I haven't been on here in quite a while because I have landed on the other side of the fence -- I have decided to pursue adoption. I found a job in North Carolina, which is closer to family, plus NC is better for adoption from foster care than Virginia (more children needing homes). I'll be moving in 3 weeks to start the new job. Leaving my current job was a difficult decision, made even more difficult when I got a counter-offer 10% above the salary at the new job, but now that I'm closer to moving, I feel that I have made the right decision.
My plan is to do respite foster care at first, weekends and holidays only (days when I'm off work), then after about a year I will pursue adoption or full-time foster care with the goal of adoption. At this point I'm unsure of what age I want to adopt, so I plan to be open to any age while I'm doing respite to help me decide what age works best for me and for my cats (personally I'd love a toddler, but my cats probably wouldn't, so I'll most likely end up adopting a school-age child). My cats love attention, so I think they'll enjoy having another human in the home, and I will specifically seek a child who already likes cats.
Anyway, I just wanted to provide an update for those who remember me.
Tonight I had the thought "What if I end up liking doing respite so much that I decide to just stick with that?" Maybe I'll give it 2 years instead of just one (that's how long the foster care license is good for before it has to be renewed). Guess I'll just wait and see how it goes. Respite is definitely a good way to get my feet wet before I jump into a permanent decision. And there's always the possibility that one of the kids will become available for adoption (or even already be available) and have a primary foster family that's not interested in adoption.
Now that I know respite is an option (already contacted an agency), I'm not feeling such a rush to hurry up and adopt ASAP. I know I'll adopt eventually, but the longer I wait the better shape I'll be in financially. I plan to only adopt once (even if it's a teenager), so I want things to be as ideal as possible when I do it (but also don't want to wait so long that I'm still parenting a minor when I'm ready for retirement).
Today I'm back to thinking I should go straight for adoption. I guess that's just how my decision process works -- gotta explore every single possible option and go back-and-forth between them while gradually narrowing them down.
There is a specific 12-year-old girl I saw on the state adoption website who I'm interested in, but I figure there's a pretty high chance she will be placed with someone else by the time I can get all the paperwork done. I can definitely see advantages to adopting a child that age, especially one with only mild issues (which is the case with this girl according to the website).
Of course, I've gotten some "that's too old!" reactions, which makes me that much more determined to focus on the pre-teen age group. I mean, if I adopt a younger kid she'll eventually be 12 anyway (barring a fatal accident or terminal illness), so why not skip straight to the stage I most look forward to? Also, I kinda like the idea of being a "young" parent. I'm 32, so it would be like I had a kid when I was 20, except that I got to finish college and find a career that I genuinely enjoy before committing my time and resources to a kid.
Congratulations on finding a way that works with you, and for helping out people who so desperately need it. "Older" children are so much harder to find real homes for, so you're fulfilling a dire need.
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