Mother and Child

Mother and Child
Painting by Pablo Picasso

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Adoption and Foster Care - A Foster/Adopt Mother's Reality

The following is an entry that a woman that I respect wrote.  She addresses the issues and reality of adoption practices from foster care...and what she says may surprise you.  This is from KATE:

When I decided to adopt, I researched my options and chose to adopt through the state (i.e. foster care). It just seemed to work best for several reasons. One such reason was that being single, I thought raising older children was more appropriate for my situation. Having made that decision, I delved deeply into research about older child adoption. Even so, I was still woefully naïve and unprepared for the reality.

I thought that most, if not all, children in foster care were rightly there, that they weren’t safe with their parents. Since that time? I’ve seen kids taken for no good reason and others left in horrible situations simply because their parents had money. I’ve witnessed incompetence and outright unethical or illegal actions on the part of caseworkers. This includes the cases involving my children. I had a lot to learn.

Of the three cases I’ve been personally involved in, the most recent was the only one I was actively involved in trying to keep my then foster son, now adopted, from returning home. The situation was horrible and I felt strongly, and still do, that it wasn’t safe for him to return. I can’t say for sure that I saw outright corruption in this case but I certainly DID see several examples of incompetence. I’m not convinced in this case that he should ever have been allowed to go home from birth as both parents have extensive histories with other their children, including jail time for physical abuse, sexual abuse, and losing two other children because of fetal alcohol exposure. On two separate unsupervised visits, my foster son was spanked so hard that the bruises and red marks remained for me to see several hours later when I checked because he complained of pain. No one came to talk to him about it the first time, though I took pictures. I wasn’t told to take him to the ER for a professional assessment. He endured two years of visits and a lengthy court case that, if this evidence had been allowed to come to light, may have been ended in months.

My second son’s case was vastly different. He came to me with his parents rights already terminated. From what he and his older brother have told me, it was a bad situation and a necessary removal. I have no right to say for certain though, as I wasn’t involved in that part of his case. He was free for adoption when he came to live with me and I was told it was a pre-adoptive placement. With a few months, I was told he was going to be moved to a two parent adoptive home when one was found. I fought this and obviously won but my point is this. If they would use this as an excuse to remove a child from a foster home, supposedly on the “right” side, do not EVER doubt that this is not used as a means of taking other children from their families to place them for adoptions. It happens, as does the age old “poverty” excuse. I don’t have personal experience with this one but I’ve heard about too many cases to not believe it.

My first son’s case was different in several ways. I transported him to and from visits, which were unsupervised so I worked closely with his family. I’ve since come to know that in some places this is totally against policy, but even if it’s not it’s unethical to say the least. The main reason is that it puts the foster parents in a position to manipulate the family or the situation to their favor. His mom admits that she made mistakes and that the incident that caused the removal was serious. I THINK the initial removal may have been the right thing to do while certain issues were worked on but I have more serious doubts about the termination of the family’s rights and his adoption.

I don’t regret that he’s my son and I know that in some ways he has a better life with me. He has learning issues and I’m not sure he’d be where he is academically if he had gone home. But is that reason enough? I’ll never know for sure.

But now I want to talk about the most blatant unethical act in my personal experience in dealing with CPS. His mother had another baby who is now four years old. She was, not long ago, back in the system for this child although it never got to the point where she was removed. My third son’s foster case was still going on. This is what lead to the unethical (I’d LIKE to say illegal here but I’m not sure about that) behavior. My third son’s caseworker called me on business involved in his case but then proceeded to ask about my oldest son’s mother because it’s well known that we have a very open adoption. I just don’t believe that CPS should have the right to talk to whoever they want trying to get information to steal children. Yes, they have to investigate claims when made but I wasn’t in any way involved in that. His mother knows that it was a family member because the person admitted it to her. But even if they DID have the right to question people just because they know the person, why was it not the caseworker on the case that contacted me? Where’s the confidentiality in that? What unmitigated gall! And what an obvious ploy, in my mind, to get an adorable four year old blonde girl to place for adoption. So again…never doubt that these things happen!

This has been a hard journey. It’s painful to realize you’ve been a part of something so corrupt. Adoption, in any form, is business. And the bottom line is that the money involved has corrupted it beyond saving in its current form. Where we go from here I don’t know but something needs to be done.

I’d like to end with this. I have no right, since it’s easy for me to sit back and preach now that my family is complete, to say that no one should adopt. But I’m going to go this far and beg any of you prospective adoptive parents to consider well before you do it. Adoptions should be about the children. If it’s not truly in their best interests, it’s wrong. That doesn’t mean that selfish motives can’t be a part of the decision. I adopted because I wanted to be a mom, but I had the boys’ interests above that. Adoptive parenting is hard and if you aren’t in it for the right reasons, you WILL fail at it.

The other thing anyone considering adopting should take into account is ethics. If the adoption isn’t necessary, it’s unethical. There’s no way to justify the pain that the family and adoptee go through if the adoption is not completely necessary. I’m talking abuse or severe intentional neglect that cannot be changed. Money and material goods are not justification. As Lori says, not all adoptions are bad. I have found that most are.

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