Monday, March 30, 2015

What is the purpose of fingerprint clearance?

     Yes, I am still trying to get my fingerprint fiasco resolved. I went down to the state public safety office on Friday and had one of their technicians do my prints to make sure they were done correctly (at their suggestion). But, in the midst of this something interesting has happened: I got in touch with our social worker to give her an update on the continued delay, and her response was "Well, if they come back unclear a third time, you just fill out a form that allows them to use a clean name-based background check as a substitute for a fingerprint scan." Here is why I find this interesting: if that is equivalent, why did I need a fingerprint scan in the first place? What is the purpose of fingerprinting if the name-based paperwork has already come back showing that I have no criminal record?
   That frustration combined with slightly suspicious questions from people who know what we are going through ("Is there a possibility that they keep needing to rerun your prints because something is showing up?") made me think that it might be a good idea to do some research for a post on the purpose of fingerprinting and what will cause you to be denied/fail a fingerprint scan.

Monday, March 23, 2015

First emotional thing/All the what ifs

      Even though we are still in the middle of my fingerprint fiasco and haven't even been approved by the state yet, I had my first emotional "thing" related to the adoption over the weekend. It wasn't a big deal, not even something that made me emotional to the point of tears or a feeling that I would label as true sadness, just lots of "what ifs" that lingered around me for a couple of days and would invade my quiet moments.

Friday, March 20, 2015

These *&$ fingerprints!

  I called the DPS office today to see if they had my fingerprints, because if not I was just going to drive over there. They got them. And they need to be redone. Again. Apparently, some people have fingers that are really difficult to print due to shallow ridges and other things that I tuned out in my frustration.
   I said "Okay, well I'll head over now." Nope. They have to mail me another reprint letter, and I can't go to the actual DPS office to get reprinted until I actually have the letter in my hand to show them. It wasn't being mailed out until this afternoon (I called around 1:00), so I probably won't have it until Tuesday or Wednesday. This week marks 2 months waiting for fingerprints.

Research: Open adoption relationships, considering sexual orientation

         I found an interesting article to read this morning looking at open adoption dynamics, and comparing how gender and sexual orientation could possibly  influence those dynamics by including same-sex couples in the study. This was a qualitative study with a pretty small sample, which included 15 heterosexual couples, 15 gay couples, and 15 lesbian couples. The researchers were trying to answer 4 questions, during two separate interviews (one while waiting for palcement, and one 3-4 months after adoption):
  1. Does sexual orientation and gender influence the initial motivation for open adoption?
    • I'm not going to talk about this one, because there isn't any practical application for any of us who are going through this process. You know why you are motivated to pursue an open adoption. 
  2. Are there any patterns of change to the open adoption relationship or development of the relationship that are different based on gender and sexual orientation? 
  3. Do the challenges in developing a relationship with the birth-parents (that is the term they used, so that is the term I will use in this summary, even though it isn't my personal language of preference) differ based on gender and sexual orientation?
  4. In what ways do adoptive parents expand their idea of family to include the birth parents, and is this influenced by gender and sexual orientation. 
       Here is what they found:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More fingerprint frustrations

      If you would have told me that one day I would be frustrated almost to tears trying to get a legal fingerprint clearance, I would have thought you were crazy. My fingerprint fiasco continues, and I have learned something: no one, not NO ONE, in my state actually knows the details of when, where, and how I can get this taken care of. Let me explain:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Adoption loans

     A couple of weeks ago I did a post on the various adoption grants that are available, and promised a follow-up regarding loans. Here is that follow-up!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The 2015 adoption tax credit

  I promise that I will do a post on adoption loans (update: here it is!), as I had said I was working on in this post on adoption grants. Things have been a bit busy around here with my husband spending a couple months working in the trauma unit and me still teaching 4 classes online. But, something came across my radar this week from the Adoptive Families site that I wanted to do a quick post about: the government increased the adoption tax credit! Before you get too excited, they only increased it by $200-- but every little bit helps, right? I figured that I would do a brief overview of the tax credit for those who are in the "how the heck are we going to afford this?" stage, like we are.

