Our foster-adopt process has quickly moved forward. Now that we are licensed foster parents (the license will be in the mail this week), the adoption section of DSHS has mailed us the adoption paperwork. The paperwork was mailed on September 12, we picked up our mail September 14. The "Welcome" letter stated we were to get all our paperwork, in by September 30. After I have been asking to speak with an adoption caseworker or at least get the paperwork for months, they give us 17 calendar days to submit our paperwork? Or what? There was no explanation of what happens if this deadline is not met. As organized as I am, I got our portion of the paperwork completed and mailed back to DSHS on September 16. The four references will be mailed this week and my husband's medical form will be mailed this week, also. I luckily had a doctor's appointment already scheduled for September 15 and took mine in and got it filled out that day. I also sent an email to the caseworker asking for clarification on statements in the letter. The letter says we have to go through the fingerprinting process all over again. I will do this if need be, but is this really necessary if WSP and DSHS already has our prints and just has to run them through the system? It would save time and effort on our part and save tax payer dollars which are stretched very thin already.
Thursday I met with my State Representative's Senior Aide about our case and discussed the good and the bad about our process. We agree there are communication and process issues that need to be addressed in the local DSHS office. Since July 2010 the Foster Licensors have told us we do not need to be licensed to pursue adoption, but the Adoption Caseworkers have told us they will not talk to us until we are licensed foster parents - message disconnect. Getting phone calls returned from DSHS is nearly impossible unless I call three times in one week. The office did not re-assign us a licensor when ours retired even after I got the Representative's office involved. I had to call and demand the contact information for a licensor so we could proceed. I have been refused the supervisor information when I ask for the name and phone number of the Adoption Supervisor. I only got this information when we became licensed foster parents. Then they give us this 17-day deadline which does not make any sense. Not everyone can get their doctor to respond within 15 days; luckily I already had an appointment and our doctors are really easy to work with and know we are working through the adoption process.
Once ALL the paperwork is in, I wonder how long it will take the caseworker to set up our first meeting. The letter stated we will have several 2-hour meetings. Much of the Caseworker's (CW) concern is our lifetime commitment to adoption, parental training we have received and resources we may utilize after placement and adoption. We have gone through all this with our previous two home studies so we will review what we know and plan to do after placement - counseling, discipline techniques, family integration, educational services, etc. I know very little about this CW, just name and contact information. I do not know of any local families that have dealt with the person and have not heard his name before this month so he may be new. This adoption home study process could go quickly or it could drag on for another year as some families locally have said it is taking 9-12 months for the adoption home study.
Patience. This is a practice in patience, hope and faith. I pray for the child waiting for a home who will be eventually placed in our home. We are adopting a child who is available for adoption and has been in care for an unknown amount of time. It makes my soul ache to know this child lingers in foster care wishing, hoping, praying for a family while we are wishing, hoping, praying for a child. All the child and we can do at this moment is wait for the system. One day that child will be set free from the system and achieve permanence as our child. Permanence. That is a good topic for my next blog post. As the verse below states, I will come to you. We just do not know when that day will be; the timing is in God's hands who watches over us and protects us.
John 14:18 (New King James Version)
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.