Friday, November 11, 2011

All You Want to Know About Foster Care Paperwork

I know it's not a catchy title today, but it's not really a catchy topic either. It's informative.

Many people look at celebrities or even people they kinda-sorta know who have adopted and think it's a magical process. Signup, wait, bring home baby, end of story. Not quite.

There's a lot of paperwork involved. A lot. When we signed up for our private adoption there were tons of forms to fill out. But the forms to adopt through foster care were probably double that. the Department of Social Services has to make doubly sure that these families are forever since the child has already gone through some form of injustice.

So I thought today I would share with you some of the paperwork involved with adopting via foster care. When we decided to keep our profile open "just in case," we had to re-submit many of our forms. I took pics of them back then with the thought of sharing them with you all.

Here is a list of the papers that need to be filled out. You can see the ones that we did not have to redo (checked) and the ones that needed updating. (you can click the pic to make it bigger)

So even though we didn't have to redo about half of the paperwork, there was still a lot to do... A lot.

Medical forms, background checks, lots of nitty-gritty things. But there are two Big Things in this pile.

First is the openness check list. You tell the good folks at DSS how willing you are to be open with your future child's biological family. You all know our story. We are in a court-ordered open adoption with some of Mac's extended biofamily. We were willing to be open to an extent, but through the court order I think it's more open than we would like (we being Marshall and I, for selfish reasons. We do think this is the best arrangement for Mac, even if it's not for us).

I'm purposely covering our answers in this portion and the next because, well, it's none of your business what we will or will not do or accept. Each family is different.

The second part is The List.
The List is a daunting checklist of what you are willing to accept in a child. Things range from bedwetting to AIDS, from asthma to spina bifida, from sexually abused to starting fires. It's a scary list, I won't lie. The List could make many people turn in panic.
My advice with The List is to prayerfully consider each item. Read it once, have your spouse read it once, then read it together, THEN check things off.
And, be willing to "consider" many things that might scare you off. Remember, an adopted child should be no different than a biological child. Your bio child might have a cleft palate or spina bifida. You would deal with it then, right? Also be aware that many of these things, like spina bifida, asthma, and many other things that might scare you off may be very minor. Be willing to consider them! Crossing them off might mean crossing off the child God has intended for you.
Here is The List for South Carolina...

There's also a last page with incest and product of rape on it. Yeah - scary stuff! But don't let it daunt you. You can choose what you can and cannot handle. We made decisions for or against some things because it's best for our family, or for the safety of our kids or even our pets.

So, there you have it - some of the paperwork involved with foster care adoptions. Please note that these papers are for South Carolina only, your state may vary greatly!


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