Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

Fostering a Daughter

So we had our Screening Appointment yesterday. I think they like us.

We learned a lot about the risk involved. The risk of getting our hearts broken if it doesn’t turn out just right. The risk of our beloved daughter having health issues. And really all foster-adopt kids are considered special needs. There is a reason they’ve been removed from their home or have been handed to the state.
I am trying to think through how to write about this process here. Once we have our daughter- and we hope the first daughter we get will BE our forever daughter- but once we have her… is it even OK to blog about it? Post her pictures? It’s all anonymous here, but still…
The reason I started this blog was to be a family journal of sorts.. something I plan to print out at the end of each year, and keep on hand to share with my children in the years to come.
I guess I need to write a letter to our future daughter at some point. To let her know that, not matter how harrowing the journey may be for us, even if we meet resistance in others, or struggles in our own hearts, we are setting out to love her & care for her. I don’t know what life she will be leaving as she joins our family. And I don’t know if the first child we bring into our home will be the one that stays forever. But I hope with all my heart that’s how it happens.
Here is a run-down of the child’s side of the process (abbreviated, and probably a little off the mark. But I am giving my best novice summary.)
  • it is determined that the child must be removed from the family for the child’s safety
  • the child is placed in an emergency foster home
  • if the birth parent doesn’t comply with & meet legal expectations for recovery, then
  • the state services are severed for that parent
  • the hearing for dissolution of birth parent’s rights is scheduled
  • the child is matched & placed with a foster-adopt family in hopes of being a permanent home
  • the hearing takes place, and if the birth parent appeals the decision
  • another 60 day process takes place & once that’s all set
  • once that process is closed, the adoptive family can finally breathe & then it’s another 8-10 months for legal adoption
I think that’s it. But the process really goes all over the map, is dependent on the county of origin for the child, the judge involved in the legal proceedings, the birth parent & their state of mind. Each situation is evaluated by our case worker & the agency’s very experienced team. The assess the risk level & whether or not we should take a child in. They know what we’re open to, and they know we want a child to stay with us. But sometimes seemingly low-risk situations turn out high-risk, and sometimes high-risk ones turn out less so. Bringing an infant into our home means more risk. Oftentimes they are placed directly into a foster-adopt home before even the hearing is scheduled for dissolution of the parent’s rights. It’s a risk we’d have to evaluate case by case. And there’s more to all this, but I’ll stop here.
I don’t like being all technical. But it’s reality. I don’t want to pretend that this child just popped out of thin air and landed in our family. She will have a history, a birth family, she will have a heritage and life that I want to honor. I want to respect where she comes from, and I want to love her for the rest of her life. I want to be her mother, and I want to support her on her journey even if one day that means finding out more about where she started out. I will stick it out with her no matter what happens. But, I have no idea how this will all turn out. Who ever does? But I know I am entering into a relationship with my little girl that is going to have deep issues from the start, through no fault of hers or our own. I just want her to know that I am there for her, always.
Now onto 3-4 months of appointments, paperwork, organizing, meetings, and discussions.

One Reply to “Fostering a Daughter”

  • Wow, that is really interesting, there is so much to it. Well like I’ve said before, I love watching this process, and I am so excited for you and for your family and future little daughter.

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