COVID-19 effecting adoption and foster care in Vermont

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For families going through the adoption or foster care process, the pandemic has complicated things even more. Adoption agencies say people are still able to adopt, it just might take a little longer.

Wanda Audette, Director of Adoption at the Lund Family Center in Vermont said it is crucial they keep their work going during the pandemic.

“I can’t imagine that there’s anything more essential than permanence and belonging to a family forever,” said Audette. “With everything else that’s going on here’s something that we can help and control and provide you with a sense of security.”

The Lund Family Center helps infants and older children who are in foster care, find a forever home. However, in order to adopt there are many steps families must go through and Audette said this crisis has only made the process slower.

On Tuesday, Audette said part of that process is finger printing and the Sheriff’s Department has stated that it’s not essential.  Anybody who has not gotten their fingerprints done can’t move their adoption forward.  Similarly, people are not allowed to go out into homes. So, if a home study is not completed in the state where the child is now currently residing, they can’t go forward with that adoption.

For foster care families, they are facing many of the same issues as other families.

“Educating kids at home ya know takes a lot of work. Foster parents are not necessarily educators nor are a lot of us for that matter,” said Senior Policy and Operations manager with Vermont DCF Jim Forbes.

Patty smith with Friends in Adoption said business is almost as usual. Friends in Adoption is a non-profit agency with a focus on helping people make informed decisions concerning adoption. They work a lot with pregnant individuals and perspective adoptive families.

“We are used to communicating with pregnant individuals or birth moms and what works best for them with a lot of phone calls or texting, but now we are adding zoom calls and skype calls and facetime calls,” said Smith.

As an adoptive mom herself, Smith said they are working to fit individual needs during this time.

“We are here as a resource for them, whether it’s to just learn about adoption or help guide them to the right resources that they need,” said Smith.

The Lund Family Center has successfully completed 28 adoptions since the pandemic started and Friends in Adoption has completed three adoptions of newborns since the pandemic started.

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