Well the Holidays are over and Edgar still is not legally adopted. There have been some things that Juan and I have been trying to gather and put all the pieces together so that we can make this process as easy and cheap as possible.
The first thing that we did is Juan and I got a letter form the mother stating that Juan and I are sole guardians of Edgar. This guardianship paper is just a notarized piece of paper as it is nothing through the courts.
The next step that we did is that Juan and I hired a lawyer and decided that we would need help from a lawyer to complete this process. After signing with the lawyer and then telling them more and more about the case the lawyer then wanted to talk to our social worker seeing that we had gone through most of the process already though the county. once all parties spoke to each other the social worker, Juan, and myself decided that this was something that could be completed on our own and that we would no longer need the assistance of a lawyer to represent us. There are several reason why this is the case. Some of the reasons is that now dont quote me on this but it is either the State of California or it maybe a federal law ( I am not to sure) but with Edgar being a relative of Juan the process should be a little easier and since the father is unknown we would not have to try to track down him or his whereabouts as only one parent in this case would have to consent to the adoption. This right there saves us lots of $$$ as we no longer will be required to pay lawyer fees and we should be getting our unused money back.
Another step that Juan and I have discoverd or came about is about the home study and the process with the county other than the courts.
Apparently once the petition is filed for the adoption we are required to take the paper work over to the Health and Human Services where they can begin their process. At this point they are suppose to charge us $4500 but only required to pay half upfront and the rest at the end. The problem that Juan and I were starting to get upset about is that we could not believe that they were going to make us go through all the hoops that we have already gone through and still charge us another $4500.
After pulling some strings and talking to some people Our social work finally agreed to continue on and finish our home study. This is great news as now we are going to be able to save more money. We still are required to pay for some part of the process but it is a significant price difference.
There are still some concerns and hoops that we need to jump through and we are trying to iron them out currently. One thing that comes to mind is the fact that Little Edgar has no insurance and if something would happen to him we might be in a world of hurt. I have since applied for Medi Cal and we are pretty confident that we are going to be able to get this coverage for him within a week or so.
This entire process is still a long way from being over but I am glad to be apart of it and really appreciate the support that all our friends and family are giving during this time.
We are not too sure of Edgars past but we tried to celebrate this Christmas as if it was his first. This year Edgar was able to meet with Santa. From the picture below I am not too sure what Edgar was thinking nor do I know if he understands who Santa is at this point. Edgar was really exited when we decided to decorate the house and put up the Xmas tree he even helped put some of the ornaments on the tree.
Xmas Day was kind of funny for Juan and I as we waited for Edgar to come out of his room and be shocked and surprised to what he had found. The funny thing is that we never really came out of his room as he just kept yelling for Juan and I. Around 10am I finally ran downstairs and yelled for him to come. Edgar Ran right past the trees not noticing all the gifts that Santa had brought. When Edgar come upstairs Juan and I both asked him if Santa had came to visit. Edgar replied “NOOO” 🙂
We then walked him down stairs for him to see the presents once again and then at that point he became very excited.
Below is a Picture of Edgar and Santa at a Breakfast with Santa we attended.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.