Monday, December 21, 2009

You Rock, You Rule 3!

Before I start pointing you all in the direction of the many awesome blogs I read this week, let me just say that I am truly astonished at the people who have commented on some of my last posts to say that they were not given information or connected with their foster/adoptive children's birth parents. I know that in the world of domestic and international adoption this is commonplace. But in MY experience in working in foster care, this is thankfully not usually the case. I'm working on a blog post about it - but am really still so shocked that I'm having trouble putting it on paper. If you have adopted from foster care (or are currently fostering) could you be so kind as to comment (or email me!) and tell me YOUR experiences? Have you had contact with the child's parents or other family members? If rights were already terminated when the childre were placed with you, were you given names, information, etc? I'd really appreciate it!

Onwards...


I'm proud to share my profession with some amazing people, and I'm especially interested when I get to hear about different branches of social work. Such is the case whenever I read LeighSW's blog. She is a hospice social worker - that makes her all kinds of awesome right off the bat! But one of her blog posts last week really inspired me - she took one of her clients to Africa! Ok, maybe not quite - but I'm pretty sure it was just as amazing. What a fabulous example of thinking outside the box in order to support her client!

Next is a blog about a "Foster Home" in China that works especially with children with medical special needs. I really think the work they do there is amazing - and you can even follow some of the children's journeys to their "forever families" after their adopted by looking through their collection of "extended family" links! What a great way to continue to show support to these children after they've left the home. Specifically though, there was a post last week about a person who is very special to the children at the New Day Foster Home - he's called "Nie Nie Donnie" (which means Grampa Donnie). I love that you can make a difference in people's lives from across the globe - what a cool world we live in right now!

Here is a new blog that I just started following - have I mentioned I love new blogs? Melody is a therapist and sounds just about as introspective and reflective as me! She wrote a really cool post about the overlap between psychology and spirituality. I've been thinking about writing such a post for a while - but it is sometimes hard for me, as a Christian, to think about spirituality outside of my own religion. However, I will say that I have found a lot of wisdom and truth in various parts of other religions - especially the Buddhist practice of being "mindful". So, until I can get my thoughts straight enough to write my own post - check out This is Me to see how we can use both psychology and spirituality to heal our past hurts and live our lives more fully!

Speaking of spirituality - if you haven't read the "Stuff Christians Like" blog, you really should. Most of the time its full of humorous posts about the cliched things that we, as Christians, all do at times. But last week their was a more serious post about the 9 words that changed [the author's] life - and no doubt they were a wonderful blessing to me as well. Those 9 words are full of hope, blessings and forgiveness - go check them out and I hope that they will change your life too!

10 comments:

  1. In our state, info about the birthparents is something you read about in the giant package of information you get when you're deciding whether to proceed with an adoption. There's also a section that talks about healthy relationships the child has within the family.

    With the teen we're currently hoping to adopt, we didn't even learn his name until we had to contact him at the RTC so he could visit us for the holidays. We still don't know the names of his family members (except now his brother, also in care, whom we hope he can visit soon) but we know some of the stories about them. There are multiple generations of abuse and weirdness there, and it might turn out that he can only have healthy contact with his brother. But especially since his family lives in the same part of the state we do, for his safety/sanity and for ours I'd certainly expect to know who they are if he lives with us permanently! It blows my mind that other states react so differently.

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  2. We're still just exploring adoption from foster care in our state, so we don't have first-hand experience yet. But the first two agencies we talked to mentioned they don't send home studies out of state, specifically because they feel it's too difficult to maintain connections with bio parents/siblings in inter-state situations. I thought that was really interesting.

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  3. Thanks for the mention:) So glad you're a fan of Stuff Christians Like, too!

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  4. Longterm placement (LTP) #1

    Older sibling group, rights terminated. Placed as foster with the intention of adopting. No info on bio family except scattered memories from the kids and what was written in the current service plan. Right on the service plan of the youngest, an 8 yo boy, it said something to the effect of "even though he is xyz Jr. xyz Sr. is not his father." They had been in care for 5+ years and had to go through boxes and boxes before I found out the father was a drug dealer, of course had they not put in the service plan who ISNT who WAS would not have been a daily issue. I saw no other reason to have that blurb in the service plan than for office gossip. Never any contact with other family members, and even a sister who mysteriously disappeared after a court hearing and was placed with paternal family was not heard from again. The 15 year old asked for contact with her and was told to "forget about her, she isn't your sister."

    LTP #2 14 yo girl, rights not terminated, service plan was long term foster care. No contact with family. No family information. Caseworker said no plan to terminate because she was a handicapped teen and no one adopts handicapped teens, we indicated we would, and they moved her.

    LTP #3 current kids. Twins placed at 5 wks, and a one year old placed six months later at 18 mos after 5 foster placements. We were forbidden to have any contact with family for two years. They would grab the kids at the door of the visit room and shut it in my face. I was not allowed past the secure area and the kids would be brought to me after the visit. Was told this was for my safety. When kids started walking, I asked if Mama could help me take kids out to car, they said no until kids were 20 months, when Mama and I started talking. I asked that Mama be given my phone # several times, I finally gave it to one of the kids to pass to her and she would call sometimes, and not other times. We would invite her to the kids bday parties, held at a neutral location, and CPS told her if she went they'd revoke her probation. The ONLY reason the kids rights have been terminated is because of the relationship Mama & I have.

