Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Considering the Options

DH and I are talking about adopting.

I've always wanted to either foster or adopt, or both, both because I think it's a great thing to do and because, that could have been me. Once my father left, I had no family other than my mother, and if that guidance counselor had believed me when I told her what was going on at my house when I was in third grade, social services would have been at our door in no time. In retrospect, I'm glad I was able to stay, because at least I was able to go to college and move on with my life, whereas had I been put in The System, who knows where I'd be now.

Anyway, I browse the foster care photo listings occasionally, just thinking about it, and last week I came across a girl who looks a lot like Josie, just a few years older. I couldn't stop thinking about her. I thought about her for three days before I got up the nerve to say anything to DH, and even then, I thought, really, that he was going to tell me I'm nuts, bring me to my senses, and on we'd go.

He didn't.

We were sitting at Uno's, and I blurted out, 'what would you think about adopting?', and without hesitation, he said that it sounded like a great idea to him. I could have cried. Josie was with us (Patrick was in the bathroom), and as I told DH what I'd seen, she started listening; after a minute she started almost bouncing in her seat, asked if we were thinking about adopting her a sister, and could they share a room! By this time, Patrick had come back (he tends to dawdle in bathrooms, so he'd been gone for awhile), and Josie told him what we'd been talking about. He looked at us, smiled, and said that that sounded nice. I was so proud of them both; neither one had any qualms whatsoever. Since then, I've talked to them individually about what exactly that would mean, with the sharing of their parents, and the conversion of the finished attic from a playroom into a bedroom, and they're both still really into it.

I talked to social services yesterday, and they're sending us out a packet of into on what we have to do. MD requires anyone adopting a child that's not an infant to take a 9 week class, one evening a week, on whatever it is they want us to know. I can't imagine what on earth will take 27hrs to teach us, but I suppose it's for people who don't already have children as well, so maybe that's part of it, as well as making sure people are really committed and not just looking for a check (foster parents get a monthly check from the govt). I'm sure it will be full of good info, though. Once we're done with that, we will be cleared to foster and adopt any available child we choose.

Since the next class doesn't start until fall, that will give us time to convert the playroom into a bedroom, and put the new carpet squares down in the basement, which will let us move everything from the attic that needs to be moved somewhere else down there. There really isn't a lot up there other than toys, so it won't be too hard. It'll make a really cool room, actually; I had been thinking about letting Josie use it when she was older, but this will work out fine, too. Also, my evening grad classes will be over in August, so there will be no conflict there.

It looks like the earliest we'll be able to think about having someone new in the house is after Thanksgiving, and maybe not until after the new year, since while it would probably be nice to allow a child to have a Christmas with us, depending on the scheduling it probably wouldn't be the most stable environment to bring a new child into, with how crazy everyone's schedules get around Xmas. We'll have to see. For now, all we know for sure is that in the next year, we're probably going to be adding a new older girl to the family.


AndreAnna said...

While I know FO SHO that I don't want anymore babies. Like EVER. (Dude, they CRY and NO SLEEP and BOTTLES and NAPS and OMG NO MORE BABIES) Mike and I have always planned on adopting. Perhaps later in life, when we're more stable, and have a bigger house.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Love is not genetic.

Lindsay said...

Way to go! What a great big open heart your family has!

Anonymous said...

How exciting! I am a huge adoption advocate, so I am always happy to hear of someone who wants to adopt, esp. from foster care! That is really cool.

This in between waiting time is a good time to start reading some books and getting ready- I recommend "parenting the hurt child". It is a great resource.

My only word of caution is to be very careful about adopting out of birth order. Virtually all children in foster care have experienced some kind of abuse (hence the need for foster care). Even if the caseworkers tell you there isn't, they often don't know. An abused child can very easily repeat those behaviors on younger children, and I know you would never do anything to put your two in any kind of danger. There are other problems that can come of adoption kids older than the ones you already have as well. Not that you can't do it, just make sure to do your research and know what you are doing!

You will learn more about it in the classes- there is a ton of information they give you there- it is a lot more involved than just normal parenting things.

Good luck, and I can't wait to read about your journey!

Sarah said...

Wow, what a huge and exciting step! We have friends who have unfortunately been unable to conceive (five years now) that have been on the list for foster/adopt for about a year. They have lots of criteria though, so that's why the long wait. I'm pretty sure they want age three or under, so that's a little tougher. They have done some respite care though (taking already fostered kids for a weekend to give the main foster parents a break) and I know they've found it rewarding. Really tough though! Like, ten year old kids peeing all over the bathroom on purpose tough. And stealing things and screaming. But I know that there are also some kids they've really clicked with, so it certainly CAN work out. I think as long as you go into it with open eyes and no overly romanticized ideas of how it's going to be, it could be a wonderful, enriching thing for everyone.
Which is basically true of ALL parenting, biological or otherwise!

d e v a n said...

how exciting!

Marie Green said...

Wow! That's really awesome! I can't wait to be along for the ride... and good for you for looking for an older child. If we were to adopt, I'd want a baby (as does most everyone else), so I give credit to people who are open to big kids.

Also, our good friends currently have a foster child (3 yr old boy) and it's been such a learning experience watching their process.

I think you can get "foster status" on a temporary basis and do the classes later, if you really feel called to that particular little girl.

Stimey said...

Wow, that's super cool! I can't wait to hear more about this journey!

Not Your Aunt B said...

SQUEE! SO EXCITED FOR YOU! That is so awesome. My husband is adopted, so we've always wanted to adopt, but cost is the biggest issue. We considered fostering- there are a few foster families on our block we spoke to and they all recommended we wait until we had older children, as some of the behavioral and attachment issues are harder on young kids that can't comprehend what is happening. I look forward to reading all about it! I will live vicariously through you and then maybe in a few years we can foster too!

creative kerfuffle said...

you giving heart never ceases to amaze me. really. and that your kids are so open to it, that's wonderful. i can't wait to read about your journey.

Kristin.... said...

I swear I commented yesterday. Wow. Apparently not.

I can't wait to hear more about this! My brother-in-law adopted 3 older children-all siblings-several years ago. It's been a long hard road for them, but it's been so worth it as well (they had no other children).

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Oh I haven't checked in over here in a while, what a lovely post to come back to! What an exciting idea!! I can't wait to read more about your process and journey!