I have a few home study questions to ask for you experts out there. :) DH and I are just waiting until I'm a few paychecks into the school year before we begin the home study process and I have a few questions about it. First off, I think that we're going to do the home study first and then send it in to the agency we choose so that we can at least get started on it soon. I think we're going to go with an agency in Utah and they only do them in Utah so I'm sure that'll be okay. I have a friend who used one of these agencies before and she did her home study beforehand and sent it to them when the agency accepted her. I've also heard a lot of people in VA use them and they definitely don't do home studies all the way in VA so I'm sure we can just do it in this state.
Anyway, I was thinking I should just start by calling social services which is based out of Richmond. We're pretty far from there but that seems to be where they want you to direct your calls. I imagine they'll just give me numbers or assign me to someone closer to home to do the home visits and all of that. So that's the plan for now. So to my questions...
DH is very worried about them looking at our bank statements and saying that we can't afford to adopt. Is this true? I was under the impression they merely are doing the home study to see that you're fit to parent and have a safe environment. We can definitely afford to care for a child and make well over the average income you have to make to be considered for adoption so I doubt that'll be an issue. I mean, when they do the home study are they looking to see if you can afford it yet? We're planning to finish the home study asap so that we can apply for grants and maybe a loan. Our savings are a little low right now because I was off for the summer and haven't gotten my first paycheck yet from being back at work but DH traditionally saves 20% of his paycheck and I usually save 50% or so if it's a good month...also we have a really low house payment, one of our cars is already paid off, and other than that the only debt we have is school loans. My car is almost paid off as well. So...I think they're looking for how you manage your money more right?
Also, for the insurance issue. I've read that with the home study they typically require proof of health insurance for both spouses as well as proof of being able to have health insurance for the child. The problem with this is that DH has no health insurance currently because his boss is his step dad who doesn't believe in health insurance...stupid I know. DH should be getting a new job shortly after the new year and benefits start from day one with that job and great benefits. However, we're wondering if it's possible for him to get approved temporarily for medcaid (he might make too much for this anyway) so he can get a physical and what not and if he did that could we get a letter saying if we had a baby they'd be approved too or will we need to wait until he has benefits with his new job first? I have insurance but I'm disabled so it's Medicare and they will not include a child on that policy.
Also, how "ready" does the home actually need to be for the visit itself? DH read that you need everything to be child proofed already meaning the cabinet doors and such and that you need baby gates and everything else already. Is that true? If we're hoping for a newborn do we need to have a baby room done already as well? And what about pets? I know we need vet records. We have three cats and they aren't up to date on their shots so we'll need to take them all in first, but what about the litter and such? Is that considered a problem? I imagine it just needs to be clean and also needs be shown it can be blocked off so that it couldn't be accessed easily by a child. Am I over thinking this? Lol. I have no idea.
Sorry for the incredibly long message. I wasn't sure how to ask the questions without adding a lot of detail. My brain is going all over the place. Thanks in advance ladies!
In our situation we always went through the state. In Seattle, we had to have everything child ready. I don't remember anything about our specific income. She asked about our budget & debt but didn't go into how we would afford kids.
In Montana, we had to ask them to even come check out the kid rooms.
Neither state asked for proof of healh insurance or about it at all. Seattle asked about any health issues. I pretty much never have coverage. Also, with the state (in our experience) the kids are on Medicaid & are covered after adoption.
My agency did the home study themselves and it was a process that included classes over 5 days (2 months), making the portfolio, the dear birth mom letter, and all paperwork. At the very end was the home visit. We didn't need to have anything child ready except if one had guns they needed to have a gun safe. For us the home study was EVERYTHING wiht the home visit being the smallest portion of the home study.
We were asked extensive financial records...debts all listed, bank savings listed with an assests to liabilities ratio. We had to have proof of home insurance, car insurance, life insurance, health insurance...including a letter from my employer that the baby would be put on the insurance. My agency would not have accepted medicaid as insurance....most of the birth moms are on medicaid and often part of why they are placing the baby for adoption is wanting better for the baby than they could provide.
Honestly I would be looking and requesting information now and see what different places require. Your state might require more or less.....but I would personally save now and wait until your DH actually starts the new job with insurance. It's really not all that long. It's so hard to know if you would actually get any of the grants or not so it would be better to have some savings there in case the wait is short.
Thanks ladies! I do think we'll have to wait for DH to get his new job to finish the home study at the very least. In a few weeks we're getting some more money coming in that should finally put us in a better place. It's just been a rough summer. The earliest we could begin a home study would be then, but I'm thinking about just continuing research, getting all of the paper work ready that I know most places require just so we know where it is and it's ready to go once it's needed. I guess right now we're mostly wanting to start preparing for it without actively beginning it. I still have another week before AF shows to end my last fertility cycle and we know we don't want to do anything before then just to be safe. We also want to tell family then which may help us also. They may have ideas or know something we don't so I guess we'll wait and see on that.
