We wrote an innocuous message letting them know that we know this young man very well and that he'll be coming to live with us, probably in January. And they responded that there are "complexities" that we may not be aware of, that they need to know if he'll be living with us after the age of 18 (whatever that has to do with it - if we were having a baby, would they ask if the baby might live with us after it turns 18?), and that they'll be consulting their attorney and getting back to us.
They've met T. on the street during his weekends at our house. I just introduced him then as a friend, because we were getting to know each other and it was early days and I didn't want to put him on the spot. In our letter to the landlords, we didn't refer to T. as a "foster child" - we just said that he's a young man we know very well, and that for various reasons he can't stay with his family, and we'd like him to come and live with us. We didn't mention adoption, because he is likely to move in before we manage to adopt him, you never know how things are going to go, and anyway, it didn't seem like they needed that information.
I am certain race has something (everything?) to do with this. If I told them we were adopting a baby, would they say they needed more information and consult an attorney? If your first child is a tall African American teenage boy, it's a different world.
I am certain there are laws that protect the rights of adoptive parents in situations like this one and that prohibit racist discrimination on the part of landlords. I was just really hopeful it wouldn't come to a legal dispute. Guess not.
I am so tired of the paperwork and bureaucracy, which have been dragging on for months, and this just feels like the last straw. We're so committed to T., we'd move if we had to in order to adopt him. But I really, really, really hope that isn't necessary. Besides the upheaval, it would delay our home licensing for foster/adopt, because we'd have to start over with the state. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.