Archive for the ‘ Fostering ’ Category

Foster Kids: There are Monsters Under our Beds

Friday, October 5th, 2012

After going back and forth relentlessly between domestic adoption, closed adoption (my husband) versus open domestic adoption (the wife), we are at a standstill. Bio son Sam has been waiting so long for a young sister or brother that he almost doesn’t care anymore (two years and counting). At age 4, Sam was excited about a sibling; at six he’s nearly over it.

Another standstill: It’s harder and harder to leap over all the adoption barricades: finances, emotions, huge disagreements, our busy working lives, etc.

Barricade #1: Cost of an international adoption which is clearly the winner vote by our family. Hard to scare up the initial $15,000 to get the international adoption ball rolling. The total cost of an international Indian adoption for a young toddler daughter will costs total between $30,000 – $50,000.

We have some emotional obstacles around international adoption as well: Some parents who adopt internationally will question the need to bring up things that happened in their child’s past. Could you personally admit that money may have driven your birth parents’ decision, or that your joyful toddler comes from poor parents who never even gave consent?

If corruption exists in your child’s birth country or may have played a role in your baby’s adoption, I believe it’s not your fault. You didn’t set out to “steal” anyone’s baby.

From International Adoption to Domestic Adoption

You can read about our fears and ignorance around foster children in previous posts, but I still urge everyone to look into local domestic adoptions first. You adopt in a shorter amount of time and deeply serve your local community.

Re: Domestic Adoption from the Los Angeles County foster and family agencies. After several posts over the last few weeks, devout reader Jayme, who spent young, formative years in foster care in another state wrote to me.

Looking back, she remembered, “Nothing short of horrid. We used to be told about the monsters under our beds when we were young. Sometimes I wonder if they really are real? Monsters are everywhere. I learned the hard way.

“Sad sad sad,” said reader Jayme. Keep up the good work on adoptions, and I will. Share your stories with me:

 

Add a Comment

My Stepmother Abused and Neglected her Foster Daughter

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Reader Claudia started off my complimenting The Adoption Diaries and telling me how great Parents.com is for bringing to light the issues surrounding foster-care, domestic adoption and busy caseworkers who stash troubled kids in homes where they might be abused or neglected.

Claudia said, “Caseworkers must look for legal proof  of convicted felonies; in order for there to be anything incriminating in your background, you have had to have been arrested, tried, and found guilty in a court of law.”

But then Claudia argued that most pedophiles are in the wings watching, fitting into society like Jerry Sandusky was able to for all those years. How are you ever to know what happens behind closed doors? As an example, Claudia told me about her deceased stepmother who terrorized one of her foster daughters.

“My step-mother (who is now dead) and father adopted two little girls out of foster care. She spoiled and over-indulged the one, but couldn’t stand the other. She was verbally and emotionally incredibly abusive to her and today she has a lot of issues. Both grown women actually have a lot of emotional problems because of their foster mother. Even my father was relieved to watch his wife — their foster mom — suffer and die from cancer.

“She was what most people would say was an evil woman. But she could certainly turn on the nice and pleasant for company, be nice when it served her purposes. Sometimes evil is carefully concealed. We as a family did help the situation, but our hands were tied legally. You must look around to help children who are begin abused because abusers lurk in the shadows.

“Keep your own eyes open to children around you,” Claudia urged. “Maybe it’s not only up to the caseworkers and government who go in and
schedule a visit so the evil people can be prepared and on their best behavior. Maybe it’s up to us, neighbors and relatives, who see the truth and act. The government can’t do everything. Maybe we need to stop looking to Big Brother and expect them to run our lives for us and come up with all of the answers. Maybe we need to do something.”

Who else agrees with Claudia? Thanks for the wise words and I’m so glad you spoke out about the abuse those foster kids received.

Tell me your adoption story here:

Add a Comment

International Adoption Policies Improve Every Year

Friday, September 21st, 2012

As my family moves forward with the potential to adopt a toddler daughter from India, we also learn that international adoption relieves resource-starved nations of the burden of supporting un-parented children.

The additional costs those orphaned children will exact as they graduate from childhoods of deprivation to adulthood — where they will also disproportionately populate the ranks of the unemployed, the homeless, and the incarcerated.

There are millions of un-parented children exist worldwide, growing up in institutions, on the streets, in group homes, in foster care, and in families where they may suffer abuse and neglect.

