A new Direction and a new step forward

Well days have gone by and weeks have flown away and we still do not have our completed home study as of yet. We are not sure what the hold up is or why it is taking so long but now there is something a little different on the offering plate.

In a nutshell we are planning on adopting Juans little nephew (Edgar) At first we will only have legal guardianship of Edgar but we are going to go through with the adoption process at the same time. The reason for guardianship is so that we can care for the child legally. We will be able to take the child to the Dr and any other place that might question our status.

At this point  we are a little hesitant on the whole idea as it seems to good to be true. But  we are really getting excited and really want to help this child out. There are other twist and legal issues that i rather not discuss at this time but i am sure that everything will workout especially if it was meant to be.

As our family and friends are worried about our hearts getting broken and we understand the risks that we are taking and if we are not able to adopt little Edgar but are able to change his life somehow i think that it will be worth it.

Attached is a photo of we hope is our soon to be son.

Edgar 

Nov 2, 2008

 Edgar

Adoptive Licensed Social Worker

Following the Pride classes a trigger is initiated to have your file transferred to the adoption side of the house. Remember that the PRIDE classes are primarily a requirement for Foster Parents but is required for both Foster and Adoption. Once the PRIDE classes are completed within a month a Adoptive Licensed Social Worker will contact you and set up a “Intake Meeting” with you and your partner. 

The Intake meeting will include signing paperwork and taking paperwork home to complete and return to the worker. At this time the Social worker will explain how the rest of the process will take place and what to expect. the worker will also inform you of any other requirements that  you will need to complete before having a completed home study on file.

One thing that we had to do and we were very proactive on this was that we were required to complete 3 additional classes. There are several classes to choose from however there are some that your worker might encourage.

Another requirement is showing proof of employment and stability as a family. The county claims that they are not looking for rich families but families that are stable and would be able to take care of a child. 

Once all paper work is filled out and returned to the social worker he or she will set up the interviews. The interviews include a interview with each parent and the worker and a final interview with both parents. the final interview will be at your home and the worker will just do a brief overview of your home and then go over the Risks chart or paperwork that list all types of risks that you are willing to accept in a child. The more willing you are with risks the better chance of getting a child. Risk i am referring to Age,Sex,race,handicaps, and ect. 

As of today September 14th this is the place we are waiting. We have not had any interviews but we have turned in all paperwork but we are just waiting for our worker to contact us.

Social worker

Home Study(ies)

During the PRIDE classes you are in contact with a Licensing Foster Worker. The foster worker is someone that you are in contact with and this person will visit your house. From all the talk that we talked about int he class people were saying not to do anything to your house before they get they that way you know what you have to fix. Which is not a bad idea and they do not punish you for that either. 

Juan and I thought it was sort of funny the first time that the worker came over. When the worker first came into the house she was like ” Oh yeah there is going to be a lot of things here that are going to need to be changed”. However when she did her initial walk through she ended up only marking us up for like 10 things and most of the things were paperwork and finishing the PRIDE classes.

One thing that really stuck out of my mind is that they really look down on Alcohol in the home. Even though you are allowed to they really frown about it. We had ours up in a cabinet up high where Juan can not even reach at times. The worker stated that it was still in reach of a child. We ended up placing the booze in the cabinet behind the fridge. 

Another thing is that since we were wanting a 0-6 year old he had to be ready to cater to these children so we had to get a crib. Now we thought this was completely dumb just due to the fact that we may end up with a 6 year old and we may not even ever use the crib.

This is where they first talk to you about your background history if there is one. For me I had to gather all the documents such as court docs and just anything that pertained to the event. I also had to write a statement and i had to describe the scene. 

After the first visit we had time to fix and buy the things that were on our list and then we scheduled our follow-up visit. The visit was about 1.5 months later and only lasted a short time. The same worker came back to the house and inspected the house one last time. We turned in all of our paperwork and she said that we have completed the process and now we were just going to be waiting on the county to finalize everything. Our case was not finalized for some time (they have up to 75 days to review your case) because of my background. You know that you were approved and everything is finalized once you receive the license in the mail.

Inspection

Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (PRIDE Classes)

Pride – The guts of the entire process. The Pride classes are Nine 3 hour classes ( There are also Sat classes as well) The class that we took just happen to be on Mondays and they happen to be on Mondays that holidays happen to fall on. Rather than nine weeks to complete it seemed like it was something like 15 weeks. The classes seemed like forever to complete. However each location has their own schedule they are on their own Pace.

In these pride classes each week there is a different topic and different exercises to help keep the class interesting. Typically there are 3 instructors in the class. There is a Foster Social worker, Adoption Social worker, and a Foster Parent. Over the course of the class you become closer to the instructors and the other families in the class.

