I have some news for y’all! I have been a little hesitant in sharing this because I don’t want to jinx it….but first and foremost this blog is my journal and I don’t want to leave out such a big chunk. This is a long post so grab snacks!
Ok, so do y’all remember how in November 2008 when we lost the baby? Well after that we decided to take a baby break. For an indefinite amount of time. I just couldn’t get my heart broken again. For those of you who are new here, CSP and I have been trying to adopt for YEARS. First we were with the China program. ThenChina changed their rules. Briefly we thought about going through Kyrgyzstan, but their trip requirements were not something CSP’s job would be happy with. Then we switched to Guatemala. And things were great! More money was spent! Fingerprints were taken! Homestudy was updated! Social workers visited! Then Guatemala closed!
Yeah. So things were bad. But then, almost the moment Guat closed we were paired with a birth mom in another state through a friend. Everything was great again. I met with the birth mom and we began a relationship. I wrote and called her. Things were good. Until November 1st when we were driving down to Florida to Lisa’s rehearsal dinner and wedding cruise. I thought I’d put in a call to the BM since I’d be out of touch for a few days. I knew as soon as she answered the phone. She changed her mind. I cried through Georgia and greater Florida. Then I pasted a smile on my face and celebrated my dear friend’s wedding on a Disney cruise surrounded by children. It took all I had not to throw myself off the ship. But we made it through, we made it home, and we made ourselves take a break.
Fast forward to the end of May 2009. I was painting faces for a school festival. And I was really having a great time. It was the first time in months I could be around children (with the exception of family and close friends) and not want to burst into tears or stab people. I went home and told CSP that I thought I was ready to get into the game again. He said he was too. We discussed our options. At this point our agency, who has thousands of our dollars, had removed Guatemala & Kyrgyzstan from their program list. That left China (out), Ethiopia (out), and three Eastern European countries (out, out, and out). The European countries make you stay in country for weeks at a time and you have to make two trips. All of the countries with programs there are super strict now about medications. I am on medication for depression & anxiety and that is a huge red flag. Yeah, cause half of the US isn’t on Prozac. Ugh. But I digress.
We talked about domestic adoption. But through a private agency we’d still be spending close to $30k that we don’t have and we’d be dealing with two HUGE risks (at least to us). 1. We could sit on a shelf in a Prospective Family book for years until we were picked by a birth mom. 2. She could change her mind. Neither of those risks are we willing to take.
So now what? I approached CSP about foster children. Not fostering and giving back, but foster to adopt. He said he was game so I called our county Department of Social Services. They said they don’t have a foster to adopt program because there are just too many families in our county and not enough children. And we can’t go through another county’s DSS foster program. We could foster a few kids and then if one or more comes up for adoption we could be considered but we’d have to be prepared to give back some children because, as she said, in NC the goal is to always reunite biological families. I understand that to a certain extent but in my mind, blood isn’t always best. Then she said she’d be happy to refer me to some private agencies. Yeah, well so can Google, lady.
I took down the numbers she gave me (around a dozen), hung up the phone, and was very frustrated. We just couldn’t catch a break! But I’m all about due diligence so I called all the numbers. One agency called me back.
I will link to our agency once all is said and done but I don’t want to risk anything. The case worker, let’s call her Jen, and I played phone tag for weeks. Then in mid July 2009 I was driving up to the mountain house to meet up with the fam for a few days when Jen called. I was so excited to finally talk to her. She explained the program to me and I had to pull off the road I was so excited. It’s just perfect for us! She promised to mail me a packet and we hung up after I asked her a million questions. Then I called CSP and squealed. He said “Why didn’t we do this years ago??” Dude, had I known about this program years ago I’d have been all up in it. But who knew? Over the next few weeks I talked to a few of my friends in the adoption community and none of them had heard about this either. WHY is it such a secret??? Well, part of it, I think, is the name. The program name is the Special Needs Adoption Program. Now, if I had happened upon their site and read Special Needs I would have just kept going. More power to you if you are in a position to adopt special needs. We aren’t.Apparently this agency, or maybe it’s NC, or maybe it’s both, who knows, they consider foster kids to be special needs. Hence the name of the program.
The deal is is that we will be certified as foster parents. We had our orientation Tuesday night and our classes start Saturday barring a winter storm. Then we’ll have a home study. Then Jen will search through all the available foster children in NC and see if she can match us up with one. We’re asking for a child of either gender under the age of 3 years. We’re open to different races. Those of you who’ve known me, or read this blog for a long time might be wondering why the switch to either gender from straight up girl. Well, when we signed on with this agency CSP piped up and said he’s always wanted a boy. So we decided with the first child to let fate decide. Then we’ll specify the opposite sex with the second child.
Why has it taken from July to January to take the classes? There was a round of classes in the Fall but that’s CSP’s busiest time at work and he could not get the time off. You can’t miss any classes so we decided to wait til now. So, what if Jen can’t find us a match for a child in NC? Then they search throughout the country. Our child might come from 3 blocks down or 3 states away. Who knows.
Our child will come to us free and clear for adoption. So why do we have to be certified as foster parents? That way our child can live with us until the adoption is final. Jen says it can take up to a year from orientation class to placement of the child.
Then she explained the fees to me. Let me just say that this program is WAY more affordable than any other I’ve heard of. There could still be substantial fees involved, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $30,000 number we’re used to hearing.
Orientation went well. In the days leading up to it CSP started to get really nervous. I had to assure him that they don’t hand out babies with the sign in sheet. On the way home it was a whole other story. We’re both so excited now. We’re motivated to get the child’s room set up again. We have untouched boxes full of baby stuff from our last house that I just haven’t been able to deal with.
It seems like this is really, FINALLY, happening for us! Now, I’m sure that there’s something that could go wrong. But we know a couple who have adopted two children through New Jersey’s version of this program and couldn’t be happier. And this program just feels right to us. But I still say a little prayer every night. That it goes well, that we’ll be good parents, and that our child will finally come home.