Our dear friends who have been going through the adoption process along with us were placed with a sweet little boy last Friday (HUGE Congrats to them!). Their experience with the placement and watching much of this play out over Facebook posts got me thinking I should do a little education before we have our placement. In the excitement of the placement there were many questions I saw being sent to my friend. Questions that are normal for anyone to ask but place her in a tough spot because some she can’t answer and others she just doesn’t feel right sharing. There are very specific laws in place to protect the children and as a Foster Parent it’s our job to uphold.
The identity of the child is closely protected. Where it might be ok to share a first name, some people may not be comfortable with that for many reasons. Say you have a 6 month old placed with you and her name is Lady Gaga, Gaga for short. Her name is pretty unique and it’s a small world. You could have people saying “A friend of a friend adopted a baby named Lady Gaga! Can you believe it?”. This eventually makes its way back around to someone who knows the birth family and the identity of foster parents or birth family could be reveled starting a host of problems for everyone. There’s also the fact that maybe when adoption is finalized the adoptive family chooses to give a new name to the child and then you have to retell everyone what the kids name is…awkward!
The other big rule is no photos. It is illegal to post online or distribute a photo of a child in Foster Care. This means no Facebook uploads by me or if you happen to come visit us, no work announcement with a photo, and no photo announcements sent. I’m guessing we’ll throw a meet and greet since photos can’t be sent. Most likely we’ll see if anyone would be willing to make it a shower theme for us since we’ll need LOTS of stuff right away.
Another very important rule to note is their story of why they are in care is just that…their story. Any child we’ll be taking in will be there as a result of the inability of their birth parents being able to care for them, for whatever reason. In fact until the adoption is finalized we will not even know very much about why they were placed in care. Even when we do, it’s our child’s business to share what they feel like. Before we finalize the adoption they will give us all the information they have on the child so we can make an informed decision if we’d like to go forward with finalization. Once we’ve finalized the adoption we can share their photo, change their name, give them a Mohawk, make them mow the lawn, or ground them for life…you get the picture. Even after adoption we’ll be keeping tight lipped on the child’s story, out of respect for their privacy.
Sorry if this seems like a long list of negative things but hopefully it helps give some context around what we can and can’t share when the time comes. Here’s to hoping that’s sooner rather than later!