Finally! (Geez Becca, why’d you leave us hanging for over a week for this post?!)
We had our Adoption Orientation on Saturday morning, June 30th and it was pretty much awesome. I may have been doing research for months (years) and knew a lot of information going into this, but I still learned more.
One thing I learned was that while we are certainly welcome to adopt from out of Florida, we won’t get the FL benefits if we do so. We will follow those state’s benefits and adoption requirements. Not all state’s offer health care, 4 years of public college/university and a subsidy like Florida does – so that needs to be taken into consideration. We definitely plan on making sure our kids take advantage of the college part!
We also need to decide about the Lola and Phoenix. He is a crochety old cat and doesn’t take BS from anyone. Yes, after 8+ years, he still claws me on occasion. I really need to have the vet do a full eval on him bc while I don’t want to accept it, I don’t think he has much longer with us. He’s got so many health issues and is so overweight even with putting him on a diet. So, there’s that to consider.
But anyhow, what we learned/ had reiterated…
- Children available for adoption have had their parental rights terminated (TPR). They will never be taken away from us bc some random family member came back. Once there is no possible chance at reunification and rights are terminated, they’re available to be legally our children.
- Judges in South Florida really don’t like waiting the full 6 months once we have a child in our home and tend to push the adoptions through within 30-60 days. This was a major Holy Moly! moment for us. We could be legally mommy and daddy by the New Year.
- After we complete our classes, we’re turned over to the adoption specialists. They will then complete our Home Study, run more background checks, and ask many more questions to ensure we get the ideal placement.
- The PRIDE classes are not “parenting” classes, but rather how we will play a role in the kids lives.
- Most children end up in Foster Care due to abuse, abandonment and neglect
- If we want to travel outside of FL before the adoption is finalized, we need a court order. To go to Disney, Gainesville, or anywhere else within FL, we just need to notify the team.
- They would prefer to have one parent stay home with the kids initially, but I will likely use my vacation time for that to get them settled before sending them off to a (likely) new school.
- If we adopt younger than 5, we do get a day care subsidy for one year for specific preschools – Gold Seal Approved.
Minimum standards for Foster Homes (which we will follow to ensure approval for adoption):
- Minimum 40 sq.ft. per child and have adequate storage/ closet space.. In a perfect world, we’d have a 3-bedroom place with a room for each child.
- Max 5 kids per household including biological. No problem here as Lola and Phoenix don’t count. 🙂
- Kids of opposite sex over age 3 cannot room together. We’re leaning towards 2 boys at this point, so OK there.
- Minimum $200 residual income after all bills are paid. We’re getting finances in order so this should be A-OK too.
- 2 years of employment verification checks will be performed. Yep, no problems there.
- Health history and physicals need to be performed for mental, emotional, physical and any other treatments. Ehh, we should be OK.. My therapy is pretty minimal and I have no problems with Dr. S. telling them all about my sessions.
- Pets are also checked as I mentioned above. A-OK as I’ve already told the vet to expect the forms.
- Many children have no prior religious beliefs and we must respect their beliefs if they do have religious beliefs. We need to decide on a religion as he’s Methodist and I’m Jewish and neither of us are particularly religious.
- We are responsible for transporting them to every appointment, recital, etc in a safe vehicle complete with car seats, seat belts, valid insurance and driver’s license. No problems whatsoever as we never planned on making anyone else drive our kids around.
- Foster parents need to complete a basic water safety course. We plan on doing that, being CPR certified, and more.
- All medications, chemicals, cleaning products, alcohol, guns/ammo, and anything else that can harm a child must be locked away. We’ve already begun planning where the meds and chemicals will be housed. Most likely in the outside laundry room or a lockbox atop the closet.
- Kids must have access to a vehicle and phone at all times. We never plan on leaving them alone, so OK. When they’re at school, they’ll have the phone there.
- An evacuation plan must be posted in several places and perform fire drills frequently, working and tested fire extinguisher, 2 ways to escape each bedroom, smoke detectors, working battery flashlights in every room, and a first aid kit in the house. OK except for the evacuation plan and the flashlights, we have everything already.
- There is a list of forbidden and acceptable discipline methods provided that we must obey. OK, we haven’t established discipline yet so having guidelines is great.
- Criminal and abuse checks ((FBI, FDLE, local and abuse registry) are to be performed prior to PRIDE classes. Done and approved.
We will be an integral part of the team of nurses, social workers, case workers, and others. Even once the adoption is finalized, we can utilize the team.
We have decided that fostering will be too difficult for us to handle. And came to that conclusion separately prior to discussing it after the Orientation. Having a child or children in our home for days, weeks, months or even years then having them taken away would be too hard for us both to bear.
Our initial background screenings went off without a hitch. We had to be checked in both FL and NC since we haven’t lived here for 5 years. Once we passed these, we will have our initial Home Visit – on Friday! – and classes begin on Tuesday.
They have said this is an extremely intrusive journey and they will find everything out about us. And yet, we are still raring to go to become parents.
So where have I been? We have so much work to do on our current home to get it ready for our babies. We have been decluttering and cleaning and making our little home kid-friendly. It’s making me realize big time how not kid-friendly it is. We only have 2 bedrooms, a family room, a kitchen and a decent sized back yard. I’d much prefer to have at least a 3-bedroom with a larger family room, updated everything including a dishwasher. But for right now, we shall deal with this little place. *le sigh*
Also, I’ve been off work (though you’d never know it) since Thursday, had an interview for an amazing job, working at my part-time job, and in general trying to get the house ready for le babies.