Corey and I attended a meeting last Thursday with DFCS regarding the adoption and foster care orientation process. The entire meeting lasted around two hours.
There are several teenagers awaiting families that have been stuck in the system for most of their lives. My heart aches for them. And it takes a special person / family to be able to make a place for a teenager into their home. (Especially considering what that child has been through and faces now because of the tragedy in his/her life and bouncing through foster care.)
I don’t think we are that family. It really is a lot to ask a man that has never been a father to take in a teenager, after all. Not to mention—I
don’t even think know that I wouldn’t be able to handle that one. I remember all too well how I was as a teenager with a somewhat “normal” home life. Even WITH parenting experience, that’s a lot to step into.
The caseworker leading the class pulled us out into the hall (when the class was officially over and everyone was signing up for whatever decisions they have made) to tell us, as she put it, “a little secret”. She then states that everything she told me on the phone the last time we talked was to be retracted as she had no permission / rights to be giving any sort of advice. This means of course, that we know the information, but are unable to use it. She’s going to pretend she never told us. Um…ok.
So we no longer have that “lifeline”. We have hit the brick wall of “legalities” and are left out on our own in this crazy world the baby’s mother lives in where there is no reality. Off we go to “LaLaLand via Baby Momma”, if you will.
She went on to say that we cannot be placed on the waiting list for children under seven that are not special needs AND be placed on the foster / adopt list. She stated that it’s either one or the other. You can’t have both worlds. This to me makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever. Most children in the system are adopted from foster care—80% according to the information she JUST gave to us. Statistically we’d be better off to go with the foster/adopt program as there is a waiting list of FOUR YEARS for a child under eight years of age with no severe special needs.
BUT THEN she stated that they are “doing away” with the foster/adopt status. She said that her director doesn’t like it and always suggests to go another route. She didn’t really list reasons, only that it isn’t so beneficial. (??) I don’t know, but if they are “doing away” with it, it’s not the route we need to go anyway. Either we are going to go straight adoption or foster care in hopes of adopting one of the 80% from the system–if the situation with the baby falls through, that is.
But I still wonder…why NOT be able to be on both lists to cover all options? What is that honestly going to hurt? Absolutely nothing. It just means that someone is going to have to do a little more paperwork. I mean, I understand paperwork stinks. But these are children’s lives. 😦
(I was also irritated because she just didn’t listen. I explained to her very clearly that we’d absolutely be willing to adopt an African-American child over a year in age. According to the class that we just had, he/she would be considered a special needs child. We also would take a sibling group that would be considered special needs as well. She kind of just glossed right over this suggestion and acted as if she didn’t even hear what we were saying.)
This resource person (I can’t remember her exact title) stated that they would “talk the grandmother into” taking custody of the baby one way or another. Her reasoning for this is that the child would be around his/her siblings that already live there. The grandmother has already stated that the last grandchild she took in was the last. That’s why she got us involved to begin with–because she just cannot take a seventh child into her home.
But THEN she said that the state seems to think that the best interest of the child is to place him with a family that is already on the list if for some reason grandma doesn’t change her mind. (She isn’t going to change her mind.) We know this child’s family and he/she would still have contact with them if he came to our home. This blows their “keeping children with their siblings” info out of the water, it seems. It’s all so very contradictory.
I know that there are always be exceptions to every case when it comes to child welfare. Every case is so vastly different. How can you possibly loop them all together?
I understand this would make it more difficult, but no one said that dealing with the welfare of children would be easy. I don’t even think that it should be for that matter. To get truly “real” about, they do have exceptions. They just are choosing not to use them with this situation. The “loopholes” in every governmental system always seem to benefit the wrong people, do they not?
In summary, we cannot be on the foster to adopt list AND the “waiting for children under 8 with no major special needs” list at the same time because that’s not policy. We cannot adopt a child without being on the list (even if this means maintaining contact with his siblings) because it’s not policy. We cannot adopt him at birth even if both parents agree to sign over rights because he is going to be a ward of the state the second he is born and they cannot sway from that because it’s not their policy.
I have a sneaking suspicion that these policies can sway when it’s convenient for them. I understand having policies. I just know that when dealing with children, nothing is concrete. That’s another story for another day.
It makes one wonder how many children are out there in the system that do not need to be. How many kids would have had the chance to have had a family and not bounce from house to house throughout their entire lives? It’s incredibly frustrating. I know that the system of this world is “lying in the hands of the wicked one”, as the Bible states.
I know that things are going to be unfair.
It just breaks my heart that it has to happen when there are so many children without homes and so many homes without children.
All-in-all, we left confused, upset, and discouraged. I don’t think that is a great way to get people involved in helping the system. But what do I know…