Side note: TurboTax software has all of the prompts needed for using the Adoption Tax Credit! So, if you like to do your own taxes, download the Deluxe package from Amazon here and you will be able to put in all of your adoption info, relatively headache free! I was pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Research: Satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the amount of contact

       The article I read today is another one about teenagers. I know that it may seem odd that I am reading so many things about adolescents rather than younger children, since we will be adopting a newborn, but I think that there are a few reasons that I have been drawn to these articles. First, teenagers are able to better articulate complex feelings than children. Second, knowing whether there is happiness, contentment, and satisfaction with the relationship over a decade down the road can be a great motivation to work through some of the challenges and discomforts that may arise during the first few years of the open adoption when we are still working on forming a functional relationship with the bio family. Finally, my area of focus/specialty academically and professionally is adolescent development. I am interested in and drawn to this research-- it's just what makes me tick. So, without further rambling, this morning's article was taken from a 2006 edition of Child Welfare and titled "Adolescents' feelings about openness in adoption: Implications for adoption agencies."

          For this article, 152 adolescents who had an open adoption situation were interviewed. They were adopted as infants (the adoption was finalized before the first birthday) by a married couple, and were not in a transracial, international, or special needs adoption situation.
        The format of the study was to look at 2 groups, each broken down into 2 subgroups. Group 1 was those who had contact. They were then divided into those who were satisfied with that contact and those who were not. Group 2 was those who had no contact. Just like with group 1, they were then separated into those who were satisfied without having contact and those who were not.
Happy with contact  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Research: Curiosity and contact with the bio family

         The article I read today was titled "Contact in adoption: The experience of adoptive families in the USA," written in 2003.  This article was a summary of several research projects that used the MTARP dataset. The MTARP (Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project) was a large, multi-year (longitudinal) study that focused on openness and contact in adoptions. It was a unique data collection, because it surveyed adopted children, adoptive parents, biomoms, and agency caseworkers. All adoption situations involved a child who was adopted before his or her first birthday from a private agency, and any situation that involved a transracial, international, or special needs adoption was excluded from the study. Several different studies have been conducted using this dataset, thus the availability of a summary article.

The adoptive parent's role in communicating about the adoption

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Research: Is it healthy for children to talk about their adoption?

       I've fallen a bit behind on my article reading, but hopefully can start getting back on track! Today's article was taken from the journal Adoption & Fostering  and is titled "The experience of adoption: The association between communicative openness and self-esteem in adoption."
        This study was done in the UK, so there are some cultural differences to consider, but the results are interesting. There were 2 groups of 11 year old, adopted children studied: the first group were adopted within the UK as babies, and the second group were adopted from Romania when they were 2 months- 3.5 years old. In total, there were 180 children in this study. Their parents were also interviewed for part of the study.
       (As a side note, this article refers to adoptive parents as "substitute" parents in several places. I found that word choice to be pretty offensive as a future adoptive parent.)
        This article opened with the idea that adoptive parenting includes a unique challenge: helping your child understand their origins and make sense of their beginnings. It is a challenge that must be faced, as the majority of adoptees will be curious about their origins. So, the study explored some of the factors that are related to ease or difficultly for children in discussing their adoption, to what degree openness talking about the adoption is related to family structure or feelings of difference (i.e., "I feel different than the rest of the members of my family), and if talking about adoption is related to self-esteem.
        Here is what they found:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Adoption grants

    For most of us, coming up with the $20,000-$60,000 needed for adoption isn't a small feat. Thankfully, there are grants and loans specifically intended to help pay for an adoption. BUT, there are many things that can limit eligibility for this money. Many of them are from faith-based organizations, so if you do not identify as Christian and are not actively attending a church where your pastor could write you a letter of recommendation advocating that you receive funding, you will automatically need to check some of these off of your list. Others are intended for those who do not already have children in the home. And, most of them are based off of financial need. So, if you are a Christian who is childless and you have exhausted all of your financial resources on fertility treatment (or otherwise would have a hard time financing the adoption fees) you are in a great position to receive funding. Otherwise it may be more difficult to find money that you are eligible to receive.