We met with the new caseworker this morning. She is experienced in child welfare, but is really a supervisor. This means, among other things, she knows what needs to be done and how to do it. I suspect it also means that she's got way too much on her plate, trying to do her actual job and cover the day-to-day of cases at the same time. However, her reaction to that last fact appears to be a desire to get this case completed and done and out of the way. Perhaps The Powers That Be were smart enough to only have her take on things like this that could wrap up and go away in a reasonable amount of time.
The home conversion is complete and was sent to DFCS yesterday.
The Child Life History will be complete any day now if it isn't already. (Caseworker was told on Friday that it was "almost done" and the author called us on Sunday to ask a few questions she needed to know to "wrap it up.") The caseworker hadn't received it yet, but she also hadn't been into the office yet today.
The 6 month rule -- the one that says they can't finalize an adoption until the child has been in the home for at least 6 months -- will be waived. The fact that she is being adopted into a home that contains her biological sibling (who was also adopted) makes the case for it being in C's "best interest" to move things along. (If we were waiting out the 6 months, the earliest we could finalize would be mid-March.)
The adoption assistance requires that the caseworker do a few extra steps to "apply" for it. The application process appears to be a rubber stamp type scenario, at least in this case. Caseworker says she'll do the application from home tomorrow (Veteran's Day) because she's "off." (Federal Holiday=DFCS office closed. To her, this clearly means some time to work uninterrupted on paperwork. No wonder caseworkers burn out.) She expects to have the approval for the adoption assistance back by Friday.
We still don't have DNA results. Caseworker texted the person in charge of those while we were in our meeting and said he is usually pretty responsive to her, but didn't hear back while she was here. That's really the only outstanding piece. We can't sign Intent to Adopt paperwork until we know for sure that the man who surrendered his rights is actually her father. It's been 7 weeks. At the time the samples were taken, we were told 2-4, but knew we were told that for Lucy and hers took 6. Yesterday, caseworker said it's been taking 6-8 weeks, but she still followed up even though we're still within that window.
We mentioned that we'd love to have another December adoption date -- last year's Christmas card doubled as an adoption announcement and we were able to have the baptism while family was in town for the holidays -- and that we'd signed Lucy's Intent to Adopt paperwork in late November. Caseworker asked who our lawyer was; upon hearing the answer, she said that was still possible. Cases with that lawyer lately have been going to court about 3 weeks after signing. It all depends on how much longer the DNA takes. I got the impression she'd love to do a November signing date -- it would mean she doesn't have to do a home visit in December.
C is 3 months old right now. Part of me is marveling at the speed of this case. (OK, that part shows up whenever I think about how old C is. 3 months. We could be signing Intent to Adopt paperwork on a 3 month old. We could be finalizing the adoption when she is 4 months old.) The day-to-day, self-centered part of me is ready for the red tape to be over so we can move on with our forever family lives.
Balancing our experience against reading Rebecca at Fosterhood (especially the dragging out of Sandy's permanency) and Cherub Mamma (especially her Dude and Dolly story with such a lack of focus on the best interest of the child) makes me exceedingly grateful to be working with a county that actually appears to be working for the child's best interest and to care about quick permanency. If it's not possible to preserve the biological family -- and for these girls, it isn't -- getting them settled into stable forever families should be paramount.