Post-placement visits, paperwork… and lots of love

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People who don’t understand adoption assume that once you bring the baby home, the adoption is complete. But domestic adoption doesn’t work that way. Depending on where the adoptive parents or birth parents live, and those particular state’s laws, adoptive parents only have what is called “legal-risk placement” of the baby for the first six months. Essentially, the baby is not officially or legally part of your family yet, but rather, is “placed” with you pending legalities and more paperwork. Just when you think you’re done with filling out forms, there are more!

Because Miles was born in Texas, his birthmother was able to voluntarily and irrevocably relinquish her rights 48 hours after he was born. So, thankfully, we haven’t had to worry about her changing her mind about the adoption. (I don’t think I could have handled that particular stress for six months.) But the agency we worked with then became the legal guardian of Miles–not us–and said agency then “placed” him with us for six months until the required amount of time and post-placement visits with social workers have been completed and we can finalize the adoption.

I guess it’s like a trial period, designed to ensure that we aren’t totally inept at this parenthood thing. The time when birth parents can officially relinquish rights varies from state to state, but to my knowledge most states have the 6-month waiting period before finalization.

IMG_0235We are fortunate to have the BEST social workers here in Virginia. We love our caseworkers and our agency. We’ve had such a great experience with them–a far cry from the Texas agency we are working with. They are really lovely people, sincere, and genuinely care about the three of us. We’ve had two post-placement visits with them thus far, and will have three more before we can finalize. They made our home study a positive experience, and they have made our post-placement work just as pleasant.

Each post-placement visit is about an hour, in which our caseworker asks questions about how Miles is doing, how we are doing, what new things he is up to, how much sleep we’re getting, etc. It doesn’t feel like an invasion of our privacy at all, as I’ve heard some other adoptive parents say. Rather, I think it’s fun to talk about Miles for an hour. I’ll talk about him to anyone who will listen, and for one whole hour each month, I have the undivided attention of a woman who is paid to listen to me blabber on about how amazing he is. It’s great.

After each visit, our Virginia caseworker mails a written report to the Texas agency. We also have to provide our own written reports to the Texas agency each month, and we had to send some paperwork that wasn’t required for our home study in Virginia but apparently is in Texas. A handsketch of our house, which was kind of strange. And they asked us to send them photos of Miles every month along with the update. We also have to notify them if we are traveling out of Virginia and gain their “permission” to take him anywhere.

IMG_0182We are looking forward to finalizing the adoption, in October or November, so that we can officially be a family in the eyes of the law. This week, we need to make a final decision whether we will finalize the adoption in front of a judge in Virginia or in Texas. I’m waiting on a call back from a lawyer here in town who can advise me what is needed to finalize in Virginia. We would much rather do that than travel back to Texas, so I’m hoping that works out. We’d really love to be able to finalize our family here at home.

Not that I’ve had any time to think about it, but I know that finalizing Miles’ adoption will be such a special day. Not to mention a huge relief. No more paperwork, no more limbo… just a regular family, like everybody else’s. Though I will miss having someone to brag about Miles to for an entire hour each month. I guess I’ll just have to call one of you. 🙂

 

 

20 thoughts on “Post-placement visits, paperwork… and lots of love

  1. How has it already been 6 months that you’ve had Miles?!??? Where does the time go? Love the pictures, he’s getting SO BIG!!! So excited for you guys to finalize everything.

  2. We have such fond memories of our finalization in court. The judge gives all the kids teddy bears and asked Dana if we were her parents. She was just over 5 months and cooed but still looked concerned that we weren’t up for the task. It was great!

    1. I can’t wait to finalize – going to be such a great day!!! How funny that the judge asked Dana at 5 months! I wonder what Miles will say… he sure thinks he can talk! Babbling all the time. 🙂

  3. Maya

    I have so enjoyed reading your story!!! Ironically, we got “the call” yesterday!! Our baby is waiting for us in Texas, we have a 2000 mile journey ahead of us to bring our son home! Thank you for sharing your journey, he is gorgeous and you are blessed!!!!

    1. Wow, Maya! Congratulations!! Good luck – I hope everything goes smoothly for you in Texas. Our road trip to get our son was the most exciting/scary/anxious/wonderful time of my life. You are in for the most amazing adventure!!

  4. Jill

    I have been reading your blog for almost 8 months now I think! My husband and I are going through the process, we are finishing up our profile and then starts the waiting game. We are so very excited and nervous but your words have been so reassuring the entire way through. I felt like you were taking the words out of my own mouth through it all! SO thank you and best of luck!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jill! Adopting Miles has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me – worth every second of the wait. I knew adopting would be special but I continue to be amazed at just how incredible my love is for him. Good luck to you – remember to try and enjoy the wait because it won’t last forever (even if it seems like it might). You are on your way and it will happen!

  5. musicgirl99

    Hello My name is Megan Feveryear.
    My friends and I are starting this group called “The Movement”. The Movement is where a group of high school kids get together and work on service projects for families that are in the process of adoption or fostering children. I have read your blog love your stories about Miles. My group and I have to follow a family going through adoption and I wondered if it might be possible if we could follow your story?

  6. Amy

    My husband and I are just starting the adoption journey. I’m truly enjoying reading about your experience – you are so blessed to have had such a wonderful outcome. I hope someday to have a similar story to share.

    1. Hi Amy, thank you for your comment! We ARE so fortunate, and I swear, not a day goes by without me thanking my lucky stars. 🙂 Adoption has been the most amazing gift ever. I wish you and your husband the very best on your journey. There will be difficult days, but the wait is worth it!

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