Fears

Like any good listmaker, I had a bunch of questions for our first foster/adopt meeting. Most of them I can live with “either way” I just want to know the answer to. Does the state cover the cost of day care for foster kids? All medical care is covered?

How does the foster care work in a state with a DOMA? I think Croi is the only foster parent, and I am her “roommate.” (obviously the agency knows what is going on, but legally, on paper…) How can I take the kids to the doctor, to school, even be alone with them?

And the biggest fear–my medical history.  I have looked and looked on the internet to find an answer to this question. How does my mental health history effect my eligibility/likelihood to be a foster parent? I can’t find anything. Which is either a really good or really bad sign. Full disclosure: I had (poorly treated) depression for many years. Two years ago October I decided to end my life, and thankfully, ended up in the hospital for 14 days. I got a new course of meds, new psychiatrist, and have never been better. How will that be viewed? I just wanted to know if there was a “waiting period” and how long it was. Both my therapist and my psychiatrist would happily sign a letter saying they support my decision to be a mom.

Does anyone know anything about how mental illness is viewed by foster and adoption agencies? It’s the un-spoken (well, we talked about it last night) fear. I can’t even write the “what comes nexts” for the wave of paralyzing sadness that comes over me.

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On a hopeful note, I won ourgrowingfamily’s diaper giveaway!  I am taking this as a sign that I can begin collecting a few items!

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About EratMama

30 something midwestern gal, married to another 30 something midwestern gal, conquering depression, rockin' foster parent.
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3 Responses to Fears

  1. mommie2be says:

    My answer may be a lot different since I went directly through my state rather than an agency, but I can 100% unequivocally say that it would not rule you out at the starting line. For us, mental health issues are evaluated at the point of the individual. The SW conducting the home study makes the recommendation and/or request for additional info (ie. statement from the mental health professional) based on what he or she feels about the person they are home study-ing. No written rules or cut offs can be a good or a bad thing, as you can imagine. But keep in mind that the entire foster care system is based on the notion of rehabilitation, of change and overcoming obstacles. An incredibly high number of birth parents who are involved in the system have mental health issues and yet, the state supports their parenting case after case – many times with good reason. I would just anticipate questions such as, “What supports do you have in place from keeping yourself from getting to that point again?” “How will you recognize if your health is declining?” ect.

    Can I offer an unsolicited piece of advice? Also ask them how they receive their placements/referrals. Here and many places, the state gets first “dibs” so to speak on foster placements and if they are not able to match, the case gets sent to the agencies. This means that agencies typically end up with the difficult to place cases which include older chidlren (3+), sibling groups, displacements and children with behavioral/medical/mental/physical special needs. Just something you might want to know in your planning.

  2. Carrie says:

    Okay, I promise I’m not a crazy stalker with all my commenting…. but I wanted to say that as someone who works in child welfare (not directly in foster care, but it’s related) my understanding is that it would be pretty rare for a history of depression issues to categorically rule you out. They may very well want documentation from your treatment team that you’re stable enough to parent and to deal with the stress of difficult children and difficult transitions in and out your home, and they may want proof that you have that treatment team as a support. Your state’s or a specific agency’s rules might be different, but I think you’re safe to assume that it will not be an insurmountable barrier!

  3. erathora says:

    Thanks to both of you. I welcome all comments–especially unsolicited ones. If I knew what to ask, I’d at least be half way there. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of questions to ask.

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