Congratulations! Your R&C worker will tell you a referral has been made to you. This means no other families will be considered until you decide to accept or not accept the referral. Your worker will receive the child’s presentation summary and other information and will review it with you. A presentation summary is a document which details the child’s birth information, circumstances of his entry into foster care, a list of where he has lived, his educational and social history, personality, information on his birth family and any evaluations or assessments pertaining to his special needs. You will be given a copy of these materials if you accept the referral. If you wish to proceed, your worker and the child’s worker will schedule a pre-placement conference.
Significant people in the child’s life, for example, his foster parents, teacher, counselor, etc., and you and your worker will meet at this conference to review all the information we have on the child. You are also developing relationships with the people who know the child the best and with whom you will work in moving the child to your home. This includes information on the child’s birthparents; the child’s placements; any educational, medical and developmental history; and recommendations for future services. You will also learn about the day to day activities of the child like: eating, sleeping and play habits, fears, important relationships, school experiences and the child’s feelings about being adopted and moving from wherever he is living. We recommend, at first, using the same parenting techniques in your home that have helped the child make improvements in his behavior in his foster home.
You will be offered time to decide whether the child will fit into your home. Some families know right then and some need a day or two to think it through. A very key point is the child does not know of your interest or that the conference is being held. So if you decide not to proceed, the child will not know and hence, not be hurt or feel rejected. After you meet the child, this will not be true.
If you wish to proceed, the next step is to develop a plan for introductions and subsequent visits. Visits are designed to ease the child into your home as well as ease the separation and loss the child always feels when moving yet again. The visits also give you a chance to “practice” an effective parenting style specific to the child. Your worker and the child’s worker will help you with this transition.