the Process of Adoption from Foster Care:
A Parent's Perspective
Part 2 of 2
Erin Cabral and her husband Andres adopted a child from foster care in 2019. Now they are in the process to adopt again. She was happy to give us insight about the winding road to adoption from a parent’s point of view.
My husband and I talked about adding to our family of two a couple years after we were married. The idea of having a baby wasn’t really appealing to us, so when we knew we wanted to expand our family, we began seriously discussing adoption. We’re an active couple and we were really interested in the possibility of adopting an older child because he would be able to fit into our lifestyle more easily than a younger child who is more dependent and has greater needs. We also learned about the need for parents interested in adopting older children who were in the foster care system. We both felt a connection to meeting this need.
Andres and I met with Veronica at CAP for an Information Meeting. She was full of information and passion for connecting children with families. We then decided to begin the process, starting with taking MAPP training a couple months after that initial meeting. We began the MAPP training in the spring of 2017. We really enjoyed learning from the other families in our class. Talking through different adoption scenarios with each other gave us new perspectives and food for thought. We talked about what we learned after each class and processed our feelings together. I think the MAPP classes were effective in helping Andres and me begin the conversation about our approach to parenting a child with special needs (including helping them through trauma). The MAPP classes were also very important in helping us identify the level of need we were able to support along with the age range of a child we were looking to adopt.
While the MAPP training was occurring, we also started our home study process. While Veronica definitely tried to make it as easy as possible, it’s definitely a multi-step process that takes a long time, with a lot of paperwork. The process included a medical exam, fingerprinting, background checks, completing questions about our lives (past and present) and a review of our home. I’m sure there are some steps I’m forgetting since it’s been a few years. Even though it included so many steps which could feel never-ending and overwhelming at times, we always had CAP’s support in completing the process.
By the fall of 2017, we had an approved home study and could officially begin looking. We identified and matched with a sibling group almost immediately. CAP was available to help us with the search, but through my own research I identified the children as a potential fit. We moved through meetings to learn about the children quickly, but due to circumstances out of our control, the process failed for a number of months. After quite some time, we decided to remove ourselves from the situation. The children never knew about us so the decision was somewhat easy to make. It was just very difficult to process the amount of time that went by without much happening.
Once we began our search again, in the early spring of 2018, we quickly matched with our son, Ray. It was clear from the first communication that he had a team of people who were passionate and dedicated to finding him a family. The process moved quickly, and it just felt right from the very beginning. I think our minds were at ease because there was good communication (this was majorly lacking the first time around) and transparency. We video-chatted with Ray, talked to those who knew him best (teachers, foster mother, case worker, etc.) and reviewed his profile carefully to be sure we could meet his needs. Within a month of that first connection, my husband and I headed to Delaware to meet Ray. That was in April, and we visited with him a few more times before he moved in with us in June 2018. Our adoption was finalized in March 2019.
From the moment Ray joined our family, he asked when we could adopt a brother for him. We were very open with him that he was our primary focus, and that we wanted to be sure we built a strong family and support system for him before we welcomed another child to our family. Every six months or so we’d check in as a family to see what our thoughts were. Of course, Ray always said he was ready. My husband and I knew the timing wasn’t right and while Ray was saying he was ready, we knew he still needed to be the center of our world.
In late summer 2020, we felt a shift in our family towards being more settled, so we decided the time was right to add another family member. Ray was very specific in that he wanted an older brother. We contacted Veronica to start the process, and by October 2020, we were actively searching.
We are still searching for the right fit, and know that the time we put into the search process will pay off in building a healthy and happy family in the long run. It’s an emotional process full of ups and downs, but having been through it once already, we’re more confident in communicating our family’s strengths and needs, and knowing the needs we can support. The main difference from the first time around is that Ray is at the center of our decision making. Andres and I may have been able to support some special needs that we know Ray would not be able to adjust to having in our home.
I was once given the advice that “no path to parenthood is ever easy.” That has really stuck with me. And even though we’ve been through it once already, this time is no easier than the first. We still can’t have expectations about the process, we can’t make assumptions about the children, and there’s a lot out of our control. One consistent thing, though, is CAP’s support. That in itself gives us some peace of mind and the confidence that the process will work out for the best—we just may not see it at the time!
We hope you found part 2 of this “Process of Adoption from Foster Care” blog helpful and enlightening. Check out Part 1 to hear the perspective of this same process from a CAP Adoption Specialist, Veronica Black.