Saturday, July 23, 2011

Foster Care vs International Adoption

As we slowly trudge through the foster-adopt gazillion step process, I wonder which is going to place a child in our home first - foster-adopt or Jamaican adoption. As slow as international adoption can be - 4+ years - it is beginning to seem like adopting from the US foster care system is just as slow. I am finding it is a multi-year process just to be able to begin looking for a child from foster care. Below is the process we have followed so far for both adoption processes. Many people do not realize the years of work needed that lead up to a match; much of the training, meetings and paperwork are done behind the scenes.


  • October 2010 began foster care classes

  • December 2010 finished foster care classes and began paperwork

  • January 2011 began fingerprints and background check process

  • February 2011 had prints redone

  • March 2011 fingerprints lost in system then finally found, completed paperwork

  • April 2011 background checks completed/passed and foster licensor retires

  • May 2011 a different licensor re-assigned; first home study review with licensor

  • June 2011 second interview with licensor

  • July 2011 counselor talks with licensor, home study on hold while licensor is on vacation

  • August 2011 plan to have foster home study completed and have license approved

  • September 2011 begin adoption home study which could take more than 6 months

Jamaican Adoption:

  • November 2009 contacted home study agency

  • December 2009 began paperwork for international adoption

  • March 2010 met with home study caseworker, home inspection and began classes

  • April 2010 physical exams for home study

  • September 2010 home study completed

  • October 2010 two copies of home study sent to Jamaica and one sent to USCIS

  • January 2011 fingerprints for USCIS taken and processed

  • February 2011 approval from USCIS to adopt from Jamaica and home study forwarded to US Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica

  • Now we just wait for a match

  • Once we get a match, it is 2-3 years before we get to bring the child home

If it seems people are getting through their adoptions quickly, remember they most likely have been working behind the scenes for years. Some families do not announce they are adopting until they have a match so the public process is truncated. No one "just adopts"; you have to consciously decide to adopt, proceed through the grueling process and wait years.

Finding peace and patience with the adoption process is all I can do to keep moving towards the dream of expanding our family.