There were 80,000 children in the California foster care system in 2006 (PDF). There are likely at least that many there now, if not more. And we can't adopt or care for any of them.
My name is Robin Powell, I live with my partner of ten years â€“ RA â€“ and RJ (RA's partner for 12 or more years). I am the youngest of us by a significant margin, being 34.
For much of her life RA has been trying, unsuccessfully, to have a child; she has been trying more seriously in the last ten years, and has suffered through miscarriages and shattered hopes as the result.
So we decided to look into adoption. A little over a year ago we were immediately rejected by an open adoption agency on the grounds that none of the mothers they work with would ever choose us (note that they never spoke to any of these women). This wasn't too surprising, all things considered. However, we were recently informed by Family Builders that while they have spoken to case workers for San Francisco county (and apparently some surrounding counties as well) the case workers will not speak with us. Because there are three romantically-entangled adults in our home.
I don't blame Family Builders for this, especially as they've been nothing but courteous and helpful, and I believe that if it were up to them they would place with us (assuming the home study went well). It is not up to them, though, it is up to the county social workers, who simply will not consider it, will not meet with us, and who are unknown to us (we are not permitted to know who they are). We feel as though we've been tried and sentenced without being able to know our accuser, a situation which is normally a crime in any court of law in this country.
We don't know where to go or what to do next, which is why I am turning to the internet for help. I am no longer emotionally capable of driving this processes (it is hard enough to write this without crying), so I have turned it over to some friends. If you have any ideas or think you can help or anything related to this issue, please contact our adoption help email address.
I am at the end of my emotional rope, and I'm hoping at least some kind people can â€“ and will â€“ help us with the contact and research process.
Our Understanding Of The Situation
We understand that, for whatever reason, county workers will not work with us. This means that adopting needy children in the United States is out. We might be allowed to foster, although it is certainly not an ideal solution (and, frankly, is a somewhat horrifying idea to us â€“ watching children we've grown to care for having to leave us sounds really hard to bear). In theory, if we fostered we would get right of first refusal should the child drop from the foster system into the adoption system. County workers would still have to approve of the placement, and might not do so. That last bit really scares us; a child going back to their birth parents is one thing, but if a child we cared for was taken away to be adopted by someone else, that would kill us.
As for foreign adoption, that would mean a home study by someone with the State Department â€“ meaning we would need convince all of the adoption group, the state department, and the foreign government, which seems rather hopeless. We are considering trying a few anyway â€“ see below if you'd like to help.
Open adoption groups likely will not work with us, for fear of frightening off mothers, although we should try a few anyway â€“ see below if you would like to help.
We believe that closed adoption and/or adoption attorneys in the United States are our best bet. I don't know who does the home study in this case. We are actively seeking help with finding such a group â€“ again, see below if you would like to help.
Things We Know We Need and Things We Don't
The next step seems to be calling as many adoption agencies and attorneys as possible, to see if we can find anyone willing to work with us. This is where you come in, if you would like to help us out.
If you are going to suggest an agency please call them first. Find out if they would be willing to even work with us, especially since we are going to have enough rejections to work through. Saving us some of that means a lot. On the other hand, if you do talk to an agency that clearly will not work with us, please let our adoption help email address know, to save duplication of effort. We are, of course, looking for infants (like everyone else who wants to adopt), but we are certainly willing to be flexible at this point.
We might need a show of support. If you might be willing to call or write someone on our behalf, please give our adoption help email address your contact information (you can just send an email so we have your address).
We would like for this to be spread far and wide, particularly to those in the adoption industry. Tweet it, post it on Reddit, blog about it, do whatever you think will help.
We also need ideas: none of us are familiar with all of the adoption options in any level of detail, and we don't know anything about the people or groups involved.
We do not need anyone pushed or yelled at. Do not pick someone to yell at on our behalf. We want to cultivate good will, not destroy it. If you want to yell at someone, let our adoption help email address know and give them your contact information. Should the time for that arrive, we will make you aware of it.
However, if you know, or think you might know, who we could be yelling at (or imploring, or begging, or just talking to) such that it might help, this is something we could use and is something we need. Again, please contact our adoption help email address with your information. We are completely clueless in this regard; our opponents are faceless and nameless to us. It would be a huge relief to sit down to a friendly chat with someone whose good opinion could actually change what we're going through.
Finally, if you would like to read a more emotional essay about the horror of this process â€“ please, feel free to read Apparently, Zero Parents Is Better Than Three.