Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Happens to foster kids when the state's run out of money for social services?

Economic Solution for Foster Kids
By Ali Bond-Smith, 2/26/09

I’ll never forget the first time I saw my new foster daughters. I’d left my husband and three kids back in Oregon and flew all the way to Arizona while eight months pregnant to pick them up. There standing in the lobby was 5-yr-old Sadie with her dark brown features and 3-yr-old Jamey with her tempting squishy cheeks and missing tooth. Arizona DES hoped if they could get the judge or birthparents to terminate their parental rights we could adopt them. There young drug addicted birth mom was my second cousin making the girls second cousins twice removed and though it’s not an actual relative and we haven’t spoken since I was 11-yrs-old I thought she’d consider doing what was best for the young girl’s by getting them out of a distant foster home, knowing James and I have adopted before and are capable of loving them as our very own.

Their caseworker promised their medical records, foster care records, social security numbers, and birth certificates were all in the mail to me so I’d be able to enroll them in school, take them to the doctor, and get state insurance to cover the cost till we could adopt them, if we could adopt them. Seven months later we’re still unable to enroll Jamey in the special classes she needs for her emotional difficulties, Sadie is threatened by the school every trimester for not being able to provide proof of age or immunization despite an Oregon caseworkers letters, and our family of eight is still paying cash out of pocket unreimbursed for emergency doctor and dentist appointments despite the fact that our self employed business is directly tied to the failing real estate market. Sadly after using a 401k account we still can not afford the mental health services the girls require to deal with their mounting anxiety and attachment issues. Jamey’s breathing machine, prescriptions and treatments sit at the pharmacy waiting half a year later because the cost is too great for us combined with the emergency dental treatments they’ve required. Our health insurance company won’t accept responsibility for the girls because they are not our kids. Oregon Health Plan won’t place the girls on Medicaid because we don’t have the social security numbers, proof of naturalization, and as it turns out one of the girls has a different legal last name even their Oregon caseworker was unaware of. Finally Arizona ICPC office prompted a caseworker visit to our home yesterday to inform us the state is out of money due to the economy and our options as foster parents are to continue to pay out of pocket or send the girl’s back to Arizona.

The government seems to feel that in times of economic stress children can be thrown away, “sent back” or disposed of.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Post Adoption Support


Post Adoption Support Services

Once the adoption papers are signed and all is finalized seems like the safest time to a child with extra needs to give her parents cause to seek extra support and services. If you contact information for your state that will benefit other foster and adoptive families will you please add them to comments? We look forward to your contribution!

State of Oregon:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adoption Information Curiosity

Adoption Information Curiosity

How many of us who have adopted, been adopted or placed a child for adoption have to face the dreaded questions from curious people? Some people are curious for very modest reasons such as they are interested in adding their family through adoption, but most are just plain entertained by whole adoption world. Hoping to hear the details of the Birth Mom villain or victim, the LifeTime drama’s of babies overcoming drug addicts, and who the “real” parents are. How many of us have had to face the dreaded personal questions in front of our children?!?

“Are they really brother and sister?”
“Is he a crack baby?”
Did you get her from Ethiopia?”
“Why can’t you have kids of your own?”
Aren’t you afraid his real Mom will want him back?”
“How does he like having two Moms?!?”

We’ve heard it all and not just from strangers in the check out line, but from our own family members, neighbors or health care professionals. A child’s adoption story is their own. Their history, their genetic family members and their life stories are their own to share with whomever they are comfortable. They may be just one year old now but someday they will an eleven year old with a best friend they may chose to confide in, a twenty one year old with a serious boyfriend who should learn her history from her, a fifty year old getting ready to have grandchildren herself and information shared years earlier is still circling the family gossip chain. It’s the child’s story to tell. Even the smiling four year old before you comprehends more than you know. Having to see her Dad grope for a polite but appropriate answer to nosey questions is uncomfortable.

The Adoption Manners Rule for asking adoption related questions is 1st: Ask yourself why you want that information. 2nd: Don’t ever ask in front of children. 3rd: Review Positive Adoption Language before talking about adoption. 4th: Trust that the parent/s will share information with you that they feel you should know.