Saturday, October 4, 2008

Adoption Frustration

My spouse and I tried for years to have a child of our "own". When we were unsuccessful and we moved to Canada we decided that we would foster children as a way to impact the lives of children locally in a positive light. This process of fostering has been a frustrating one. The children that have come into our home have all made an impact on us and we hope we have made an impact on them. Some of them we have been lucky enough to keep in contact with after they have been removed from our home and others we know nothing about, nor can we "ask" about because of privacy laws.
The politics of fostering is frustrating. The "perception" which others have of foster parents has been an interesting one to encounter and not always positive. I think after having worked within this system for almost five years my spouse and I are ready to be "done" with the process.
We have been blessed through this experience to have our son. We call him "Max" but that is not his legal name.
Max has been with us since he was one month old. We picked him up the day he was released from the hospital and he knows no other family or parents than us. When he was a few months old he became "legally adoptable" and my spouse and I decided to adopt him ourselves. From that moment the process has been EXTREMELY frustrating. The only thing that keeps us "going" is the knowledge that this little dude is WITH us. I have a friend who is adopting from Ethiopia and she and her husband are still waiting to hear that they have a child and can go to pick it up. I am grateful every day that we have Max with us, however the fact that his adoption has not happened and he is now over two years old is increasingly frustrating.
In our "region" of fostering we know of at least three other families who are facing the same opposition as they try to adopt children who have been placed with them on a long term basis. We discovered this week that a family close to us, who has been fostering a child since the child was less than one year old had now had that child (at age 6) removed from their home because of other political reasons. It BLOWS my mind. It absolutely terrifies me. The truth of the matter remains that we are still "ONLY" foster parents. We have loved and cared for and worked towards adopting our boy for over a year and a half, but the reality remains that we are not entitled to him in any way and he COULD be removed from us at any time. It kills me. The system is SOOOO screwed up.
We have done everything we can possibly do and we now wait for social workers and permanency workers and case workers and others to process files and make things happen on our behalf. The reality is that they don't care about "US" and they have no motivation to do anything to move our file forward. On the day that our little man became legally "adoptable" his file needed to be transferred from a social worker to a permanency worker who worked in the SAME office building. It has taken more than 18 months for that transfer to happen. There is no legitimate reason for the file to NOT move.
My partner and I have been so very careful to "keep our mouths shut" simply because if we anger the wrong person we could lose our son. We were completely frustrated at one point and asked to meet with the supervisor to check on the status of our file. We made an appointment. She cancelled. We made another appointment, she postponed it. When we finally met we arrived in the meeting with a list of concerns and we enumerated them to the supervisor. We met with her for close to an hour when it became obvious she was ready to end the meeting. As we concluded she made the comment "well I haven't looked at your file yet so I can't tell you what the status is...." I was shocked and I think I didn't hide my surprise very well. She hadn't even LOOKED at our file? She knew what we were coming to meet about, she knew what our concerns were, she had delayed the meeting repeatedly, and yet she didn't even look at our file.
A few months ago (6), we met with a permanency worker who was transferring our file to another worker who was hired to work in our immediate community. At that meeting we were told that in two weeks the file would be transferred to our town. We waited, and we waited, and we waited. I called the new worker to find the status of our file after three months and she hadn't even seen it yet. She called last week to say she had some good news and some bad news. The good news was the file had arrived in her office. The bad news was she was leaving the office and the file was being transferred BACK OUT of our home community because there is no longer an adoption worker here since she is being transferred. The file now goes BACK to the other community and there is no worker assigned.
I think we are now looking at adoption worker number 6 or number 7.
I have been reluctant to post about this - because I fear some kind of repercussion and the possible loss of our little man. I think that people's fear stops things from ever changing. I know that I have decided to be more vocal in the fight for my family. This is my first "action" but I will keep you posted on other decisions we make and carry out as a family in our quest to permanently "bring Max home".

1 comment:

Ranavan said...

The great unknown in the adopion world - we know it well. It really doesn't go away until you have the little piece of paper saying Max is yours - legally.

We are thinking of you - we understand how difficult this process is in terms of waiting - always waitng - your life always being in someone else's hands.