International adoption (at its peak in the early years of the twenty-first century) provided homes for roughly 40,000 children annually, including more than 20,000 homes in the United States, according to the Department of State. 

The UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs stated in 2010 that international adoption brings new resources into countries in the form of adoption fees and charitable contributions. While wars between nations and hostility between different ethnic groups are, sadly, part of our present, so is globalization and the continuing trend to taking care of kids caught in conflict, famine and poverty.

After two years of contemplating an international adoption, I do understand the need for such excessive paperwork via home studies and I accept that foreign countries have whole sets of different immigration laws and needs, but adopting a baby in need from a different and far-flung country should not be quite so difficult.

But adopting a toddler child from a group home in India (who so desperately needs a mom and dad) should not take more than two years.

We’ll miss the most formative two years of our kid’s life. I call foul, I don’t like the odds. And so we keep planning to double our odds, and we have begun filing paperwork for a domestic adoption training class at the same time.

How long do you think an international adoption should honestly take with valid security questions and the kid’s care uppermost in everyone’s mind? One year? Why can’t we rush through the  international immigration and customs process and why does it take two years to adopt from India? Arrrgh.

Tell me your adoption story here in Comments below:

Add a Comment

‘My Aunt has Abused her Foster Kids in the Past”

Monday, September 17th, 2012

After receiving that disturbing message from Arin, I had to email back and help unfold the sad and heartbreaking story of a veteran foster mother who takes in too many children because she needs the money to live on. This foster mom grows tired of so many young and often emotionally abused kids in the house. Tempers flare. Arin felt bad even telling me some of the worst foster care experiences she has seen among the eight foster kids moving in (and out of) her aunt’s home during the last few years.

Arin asked me, “What’s bad or what’s the worst? She said, “Well my aunt has eight adopted children, young children, and she doesn’t even provide car seats with working seat belts for all those kids. That’s pretty bad, right? My aunt also gets a check to from the state of Arizona because she adopted several “un-adoptable children” but she is also abusive and very neglectful to them.”

Okay, here is worse foster mother behavior. “My aunt who fosters eight young children went out and bought herself a truck and makes them ride in the back though it has a camper over it the children are never belted in. My aunt makes one of them sleep on the floor in a bedroom with other big kids.” Arin and other members of the family have called family services in their state to beg for intervention on behalf of the abused children in the home.

As of last week, all children were still in the home of their foster mother. Arin also said, “Children protective agencies always interview the children in front of that monster and they are terrified. If they tell or complain, they believe they await a fate worse than death. To be taken away means facing unknowable dangers… So I feel horrible for her children.”

Arin told me some of the littlest kids sleep on the cold basement floor because [of the abuse they suffer from her] they wet the bed so they are “not worthy of a bed” in her eyes. This is all very sad.”

What can you do if you suspect local child abuse like this foster mama?

Add a Comment

LA County Proclaims September 10 – 14 “Family Reunification Week”

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Three years ago, Michael Nash, Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, with the support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, initiated the first ever “Family Reunification Week.”

The annual celebration recognizes the thousands of families that have complied with specific court requirements and safely reunited with their children.

There are three components to this year’s celebration: On Tuesday, September 11th, six  family reunification “Heroes” were honored (a group of parents, social workers, and organizations that have done an exemplary job)  for supporting the safe return of children to their homes and families and presented with a special scroll presentation by Chairman Yaroslavsky’s Children’s Deputy Lisa Mandel at the Hall of Administration.

The most emotional part of the program was undoubtedly hree families sharing their personal stories on how they reunited with their children.  Parents in Partnership, a DCFS program that utilizes parents who have successfully navigated the Dependency Court system to reunify with their children and are now coaching other families on how to do the same, will discuss their successful program.

Later today, the media is invited to attend a press conference at Juvenile Court where reporters can witness a unique event, similar in format to National Adoption Day, as court officially terminates the cases of eight families whose parents have successfully reunified with their children.  These eight families represent over 3,000 families that reunify with their children each year.

The system actually accomplishes that more often than not. Of the 25,000 plus children under our court’s jurisdiction today, almost 15,000 are either being safely maintained at home or are in a reunification plan with their families.

But here’s the rub: Would you be able to hand off a beloved foster care child back to biological parents who may have, at one time, neglected or abused their own children?

Not sure I could be that strong… Comment here.

Add a Comment