Monday, August 2, 2010

Making Progress

Weww! I completed my autobiography (12 pages) and we are 99% done with our parenting resource plan (15 pages) and Josh is about 80% done on his autobiography. Boy am I going to be glad when this part is done!

So do you want to know what questions are included in these? I don't share this to scare anyone. Quite the opposite. But it is a very real reality check.


1. Parents
1. a. Describe each of your parents, stepparents, guardians or any others directly involved in your upbringing. Include your relationship with them individually, past and present.
1. b. How were you disciplined? What impact did it have on your childhood? Do you feel it affects your role as a parent now (if applicable)?
1. c. Did you ever feel rejected or threatened by your parents? Describe any experiences in your childhood that felt overwhelming or traumatizing to you.
1. d. As much as you recall, describe how early separations from your parents were handled. Were you ever apart from your parents for any amount of time that felt significant to you?
1. e. Did anyone besides your parents take care of you in childhood? What was that relationship like for you?
1. f. How did your parents communicate with you when you were happy and excited? How did your parents communicate with you when you were distressed, discouraged or unhappy?
1. g. Describe your parents’ financial and work situations.
1. h. Describe your parents’ relationships and conflict resolution styles. Are your parents currently together or divorced/ never married/apart?
1. i. What did you learn from your parents about marriage and commitment? Would you say you generally have parented (or want to parent) in ways similar to how you were raised, or do you plan to do anything differently?
1. j. What were your parents’ attitudes on education?
1. k. Were you raised in a religion or spiritual belief? If so, what denomination or religious practice?
1. l. If applicable, what religious faith or spiritual belief do you currently participate in? How important is it to you?
1. m. What values did your parents pass on to you?

2. Brothers and Sisters
2. a. What is the birth order of your siblings, and what are their current ages in relation to yours?
2. b. Describe your relationships with your brothers and sisters, past and present.

3. Yourself
3. a. Describe your education in high school and beyond. Include any degrees or diplomas you received, and what areas you received them in.
3. b. Briefly describe activities you regularly enjoyed as a child, adolescent and teenager.
3. c. Did you have any positive relationships with people other than your parents that you could depend on during any difficult times?
3. d. List a brief history of employment and military service (job title, description, and satisfaction and length of time in the position). A resume may be submitted in lieu of the above.
3. e. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Do you have behavior patterns you would like to change, but have difficulty doing so?
3. f. How do you usually handle problems, stresses or difficulties in the workplace and at home?
3. g. How have you dealt with separation and loss? (Please give an example.)
3. h. What impact do you think your childhood has had on you as an adult? Do you find yourself trying to behave or not to behave in certain ways because of what happened to you as a child?
3. i. Describe your personal goals. How do you see yourself? Is there anything you would like to change your self-image? Is there anything you would like to change about how you relate to others?
3. j. List hobbies, interests and community activities you enjoy as an individual.
3. k. Describe your support network. How much contact does your family have with relatives or friends?
3. l. If your family knows you plan to adopt, how do they feel about it?
3. m. Do you have friends, neighbors or family members who have adopted?

4. Previous Marriages/Partnerships/Relationships
4. a. List the dates of any previous marriage(s) or partnership(s).
4. b. Describe the marriage(s)/partnership(s) and the reason for its/their termination.
4. c. What did you learn from this relationship? How is your current marriage different than the previous one(s)?
d. If you have children from a previous marriage or relationship, what are your child support obligations? Where do your children currently reside and what contact do you have with them?

5. Courtship and Marriage/Partnership
5. a. Where and how did you meet your partner, and what attracted you to him or her?
5. b. How would you describe your role within your current relationship?
5. c. Give an example of your problem solving process with your partner.
5. d. Describe your partner’s strengths and weaknesses.
5. e. How has your relationship changed over the years?
5. f. How much is your marriage like your parents’ marriage? How much is your spouse like your own mother or father?

6. Others in the Home
6. a. If you have children, briefly describe them, including ages, physical description, personality, attitude toward school (if applicable) and activities they participate in or enjoy.
6. b. If you have children, what activities do you enjoy as a family?
6. c. Are there others besides your partner and children who share your home? (If so, include the person’s name, occupation, length of stay, role in the family, financial contributions to the household and his or her feelings about your adoption plan).
6. d. Describe a typical week day and weekend day in your home.

7. Family Health
7. a. Do you have any current medical problems? If so, how do you manage them?
7. b. Are you currently using any medication? If yes, what type? What are the reasons for the medication?
7. c. Have you ever been hospitalized for any physical or mental health needs? If so, please describe.
7. d. Have you ever sought counseling? If yes, describe when this was, circumstances, length of counseling and feelings about this experience. Did you receive any medications as a result?

8. Other
8. a. Do you keep firearms or weapons in your home or on the premise? If so, what safety precautions have you taken?
8. b. Are there any arrests, criminal records or histories of domestic violence or child or substance abuse in your background? (All arrests or convictions that have been expunged must be disclosed. USCIS will have access to these records through the FBI check.) If you have any doubts about past police contact, please fully disclose this information to your WACAP counselor. Failure to disclose this information may result in denial of your adoption application.
8. c. Have you ever been the subject of an unfavorable homestudy or been rejected as an adoptive applicant?


