Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Soul Searching (And More Ranting)

Blatant cut and paste from my wifes blog

Where do I even start? Okay. We start with the beginning of the day. This will be a massive brain dump with a plea for advice somewhere near the bottom. If you read nothing else, give me input on that part please. K? Thanks. I appreciate it.

We expressed interest in a 3-year-old in NC last evening, they said he had some delays, etc. Emailed the home study to the contact address on the website. I woke up to an email from them stating that they don't accept emailed home studies, could we please fax it. First, WTF, dude? You ALREADY HAVE IT. Just read it. Whatever. We faxed it. They then refused to tell us anything about the kid. They would ONLY talk to our social worker. So my SW calls. The kid, at 3, is completely non-verbal, only just learning to walk, not potty trained, and will require assistance for the rest of his life. My SW actually said the kid would be better off in an institution because that's the level of care he NEEDS. If that's not blatant misrepresentation, I don't know what is.

We expressed interest in a 2-year-old in GA. Emailed the home study. Oh, but they still can't tell us anything. They'll only talk to social workers. What the fuck ever, people. Seriously.

We got a new liaison at AdoptUsKids. She's way better than the last one. We were pretty much in constant contact with her either by phone or email until she left the office today. Much better treatment than we're used to. Refreshing.

At the beginning of this process, our SW told us three things:

1. We'd have referrals for fosters coming out our wazoo.
2. Young children (under 3ish) are very rare.
3. We will probably wait years for an adoptive placement.

Today, my mom told me about a friend of her's who has adopted two children through foster care (both under six months old at the time of placement) and just took a referral for another 3-year-old who is already adoptable. TPR is already complete.

Mom gave me her number (let's call her R). So I called R and talked to her about it. R and her DH have been doing foster care for about 8 years. In that time, they've had eight foster children who went back home, and by the end, have adopted 3. And R and her DH only accepted children under 18 months! (Until this latest one came along.) So, that's 11 babies/toddlers to come through their home in 8 years. Eleven children under age 3 in 8 years. Three children under age 3 who have been adoptable.

My brother's girlfriend's parents (P&D) are foster parents. I don't even know how many referrals they've had or how many they've turned down. Right now, they have 4 children under the age of 5 and they're adopting one of those. Another one of those is an infant who may still be adoptable in the future. I think P&D have been in this for three years or so.

Both these couples are going through the actual state agency. The DubV equivalent of CPS. We're going through a private agency who is funded by the state. Completely different animals. Now, when the department (CPS, stick with me here, I'm almost done) gets a referral, they are going to call all their homes first. They get paid by the kid from the state, so they want to keep as many kids as possible in their program. After they've run through their list of homes, they call these other agencies (like mine) and give the referral to them. So basically, we're scraping the bottom of the barrel. We're clear down there at the bottom of this flow chart. When my SW told me that babies/toddlers never came in and that adoptable placements almost never came through, it was a skewed view of the thing. Those situations may not come through THAT agency, but they're certainly going somewhere. They just happen to find a home way up at the top of the flow chart. So now we're left with this:

1. We've had two referrals that we didn't get picked for (because the department found homes for them). If that's referrals out the wazoo, I think he needs to re-examine the definition of said catchphrase.

2. Children under 3 are only rare at the bottom of the flow chart. Where we are. We have the ability to jump up to the top... You know, where the KIDS ARE.

3. Adoptable placements come along as often as young kids do. Just not at my agency.

So where does this leave us? Fuck if I know... My gut tells me we're dropping our agency and going straight through the department. I feel bad doing that because I really do like our SW. But I almost think he's just a really brilliant salesman. Really good at blinding you to the facts and making you feel like you need him. And I think I bought it hook, line, and sinker. At the root of it, we were lied to. Best case scenario, we were misled. Either way, it wasn't the right way to do it. There's no way, going into this, that we would know how the referrals worked. I guess I was naive enough to believe that it was an equal opportunity thing, but looking at it now, it all makes sense... What motivation does the department have to hand off these referrals when they have their own foster homes? Why give away that money? It's glaringly obvious that you have the upper hand at the department as opposed to being with one of these offshoot agencies. And should I really feel bad about leaving my current agency? After finding out that we were purposely misled about the way the department handles things, how many kids are really out there, etc... I don't feel quite so shitty about it.

Is it better to wait around for months on end with no referral because you get to skip the politics of the department? Or is it better to jump into the department with both feet because you'll get kids in the house faster? Seems obvious to me now. Twenty four hours ago, you wouldn't have been able to convince me to do this... But based on the information that I received today... It seems to be the only thing that makes sense for our long-term goals.

So, what would you do, Blogosphere? Impart your glorious wisdom upon me.


  1. IMHO, you will run into politics whether you go with the Department or with an agency. Both are rife with red tape and people who are either unable, unwilling or too overloaded to do their jobs effectively. It sounds as if you have some reasonable evidence to believe that going with the Dept is a more promising direction to I would say follow your gut. We used an agency but were not intending to foster; we were looking specifically for infant placements of children who were being voluntarily relinquished for adoption. Still, we endured our share of BS...and I think it is nearly impossible to avoid. Our first SW, who was just plain AWESOME, steeled us at the outset and advised us that we would have to "work the system." She couldn't have been more right.
    Best wishes and I hope that you can reach a decision that will give you peace.

  2. I wish I could say that people in this industry don't have problems with the truth. They do, all of them.

    First thing we asked in foster parenting 101 - If the bio parents are completely incompetent how long do the kids stay in limbo? 18 months. PERIOD. The guy even said. Well, we're going on four years with the elusive infants that never come into care. Parents still have rights, even after multiple lengthy incarcerations.

    Our three little ones were five week old twins and 1 day shy of his first birthday. A friend of mine also adopted newborn twins from foster care.

    Yes, working the system is the only way to survive.