I mentioned in this previous blogpost that my hubby and I have been made aware of 2 kiddos who parental rights were terminated in November. It seemed like an adoption story that only the Lord could write. A client hired us to paint some furniture. That client happened to be an attorney. The attorney happened to see my blog that we were trying to adopt. The client happened to know of 2 kids whose parental rights were terminated that week. It sounded like it was meant to be.
The only part in the story tat we were unprepared for was that our family has been wanting to adopt a little girl under the age of 5….we never dreamed of a 2 year old girl AND a 7 year old brother.
After the initial shock wore off, visions of life with 5 kids began to warrant permission in our minds for consideration. Over the course of a few days, the Lord really tore down the walls of our hearts about taking in 2 kids. Our house can fit 2 kids. Our vehicles can fit 2 more kids. Surely the Lord would sustain our energy levels and nerves and bank accounts, right? So, we decided to give permission for our home study to be considered for these kids and we asked to have the kids files emailed to us.
It took us 9 weeks to recieve the kid’s file. I don’t know why it took so long. Why does EVERYTHING in the system take.so.stinking.long??? But I know by the time I got it, I could barely wait. I was at a client’s home when the email came. And I forgot all about painting… I can tell you that. As I read the file….I read all about the 2 year old girl. And she sounded precious and precosious and blonde haired and blue eyed and adorable!!!! But, it was the boy…..the boy who resonated most in my spirit. Totally unexpected, I fell in love with the boy….just by his file.
He sounded like a little grown up in a child’s body. He sounded like my boys when they were 7….liking all things boys. Blond haired, blue eyed angels. He sounded like someone who just needed to be allowed to play. And be a boy. And be wanted. And be cherished. And within 5 minutes….I was committed.
We then asked for pictures of the kids. I couldnt wait to see pictures of these dollbabies that I was hoping would be ours. Almost 4 weeks went by and our social worker kept saying they had not recieved pictures from the photographer yet.
So it’s been over 3 months since I first heard about these kids and in the last 3 months….I have been made keenly aware of how “the system” works. And I am burdened by how it affects the children.
So I have written a letter to our social worker. And her boss. And the entire Deparemtne ot Ocial Servieces:
Dear Social Worker:
We have never met. You are the social worker assigned to help my husband and I adopt a child from the foster care system and we have never met. YOu have been given our home study for the 2 year old girl Angelica and her 7 year old brother William. You are one of the people who gets to decide on which of the 12 families you are considering will be permanet paretns for these kids. You h ave the fate of my family and the kid’s…..in your hands. yet, all you know about my family is what you have read in my home study. Doesn’t that seem odd? You’ve also said you haven’t met ANY of the 12 families who wish to adopt these 2 kids. How is that possible????
I can tell you part of the problem is this. Clay Country we are told no longer does Foster to Adopt. So we had to get registered in Jackson Co. Our Jackson Co social worker quit right before our home study was complete. Her boss finished our study, but then it took forever to get our license to Clay County. Then you wanted more questions answered. How would we handle bi-racial families? How would we love kids in another situation, etc, etc.
We did what we wer esupposed to do. We followed the rules. We thought SURELY we would get a child soon.
I have asked you if, based on the kid’s file, I could write you a letter on why I think my family and I are very qualified to parents the said children. You have said to wait to see if we making the staffing process (the narrow down to 4 or 5 familes to parent the kids). Wouldn’t a letter of our unique qualifications help to make SURE we make that staffing process?
You have been professional. You have been kind. You have answered my email. YOu have tried to make me understand the system and how it works
I have tried to be patient. I have tried to be kind right back. I have tried to kill you with kindness in hopes we will make the “next round” of staffing selections. I have felt like I was a sophmore back in high school….kissing up to the drill team captain in hopes of making the team. I have tried to not ruffle any feathers or do anything else that could deem my family “out of the running”.
But I need to tell you that I have had a change of heart. And if this letter puts us “out of the running” than so be it. YOu have not showed me your poker hand at all thusfar, so who knows if we were being selected for the next “round” of elimation or not.
