Well, since my last post, quite a bit has happened.
For the past 8 months, DCF has been working to reunite J with his birth family.
It was 8 months of uncertainty about whether he would stay with us or be reunited, but it was also 8 months of loving on the sweetest little boy.
A few weeks ago we found out that J's goal changed from reunification to adoption.
This means that they are no longer trying to reunite him with his birth family and are instead working to find him a forever family.
Since this change, I have had a lot of questions about what's next for us and for him.
So, here's what has to happen before we would be able to adopt him:
- J is assigned an adoption worker
- lots of paperwork needs to be filled out
- DCF is searching for other members of J's family that could possibly adopt him. (Biological family comes before foster family)
- If they find possible family members for J, that family would need to go through and pass everything that we went through to become a pre-adoptive home.
-If no family is found, then we would be named the pre-adoptive family for J.
- We work with social workers to see if we can agree on open adoption terms with birth family (if it's looking like an open adoption case.)
- Then lawyers and social workers go to court to try to terminate parental rights.
- If everyone has agreed to open adoption terms, then after rights are terminated, we schedule the court date for the adoption finalization.
- If terms were not agreed on for the open adoption or if judge wants a closed adoption, birth family has 30 days to appeal.
- An appeal would prolong this entire process 1.5-2 years (!!!!)
So, right now, that is what we are facing. It is quite the process! But it is worth every second we get to spend with J.
So many people tell us and other foster/adoptive parents that they "couldn't do it." That they'd "get too attached."
While it has been hard falling in love with this baby and not knowing his future with us, can't we say the same thing about our biological children? We don't know how long we have with them or what their future holds. But we love them unconditionally, provide for them, meet their needs, have fun with them and live each day not knowing what the next day holds.
Same with foster care. These kids need a family that will just love them and provide for them and keep them safe. They need you to get attached! And they need to attach to you! Even if you don't know how long they will be with you.
If J were to leave our family, I imagine I would feel the same as if one of my biological children suddenly left our family. Foster child, adoptive child, biological child- it doesn't matter- you don't know what God has in store, so don't let that stop you if you feel led to pursue foster care or adoption.
This process, although very hard, has been life changing for us and we have grown as a family and individually in so many ways.
Not once have I regretted taking J into our home.
And even if we all end up heartbroken at the end of this, I can guarantee all 6 of us wouldn't trade these months with J for anything.
That being said, in our situation, things are looking promising that he will end up with us. We won't know for sure for a few months still, but we are very hopeful.
Thank you to everyone that has been praying for us and supporting us through this journey- we are so very thankful for you!