Foster Care Nightmares

Last month, a foster mother’s foster son #1 moved across the country to be with his aunt. This is the way foster care is supposed to work. She also has a foster daughter who is age 6 and has two brothers in another foster home. The foster home once had all 3 kids but kicked the girl out after a few days. She had been told that the girl’s brothers couldn’t come and be with their sister until the other foster son #1 reunified, even though the woman is approved to house 4 children.

Once he reunified, she started pushing super hard to get the girl’s brothers brought there, so that the siblings could be back together, something the county seems against, despite court orders.

They had an overnight visit with the girl’s brothers on 9.24.22. At the same time that was going on, she got a call from foster son #1’s aunt, saying she wants to send him back to them after only having him for one month. Understandably, the foster mother is at a loss to understand the whole situation. Of course, she had told the aunt he would always have a home there and that the aunt doesn’t have to make that decision so quickly. Yet, the mother worried about his safety, if the aunt was that desperate to have him moved.

Her perspective is that she does have obligations to ALL 4 children. She wonders if the Dept of Child and Family Services will cooperate with all of these needs. She doesn’t want foster son #1 to have to move to yet another foster family and she is still committed to reunifying the other 3 siblings under one roof. She doesn’t want to have to choose which kids get more trauma heaped onto their lives ? She says – It’s so effed up how people discard children like they’re nothing.

Story Updated – The aunt called and demanded that foster son #1 be removed from her home immediately. So, the social worker flew out to get him. The foster mother doesn’t know what happened or even if the aunt is interested in maintaining any kind of relationship with him now that he’s back with her. Of course, this is heartbreaking all around. The foster mother is working with an attorney and he seems to agree with her that the brothers should be placed with their sister. But the social worker is definitely against it. so, this is still an unfolding story.

The Open Hearted Way

Headed into the future, I will always prefer a mother raising the baby she gave birth to. That is hands down the best outcome as far as I am concerned. But as a realist, adoptions are still going to happen. Today I caught a mention of this book – I’ve not read it but the intention behind it seems to be a good one.

Prior to 1990, fewer than five percent of domestic infant adoptions were open. In 2012, ninety percent or more of adoption agencies are recommending open adoption. Yet these agencies do not often or adequately prepare either adopting parents or birth parents for the road ahead of them! The adult parties in open adoptions are left floundering.

There are many resources on why to do open adoption, but what about how? Open adoption isn’t just something parents do when they exchange photos, send emails, share a visit. It’s a lifestyle that may feel intrusive at times, be difficult or inconvenient at other times. Tensions can arise even in the best of circumstances. But knowing how to handle these situations and how to continue to make arrangements work for the child involved is paramount.

It is said that this book offers readers the tools and the insights to do just that. It covers common open-adoption situations and how real families have navigated typical issues successfully. Like all useful parenting books, it provides parents with the tools to arrive at answers on their own, and answers questions that might not yet have come up.

Through their own stories and those of other families of open adoption, Lori Holden (an adoptive parent) and Crystal Hass (a birth mother) share the pathways to successfully navigating the pitfalls and challenges, the joys and triumphs. The most important focus to center on is putting the adopted child’s best interests FIRST as the guiding principle. It is possible for the families involved to travel the path of open adoption by mitigating whatever challenges may arise.

This book is said to be more than a how-to. More a mindset, a heartset, that can be learned and internalized. All the parents involved CAN choose to act from their love for the child and go forward with honesty. The goal of everyone involved should be to help their child grow up whole.

The take-away ? The adoptive/birth family relationship is not an “either-or.” Within the framework of an open adoption that works for everyone involved, it has to be an “and.” Adoption creates a split between a person’s biology and their biography. Openness in adoption is an effective way to heal that split when the reality is – the adoption is – and must be lived through.

Lori Holden’s website – https://lavenderluz.com/. Podcast link – The Long View.