We've Been a Forever Family Since...
October 23, 2006
Type of Adoption and Age(s) of Child(ren)
Jordan, 9 and Katherine, 7 adopted from foster care.I have always known that I would adopt from the time that I was five. My best friend in Kindergarten was adopted and the idea enthralled me. Originally I was going to adopt from Russia since it is really hard to adopt as a single parent from my county. Yet I was always overwhelmed with the paperwork required for the dossier. I could never seem to get the paperwork completed before another set arrived to be tackled. Then the Russian government put a hold on all international adoptions, I lost a considerable amount of money and time as I started this process in 2002.
My Family's Adoption Story
On May 26, 2006, I watched an ABC 20/20 special about foster care adoption. I knew I was supposed to adopt in America and if I couldn’t adopt in my State I would find a way to adopt across State lines. I found a private agency that worked with domestic adoption and started my home study process, it was completed in in less than 3 weeks.
The agency I chose did not match children, so I searched www.adoptuskids.org for hours. I wrote a cover letter for my home study then faxed, emailed and snail mailed over a hundred caseworkers to request info about children that I thought would be a good match. When I found my first daughter I faxed my study right over. A couple of hours later she was no longer listed. My heart sank. A day later I received an email from her worker asking me about the type of child I thought I could parent. I emailed her back with a letter of all disabilities/diagnoses I thought I could manage and a few minutes later she called and asked when I thought I could come for a visit.
Two weeks later I was in Jordan’s home State meeting with the case worker and later meeting Jordan at her foster home. She came bounding out of the foster home with a mouse face toy made from egg cartons. A present. Her eyes were blank like she had checked out and her spirit was dead. Her foster mother later told me I needed to be educated about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). This diagnosis was not in Jordan’s file. Later that night I called the worker and told her that Jordan was indeed my daughter and questioned her as to how quickly I could move her home, where she belonged.
I knew that I needed to become educated on RAD. In less than a month I researched and logged more than 200 hours on RAD. I came up with a game plan, identified attachment therapists, trained her school on RAD, and set up her room accordingly.
On October 23, 2006, Jordan moved home. Her final move in 5 years of bouncing around foster care and I became her 28th, but final mom. The road has been bumpy, but worth it. I am so glad that I ventured out of my comfort zone and brought this beautiful child home. She is the light of my life and such a joy. She is attached and blossoming into a beautiful young lady. Her eyes are no longer spiritless. They are full of life and joy. I am over the moon proud to be her mother.
June 15, 2009, I became a mother again to another daughter with RAD from the foster care system. Her name is Katherine and she just turned 7 years old. The adventure begins again.
- Read adoption blogs
- Read lots of books on attachment. It's important.
- Build a support system. You're going to need it.
- Look past the behaviors and see the child.
- Identify a really good therapist.
- Interview the therapist before placement.
- When trying to get in touch with a worker remember that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
- Develop a cover letter for case workers to know your family on a more personal level than your home study.
Carrie Craft, About.com Adoption / Foster Care, says:
I really appreciate the tips that this mom shares. She offers great advice, but I think she left off one bit of advice and it's probably one that I found most interesting and impressive about her adoption story - the way she prepared herself, her home, her resources, and the child's school before bringing Jordan home. There is much to learn from this smart adoptive mom's adoption story. Good thing we can follow her and her daughters in their adoption blogsLife in the Grateful House
Special K's Journey
May I also say how important it is to have a relationship with the foster parent. They have so much information, information that is often not in a child's file. Keep those lines of communication open. It helps with the child's transition into an adoptive home, and it helps you as an adoptive parent know how to prepare to meet a child's needs.