Investigating the Foster Care Adoption Process

Husband Darrin and I have received several rather profound “no” responses when it comes to international adoption. We’ve wanted to add an orphan toddler to our home, along with son Sam, 5, and our 100-pound pit bull, Blu.

(Can I use “orphan?” Is that PC? I’m learning so much about adoption jargon!)

Three helpful international agencies we interviewed checked within each country’s program  and explained that we are too old (we’re 45 and 46, respectively) and too poor (with too many health problems!) to score a perfect, healthy baby from China, Haiti, Ethiopia and a couple others.

Two of the three agencies did not want to waste our time, and they urged us to seek a domestic adoption working with a Los Angeles County foster-to-adopt program.  They suggested that becoming a foster family might be an efficient route to toddler adoption for us.


While Sam was in summer camp this month, Darrin and I drove to a dimly lit, air-conditioned office in Culver City along with 60 or so other couples, singles and adults of every race, and filled out piles of paperwork.

We sat up front because we were running and those seats were open. Most of the hopeful adoptive families in the room were Latino and African American, and I wondered if the fact that husband Darrin and I are obviously Caucasian might send us to the back of the line.

We learned what it was like to become foster parents to an at-risk toddler within the county system, and the info was helpful but scary:

  • Most of the kids in the Los Angeles Country foster care system suffer some kind of special medical, emotional or educational need
  • Most are older and part of a sibling group
  • Many can no longer live with their birth families due to abuse and neglect

I’ll fill you in on more details on Friday, after I emotionally process our visit. I found it somewhat intimidating and the country speakers told us of the huge need for foster parents…  I copied this poem into my notes to calm myself down:

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.”

– Hodding Carter Jr.

Add a Comment
Back To The Adoption Diaries, by Nicole Dorsey-Straff
  1. by LIZ GILLEY

    On August 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

    My husband and I live in Texas and we were Foster to adopt and then change to Foster and Adopt, and we now have 2 beautiful adopted boys. It does seem like most the children have issues, but in real like it is not like that.
    Do not give up on the system, but you also must be flexable. People always say ” I could not give them up if I was just Fostering” my motto was when one leaves I now have room to save another child. These children are our future!
    Liz Gilley

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