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wellstone dem

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 4,460

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"Rehoming" kids adopted from foster care when the going gets tough

So I read this article http://wonkette.com/578427/lets-meet-justin-harris-the-arkansas-houses-godly-child-abandoner#yZMzSJRuEJyeZfqe.99 and then I started to cry

I get that raising a child is hard.

I get that raising a child adopted from the foster care system can be really, really hard.

I took two days of classes telling me how hard it could be.

It almost scared me out of adopting. But I went forward. I filled out pages and pages of forms. I had my fingerprints taken. I signed away rights to confidentiality of medical and counseling records. I had to get a physical.

Then a social worker came to my home twice, once meeting with my parents, and a sister and her husband. My brother in law suggested that I probably should have just rented a new place rather than doing the cleaning I did to prepare for these visits. My dog obeyed the "stay command" for a half an hour and then stood up leaving a pile of hair on the floor, having shed most of his coat--probably because he could sense how stressed I was.

I heard about children that I though I couldn't handle and I said no. I wouldn't say yes to a child that I couldn't be sure I could be the mom they needed for life. And then I heard about this "delightful 8year old, who even looked a little like me." They said she wanted to be a vegetarian (like I mostly am.) But it turned out she wanted to be a veterinarian.

After my daughter and I became a family, social workers visited our home once a month. And then 8 months later we "finally became a very funny family." (As my then 9 year old daughter described finalization day.)

I will say the first two months were easy, just like they told us they might be in the class. Then there were some really hard months. For a while it seemed like the more certain she was that I would be her mom forever, the more secure she was in showing how her life before had hurt her. One doctor said, "She didn't show anxiety before she lived with you." And I had to point out, that being able to show it now might be a good thing.

Then there were the years where she came to understand that what had happened was really bad. There were days I sobbed in the back yard so my daughter wouldn't hear me. There were days she picked a fight so she could sob in my arms.

But there were so many good times. Like the April 1 where we did the day backwards, eating a big dinner at 8: a.m. and eggs and cereal for supper. Or the camping trips. Or making cookies. Or doing volunteer work. Or laughing. Or reading together. Or watching her piano recitals....

When I hear about this story, about a child who was rehomed and then raped, I am in tears.

My daughter once told a group of people taking the class to adopt children from foster care, "Don't do it if you think it will be easy. But what's the good of only doing what is easy." And as hard as it was some days for me, I chose to adopt. She didn't choose her life. It was thousands of times harder for her. And I was the grown up.

I had family to help me. But there are all kinds of post-adoption services in these adoptions including counseling, support groups, therapeutic living settings, and respite care.

Rehoming means giving kids with so much hardship to parents who haven't had the benefit of those classes, or the benefit of those visits to their family, or the benefit of fingerprints, or the benefit of respite care. If we wouldn't let birth parents give their kids away, we absolutely 1000 times more shouldn't let adoptive parents give kids away that have experienced so much loss in their life, without services, without support. I get that sometimes it just doesn't work whether a child is born into a family or adopted into a family. But there are services. Rehoming is just another word for abandoning and in the case of this family, just another word for trafficking.

My daughter is 27. She works in a fast food restaurant and lives in a state without expanded Medicaid. So she doesn't get some of the support she needs. I am so proud of her. She is an amazing young woman. And she is loved.
Posted by wellstone dem | Sat Mar 7, 2015, 10:06 AM (21 replies)
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