Today I had several crazy roller coaster phone calls regarding our adoption finalization next Friday. Our county case worker called early this morning to tell me that she wasn’t sure the paperwork will be done on time because the courts and the county are closed next Tuesday because of election day. While our petition will be filed in time, we are at the mercy of the orphan courts and their workers to get the rest of the paperwork completed.
Then the paralegal for the county who is working on our case called and said that it should be done on time. Sigh. So we’re still up in the air. Our adoption petition was filed today and we meet with the attorney on our case Monday to sign all of the papers. We had to give the paralegal information that wasn’t in our profile like the location of our wedding. We also had to give the paralegal the kids’ new names! We hadn’t finalized any of them so I had to do it quickly this afternoon so that the paralegal could get the petition in quickly. Most of the children had decided but I wanted to verify because they have been apt to change them on a whim. It was our family decision to let the children chose new middle names if they desired. While they were told at their previous pre-adoptive home (which didn’t work out after two weeks) that they could change their first names and they had those names picked out, we were concerned that those names were too trendy and based on their likes right now, not good for long term. They all have good first names, most are biblical names, so they work for children or adults. They will all take our last name.
All three children chose to change their middle names. Huck is taking Hubby’s middle (his choice). Anne is taking the name of Madeline’s best friend (I guess she hears it a lot and likes it). Scarlett is taking the name of her birth month, which also happens to rhyme with Anne’s new middle name and which happens to be an old family name. So those have all been submitted and are ready to go!
The paralegal also let us know that our subsidy agreement was approved. Because there is little to find on the Pennsylvania subsidy online, I want to make sure I am clear about what we could ask for. If you foster or adopt from foster care I hope you ask for the most money/insurance/services as we do, even if that is not what you are granted. While we can support all of our children on our own, with two jobs and our savings account, it is our understanding that we will advocate for these children however we can. This includes making sure the kids are taken care of. And if we have money that we can save for cars, weddings or college, even private school for a short period of time or tutors, then we will negotiate whatever we can for these kids. After five years in and out of the foster system, after years of neglect and abuse from their biological family, these kids deserve whatever we can negotiate for them. This includes health insurance, vision and dental insurance, and behavioral health insurance until they are 18 or we renegotiate their insurance until they are 21 depending on their student status.
With our agency currently, we receive $23 per day per child. The county that we foster in and will adopt from allows a max of $21 per day per child in the current age range (until the age of 18). This subsidy is renegotiable as the children age as long as there are extenuating circumstances. The age ranges that apply to our child are 6-11, 12-14, and 15 or older. So for each of these steps, we can renegotiate our subsidy with the state as long as we have cause to ask for more. The paralegal explained that sending a kid to the school dance is not a cause for renegotiating your subsidy agreement but something like new behavioral health services or new allergies and treatment would apply. At 12 the subsidy goes to $28 per day and at 15 the subsidy goes to $31.
As I said, I am writing about money because it is important. I have luckily never met anyone that fosters children for the money. I hope I never do. I’m sure there are ways around the system but $21 a day per child feeds and clothes them. They get one extracurricular activity. That’s about the end of the money. I hope you find this information helpful!