Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Once Bitten, Twice Shy


We are a few weeks into our adoption journey and excited to say the least!  We have chosen to be foster to adopt parents which gives us the greatest chance of having an infant but there is the possibility of having a child go back to his/her birth family if the social workers sees fit.  We are also considering one to three year olds who are already free for adoption or have a low legal risk where there is a good chance we'd get to adopt in the end.  We've filled out all our repetitive paperwork, totalling about eight hours of our lives as well as had our required physical and are awaiting the results from that.  We have also had two of the four state IMPACT Classes which will total 20 hours once completed.  We still have to have a background check and homestudy before we can be approved to be parents.  Sounds so funny hearing that out loud..."approved to be parents."  It makes me a little nervous being judged on our parental capabilities.  Like, wow...they could say "No."  I know fully well that Chirs and I will make great parents but now there is a third party who has to believe that also or our votes are vetoed.  I've begun over-analyzing our lives as I'm so good at doing.  Do we make enough money for thier satisfaction?  Are we too in debt?  Will they like us?  What if our dogs are not on their best behavior during the homestudy?  What  if our house is too messy?  What if our house is too clean?  All these incidious thoughts race through my mind wondering how much they weigh on the social worker's scale.

Filling out the paperwork was a chore.  It's been turned in and we're praying for a good grade on our answers though I don't remember studying for the test.  One question specifically worries me:  "What are your feelings toward the birth family of a child who has been abused/neglected?"  You see, I understand that the main objective in Foster Care is for the child to be reunified  with the birth family/parents.  However, I have this inate opinion that people who abuse children shouldn't get a second chance.  So, how am I supposed to feel for the birth family?  Here we sit, knowing that we are capable of raising and loving a child and have known this for years.  We've been waiting patiently and sometimes impatiently for the day that we would have our chance to be a family completed.  On the other hand, there are broken and damaged familes all over this country who do all the wrong things and are not capable and are not loving and do not cherish the obvious gift(s) they've been given.  So, I'm supposed to suck it up for their sake?  Am I to take a infant/child into our home, fall in love, and then give this gift back to someone who may damage them further?  Don't get me wrong, there are some kids in foster care who should be back with their families and those are the ones who've just come into a bad way financially or fallen ill and those people don't have a choice.  They should get their kids  back, no doubt, once they are on their feet and can properly care for thier children.  I'm referring to those who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, neglect and/or abuse their kids.  These children are not social experiments.  Once bitten, twice shy.  

In the two IMPACT Classes we've had, these case worker's have some true horror stories that I really could have lived the rest of my life without hearing.  However, they've driven my opionion home even further.  One story in particular will stay with me for the rest of my life:  A little baby girl, 18 months old, blonde hair, blue eyes.  He mother had a boyfriend who moved in one day.  With the Mother not around, the boyfriend thinks it would be fun to have sex with this precious little girl.  She is raped and her insides are torn.  The Dr's were able to put her back together but the damage was still done.  The little girl is in foster care and the mother does her due dilligence to get her child back.  Kicks the boyfriend out.  Court gives the baby back.  Two weeks later, the boyfriend moves back in.  Same thing happens but this time the child's insides are too torn for the Dr's to repair.  Child goes back into foster care and the parental rights are terminated.  But it's too late.  Now, this precious little girl is too damaged and full of rage at only three years old.  None of the foster homes can keep her under control.  She comes at them and other kids with scissors and bites and scratches and beats on infants.  She is placed in a group home...for the rest of her life.  This story, I'm told, was a case in the early 90's.  None of them could tell me what became of that child.  What if the court had not let her go home?  Why wasn't that boyfriend arrested and locked up?  Our system failed that child.  She's around 18 years old today, if she is still alive.  Is she being thrown out of that group home now as she has "aged out?"  What will happen to her?

Chris and I have read the first book in a series
 by David Pelzer.  The first is titled, "A Child Called 'It'."  In the first chapter alone, this book had my macho, Harley riding, weight lifting husband crying his eyes out.  The things that this author endured as a child made us sick to our stomach.  We wanted to literally go back in time through this biography and save this child.  The people who came into contact with him had to of known what he was going through and NO ONE did anything!  He was poisoned, beaten, stabbed, starved, neglected,  burned, frozen, and humilated and no one helped him for years!!  He is a miracle case as he has obivously come out of his Hell and made something of his life.  I am anxious to read the other books in the series to find out what transpired after his fifth grade year.

Chris's parents seem to be more supportive now that they have had time to mull things over.  They haven't said too much and they don't ask many questions about how our "process" is going but they haven't spoken against it either...that we know of.  My family is still very supportive and they ask after each IMPACT Class what we thought of it and what we learned.  My Dad called yesterday to make sure our physical went well.  It makes us feel so good to know that they are behind us and care what happens to our hearts along the way.  They seem to understand  that this is going to be hard for us and that we are going to need as much support as possible.  I only wish Chris's family would be more vocally supportive, at least to him.  I think he
 deserves it.  I think it's a difference of view.  My family looks at us now and sees "parents to  be."  His looks at us and sees "maybe you'll be parents one day."  I don't think they understand that "one day" is likely very soon.  I have this view that if I were pregnant, the type of support we get from his parents would be different than the support we get now.  They'd call and want to know about the Dr's appointments and they'd ask if I had morning sickness and when we'd find out the sex of the baby.  I know this because they have five grandkids already and I've seen how they've been with their other sons and daughter in laws.  Chris's brothers, on the other hand, have been very supportive and are excited for us.  Maybe it will be more "real" for them once we're approved and the phone calls for "matches" start coming?

As I was typing the last line of this entry, my sister in law, Jessy, called me to tell me I'm going to be an Aunt again.  I'm happy for them, truly, as they have no issues having kids.  This will be their fourth child.  Have to admit it still stung a little but not nearly as much as it did two years ago.


Kristin said...

I'm very happy for you and Chris and I know you will be great parents. I'll keep best wishes in my heart for you two and the gift on the way.

Lisa Marsh said...

I see that it's been a few months sine you posted about the Foster to Adopt program and I hope it's because you and Chris have had a child placed with you and are too busy to blog. I think that what you are doing is great. Regardless, I hope you are doing well.