Each class you are required to bring your pride book which is huge and you are suppose to follow along with the class and really there is no way not to participate in the class as there is a lot of activity for everyone to partake in. Even the shyest people get in font of the class and take at some point. In our class we were lucky enough to have a couple that was hearing impaired and they had a translator in the class and they were able to participate in the class.

At the end of the nine classes the final class is sort of a fun day but a very informative day as well. There are several speakers that come in and talk to the class and tell us what to expect. Some of the speakers that spoke were the county nurse, some person that spoke about about special activities that that children are entitled to, and the best speaker was a birth parent. The birth parent tells their story and really tells their side of the process and the system.

This class was really an emotional, educational, and very exciting expierence. In the class you learn lots and meet great people. At first I thought that the classes would be lame but they were very good.

Orientation: Starting a Family

All parents gay, straight, single, or coupled are required to attend the orientation. The orientation is a brief outline of what the county has to offer and what they are looking for as far as prospective parents. At this point the county depending on the state and county informs you that the foster and adoption programs are grouped together and no matter of the path that the parent(s) want to go they are required to obtain their foster license first. During the orientation parents are encouraged to stay and fill out the application form and or go home and think about the process before applying. Once the application is completed and turned in the county requires the parent(s) to return within 5 days and are required to have a Live Scan completed. The Live scan is a electronic background that is federally backed from a federal database. Just an FYI having a criminal background does not disqualify you from either fostering or adopting. However it is based on the severity of the crime and is on a case by base bases. I do not want to give my personal background but I have had two alcohol related accidents and Juan has had one and we are still able to adopt children (yes there are more hoops to jump through but it is still possible). If the truth is told on the application and you are upfront with the agency there should be no real reason that there is a problem.

Orientation

During the orientation the instructor explains the process in which parents need to do to complete the foster process (Remember that a Foster License is required first). The first thing and probably most important part of the entire process is the series of classes that are sometimes referred to as PRIDE which stands for Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education. We were informed that these were 9 3hr classes that each parent had to attend.

We were also told that we would be assigned a licensing Social Worker. We were told that this person would guide us through the process.

Other than the Pride classes and the monthly support for the child and their family that is really all that is reveled during this first meeting.

***Note. At this point would be a very good idea to make copies of everything. Information at this point was already lost and the process was stalled until we were able to fix the mistake.

*** Also when references are completed make sure that the people that are giving the referral ask them to make copies as well.

Private & County Adoptions

We began to look around and research about gay adoptions, cost, and the availability of doing so. There are at least two different types of adoptions that we know of. The two types are a private adoption where most of the children that are being adopted are newly born babies. These adoptions cost money and from what we learned you are expected to pay for that child even before the birth of that child. There is even a risk that the birth mother can decide to keep the baby rather than giving it up for adoption. All the money that is put in at this point is a loss and the adopting parents just have to swallow the cost. The cost of the private adoption can range from $12,000 to $50,000 depending on the agency and where you are getting the child. International children are a added fee as well as there is a lot of legal matters at this point.

Childern

County and or State Adoptions

Juan and I decided to even help children to a different level. We decided to adopt a child from the ages of 0-6 years old from the county of San Diego. Children that in placed in the county adoptions are children that have been taken away from their parents.Reasons that this parents have their rights terminated are due to several reasons. The most common reasons that parents have their children taken away from them are drug abuse, neglect, abandonment, and in a smaller amount of cases children are voluntarily given up. 

There are several different things that separate the county with the private adoptions. The county actually gives all the tools to the children and the adopting family to be able to support these children. The family is entitled to a monthly stipend until the child is 18 years of age (they are changing this to 21 years).   

Roomates

The First Part of this post I will tell about our personal experience and then official information.

Juan and I welcomed one of Juans friends to come live with us. This friend is a great person and now a good friend of mine as well. After a while our roommate decided it was time to move out on her own and decide to get a place closer to work and with a friend that she had met. Once our roommate moved out and we were unsure what to do with the spare room at this point we decided to start thinking about a family and our best options. We are that point decided to adopt and baby and give a child a chance at life.

Roomate

Official Information that one might consider.

When adopting children keep in mind that there are many hoops that will need to be jumped through and having a roommate in the same house will be just another hurdle that you will need to jump over. When we say that we are not saying that we dis-encourage having a roommate  nor do the adoption agencies but there are things that you should know and keep in mind.

While adopting everyone in the household over the age of 18 will need to be finger printed and a background check will need to be conducted.  Depending on the agency this could become pricey and time consuming. 

If it turns out that the roommate has a criminal background it is not the end of the road for the process nor will the roommate be required to move. Like everything there are waivers for everything and this would be one that would need to be reviewed and waived. Also the roommate will most likely need to fill out and provide documentation of their criminal past.

This just something that should be kept in your mind as you begin to think about the adoption and not as a negative thought of having roommates especially in this day and age with the economy being the way it is. People need to survive and they need a place to sleep.