Remember this?

I last shared, prior to getting my placements, that my interest was piqued in regards to a 12 year old girl that was seeking a large family and that I had been contacted regarding to placement and adoption. Well, that was complete crap. It it a pretty shady ordeal, they can only disclose very small pieces of the case during the inquiry while letting you get emotionally involved. During a 6-8 week process they can pick you apart as the family who wishes to adopt but you get minimal information… but not medical or behavorial stuff.

I indicated to the the CSR specialist to call my licensing worker and disclose all of the information to him as there is a loophole in the process. Although he isn’t allowed to disclose any information to me, he can get the nitty gritty. I trust him to make the call for me, he knows my family dynamic and what I’m willing to have in my home in regards to placement. The CSR specialist called my licensing worker, disclosed all the things, he knew it wasn’t a good fit and it was closed down. I hope that anyone who is looking into a CSR child can find this information helpful and time saving, not to mention avoiding yet another emotional rollercoaster.

It was a CSR ordeal which pretty much equates to kids that are EXTREMELY hard to place due to behaviors, multiple placements, etc.

I’ve learned enough about photolistings, CSR’s, and adoptive searches in general. The masses are correct; it is a waste of time and pointless. Despite my initial feelings about everyone else failures being a personality flaw or getting emotionally attached to a picture of a child, everyone was right. It is complete garbage. I’m objective, even during my emotional bit during this journey.

I don’t like being this pessimistic but the proof is in the pudding.

TL;DR

Don’t bother looking at photolistings ot CSR’s. It’s a lost cause or a trap.

Adopt Us Kids

In the last 10 weeks I’ve inquired about 20 children.

9 states

3 of them we weren’t a good fit after reviewing our homestudy.

2 were listed as no longer available.

2 I was never responded to at all.

13 have had my homestudy sent to them and I’ve yet to hear anything from them.

I understand that many adoption units review homestudies the 1st and 15th of each month. I’m not sure why but it has been very common across the United States. In any case, in 10 weeks I’ve got nothing but air silence. In mid April I inquired about a child and the case worker has been on vacation 3 times, I wish I were kidding. I’ve gotten automated responses bounced back to me 3 times and the 3rd was just last week letting me know that the case worker would be back July 30th. I will cease contact, I can’t keep trying with no one trying in return. This reiterates the broken system post I wrote several days ago.

The hardest state has been Pennsylvania; they have an entire division that is sends information to you instead of the child’s caseworker. BUT first you have to send paperwork that you download off of their site, fill it out, send more paperwork to your licensing worker, then you both send in your paperwork to the unit. It is a pain in the ass. I still haven’t completed it all and honestly I’m at the point where I don’t want to jump through hoops anymore. Why can’t they just accept a homestudy sent from a licensing agency like everyone else?!

In addition to using ADOPT US KIDS I’ve made inquiries to individual profiles in various states too. I’m striking out, y’all. This isn’t doing good things for my self esteem. I’ve got 2 theories; 1. God is making me wait for the right kid or 2. I really suck and my homestudy is shit.

A friend of mine works with the state (WA) and she has let me know that she is very thorough sending her potential adoptive parents’ homestudies to supervisors, therapists, interns, etc and manages to have a turnaround in less than 3 weeks. Can I get a round of applause for this hardcore caseworker?! I love hearing that children are priorities, are truly being looked out for, and have excellent teams to help find them permanent homes. It helps because I was feeling really down, about the system in general, and this friend of mine gave me a glimmer of hope. Insert ‘faith in humanity restored’ meme here.

I need to keep my chin up, remain optimistic! I’ve got a broad range of ages, no racial preference, and a big heart. Our family will be expanding again…we just don’t know when. Don’t hold your breath friends… we certainly aren’t.

Five.

5. 5. 5.

Soon, I’ll have only 5 kids at home. Biscuit, Blue, Boychild, Bunny, and Lemon. I’m freaking out, how do I cook for only 7 people?! What will we do with the copious amounts of leftovers?! There will be extra time, room, and finances. Weird. There will be less stress, chatter, and traffic.

We will enjoy our time together until we are needed. I love my community, I love children, I love foster care. There are lessons to be learned about humility, compassion, and pain. My kids understand the importance of helping people and also, witnessing me fail, has shown them that even though you can desperately want to help it’s okay to say ‘enough’ and have a child removed. My kids have helped transition foster kids to our home and comforted them in times of need. They have also disagreed and fought with them. It is all give and take, understanding others circumstances and remembering how blessed you are to be taken care of in a standard in which society deems normal. My kids don’t take much for granted these days because they understand that things change in the blink of an eye.

I’ve been sifting through adoption listings, looking for potential matches. I’ve sent in several inquiries and have gotten very little feedback. Our system is flawed; caseworkers are busy prioritizing and adoptive kids are being pushed to the backburner. I understand that the removal and reunification are high on the totem pole, they are critical to child safety, but having a child wait in limbo for months or years just isn’t right. My licensing worker has assured me that my homestudy has been sent to all of the inquiries that I’ve sent in and even he says he has gotten very little feedback. It shouldn’t be this hard to find an older child, in the United States, who is legally free for adoption, to find a match. It shouldn’t be this hard to help.