I am burdened, burdened for this 7 year old boy. Have you raised a 7 year old boy? I have. I’ve raised 2! And I may not understand the system….but I know 7 year old boys. His biggest concern of the day should be who he is sitting with on the bus or which Lego he is going to build that night.
This boys knows his paretn’s rights were terminated back in November. His file aslo says he is meeting with a counselor as he realizes he will no longer be living with his aunt….but will be moving to a permanemtn adoptive family.
I want you to think for a moment about the weight of that on a7 year old boy. Have you ever been laid off from a job? I have. I knew several months in advance that it was probably coming. But never knew the date or the exact people being let go. The weight of that is exhausting. Its difficult when you dont know what your future holds to enjoy the present. I would imagine Williams feels the same way.
Have you considered the timing of his move? With school getting out in 3 months…..I sure hope you don’t plan on moving him to a new school with just weeks left of school. How fair is that to this poor boy?
I hope that understand every day these kids are with their current care provider…..it is one less day they are with us/or their permanent family. Why are you concerned about getting this placement done?
I understand you are following rules. I understand to some degree your hands are tied….but who is going to make a difference in this sytem??? Who is going to try to fix what is NOT working??? Who is going to understnad that you have 2 kids who need a home and 12 families who have offered to adoptive them FOREVER……pick one!
Each of these 12 families inclduig myself has opened up their lives to the system. we have sat thru training after training class. we have been fingerprinted and interivewed and paperworked to near death. We have given up 27 hours to take Spalding classes and another 12 hours to take STARS classes and you want to ask me why we have changed our mind about he number of kids we will adopt????
I will give you one reason I left out in my response back……because these are the ONLY kids I know of who are healthy and UP for adoption.
You lied when you advertised that 1700 kids are in the foster care system waiting adoption. You haven’t told me about even 1 child. I had to bug you for 9 weeks to get a file on these kids.
You lied when you let us sit thru 39 hours of class…..only to find out that you would rather we be a temporary fix to these children’s lives (by fostering) than a permanent solution to their lives (by adopting). Because we feel convicted to make a LIFE LONG commitment to children instead of a temporary stop while you give their parents another chance and another chance and another chance…..we are ignored.
You lied when you led us to believe a social worker would help match us with any child in the US foster care system who needed adopted. The truth is…..WE have to find our own kids to adopt.
This system is broken.
You have forgotten the kids.
You have given all of the power to the parents who wronged these kids in the first place.
You have driven many adoptive families to adopt out of the country to AVOID THE RED TAPE IN THIS COUNTRY.
Who is going to change this? What kind of a country have we become that we would rather adopt from other countries because in this country it just takes too long at too much of an emotional price.
When you adopt internationally….you don’t do 39 hours of training. You pay money to another country to be matched with a child. You are given the child with NO “buyer’s remorse” window. Here in America….you want to pay me $ to adopt a child, but only after we have waited and waited and waited and the parents have messed up and messed up and messed up. And then you want to give me a 6 month “return policy” on the kids in case the match doesnt seem to be working.
One of the problems I see in this nation’s adoption from the foster care program is that you have made it too easy to change our mind once an adoption is underway. Match a child with a parent and expect those parents to do it. Sure there are
But I have NOT been honest with you.
You asked why we are now interested in adopting 2 kids even tho we originally said we wanted one.
I gave you all of the polite answerws and flitted around the Christian answer of “God changing my heart”. The truth is…..God has burdened my heart for Angelica and William. He has given me dreams about them. He has asked me to pray for them as if they are my own. He has asked me to write a letter to the people who can change things both for these kids and the kids after them and the kids after them and so on. And I understand my pushiness could “kick us out of running”. But I am convinced you can and should make this process go faster. Every day these kids are in their current kinship placement is another day they are without a family who wants them forever. I just want them placed in a home. Quickly. And if that isn’t being a mother….I don’t know what is.
I know it isn’t your job to check on Angelica and William’s pictures again. But you know whose job it is. And you know who the photographer is. Out of respect for the 12 families who have already gone through way more to adopt these children than you probalby ever will…..would you see to it that pictures are sent soon.
I am sending this to your boss. And your boss’s boss. Not as a complaint against you. But as a complaint against the system so riddled in red tape tha tyou have lost sight of what the system was designed for.