Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Families Grown through Adoption: Public Adoption

Over the last few months I have been re-posting articles I wrote about Adoption for my good friends at Regarding Nannies. I encourage you to regularly take a look at what they have to offer you as someone caring for children.  

As I adoptive mother myself, this is a topic I love to talk and write about.  The decision to adopt was easy for me and my husband.  Choosing the method was a bit more complicated.  In picking a Public Adoption we knew we were risking our hearts a bit more but Nadia was worth it.    

Public Adoption has many names it is known under: state adoption, foster to adoption, foster care and legal risk adoption.  These are adoptions that happen through a state and local government agency.  Here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin ours is called Children Service Society of Wisconsin (CSSW.)  Many people are afraid of this form of adoption because of the great risk of losing the child.  Unlike most private adoptions, an adoptive family welcomes home the child before the rights of the birth parents are officially terminated.  Speaking from experience this is a giant risk.  

This adoption is free, in fact in most states the adoptive parents are paid to care for the child while they are still officially in foster care.  Often times, but not always adoptive parents are given a stipend and other benefits like state healthcare for the child until he or she is 18 years old.  This form of adoption will generally get a child in your home in the shortest amount of time and is quickest if you are willing to accept an older child or a child with special needs. 
Unfortunately this method of adoption has the most drawbacks.  The risks or dangers are many.  Though most of the social workers you will work with through this system are knowledgeable and friendly, they have very large and overwhelming workloads.  This causes home studies and paperwork to take longer.  There are usually classes that need to be taken and once you take custody of a child, you can expect visits from social workers every other week.  

Also, with this kind of adoption the birth parents generally do not want to give up their child.  The child is usually being removed because of neglect, abuse or parental drug use.  This in itself presents the increased possibility of long term effects on the child.  However, the fact that the birth mom or dad is actively fighting the decisions of the court causes many families to stay far away from this method of adoption.

I said my husband and I adopted Nadia through public adoption.  Though her adoption went smoothly, we had a heartbreaking event with our first attempt of adoption.  We were in the process of taking custody of a 9 month old girl when the courts made the decision she would stay where she was – which was another adoptive family that was neglecting her.  Of course this was heartbreaking and I still think and pray for this little girl named Grace.  

Nick and Esther Crawford have had another difficult road to adopting their little girl Peach.  They had a 1 year old boy when they made the choice to adopt through the state.  Peach is now a 6 year old that has been in and out of foster care for her entire life.  Nick and Esther worked hard to include Peach’s birth mother in their lives even going so far to invite her to Thanksgiving and other family events.  They did this because they wanted Peach to transaction well and they also wanted her birth mother to know she could always be a part of Peach’s life.  This had mix results.  Her birth mother has gone back and forth in her willingness to terminate her parental rights.  Nick and Esther are unwavering in their commitment to Peach and somehow are able to love her birth mother through all these issues.  They are confident they will someday be able to officially call Peach part of their forever family, it will just take time.  

Public adoption is clearly not for everyone, however I believe there is a sense that some of the children in this system have no one else.  I personally know this is what motivates me to adopt through the public system.  And I guess I would say it is one more benefit to this type of adoption.  

I strongly believe that any form of adoption you choose, you are welcoming a child into your home that needs you.  Every family is different and needs to decide for themselves which is right for them. 

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