Training Updates

We only have two more training classes to go! What felt pretty daunting at the beginning of this journey has actually not been so bad. Although some of the training topics have been heavy, I was really worried about all the running around and getting childcare but it’s all worked out so far.

Some of the topics we’ve covered have included grief & loss, sexual abuse prevention, cultural diversity, and discipline/giving your child choices. So, tough topics, but really things any parent could learn about. We’ve also learned a lot about the process and how Foster Care works, along with how thing have changed over the years.

While my awareness of the need for foster parents is part of what brought us down this route, it’s still shocking and sad to hear stories like this in the news. Texas had 65 children in foster care that were sleeping in someone’s office in March because they didn’t have enough beds. I’ve discovered this process will move so much quicker than I thought – originally I thought it might take months to get a placement, and now it seems like it could be weeks once we wrap up the home study because they have a such a big need for homes.

What’s next:

  • Two more classes! We have one that will mostly consist of CPR and First Aid, and then a class about Policies and Procedures to tell us the next steps going forward.
  • Any other paperwork, etc – I know we still need to get TB tests, and take photos of things like our medical lock boxes, and get anything else needed for the Home Study in order
  • Home Study – these are typically completed in 30 days once they open the case, and then we can move to placement. I will share more about what this looks like once we know!

Training & Fire Inspection

We’ve got a few more updates on our progress! Here’s where we’re at now:

Fire Inspection – We passed! Turns out scheduling a Fire Inspection is way harder than the actual inspection. The Fire Marshall was really nice and the whole thing only took a few minutes.

Training – We have two in-person training/classes under our belt! They’ve actually been really interesting. We’re learning a lot about process, the foster care system, and how to empathize with the children in the system.

We’ve learned some numbers that are just really eye opening – there are over 28,000 kids in foster care in Texas and over 5,000 just in the Houston area.

One thing I’ve liked about the classes that I didn’t expect is that it’s made this feel really “real” and more exciting. Up until now it’s been a lot of paperwork and process stuff, and the classes have started to bring it to life.

We’ve also been really lucky to have friends and family help out with Oliver while we are in class during the week.

What’s next:

Well, we’ve got the classes through the end of April. We also have a couple little things to take care of before we jump into a home study – we have to take pictures of the inside and outside of the house and get a TB test.

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Finger Prints and Fire Extinguishers

We’ve been making good progress on our to-do list, but it’s been interesting – things that seem like they might be pretty easy have almost always included more steps than we thought they would.

Here’s what else we’ve checked off the list:

Finger Prints – I thought this would be like going to a post office really quick or something. Apparently there are actually only a few places that do this. I had to schedule an appointment and go to an H&R block in a strip mall in some neighborhood I was definitely not familiar with. But, the process itself only took about 5 minutes.

2 of 3 Online Trainings – We have 3 online trainings we have to do. Technically we don’t start training until April, but I’m knocking these out now. They sound really intense, but have actually been pretty easy.

Schedule a Fire Inspection – okay so technically the inspection is the item on the checklist, but scheduling it was sort of a challenge. I ended up going to the City Permit Office to finally get it scheduled. We also have to make sure our fire extinguisher is a certain weight, and then get it checked and tagged, before the inspection.

What’s next:

Fire Inspection – the fire marshal will come to our house and make sure the aforementioned fire extinguisher is all good, all the rooms have fire alarms, etc.

Start Training – we start our training in April, and will be attending classes at Depelchin every Tuesday and Thursday. The classes include CPR, discipline and more. We’ll also have homework, I’ve been told.

We also have several other small to-do items, like getting lock boxes for all of our medication and TB tests. You can see our full check list here if you are interested.


Foster To Adopt Process (in Texas)

I want to start this by saying not only and I not an expert, I’m currently in the process so my understanding of things might change. But I noticed the process FAQs I was seeing were really high level, so I thought I would break it down more, for anyone who is interested in knowing what the process entails.

Orientation – It’s a required first step whether you go through an agency or DFPS. It’s a 2 hour session that goes into what goes into it, the steps, etc. You’ll get the application after this.

Application – the application is long and requires quite a few supporting materials, so expect this to take some time. You’ll need to include:
-Copies of your Driver’s License and Social Security Card
-Floor plan with dimensions of rooms
-Photos of every room inside the house and front/back yard (if you have it)
-Copies of your Auto insurance
-Driving record results
-Pay stubs and bank statements for the last 60 days
The application itself includes a Background Agreement, Health Status Form, and a request for 4 references per parent

Reference and Background Check – we’ve been told this can take up to a couple of weeks, depending on how quickly your references get back and in general how things move. They do email the references, who then fill out a fairly simple form about your ability to parent. The background check includes having to go get finger prints taken and running a formal background check.

Training – this is a big time commitment, so they obviously want to make sure you are a good candidate first. The total training time will be 40 hours, and is a mix of in person classes, homework and online components.

Home Study – I’m so interested to see everything that goes into this, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot of updates. What I know so far: everything above gets wrapped up and then you start the Home Study.

  • We do have a list of additional documents that need to be submitted before the Home Study and includes: copy of birth certificates for everyone in the household, copies of marriage licenses or any divorce decrees, statement from a physician saying you are in good health, copies of pet vaccinations and copies of FBI fingerprint receipt. The good thing about knowing all of this is that you can start getting everything ready – for example, you might need to go get a check up in order to get that letter.
  • A fire and health inspection have to be submitted before the home study

Home Study Committee – Once all requirements are met, all documents received, and your home study is completed your file will go to home study committee for the approval or denial decision

We’ve been told that this entire process from the point our application was received could take anywhere from 90-120 days.

Additional resources:

Adoption FAQs from Depelchin

FAQs from Texas Adoption Resource Exchange

Adopting From Foster Carefta-timeline




Our Next Big Thing

Gabe and I have started the process to adopt a child from CPS care.

Yup. Big news.

It’s also why I wanted to start this again – I started searching for something, another blog that outlined what the process looked like maybe. It was really hard to find. So that’s what I want this to be. A document of the process, and what it looks like for us. I can’t say I’m an expert, obviously, or even that our experience is “normal” but I do want to document what I can.

We’re working with Depelchin, and at the time I’m writing this we’re still really early on in the process. So far we’ve:

  • Attended the orientation/info session
    • This might seem small but it’s a required first step. And, really helpful to understand what’s needed. I (kind of on accident) went to s session on private infant adoption, and there’s a huge difference in the way each of them is done.
  • Turned in our application
    • It was 25 pages long.
    • Along with the application you turn in copies of your license and social security card, floor plan of your house, photo of every room in the house plus the yard, a current photo of everyone in the house, copies of your auto insurance, driving record, paystubs for the last 60 days and your bank statement for the last 60 days.
    • Whew
    • So, that alone could take people quite a while to get together.
  • Had an initial call with Depelchin
    • This was nice, our case manager let us know the application didn’t seem to have any red flags and what our next steps are.
  • Submitted References
    • We each needed 4 references, and they were sent a form to fill out about our parenting capabilities. They’ve all been submitted now!

Next up: Background Checks


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