Will eventually be starting our journey through the foster system, and I am curious to hear from anyone in the Memphis (or general TN) area who has fostered and/or adopted through foster care. What company did you use? How long did the process take? Major pros/cons? Tips? What was your end - did you adopt? How many children did you foster before adopting? Our goal would be to adopt. One issue is we both work full time and I'm not sure how feasible it is to foster and handle all the appointments. Some agencies seem to be more flexible. I've been told we must foster for 6 months before adopting, but I am still unsure of what exactly that entails. If we see a child on a photolisting while doing training, can we request to transfer his/her care to us for 6 months in the hopes to adopt? Or do we have to foster other "random" children that the agency calls us about, and then after 6 months we can inquire about photolisting children? Our preference would be to adopt a child who is already legally free. I would hate it if we had a foster child with us indefinitely, who wasn't the perfect match, and then we are unable to adopt a waiting child because we have a current placement. Any comments would be appreciated!
What they mean by fostering for 6 months before you adopt is, you have to have a child in your home for 6 months before you can adopt that child. So if you're looking at the photolisting, the child that you pick off that listing (regardless of how long you've been licensed) would have to be placed in your home for 6 months before you could file for adoption on that child. And after you file for adoption, you could be waiting a good long while before your adoption is finalized.Good luck!
If your goal in fostering is adoption, you can make that clear from the get-go . . . that way you'd only be considered for placements of children who are legally free for adoption. Some states (I'm not sure if TN is one . . . you'd need to ask a caseworker) will do what they call "legal risk" placements, where the plan is adoption but it's still a possibility that the child could be returned to his/her biological parents. It seems to me that with kids who are legally free for adoption, there would be fewer foster care-related appointments, since his/her permanency goal has already been determined. That's another think you'd need to ask about. You are never required to accept a foster placement . . . the choice is always yours!
Thank you so much for your replies. I had received different information - one agency said that I had to foster for 6 months before being allowed to take in a "permanent" placement for adoption - maybe they were referring to their own rules, not the actual law. Another stated what Virginia said, that the law is simply a child has to be with you for 6 months before an adoption can be finalized in court.