Thursday, May 19, 2011

Inquiring About Waiting Children

As a prospective adoptive parent I've certainly looked over profiles of Waiting Children before in search of a child.  However, it wasn't until recently that I took the next step in the process and actually filled out and submitted the necessary forms with the intent of becoming a permanent family for a child.  After all, that's a HUGE decision which carries tremendous responsibility and as such it should not be taken lightly!

So what is it that has stopped me from seriously inquiring about Waiting Children in the past?  I think a lot of it has to do with the same fears and concerns I had to face when deciding to do foster care in the first place. A litany of doubts fill my mind, and at the forefront is this one: 

"Children who are placed in the foster care system have been through SO MUCH already.  What makes me and my home the best place for them? Wouldn’t they be better off with someone who has a formal training in grief and loss counseling, attachment theories, behavior modification, etc. to meet their special needs?"

Then I have to remind myself What parent to any child has all the experience they need in nursing, parenting, psychology, discipline, etc. when they become a parent for the first time?

You can try to prepare all you want, but there are some things in life that you just have to learn by doing.  
So I'm proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and and finally  {a couple of months ago} inquiring about a Waiting Child- Two waiting children to be exact- a sibling group!  Incidentally, when two friends from the adoption community saw the same profile of the children they each separately sent me the link with virtually the same message of “I thought of your family when I saw these children.”

Although nothing came from my inquiry (otherwise I would have a heck of a lot more to be writing about right now) I was contacted by our caseworker with DCFS within a week of inquiring about the children since I listed her name on the form. She was contacted by the children’s caseworker and had some additional information to share with me about the children’s case and their backgrounds, the most pertinent information being that the children would most likely not be placed with our family because the Guardian Ad Liteum assigned to the case was concerned that they be placed in a family where they were the youngest or only children and could have plenty of individualized attention paid to them. I initially thought that the older sibling of the two was younger than our daughter but upon closer look I discovered that he was actually just three days older- talk about “artificial twinning”!

Although there was a gender difference which would greatly reduce any competition between twins and siblings close in age- artificial or not- this child and his younger sibling were still so relatively close in age to our daughter that the powers that be didn’t think our family would be a good fit for them. Although I was somewhat disappointed I was also very relieved that the screening process to find which families can best meet the needs of the children was given such high consideration. Our Resource Family Consultant went on to explain that finding permanency is the ultimate goal for these children. It would be too risky and unfair to them to be placed with a family if it didn’t work out. I wholeheartedly agree. 

SO . . . My questions for you, Dear Readers, are these:

*Have you ever inquired about a Waiting Child?  If so, what hopes or frustrations have you encountered during the process?

*Has anyone out there ever adopted as a result of inquiring about a Waiting Child?

I'd love to hear some success stories!


Andrea said...

We decided to close our home as foster parents and focus only on adopting a waiting child. I sent out 32 family letters to agencies across the state. I inquired on over a dozen children, some singletons, some large sibling sets. My social worker inquired for us. We heard nothing back, not a single word! We decided to open our home back up and within 2 weeks got an infant placement. Hopes are high we'll be adopting him. I told my husband, maybe the child that is waiting for us isn't a waiting child, it's a child that's about to need us. And that is exactly what happened!

Katrina said...

I was going to comment on your last post but I will but it here instead and combine both responses.

After the loss of my last son at 6 months pregnant, I started searching the waiting children's list. I would go on every night and look. At this time my youngest child was 4. All the children I looked at were either severely disabled (g-tube feed, in wheelchairs with brain damage)or the were sibling sets with children older than my youngest.

When my youngest turned 7 we decided to try foster care in hopes of adopting. We were looking for a 3 year old. We found an agency that only placed children that were 3 or younger. We accepted a 19-month-old placement, a 10-month-old-placement and our last placement was 2 1/2 months old. We were told she was shaken and most likely had FAS.

She is the one we ended up adopting and has had some delays but for the most part is considered "normal".

A few months after her adoption I was looking at the waiting child list again wanting to find a sister for her. None of the children on there would have been good matches for our family.

So I decided to start looking internationally and looking at children with Down Syndrome and HIV.

Many people have commented to me how we should be looking in the US foster care system because we should take care of those children first. What I find interesting is that none of these people have ever done foster care before. None of them have tried to adopt a "special needs" child from the waiting child list, yet they somehow think they have a right to judge me for what I feel is best for our family.

Did you know that in the US there is a waiting list to adopt a baby with DS? I didn't. And I would have never considered it before. But now I am open to children with DS and HIV.

I guess my point is that I feel God will lead you to were your child is. There is an overwhelming need for people to adopt and we can't adopt them all. So the best thing to do is to pray where to find your child and not worry about what other people think.

Because every child deserves a family but not every family is right for that child.