Sometimes when I’m thinking about what topics to cover in upcoming posts, I’ll start thinking about all of the major things that we’ve gone through concerning foster care over the years. Tonight, I happened to think about adoption; specifically, how the adoption process begins.
When a foster child is put up for adoption, they have usually been in the foster care system for at least a year. During that time, the biological parents are supposed to be taking parenting classes, or getting sober or clean, or doing whatever the judge has explained that they need to do in order to get their child back. After that year, if the judge determines that the biological parents have not done right by the court and gotten their acts together, then the parents’ rights will be terminated (also called a TPR – Termination of Parental Rights). This means that the judge legally takes away the bio parents’ rights to the child in question, and that the parents have no legal ties to the child anymore. In our family, the parent rights had to be terminated for all but one case. My sister’s biological mother gave up her rights because she knew she couldn’t take care of her children (she had a mental disability… I’ll post more about that situation soon). In all of the cases though, the bio parents ended with having no legal right to be guardian over the children anymore.
After the biological parents’ rights have been terminated (or given up), then the foster parents are asked if they would like to adopt the child. Since they have been caring for the child, they are given first rights to keep the child as their own. In our case, each time a child was able to be adopted, they wereadopted. My five siblings were the only kids we have taken in whose parents’ rights were terminated and who were placed up for adoption.
After the foster parents decide that they want to adopt the child, the whole process really begins. There’s a ton of paperwork, meetings with lawyers, court dates, and overall craziness. The process has lasted usually around a year from start to finish.
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