Considering Foster Parenting

This is the column where our readers can write in with their questions. We’ll field the questions to one or more experts in the subject and post the responses typically within 2 weeks. Write Us with Your Question!

Q: My husband and I had our daughter when I was 39 and now that she’s three years old, we’d like to add to our family. Having been through a pregnancy and now raising a daughter who is genetically related to us makes us open to expanding our family by being foster parents and potentially adopting. What should are the steps for fostering?

Response from Sharon Munroe, founder/executive director:

Family photo

Sharon, Jasmine (at her third birthday) and Grandma Barbara.

A:  There are choices for adding to a family through foster care, domestic and international adoption. Here are the steps we took to add to our family through foster care:

  1. My husband and wanted to learn more about fostering and adopting and went to an orientation with our state agency “CPS” in January 2010.
  2. In March of that year we were selected to begin training in Texas’ PRIDE Program with the hope of being certified as a foster and adoptive home and being able to care for a child. (Many similar training and placement programs exist in our city and across the country, including those with private agencies.)
  3. In that six-week period, we had lots of homework, including paperwork to complete, home and fire inspections, a first aid and CPR training class and of course, a home study. Early in the process, we also had the mandatory criminal background checks.
  4. A Home study is next. During that visit, we talked with a social worker about a variety of topics including our own childhoods, and our values and plans for the placement. Importantly, we were asked about our support network and how our families, friends and neighbors would react to a foster placement and adoption of a child.
  5. Once we were certified as a foster and adoptive family we waited fora call. The waiting was hard.
  6. We received a call from our local child protective services office and received our foster daughter and paperwork.

(She was eligible for adoption 1.5 years later and we adopted her at age 2. She is shown celebrating her third birthday in the photo.)

You can learn more, and find out if foster or foster-to-adopt is the right way to build or expand your family at the State of Texas website, or your state’s Child Protective Services website.

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