Motivation to Adopt

1. Please describe how you came to the decision to adopt (include information regarding infertility or any other medical condition, if applicable).

2. Describe an incident or anecdote in your life that illustrates why you want to parent a child (or another child).

3. What programs/countries interest you? Why?

4. Do you have any specific concerns about the adoption process or social and health issues of the children in the programs/countries you are considering?

Adoption Process

5. What issues do you feel are important to discuss with your child in regard to his/her adoption?

6. If it were possible, would you be comfortable with contact with your child’s birth parents, siblings or significant childcare providers, such as orphanage workers, foster parents, etc.? Please describe your comfort level and why.


Parenting Preparation

1. Please discuss your parenting and/or other childcare experiences.

2. What education or training, if any, do you have in child development?

3. What forms of discipline have you used, or do you plan to use?

4. If you already have children in your family, how will the adoption of another child impact them?

5. What are your attitudes regarding the use of family and individual counseling to work on personal or family issues?



1. How much time off work will each applicant take when the child comes home? Be very specific. If you have a flexible work schedule, describe in detail the time you will have to care for your child and how you will manage your child while working from home.

2. Do you have other demands on your time, such as caring for the special needs of children already in your home or family members (such as elderly parents) or coping with possible out-of-town travel requirements for work?

3. What is your back-up plan if your child is not ready to enter daycare/school when you are scheduled to return to work?

4. Specify your financial resources to cover extended time off from work.

5. Who lives close enough to you to be available for support?

6. If you are adopting a preschooler, what are your community resources for preschool-age children who are behind in their movement skills, speech and/or social skills? Do you know how to enroll your child in your local Early Intervention Program?

7. What are your resources to meet the daycare needs of a child with developmental and behavioral issues? Where would you go if your long-term daycare provider turned down your child as too aggressive, difficult or just different? What if full-time daycare is not possible for your child?

8. Describe your health insurance coverage. Is your child covered from the date of placement (not adoption)? What percent of care is covered? (Paying even 20% of a very large bill can be difficult for most families.)

8. a) What is the extent of your mental health coverage?

8. b) Many children come home with severe dental needs due to neglect. How will you pay for this care if it is needed? Do you have dental insurance?

9. Birth mothers of children we place for adoption may have used drugs and/or alcohol during pregnancy. This information is most often not known at the time of placement. Describe your understanding of the major effects of drug and alcohol use during pregnancy and your ability to meet the needs of a child with this background.

9. a) What are the major effects of drug use during pregnancy? What resources do you have to meet these needs?

9. b) What are the major effects of alcohol use during pregnancy? What resources do you have to meet these needs?

10. A history of sexual abuse or molestation is often unknown at the time of placement. Even children in institutions can experience this. Describe your understanding of the major effects of sexual molestation on a developing child.

10. a) What resources does your community offer to help a child recover from this experience?

10. b) How would you respond to the knowledge that your child had been molested? How would you handle the effects of this experience with other children in your home and extended family members?

10. c) Discovering that a new child has been molesting children already in the home is often the most difficult situation for a family. How would you handle this event?

11. For families adopting children age 1 to 3, please describe at least five ways that early abuse, neglect and institutionalization can affect the personality and development of a young child.

11. a) Even young children may show some signs of abuse, neglect or institutionalization when they come home. Describe at least two specific ways you will parent your child to develop trust and attachment—methods that you are not using with your current children. What if after six to 12 months your child appears still unattached?

11. b) How will you deal with a child who may tantrum for an hour or more, perhaps several times a times a day?

11. c) How will you deal with a child who rejects you?

11. d) How will you deal with a child who never wants you to be out of sight?

12. Many children, most of who have never slept alone, have great difficulty sleeping through the night in their new homes. Please describe two ways that you might help your child, and you, get a good night's sleep.

SECTION B - All families adopting a child of a different race or culture than their own are asked to complete this section.

1. List adoption support groups in your area that can assist you in dealing with adoption issues and maintaining your child’s cultural/ethnic heritage:

2. List local cultural activities appropriate for the child you are planning to adopt:

3. If appropriate, list the language/translation services available in your area for the child you are planning to adopt:

4. If your child is of school age, please describe the ESL (English as a Second Language) services available in your school district. Who have you spoken to at the school district?

5. How diverse is your community, school system, place of worship, circle of friends and extended and immediate family? If you don’t currently have adults in your life of the race and culture of the child you plan to adopt, what steps will you take to add diversity to your life?

6. Please describe your understanding of what it means to be a racial minority in your community and in your family.

7. Please describe how you would handle the following circumstances:

7. a) At a family holiday dinner, discussion turns to an enthusiastic, affirming conversation about the physical traits that everyone in your family (except your child) shares.

7. b) Your child is asked, “Is that your mother?”

7. c) If applicable, your adopted child’s sibling is asked, “Is he/she your brother/sister?”

7. d) Friends (and even strangers) constantly comment on your child’s beautiful eyes, hair, skin color—physical characteristics that make them different than you.