    CPS has been a hindrance the entire time we been fostering. We've had 24 kids through the house and if they don't lie about what kids they are bringing us, they lie about what is going on in the case. They move kids with a couple of hours notice, even though they've been searching for homes for weeks. Luckily, for the kids we have now, we had the other 21 kids to gain some experience because they've tried to have these kids moved but we fight them on it every time. Like I said, the oldest one we have now was in 7 homes at 18 months, I cannot imagine what that number would look like 4.5 years later had we not insisted he stay here.

    Also, when they placed the 18 mo boy with us, they placed a six year old brother, within days he'd threatened to kill the kids in their sleep, (probable reason for their multiple moves) WE found him the home he was moved to which was an all boy home where he was the youngest. Foster Father had been fostering for 20 years, and if they couldn't be adopted he would adopt them, kept countless kids out of rtc which is where the brother would be, no doubt in my mind, had he not ended up there. And that was our work, not CPS.

    Sorry, so long, but you asked :)

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  5. We always met the birth families immediately upon placement unless there were safety concerns. With our oldest, we met the birth mom a few weeks after his placement because she was in jail. His birth dad was in prison until he was a year old, we didn't meet him for 15 months. With our middle son, I met his birth mom while he was still in NICU. I roomed in with both of them for 3 days and I was court allowed to supervise her visits. Because of the circumstances around his placement (mom had lower IQ and could not understand his medical needs- no neglect, no abuse, no drugs) she had unlimited visitation. We had her at our home on a regular basis and included her in holidays and birthdays.

    With almost all of our foster placements, we met the birth parents within the first week or so. Our agency was HUGE on promoting a shared parenting approach to foster care. We were expected to partner with the birth families whenever possible. I cannot imagine not having that contact or that information. Nobody benefits from that, especially not the kids.

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  6. We take emergency foster placements and have barely had the child's name, let alone any information about their family (and in the most recent placement, they even managed to get foster child's name wrong).
    as there are issues of safety with contact, we haven't had much information but child's mother has been to our house (when child was at school as they can't have unsupervised contact) for the placement meeting with the social worker so at least she could see the environment her daughter is in.
    The previous placements were quite short and we did have a problem when mother tried to remove her child from his school playground, but a school teacher noticed.
    I think it's partly due to the speed the placements have been made that we haven't had the information .
    We certainly haven't been given anything 'formal' but have patched together pieces of information as it arises.

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  7. Our foster child came to us after two failed adoptions. He was originally from Russia.

    Interestingly, the HUGE thrust in all of the training (like, it was just about the only thing she talked about ....all roads went back to: continuity...and keeping contact with bio/foster parents/siblings.

    Since out and out rejection of a child (as in disruption) is not the norm....all of the examples she gave were of parents in prison, or rights terminated, etc., I wondered if I should try to keep a connection.

    Our foster son (age 13 when he arrived with us) has nothing but kind things to say about his previous mothers (two women in a relationship, and a mother who disrupted after her husband left the two of them). When he even articulated that he missed them and wanted to see them, I contacted them (I heard about him through the agency who had put them in his adoptive homes, not the state/county, so they had that information).

    In both cases we had a visit (both times at McDonalds, and both times really pleasant). Since they are in different parts of the state, we've not see them in person since, but have kept in touch on facebook and with gifts and cards.

    Prior to the visits, I wondered how they could not be traumatic. But it is a phenomenon that reminds me of the pearl in the oyster. The pearl is formed, after all, to keep the grain of sand from irritating the oyster... It seemed a little like that. Something has coated these relationships with a more beautiful sheen. They are civilized and kind.

    I cannot for the life of me imagine how someday he won't hate these women for abandoning him. In my opinion there was no good excuse for the disruption - not for someone who called themselves his mother. And - trust me - I have been through the mill with this boy. But things are complicated I guess.

    When you adopt from Russia, you get information about the parents. Russia is very closed about adoption and I am involved in two yahoo groups focused on birth parent and sibling searches. It does occur that coarse and unprofessional searchers, revealing a pregnancy previously unknown by parents or spouse, have caused further tragedy.

    In our case, we connected with our adopted son's sister, and with two other of our children, with parents and grandparents. The Ministry of Education cannot give this information, but in one case we did a search. In another a Russian friend visited older siblings in the orphanage, made a connection and eventually we got the phone numbers for the family.

    Hope I answered your question - I'm not sure - it's late.

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  8. I have lots to say re this issue, but cannot figure out how to email you without creating a new email address on my MAC, and that is something I do not want to do! Can you email me so I can email you my experiences with adoption and disclosure and family connections? (I have a 4 year old adopted thru foster care.) THANKS!
    -Kerry

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  9. Thanks for mentioning me! I've really enjoyed your blog too:-)

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  10. When we got Lil' man all of his parents, and previous foster placements names and addresses were listed in his file. I was given his previous foster Mothers phone number. His previous foster mother calls about once a month to check on him.

    We met his birth Mother along with his extended family two months after he was placed with us (BM lives out of state).Rights were terminated in July, and we have seen his aunt, cousins, and grandmother three times since then with DFACS permission. In fact we are meeting them at the park tomorrow to exchange Christmas gifts.

    Our agency/state is all about family visits as long as its supervised, and healthy.

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