We have a lot of things we'd need to do anyway before we'd be completely ready to start. We have some small things to do around our house. We remodeled our house a few years ago and we had some seriously annoying and lazy electricians that never finished their work. So we have some outlets that aren't quite right and we need another and we have some exposed wires which are capped off and not live but we'd still want to cover I'm sure before we could have a child in the home. We have some light fixtures that need some help too and one has a bad socket and pops every time you turn the light on. It sparks on occasion. So we need to fix some things like that I'm sure. We thought we'd probably go ahead and get started on some things that need to be done so things around the house, taking the cats to the vet to get their shots and everything updated (they haven't been in years since they're always inside), etc. We also considered just getting DH his own individual policy for the time being which we could afford since he has no health problems. It's not like it'd hurt him to have real insurance. Lol.
I definitely would never want to keep a baby on medicaid. I wouldn't want medicaid myself. I don't trust it and I don't think it offers decent care at all really. The only reason we were thinking of doing that was because we figured maybe we could get moving with things and then by the time we were matched and placed DH would have better insurance. It really isn't that long to wait though for things to be right.
I've contacted two agencies. I heard from one last week and am waiting to hear from the other today. The one I heard from last week does the home studies but they kind of indicated they may not be the right agency for us because we'll be on a budget and they're private non-profit and get no donations or anything so they're more pricey. I think the home study with them is pretty high as well. The agency I'm waiting to hear from today has budget plans and they get donations so they should be lower in price on average at least for agency fees. They don't do home studies in my state though so if we wanted to use them I'd have to check and see if they'd accept a home studies just done by our local social services department.
Can you adopt newborns or infants from social services? I've heard of plenty of people that adopt though them but I thought it was mostly for foster to adopt...I keep thinking I've researched enough but apparently not. Lol.
In my state if you have a newborn available that isn't going through foster care first, it is generally adopted via the private agencies. Foster first and than adoption is way more common. Definitely a different process from going through an agency adoption.
Otherwise it is definitely less expensive if you find the baby yourself...for example all your friends and family know you want to adopt and someone knows someone who is placing the baby for adoption. In that case a lot of the agency fees are gone and it's just lawyer fees and the home study. So probably more like 7-10K instead of 15-30K.
Yeah I've thought a lot about it. I'm terrified of foster to adopt. I've heard so many horror stories about it and about it taking forever. My cousin works with the Children's Home Society and I was asking her some questions about it. She was trying to do that years ago but they never had a baby available under 6 months which was what they wanted so they never had any kids in their home. A few years later she ended up having two biological kids though and I don't know if she plans to pursue it again. She's in FL though too and I'm in VA so things are obviously different between the states. I guess we just need to keep going through it all to figure out what's best for us not easiest. If we're going to spend all of this money and really commit to it, I feel like we need to be 100% sure that what we're doing is right and that we can afford it before we put a lot of money into it and then find out we can't continue or something. Thankfully we can save pretty quickly so it might just be a matter of giving it a few more months. I'm still in research mode anyway. Lol. I'm learning so much though and I'm glad for that. I've always wondered how all of this works. So I guess the best thing we can do right now is keep learning and contacting places to see what options we have in different agencies and different types of adoptions while we save. :)
Definitely varies by state and even by region. I thought about it where I live now but didn't look into too much. My DH wasn't overly thrilled with the foster/adopt route.
But my aunt is still licensed...her kids are 10 and 8 now and both were new babies when she was placed with them and both were adopted by her and her partner. she said she still gets calls all the time about babies (she did get some calls before the first one but turned the situations down as it didn't feel like a good match)....just as recently as two weeks ago. They have thought about getting another baby but just not sure that it would be best having the two older kids and the family unit works so well now. If I still lived down by them, I probably would have gone that route.
Definitely wasn't a quick or easy decision to decide though for us...took about two years looking at different kinds of adoption and trying to see even if we really wanted too....the longer it's been just the two of us (14 years now), the easier it feels at times to just keep it this way and we had seriously considered remaining child-free during that time. And than the figuring out how to pay for the whole thing took a while.
and hopefully they will extend the tax credit for 2013 and beyond!
