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How a glitch in paperwork got us off track

May 6, 2012

Lately I can’t help but think back to when we started this adoption process, with regards to where I thought we would be after 3 years. I saw two kids. I was so sure that we would have already been to court for the adoption of our first child and at least having been “placed” with the second child. We would have a girl and then a boy to complete our family. I am sad to report, this is not the case.

Some recent good news, our first child has now been formally changed by child services from a “legal risk” foster placement to an “adoptive placement”. When we first heard about her, we were told that her “band consultation” was not completed properly. This meant that the letter from Family Services that notified her Band that she was to be adopted out was mailed but not “received” by the Band. We were told it was not the process to send these letters Registered Mail. This paperwork mix-up later resulted in a year and a half of waiting on our part for the consultation to be completed or a permission letter to be written by her Band for Adoption.

We are now one of the lucky ones whom Family Services has not had to “go ahead” with the Legal Guardianship/Adoption of but rather have a letter of permission to legally adopt. We are told that ours is one of the first cases where a Native Band has “signed off” for the adoption of a child, and for this we are truly grateful.

We are still about 9 months from being in a courtroom.  We are told that our required year of bonding won’t start until we leave that courtroom and have legally adopted our girl. The meantime we are told doesn’t count since she was still in fact a foster child in a “Legal Risk” placement. Normally, a child would be placed for adoption, it would take a year of wait time to finalize and then the couple would re-apply to be placed back on the waiting list for a second child.

In our case because of this “glitch” in paperwork, we will have been raising her for 2.5-3 years before the “clock would start” for our 1 year waiting period.  That time doesn’t “count” to Child Services since our adoption was done in reverse. Our home would be “closed” for a year and we would be expected to re-apply for a second child. We are 3 years into our process already.  I’m not sure if we could handle a setback like this. I am told that to date there are no different procedures for situations like ours. I truly understand if you are confused by this, most people are, it isn’t just you.

The truly ironic thing is the timing. If our daughter’s adoption paperwork was still in limbo and she was still a “legal risk foster child” we would be fully available to be placed with a second child (a boy). So, now that her band has chosen to provide a letter for us to adopt her it has the potential to mess up the timing of our second child.  We are trying to have faith that we can find a boy before we go to court or we will have to wait years longer to complete our family.

Yes, my head is still spinning from trying to explain all of this. One can’t help feeling a bit “derailed”.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Cassie permalink
    June 2, 2012 12:52 PM

    Foster adoption is very much an emotional roller coaster! How blessed you are that the tribe signed off. Contact me by email if you would like to talk more about it! It’s easier to get through if foster parents work together and support eachother!

  2. December 29, 2013 4:23 PM

    I was surprised to read that not many tribes sign off on full legal adoption. They definitely didn’t convey that in our Aboriginal adoption training. Do you feel like they conveyed that in your training? I wonder if they downplay that fact, since I would imagine most want to legally adopt.

    • December 29, 2013 9:37 PM

      how can I reply to this fairly? I suppose it may come across confusing in the training depending on who is doing it. my experience is with other Foster Parents in one city in Alberta. It depends on whether that child is with a “money band” or not. Whether or not that Band has oil rights seems to play a role somehow in getting a blessing for adoption or for Private Guardianship. Either way, the family needs to agree to keep close with Native culture. This is very good for the child and a requirement of Alberta bands in the cultural plan. Certain bands have been known to only allow private guardianship. either way, be prepared for a 3 year adoption process and possible legal risk child as we had. Lots of info, let me know if you want me to clarify.


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