Monday, April 7, 2008


What are you two doing here?

Just for the record, this is not the most ideal greeting from a social worker to an adoptive couple.

Steven and I had to take a two part, ten hour, adoption parenting class. The first part was in January (I think, was it that long ago?) Anyway, the teacher was a bit out of sorts that day, and I was not surprised that she canceled part two, the night before it was to take place.

When our agency finally called to reschedule they said, "S is no longer going to be teaching your class. We have a new social worker that will be taking over.”

“Oh, I said, what’s her name?”

"Her name is Fariba."

I thought to myself, how many adoption social workers named Fariba could there be in Los Angeles?

Fariba is the name of one of the instructors we had at our thirty hour, foster parent training program. We took these classes just over a year ago. I wrote about the experience here.

I was not entirely surprised when Steven and I showed up a few weeks ago for part two, and were greeted by our old friend Fariba saying, "What are you two doing here?”

I had been thinking about seeing her again. I was happy to have the opportunity to tell her why, after two months and thirty hours of training, we decided not to be foster parents. I printed up what I wrote about her here on the blog, and put it in a little thank you card.

I was kind of afraid that she might think that we were residents of Crazytown...

Who are these Julie and Steven people? Do they just take as many adoption classes as they can, year after year? Do they just miss being in school? They still don’t seem to have any children. What is up with these two! Crazytown denizens for sure.

I felt reassured when Fariba, with great thoughtfulness said, "From what I remember about you two, this is the right path for you to be on.”

What do you think gave it away?

Maybe it was the role-play we had to do in the foster class:

Fariba: Julie, would you like to play the foster- adoptive mother?

Me: Uh, sure. I guess so.

She picked other people to play the DCFS worker, and the birth parents.

In the scenario, I am given a tiny baby by the DCFS social worker. I hold the baby, feed her, and sing softly to her. I have a pretend visit with the birth mom. The birth mom leaves. Shortly after, the social worker comes back, and tells me the baby is going to be returned to the birth mother. She quickly takes the baby out of my arms. I sit there, empty handed , on a cold metal folding chair.

Well I bet you can guess how this went.

It was a one-way trip to Boo Hoo City for me. I was a weepy mess.

Fariba probably made a mental note to herself right then and there,"This Julie person… maybe not the best candidate for the Los Angeles foster-adopt program."

Fariba’s thirty hour foster parent training program was incredibly helpful. This latest class basically covered the same material. We even did an imagery exercise identical to one we had done before.

I am wondering how other adoptive parents feel about the classes they had to take to become home study "approved". Did you find them helpful? I recently learned that some agencies allow you to do the instruction at home (online or with a DVD). I wonder if that would be better. I do know that every potential adoptive parent that I have met, has voraciously read whatever they could get their hands on regarding adoption. They devour book after book.

I find it ridiculous that they made a certain adoptive couple take these classes. The couple was a Nigerian man and his nine months pregnant wife. His brother had died, and he was in the process of adopting his nephew. There he was, on a Saturday morning with his about to burst wife, learning how to incorporate his adoptive child’s culture into his own. They are both Nigerian. It is his nephew. Now, I understand the importance of screening everyone who wants to adopt. Everyone should be checked out. God knows there are uncles of mine that I wouldn’t have wanted to be placed with (totally kidding), but really why did this couple have to answer questions about how they were going to help this child, their nephew, maintain his culture? Silly.

Steven and I are finished with our required adoption education. I feel like we have only just begun. (Insert cheesy Carpenters song here.)


  1. Woohoooo, and now for the real thing!
    Enough classes. Personally, I cannot wait for you to hold little children in your arms. Classes and theory notwithstanding, I think nothing will prepare you for this.

  2. I had no idea you had taken the classes to be a foster parent. I went back and read your post and was so touched. We took that step- we were the parents that didnt want to give them back, that cried and freaked out when we couldnt have our way. I give you so much credit for having the forsight to know your own bounderies. I also think its wonderful that you would someday consider doing foster care again. I have been wanting very much to enter back into that world, but Fred just isnt ready yet.