Thank you so much sweetie! I'm thinking that maybe it's best for us to go ahead and look into the foster/adopt program. We got our info back from one of the agencies we looked and I just don't see how we'll be able to afford it any time soon if ever. I mean who has up to 10k just lying around? We certainly don't. We do pretty good for ourselves and know that we can take care of a child because we discussed all of that before we started trying on our own. But the agency that I got in contact with the other day told me that they may not be the agency for us because they don't get any donations and therefore have to charge to just stay open. So...they're a good 15k high than the next agency we spoke to. This one I like a lot but going through their price list I about threw up. What they want and when...gives you no time to recooperate before the next big bill is due. Sure we could save the money but it'd take years to save enough and be financially stable at the same time. Even with grants, I just don't see how we can do it.
I think we're going to look into foster to adopt. DH isn't thrilled about the idea but all we're doing is looking right now. I don't love the idea either but maybe I just need to change my way of thinking. It's the enjoyment of children that I miss so much. I've always wanted a home full of children. This may be a way we can do that. I think I'd probably just consider myself a babysitter until I knew they were allowed to stay with me but I'm not sure it'd be so hard. I worked in day care for years and loved those children like they were my own. I wouldn't have adopted one of them in a heartbeat if any of them had needed me. So maybe it'll be a little like that. I do think we'd still want to only get infants and under 6-9 months or so. We'll have to talk about that one of course. DH was falling asleep when I brought this up tonight. So we'll see. Still exploring our options and hoping for the best.
Anyone have any idea how many classes and things like that are involved in fostering? I know it's more than your standard adoption but I'm not sure I've ever heard how much. I'm sure I can find it online somewhere but I just took my ambien and should probably lie down before this message begins to make no sense at all. Lol.
Thanks for all of the information over the last week or so and answering my million questions. It's been helping so much. :)
Well you never know what you might be able to afford in the future. I know we couldn't have afforded it when I was 27 either....but now when I'm almost 34 (next week), it is a different story and we can afford to do it once.
And hopefully they will make the tax credit permanent instead of changing every year...that makes it so hard to plan!
You absolutely CAN be placed with babies via foster care. I know my aunt specifically said babies under 6 months old and she asked for ones that were most likely to be available for adoption.
Classes will again vary by state. But we needed 5 days worth for the agency anyway due to state law. Technically we have a foster license because the first six months or so the baby is with it, it's not finalized and we needed the foster license for that. So a lot of what we did was state required in terms of paperwork, classes, fingerprints....it's just the topics of the classes would be a bit different depending on if you are fostering, adopting a domestic infant, or in the international program. Example, they would probably cover a lot more about kids who have been in bad situtations in foster classes, international they talk about attachment issues with an older child, domestic we talked a lot about openess.
Thank you so much. I'd be going nuts (well more than I am already) without you to talk to. :)
I've just been thinking and thinking about this today and I just feel like we really need to explore the foster/adopt route. I worked in day care for years and I loved those children so much. I knew they wouldn't be there forever. Some of them were only there a short time, but that didn't stop me from bonding with them and I was sad when they left but I could handle it because I always knew they'd probably move on. So, I kind of feel like if that happened to us, if we did foster/adopt and got an infant and had to say goodbye we could at least feel good about the time we had with them. Maybe it's just a matter of perspective. I think if I looked at it as like full time day care until they tell me otherwise I could still bond but not get so close that it would be bad you know?
DH will probably take some convincing. I think it scares him. I heard a story recently of a lady who had a toddler in her home who had some developmental delays. He fell down more than average when he started walking and she said he had some pretty bad bruises and they were accused of abusing him. He was taken out of their home and now they're trying to adopt and are struggling because of the past history. I guess it was put in the report that while they could never prove abuse it was expected. That's what DH is scared of mostly. I am too a little but it seems like those things would be less likely. I've worked with kids for so long, and while I've never had a child full time I have a lot of experience with them and I think I'm good with safety and all and I don't think something like that would be likely to happen but who knows. That just may be one of those horror stories that is best to ignore.
My mom has a friend who's children were adopted from foster/adopt and she got them both as infants when they were just a few days old. I think we'd probably go with under 6 months. Classes might be harder to do right now anyway just because DH is finishing his last semester of college. We may need to wait until he's done and has more time unless we can do it without killing him, poor guy. He's a full time student and works full time so he's a busy guy. I guess I should call our local social services department and ask them some questions about all of this. I'm excited thinking about it though.
Last night DH mentioned possibly asking his cousin to let her son (he's 4) come live with us for a while. We both know it would never happen because she'd never allow it even though she neglects him terribly. His great grandmother gives him all he needs thankfully but he needs consistency and he doesn't have it. DH said maybe it would fill that void for us to have a child with us even if they wouldn't stay forever...maybe this is the beginning of him coming around to the foster/adopt idea...