Foster Care Child Burned by Hot Spoons, Tortured

LA County’s child protective services can be scary from the outside looking in. My family is worried about adopting from local foster care and inheriting a sick child with issues we don’t want to handle. That’s the truth.

When you’ve been through foster resource family orientation and filed paperwork to be a foster parent or a foster-to-adopt family, you must take 24 hours (four consecutive Tuesdays for six hours each) of lessons, seminars and what if situations.

In these 6-hour sessions, you play-act with your mate (if you have one) so you’re better prepared for a foster toddler who may have seen some sad situations, or been neglected or abused.

At the beginning of summer, we postponed the mandatory 24 hours of foster family training because our schedules were so busy but also because of stories like these:

According to the LA Times, a 5-year-old boy, known as Johnny, was rescued from a San Bernardino home in 2009,  burned with a glue gun and hot spoons. He had been starved and sodomized, punched and forced to crouch motionless.

Foster parents Martin Roland Morales, 35, and Juan Carlos Santos-Herrera, 22, were found guilty of torture, child abuse and sodomizing a child less than 10 years of age. Another adult, Crystal Rodriguez, 35, was convicted of child endangerment after failing to protect another young victim,  according to reports.

Child welfare officials in Los Angeles County determined the allegations that he had been abused were unfounded and the officials determined that the “child [was] not at risk.”

An internal review concluded that the finding was wrong. Johnny, now 8, lives in an adoptive home and is academically gifted.

All across American, little lids are abused in the foster care system and beyond. I don’t think I can personally handle scary emotionally abused child who could light my house on fire. Poison my dogs. You know?

What are my odds? Does this sound terrible?

Tell me your adoption story in Comments below.

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Back To The Adoption Diaries, by Nicole Dorsey-Straff
  1. by socwork

    On July 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    There’s your problem right there – you are trying to find a child who will fit into your family. As much as they will BECOME your family, these children are coming from difficult backgrounds, and YOU will have to make changes to accommodate THEM. If you want to undertake a truly unselfish act, then find a way to make it work with a truly sad child. Otherwise you are doing it for you, not the child.

  2. by Jan Smith

    On August 2, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    You don’t need more foster care homes people… how about readjusting for the Title IV waiver that keeps kids in the home while offering services instead of government child trafficking. Just so everyone knows, 70% of children removed are removed due to neglect NOT abuse and the parameters are broad. People’s children can get sold like cattle because their electricity gets turned off after job loss then the department steps in looking for any little character defect they can find. For this and many other reasons, there is a national protest scheduled Sept 28th from 10-3 and so far 20 states are scheduled to protest. By the time I am done, at least 40 of them will be on board. Yes, your state is one of them.

    For more info on the protest, here is the Facebook link:

  3. by Bob

    On September 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    You’re right in feeling that way. It’s best not to take a child who has been tortured, neglected, or abused. At least, not if you don’t want to help the kid. If you want a real life doll or puppy, you’ll have to look long and hard.
    It’s sad… people like you, who would probably do right in a child’s life, are the ones who don’t help the ones who need it.
    No, don’t help one of the poor abused kids. Pass them off to someone who will take them. Someone who will love to have them in their home to molest and rape and starve and beat.
    One day we are gonna get even with people like you. You look the other way. Look for some perfect little puppet. You never see us. So you’ll never see us coming.

  4. by Beth

    On March 3, 2013 at 2:01 am

    I did not understand from any of the articles I read that the people involved in this horrible treatment of “Johnny” were foster parents. I understood they were adults in the home in which he lived with his mother; thus, no foster parenting involved. That said, it sounds like you shouldn’t attempt fostering at all. It sounds like you want a child to fit your ideal of what a child should be, rather than a willingness to work to help a child’s life improve. A child like Johnny is just exactly a child someone should want to help and let him see there are kind and caring people who will protect and nurture him. You’re not that person.