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Navigating for permanency across state lines

Monica and her husband were searching for children to adopt through AdoptUSKids and felt connected to three sisters waiting for placement in Cuyahoga County. Although she and her husband lived in Idaho, they weren’t swayed by the distance. They contacted Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (CCDFS) to get started, but their process was quickly brought to a halt with an unexpected barrier: Idaho’s policies and procedures were different from those in Ohio.

One difference is that in Idaho adoptive families are not assigned a case manager until a child is placed in their home, which left Monica and her husband without a case manager to assist them with the process of adopting a sibling group in Cuyahoga County. While searching for information Monica came across Adoption Network Cleveland and called inquiring what she could do.

Her call was referred to Julius Jackson, Adoption Network Cleveland’s Permanency Navigator. Julius made himself available, most importantly, to listen to Monica’s complex situation. Although Julius could not influence any decisions related to her case, he was able to explain Cuyahoga County’s process, as well as understand the process in Idaho, and give her insight on what to expect next.

With the information they had and Julius’ guidance, Monica was able to find an organization in Idaho to help represent her and she began presenting her family’s case to adopt the three sisters.

Monica kept in touch with Julius about the progress of her case, but things did not go the way they hoped. After about a month of struggling and waiting for answers Monica received news that the aunt of the three girls was pursuing custody. Her heart sank, but she is hopeful that the girls will have a loving permanent home with their aunt. Despite the complexities of their experience, Monica and her husband still plan to pursue adoption.

They explained how they felt empowered, stating, “Julius really LISTENED and went to his supervisor and others to get us the answers and help we needed! …You instilled hope for us!”

Adoption Network Cleveland’s permanency navigation services are available to help families throughout the complications of their unique situation, no matter the barriers or distance that is involved. For guidance, support and someone to listen, please contact Julius Jackson at (216) 482-2324 or Julius.Jackson@adoptionnetwork.org.

Margaret Currie is the Grants & Donor Engagement VISTA at Adoption Network Cleveland