7. e) Your teen comes home and says he and his friend were asked to leave a store but other white teenagers were not.

SECTION C - Anyone open to adopting a child with a specific physical condition/disability is asked to complete this section. If you have not yet identified a child but are open to specific health and/or developmental conditions, please answer #1 and #2 below.

1. We are open to these physical issues:

2. Do you have any personal/professional experience with these issues? If not, why are you interested in adopting a child with these issues?

If you have identified a child:

3. List any local specialized clinics that treat your child’s identified medical, developmental or emotional problem, including local counseling resources.

4. Consult with medical professionals and describe how many clinic/doctor/therapy visits children with this disability typically need each month. How many surgeries? What is the length of stay in the hospital and recuperation time at home?

5. After consulting with medical professionals, do you know of any other issues associated with this disability that do not become obvious until later in life?

6. How might this disability affect your child’s self esteem and sense of belonging as he or she grows into adulthood, and how will you help your child with these concerns?

7. Please describe how you will meet the time demands of your child’s possible medical care, including how you will get time off from work. How much support is available from your spouse, extended family members and friends? Please be as specific as possible, identifying by name those available to you for support.

8. Based on your discussions with medical professionals, identify the type of daycare setting that best meets the needs of a child with this condition. Is full-time daycare possible for this child? Would a daycare have to cope with any particular ongoing medical needs? Might a daycare turn down this child as too difficult? What is your plan if your chosen daycare is unable to provide care?

9. What special services will your local school district need to provide? Does your local district offer all these services? Have you spoken to your local district yet?

10. Based on your discussions with medical professionals, describe what might be the worst possible outcome for a child with the physical or developmental issues that you are considering.

11. What are your resources for meeting this worst case outcome?

SECTION D - Please complete this section if you are adopting a child age 3 or older. In our experience, children of this age will require resources outside of the immediate family. These questions are not solely based on “worst case” situations, but on issues that arise in many of the children placed at older ages in adoptive homes.

1. Why do you want to adopt a child age 3 or older?

2. Do you have any experience, skills or special training regarding children who have experienced abuse (including sexual abuse), neglect and/or out-of-home care? If so, what have you learned about the type of parenting these children need?

3. If you do not have such experience, what steps will you take to educate yourself?

4. Many older children show at least one of the following reactions when they join a new family. Please consider how you will help a child who has one or more of these behaviors. How will you parent a child who may:

4. a) Have several hour-long tantrums each day?

4. b) Be physically or sexually aggressive to others, including your children and pets?

4. c) Reject you, show no desire to be part of your family and want to return to previous caregivers, even after six to 12 months in your home?

4. d) Be clingy, whiny, not let you out of sight and demand constant attention so that you have no time for your other children and are exhausted?

4. e) Give you little affection or cooperation, despite all your efforts, even after six to 12 months in your home?

4. f) Be disliked or even feared by your other children because of the disruption he or she causes in your home? This is often a cause of major questioning about the wisdom of the placement. How will you handle the stress with your other children?

4. g) Be much more behind developmentally than you expected and most likely never catch up to his or her peers?

5. Identify the nearest support/advocacy/information group for your child’s developmental or emotional issues. List three contacts with this group and what you have learned.

6. Identify any local specialized clinics that treat your child’s identified developmental or emotional problem, including local counseling resources. List the name of a counselor or an agency that is affordable to you and can provide counseling in your child’s language. If counseling is not available in your child’s language, can the translation services you listed in section B be available to attend counseling?

7. What might be some of the long-standing concerns associated with early abuse and neglect for your child as a teen and young adult? How will you help your child if they have difficulties becoming a self-sufficient adult?

8. Please describe how your family will meet the time demands of your child’s possible emotional and/or developmental issues, such as attending multiple school conferences, picking up your child mid-day after a fight at school, making it to counselor appointments, etc?

9. What type of daycare setting best meets the needs of a child with emotional or developmental needs? Is full-time daycare even possible for this child? What is your plan if your daycare turns down your child as too difficult due to ongoing behaviors such as aggressiveness, ADD, sexual advances, refusal to cooperate or a maturity level too low to participate in the program?

10. Is a regular classroom setting best suited for your child, who perhaps has not been to school before or has issues with ADD, impulsivity, compliance and aggression? What other school settings does your district offer and what is the procedure for accessing them? What is an IEP?

11. What typical recreational/outdoor activities does your family enjoy together? Are there family activities you typically enjoy that your child will not be able to participate in due to perhaps ADD, fearfulness, oppositional behavior or impulsivity (ignoring safety rules)?

12. Please describe what might be the worst possible outcome for a child with the emotional or developmental issues typical of children who have spent considerable time without a family.

13. What are your family’s resources to deal with this worst possible outcome?

Statement Regarding the Children I / We are Willing to Consider for Adoption - Please include your thoughts on considering a child with a special physical or emotional or developmental need. If you are only interested in adopting a child with no presenting health, medical or developmental disabilities, please state this in your own words. A family wishing a child with no special needs will not be approved for children age three and older since all older children have risk factors in their history which can lead to special emotional or developmental needs.

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