Monday, October 24, 2011

Navigating Foster Care

Over the last month, I have attempted to make as many contacts as possible at DSHS to see who might be best able to help us with our foster-adopt process. Most of the people I have spoken to have been unhelpful. One woman who may be of assistance will not be in the office until mid-November. So I have to wait to contact the Placement Coordinator who might be able to match us to a child waiting for a forever family or who is moving from reunification to adoption placement. I have talked to different people in the Shelton office, in Thurston County and in Benton County. I feel like I am running out of people to talk to at this point. We should be meeting with our caseworker in November, finally. I am beyond frustration at this point; I am just about resigned to just go along for the ride, but I have not given up to fight for out child and for the rest of the children in foster care. I have spoken to:
  • foster licensor
  • assigned caseworker
  • caseworker in another county
  • foster licensor supervisor
  • interim foster Placement Coordinator
  • fingerprinting center
  • part time adoption caseworker
  • DSHS workers at HQ
  • Sr Aide to State Representative
  • other foster families
We are into this process 12 months already. From my communications with other foster-adopt families throughout the country, some had placements within a year of starting their process while others endure years of slow processing. It looks like we will be going through a multi-year process.

While we wait for DSHS to go through their steps, a child is waiting for their forever family which we could provide. There is a child hoping, wishing, wondering when he/she will have a forever family. Each night I pray for our child, our child continues to live in uncertainty. I pray his/her foster family is loving, caring, protective, secure, therapeutic and supportive. One day, we will work together to transition the child to our home.

I still have the fire inside me to keep fighting for the children waiting in foster care for permanency. It will be a long process just to make changes in my local DSHS office, let alone changes further up the chain of command. While our process may be long and unpredictable, I hope to make the path better for future foster-adopt families.

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