have information on Foster-to-adopt with social services, but I do with a private agency, Bethany Christian Services, if you are interested in that route.

Just a thought to consider: with adoption comes a whole set of vocabulary to learn and one of those terms is "birth child" or the mouthful "child born unto me" instead of "biological child." The reason is that every child is biological versus artificial. I personally do not take a lot of offense to the comment, but there are some who do ("biological" is better than "natural"!). It also goes along the lines of other terms used, such as "birth mother/father."
Just an FYI for you.

I wish you the best! Adoption is a wonderful way to grow a family!

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