By Julie Chambers
There is room on my platter!
Choosing to privately adopt was not easy, especially after experiencing another family member’s journey. We had front row seats as promises were made, and the relinquishment period came and went, with all bets off. It was not a great experience for anyone.
However, I have experienced this in the foster care system too and continue to keep the faith. We have learned that while we have an open line of communication, information is not always properly relayed. Asking the right questions becomes crucial, no matter which route you take. And we have learned that this is truly a journey that you cannot always control or predict, but the things that remain steadfast are our partnership as a couple and our family unit as it stands today.
Now, as we continue to foster, we are also working with a domestic adoption consultant with the hopes of adopting twins – a boy and girl (I’m not one for odd numbers). Yes, a needle in a haystack, but next to impossible in the foster system, which is why we are branching out to private adoption…and remaining patient (and hopeful).
While we wait to be matched, we believe that whatever is meant to happen will. I believe that there is a reason for everything and if we do end up adopting our twins, we will be truly blessed (and our family will finally be complete)!
There are risks in both situations!
Whether you choose to adopt privately or through the foster care system, there are no guarantees until parental rights are terminated, and the judge renders the adoption final.
Time and privacy for some reflect as costs for others. It is not like you can pay the one-time fee and have your adoption complete after the fourth or sixth post-placement visit with foster-to-adopt. It’s much different. Your life basically becomes an open book. You have a social worker coming for monthly visits, sometimes scheduled and sometimes unannounced, for what could be up to three years or even more. All the while you may have been taking the child to multiple doctors, specialists, therapies etc., due to the level and type of care needed, only to find out the child will be returned to their parents. There are risks with foster and private adoption and sometimes reunification or staying with the biological parent(s) is what’s best for the child in the end. As foster parents, this is something we must accept and understand right off the bat.
Financially, you do receive a stipend with fostering, which carries over after adoption. The amount varies from state to state and is dependent on the medical needs of the child. Needless to say, the stipend usually does not cover all monthly expenses and that is okay because technically it is meant to be assistance. This type of assistance does not exist in private adoption, which also has a much heftier financial commitment. Just as there are risks in whichever path you choose, there are also pros and cons, and we are learning to navigate and embrace them.
Our adoption journey is not over. While we don’t know how our newest path will unfold, we continue to ride our rollercoaster. In the meantime, I learn so much by reading other people’s stories. The road to adoption is bittersweet. But without their mommy and daddy, my crazy big family would not exist, and that is not something that I take for granted.
“Time and experience have taught me a priceless lesson: Any child you take for your own becomes your own if you give of yourself to that child. I have born two children and had seven others by adoption, and they are all my children, equally beloved and precious.” -Dale Evans
Julie Chambers is privileged to be a mother of eight by way of, homegrown, adoption and fostering. Currently, she is on the adoption journey of having twins. She has been married to her husband for almost twenty-two years. Six of her eight children have special needs varying from autism, seizures, failure to thrive (FTT), cerebral palsy (CP), neurological and developmental delays. Julie also deals with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg and OCD, as a result of her accident in 2004. Julie would not change what happened, as it has opened a whole new world for her. She is a total night owl, enjoys watching the sunrise while blogging. She is never far from a Pepsi or a 6-Pump Mocha Frappuccino along with a few sticks of licorice. With everything, she remembers to always smile no matter what, while finding time to blow bubbles with the kiddos. Connect with her at www.blackandredlicorice.com.