Sunday, October 11, 2015

Caseworker Meeting

We met with the adoption worker last week. It's the same one that was assigned to Lucy's case, which is excellent news. She is efficient and organized and on top of things.

DNA samples have been sent to the lab and we are still waiting on results. Based on this particular family's history, the caseworker thinks it is unlikely that the DNA result will come back with any surprises, so we are moving forward with all the adoption paperwork on the assumption that the DNA will confirm paternity. If we're wrong, and it shows up that he's not the father, we have to put everything on hold and conduct a paternity search.

We've have to "convert" our home again (apparently this has to be re-done with each child, at least to some extent). We've filled out that paperwork and sent it off. Now we wait for the agency person who works on those to get it done. (Don't have a timeframe on that yet. It's not expected to take long, but our agency caseworker emphasized that she has no idea how many other home studies this person has ahead of us.)

DFCS has to complete a Child Life History again. The same person who wrote Lucy's is assigned to write C's and, just like the home conversion, it isn't expected to take her long to complete but we have to get in line.

Once those are done, we can sign the Intent to Adopt paperwork and get a court date. Adoption worker thinks another December finalization is a possibility.

She did drop a good-news bomb on us, though. Because Lucy's adoption is so recent and because C is "joining a sibling," C is classified as being adopted as part of a sibling group, which means she qualifies for adoption assistance! When the caseworker first said that, I was pleased, but thought only in terms of "that means they'll pay the lawyer's fees this time, won't that be nice." As it turns out, however, adoption assistance is a kind of package deal; you either qualify for the whole thing or you don't. So, in addition to DFCS paying the legal fees, C will be eligible for Medicaid until she's 18 (that'll be secondary insurance to our very good work-provided plan, so won't come up much, but could be helpful if she ever needs anything beyond an office visit or routine prescription) and we will receive a monthly stipend every month until she's 18 as well. We're still a little stunned at the idea that the state will be sending us money every month, but it does ease one of the "how will we do this" questions that we had when we were making the decision to accept her placement. This summer, I started a master's degree program with the idea that I would be prepared to get a full-time job in education when Lucy starts kindergarten; C's arrival pushes that return-to-work date back by about 2 years (probably) and we frankly weren't sure if we would make it that far financially. But, we took a deep breath and stepped up, trying to trust that God would provide. And He did! The stipend obviously isn't as much as I hope to make working full-time, but it's enough to probably give us those extra 2 years before we run out of savings. 

We're trying not to get our hearts set on that December finalization date -- although it would be so cool if both girls had December Adoption Days -- at least until we know more about the time frames for these first two pieces that are out of our hands.

C is sleeping well at night, not much during the day. It's a challenge, navigating caring for an infant who just wants to be held and caring for a toddler who is busy, busy, busy...but it's one that I know will have a relatively short life span.

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