On the other end of the spectrum I’ve gotten leads on some foster placements. Unfortunately, they weren’t a match for our home. I do have a strict criteria that I follow as my children are my number one priority. I do not want to expose them to some things nor have them possibly become victims in any way. It’s hard. Often times it breaks my heart but I’ve developed a firm understanding during my years of foster care of knowing when to say yes to a placement and when to say no.

Luckily, when you seek out adoptive children via photolistings or through your agency you can get every detail of their case/life since being in the foster care system. That makes finding a fit easier for families and agencies. I’ve gotten a few responses stating we weren’t a good fit for a child and I’ve sent responses saying we wouldn’t be a good fit for a child. I’m okay with that, I’m all about the best interest of the children. My older girls have taken an interest in looking at potential siblings online, Blue loves to watch the videos and Biscuit wants to see their faces.

Only God knows what will happen next, we may stay with the 5 kids and be done. We may foster more. We may adopt. Until then…we wait.

Photolistings

Our goal was to have 7 children, that was our magic number. Seven. Why? I don’t know, I just imagined that to be the large family and golden number. Well, we have met the goal. Pretty, Flower, Biscuit, Blue, Boychild, Bunny, Lemon. Bam! Done and done.

Wait. No.

We have rethought the ‘ideal’ number for our family and we changed the number. Now, hear me out before you shake your head in disbelief. Pretty moved out and Flower will be gone at the end of the summer attending U of A. They’re both our daughters forever and will undoubtedly come home for the holidays, need help financially while in adulthood limbo, and get annoying calls/texts all the damn time. We’ve decided that 9 is our final number. BUT we have a set age group we’d like to stick with, 13-16. That’s a small window. It gets smaller…no emotional, physical, medical, or emotional issues. Now our window is itty bitty. Almost impossible to fit any teenaged girl into, ha!

My badass licensing worker sent me a referral for a child seeking an adoptive home (several weeks ago) and I was excited! The family talked it over and we thought we’d give it a go. However, a few days had passed and the child’s team rejected us. It stung. I understood that the team knows what’s best for their kids and I did my best to move forward. Days and days had gone by, I kept thinking to myself ‘Why weren’t we good enough?’ And other crappy thoughts. Then I did what any other person on the planet would do…I Googled and Googled abd Googled some more. I had read horror stories about poor matches via case worker referrals, failed photolisting adoptions, etc. I. Was. Scared. I felt like I had dodged a bullet. During my search, trying to make myself feel better, I stumbled onto several photolisting websites. I searched days and days reading profiles and looking at adorable faces. In my mind I would imagine how these faces would fit into my family, making up their personalities as best as I could. Dude. I know, it was getting weird. I realized the rejection still hurt and I was living in a fantasy world to somehow put a bandaid on my hurt feelings, we were rejected. I was struggling.

It was abrupt, I stopped looking. My mental health was really wonky; ‘Let it go and move on,’ I repeatedly told myself. I did. I buried my feelings and pushed forward, yeah yeah I know that’s not what anyone should do. I did it anyway to hush the murmurs of rejection in my mind. After a few weeks I had completely moved passed the crappy feelings, I was me again and the rejection was a thing of the past. Hallelujah! Then I received an email from Adopt US Kids, a huge network of children seeking adoptive homes from all over the United States. I left the email in my inbox for 2 weeks before I actually clicked the link. I was afraid of rejection and I wasn’t ready to look into adopting anyone ESPECIALLY from a photolisting, I read those horror stories a few weeks back.

Well, I clicked the link. I submitted our homestudy. Holy moly, you get WAY more info when you’re a registered user. This time I was Googling differently; the internet has a wealth of knowledge on/about everyone. It’s pretty awesome. We had over 80 matches. Yes, 80. I visited every one of those potential matches. Out of the 80 matches I narrowed it down to 4. I was objective; I didn’t allow my past experience to dictate my feelings. I inquired about those 4 and the next day I recieved rejection notice, it simply stated ‘Your family was not selected for this child.’ That’s it. Luckily, I didn’t feel defeated or emotionally wonky. Oddly enough, I felt relieved. Somewhere deep inside of me I was afraid that all 4 inquiries would come in positively and I’d be forced to choose which human was better or more worthy or the best fit. Aaagh, that would be terrible.

Photolistings have a bad reputation, not just for the failed adoptions but for the emotional rollercoaster it provides. I’m hanging on and riding it out to see what happens, I can’t give up. There are too many kids without families, too many kids who have to go to bed at night not knowing if they’re loved, too many kids not knowing what family truly means. I’ve got one person communicating with me about a prospective kid right now. Is she part of my family? Stay tuned.