The Call

Yes, this is basically exactly what I looked like when it happened.

Welllllll, I got a call today from our agency. They had a 4-week-old baby boy that needed a home in an emergency placement.

Now. Fun fact: We went back on the list recently just for adoptive and legal risk placements, which means kids that are adoptable currently, or kids that are very likely to become adoptable very soon, they just have to go through all the last steps to terminate their parents’ rights and free them up for officially technically thoroughly eternally being adopted.

We just thought, oh, I don’t know, that for now we’d open our home back up but for situations that might (might) have a few less question marks and back-and-forths and dragging-ons than our current little man’s situation. Tons of people do this foster roller coaster all the time with multiple kids at once, but we’re still trying to ease our way in, I guess you could say.

So really I thought I’d take this opportunity to shed some light on more procedural issues dealing with the whole thing. Y’all like procedures, right? Isn’t that how TNT and ABC make, like, 90% of their $$$s?

Well, usually adoptive and legal risk placements look very different than foster placements. Usually foster placements look very different than ours did. (Ok, let’s be real. There might be a “usually,” but it means basically nothing.)

Usually adoptive placements go like this:

– Get a phone call or email with basic info about a child

– Decide if you want your home study to be “submitted” for that child, to their case worker

– The case worker looks at all the families that “submitted” for this child, and they try to see who seems like the best fit

– Case worker picks the top 3-ish families and asks their agency more about them

– Agency, potentially-adoptive parents, and case worker trade back and forth lots of information and discussions and whatnots; there are interviews as I understand it, there are several points at which the P-A P’s are asked to give a commitment again that they are interested in adopting the child

– Visits are set up where the future mom and dad meet the kiddo (you better be pretty sure of yourself by this point, it’s very frowned-upon to pull out after you meet the kid)

– Temporary visits are often scheduled where the kid visits the new home for a day or night or weekend, and they “transition” the kid into the home

– Often it’s a while even after the kid is placed in the home before the adoption is legally “consummated.”

So. We went back on this list expecting that various phone calls or emails might be starting us down this frankly rather long road, which you often have to submit for several (sometimes dozens of) kiddos before you are selected…

Also, our agency won’t even take any new families that are looking for adoptive placements of children aged 0-2. Lucky for us, we are 0-7. But the fact that they have too many families waiting for the babies made me think we probably weren’t going to even get calls for the littler ones.

So I’m preparing myself for like researching elementary schools, various verbal approaches to behavioral issue and conflict resolution (for talking-aged kids), also for a process that will likely be about 2-6-ish months from the start to when we even have a wee person sitting at our kitchen table and bathing in our bathtub…

And we get a call today for an emergency placement of a 4-week-old.

People are always like “Whatever you prepare for, it’ll be something else!” and I’m like “Yeah, tell me about it! I totally get that!” and then I’m like “Oh jeez, where’d that come from?”

Anyway, so we agonized and prayed and talked and consulted with moms and with each other and then called back like 45 min later to say YES! …and another family had beat us to it. Woops.

Fun fact #2: Babies go SUPER fast. Apparently. I was sitting here thinking they’d wait to hear from us and then call another family. Har har.

I am quite completely and totally honestly extremely happy with the outcome of this situation. My worry, because it is VERY hard to say “no” to any child that needs a home, is that I might say “yes” when it is NOT right. Not that I will NOT say yes to the child that is meant to be mine, but that I WILL say yes because of misguided-though-altruistic motivations and set myself up for a situation that might not be the best situation for the kiddo or for us.

So I believe in this case that God uses things like timing and not knowing that they’re calling other families at the same time, or things like somebody you call for advice not having their phone on, or whatever it is that he orchestrates to close doors for us where we might not have had the discernment to know that wasn’t the right door anyway. Which means I know that I didn’t react to something out of self-protection or fear and like REJECT a child when I shouldn’t have… But I also know that due to circumstances totally beyond my control, that kid is where he ought to be and I haven’t dived into something hurriedly that I shouldn’t have done, either.

But we are ALWAYS learning. We learned more about the process, today. We learned about each other’s concerns and fears and what we really are hoping for and why we’re doing some of the things we’re doing… We learned (again) that our families are totally supportive 100% all the time, even as they are really thoughtful about the whole process and have their eyes wide open…

Anyway, this situation was weird because the kid really WAS technically a “foster” and not an “adoptive” placement, in that the stated goal was to reunify him with his mother, who was going to accept services and try to kind of “earn” custody back… But that this particular mother had failed for several previous siblings to complete her services. So they felt like reunification (while still the stated goal, because that’s procedure) was extremely unlikely, so they wanted this wee guy to be in an adoption-motivated home so that if/when adoption became possible, he wouldn’t have to uproot again. Just in case you were wondering what the deal was with that. But I’m pretty sure it would have been a matter of sending him home with the chosen family, like, TODAY. Or something. Whoooooeeeee.

Just thought I’d give y’all a little peep into the life! As always, let me know if you ever have questions.

Now back to focus COMPLETELY AND CONSISTENTLY on my spreadsheets and payroll software. Yep. That’s gonna happen. (It totally is, boss!)

Posted in Fostering, Posts by Abbey

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