The first route we tried to adopt through was the Georgia Foster Care System. This was the most inexpensive route but didn’t seem to fit for this time in our life. I say that specifically because I don’t think that door is shut. I wouldn’t mind eventually being foster parents. I think being foster parents is very scriptural and God continues to ask us to take care of the least of His AND when we do take care of the least of His we are taking care of Him: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:31-46. Isn’t that amazing? I love that verse SO much.
When you get involved with the foster care system there are three options: adoption, fostering to adopt and strictly fostering where you would temporarily bring children in your home until their families got back on their feet.
We went into the system hoping to foster to adopt. We would bring children into our home until a child’s parents terminated their rights. We didn’t think the state looked favorably at this choice. Ideally Georgia wants to see the parents get back on their feet. Ideally that is what I would like to see as well but we do not live in an ideal world. I will not share much of my opinion here – but feel free to ask us both how we feel about adoption through the state of Georgia. In order to do anything within the Cherokee County Foster Care system we had to take an orientation class, a series of other classes and complete a home study.
We completed our orientation class and started taking the necessary classes. We took these classes through a private agency. Many private agencies have state approved classes so you don’t have to wait for your county to offer the classes which would have been months for us. We did our classes through a private agency which I will not mention here but I am not sure what this private agency does or if they do it with integrity. Our first meeting with them was at their office in downtown Atlanta. They were unsure of many things and gave us a lot of incorrect information. As we left their office we were thankful for the resources that were available to us. I will not offer a lot of advice, but my one piece of advice is do your research and find resources before you dive in. This agency was giving out a lot of incorrect information. So boo to them.
We began attending classes in Gwinnett County about an hour from our house. We decided to knock it out in two weekends so that meant I had to sit still for a VERY long time – not a gift of mine. One of our exercises in this class was to “draw our child.” Me being the simpleton I am, I drew a happy child. Greg drew Marvel Comic’s superhero, Wolverine. Come on, he is a defender with his HANDS! Both of us got nasty looks from the supervisor of the class. We learned statistics – way to cope with children – ways to deal with our feelings – and the amount of time it takes for me to get antsy which is about 29 minutes. Greg had to take me out for runs after those classes. I can guarantee you that Cherokee County’s classes were taught with more compassion than these classes. These classes through this private agency offered a lot of generalization and stereotypes that we did not appreciate. As I think back on that class I still get pretty angry about the things the instructor talked about and some exercises that were led and they definitely not worth mentioning. But I digress on that.
After those classes we both felt this was not the right way for us at the time. We were ready to start a family and I don’t know if I could have emotionally handled bringing children into our home and wait for their parents to get back on their feet. It is absolutely the right thing to do if you are foster parents but emotionally that is not something I could do at the time. Adopting through the foster care system is an amazing thing to do despite all the hoops you have to jump through AND I have heard amazing stories through this system so please don’t think I am discounting this route. I hope we can explore that road again one day but we just didn’t feel right about that road at that time.
We are not experts at the Georgia Foster Care. I hope this does not deter you from such a wonderful system – I know I continue to say that and I say that because I PASSIONATELY believe that. This is what we experienced. We met many people who were extremely passionate about adoption, fostering, and people in general. We met a few who were bitter and had been hurt by the system as well. Maybe you find those two different people on every road you take – especially anything having to do with the government.
After taking these classes we decided that we would look into a private adoption agency next after talking with some other friends. I’ll explain a little bit about that later.
* Please remember I am not an expert on adoption or the foster care system – I just wanted to share our route through adoption. If you have any questions or would like me to clarify feel free to ask.