I had an interview with Mrs. Chung Kim of the LA County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). This same notice was sent to all the MPAK members and potential adoptive families in my list.
I just spoke with Mrs. Chung Kim of the I called her after an article appeared in the Korea Times (please visit my MPAK blog at: http://mpakusa.blogspot.com/, March 18th posting).
The article is about the increasing number of Korean-American babies being given up for adoption in the LA County area.
The article, according to Mrs. Kim was an over-exaggeration of facts and figures by the reporter, but that is not the main point of this email.
Mrs. Kim handles the adoption services, and she is trying to recruit Korean-American families that are willing to become Resoure Family (another term for foster family).
Mrs. Kim's goal is that whenever there are Korean-American children become available for adoption in the LA county, the priority would be given to the waiting Korean-American Resource Families. The Resource Families would be the first to be contacted when a child becomes available.
A Resource Family may choose to adopt the child once the child comes home.
Unlike the article's claim there are not that many Korean-American children available.
However they do become available time to time.
In order to be a Resource Family, there are a few requirements:
1. You must reside in the LA County area (I am in the process of investigating similar programs in other counties like Orange County). For those in other states, your county should have a similar type of programs. The only problem is that there may not be any Korean-American child available.
2. You must take 33 hours of training on Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) course. This may take 4-5 hours per night each week for six weeks, or all day Saturdays for 4 weeks.
3. For those families living in OC or other counties nearby LA, you have to take the class offered in the OC (something similar to MAPP), and depending on availability of children, Mrs. Kim may be able to help you with the adoption process. The only difference between living in the LA county and not living in it is that for the LA County the families have a chance to start as a Resource Family (or foster care) and then move on to adopt a child, while the non-LA County families would have to start with adoption from the beginning without going through a trial period through foster care.
4. There is no age limitation for the parents
5. There is absolutely no cost involved. The County pays on the average of around $500 per child for foster caring (more or less depending on child's physica/medicall needs).
6. Child's medical benefit stays with him till he/she is 18.
7. The monthly support (i.e. $500) and the medical benefit stays with the child even after adoption until the age 18.
8. You are not required to foster any child if you do not wish while waiting for a child to adopt.
9. The down side is that there are not that may children available.
10. There is one year waiting period where birth parents are given the opportunity to take the child back. After the one year is past and the birth parents do not reclaim the child, the parental rights are automatically terminated. You may adopt the child after this. However, there are situations where a birth mother may sign a relinquishment paper allowing immediate adoption.
Mrs. Kim has offered this proposal to MPAK families:
1. Sign up for the 33 hours MAPP training to become Resource Parents
2. If there are 5 our more couples, then she can conduct the classes just for the Korean-American couples
3. Need to be committed with active participation. The classes will be conducted with several situations of role-playing, where a participant needs to take an active part.
MPAK strongly recommends participation in this training so you can be ready to foster care or adopt when a Korean-American child becomes available.
Many of you have expressed desire to adopt domstically in the US due to high costs and length involved. This might be your next opportunity.
What's good about this is that you can still proceed with this program while you are in the adoption process to adopt a child from Korea. If you have not paid the full fee or been assigned a child, then you may keep the Resource Family option open while waiting.
I hope you understand what I have presented.
If you are interested in signing up to become a Resource Family, please reply to me.
The first orientation day is coming April 4th (Monday).
If you don't understand or have additional questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 562-505-0695.