Clueless

“Hey guys.I’m a single woman who’s plan was to start applying to adopt/foster in my state. Sad story was that my social worker said that I wasn’t allowed to receive any government help like 0. I have to have a job which that’s mandatory at least with this agency. And I’m not complaining about having a job either or I’m still planing on working at some point the thing that caught me off guard was her response to government aid must be 0. Yes all the way from food stamps to government funded apartments that’s a huge No, causing disqualification to apply. I spoke with my therapist and since I have bipolar 1 she told me that it would be best to postpone the plan of adoption/foster care all together for now, my therapist even said that she does not want me to feel sad if at the end foster/adoption care is not an option for me even if I truly wanted to make a difference, since the agency is strict on keeping government out of the picture.
Any thoughts?
Advice?
Does this sound fair or unfair ?”

It’s hard to know where to start . . .

Not surprisingly, came this satirical response –

Um. Totally unfair. You should totally be jobless and on government assistance because you’ll get PLENTY of money to live on saving these kids from their parents on government assistance. If you take like 8 kids at a time you’ll make serious bank, and BONUS if you take some older kids with the younger kids you never have to do anything because the older kids can do all the cooking and cleaning and diaper changes! Yay! Also, f**k this bitch.

More to the point, came this one –

Someone sounds like they need to get their own life in order before, erm, “helping” (themselves to someone else’s children)…

And even more to the point –

Yes, it is very reasonable. FYI, they may also want to talk about your being bipolar, review your meds and/or want to talk to your therapist or get a statement from them that they recommended you would do well with foster care. Here’s the thing: all of the kids in foster care are going through big time trauma. They need someone who is financially and emotionally stable to help them through it.

In a lot of cases, poverty and mental illness have a lot to do with why the kids came into care. It’s kinda hypocritical to take them out of that just to place them right back into it. For example, the case plan might say that the parents have to get a job to get the kids back. So in the meantime, they stay with you, but you don’t have a job?

It’s great that you want to help, but what do you mean by foster/adopt? If you’re getting into foster care to adopt, just don’t, you won’t have the right mindset and it will not be good for you or the kids. What do you mean by your agency keeping government out of the picture? Foster Care =government, so I’m not really understanding that.

And finally –

She should talk to all these birth families who lose their biological children for bipolar disorder and because they were seeking mental health help and were in poverty or disabled. This post makes me angry because it seems so out of touch with reality.

Foster kids are not a prop or little adventure to embark on. You can’t just (or SHOULDN’T just) be a foster parent because you randomly decide you “love kids” and “it’s your calling.”

You can’t just decide you’re gonna be a foster parent when nothing in your life is in order to do so.

Mental health, unemployment, needing to rely on the system….. these are some of the causes for kids to be removed from their biological parents.  Our society would be better off extending the services and finances to the natural families so that they can keep their own children.

Temporary Assistance

What could go wrong ?  We’re family.  One of us needs help temporarily.  An older family member is willing . . . but the outcome is not what we expected.

I know this up close and personal.  When I was struggling to support myself and my young daughter, an opportunity arose to make some significant money but it would require me to travel and it was not a situation that I could pack my toddler daughter along for the ride.  I didn’t even know if I could do that work.  And I didn’t know how long it would last.  I just knew that increasingly my financial situation was becoming a crisis and I had to do something . . .

So, I left her with her paternal grandmother with the intention of that situation being temporary.  Over time, it became permanent but not with the grandmother, with my ex-husband who remarried a woman with a daughter and eventually they had a third child born of their union.  Therefore, even as my circumstances changed, I did not seek to intervene, believing that being in a family with siblings (and I did know that from a young age my daughter had wanted at least one) and which I, as a single mom, could not provide – was the best option for my daughter.  I didn’t know until very recently that the situation was not entirely as good as I once believed.  But she and I survived and remain close – thankfully.

Today, I read about a woman and a similar but different situation –

27 years ago my great aunt was supposed to watch my mother’s sister’s newborn for a few weeks because she was only 16 and unprepared. When she tried to get her baby back, my great aunt basically loaded her with court costs until it was prohibitively expensive for her. We weren’t allowed to tell her adopted daughter that she was adopted. The whole family thinks of my great aunt as a savior because the birth mom’s life didn’t turn out great. I wonder if losing her child is a big part of the why.

The rest of the story –

The girl didn’t find out that she was adopted and who her birth mom actually was until 2 years ago.  Her birth mom was diagnosed with cancer. The mom passed away last year.

We don’t always see where our actions are taking us.  For many adoptees once given up, there is a constant stream of reunions with genetic family that does some of the healing work that tearing a family apart causes.  I do believe we all do the best we know how in the moment we make a decision.  The reality is where things go from there and that is not always foreseeable.

Why It Is So Hard

It is often, almost always, difficult for an adoptee to have a conversation with their adoptive parents about how hard it has been for them to be an adopted person.  I believe most adoptees are highly sensitive to their adoptive parents feelings and emotions – whether the adoptee tries very hard to be perfect in order to please their adoptive parents or is sullen and defiant or passive and withdrawn.

There is a genuine fear of rejection and abandonment.  Most adoptive parents feel passionate about doing a good deed and don’t really want to hear that it may be problematic.  At times, it even borders on a savior like delusion.  Just as it was with my mom’s adoption through Georgia Tann, even today, adoptive parents don’t want to know that the system that allowed them to buy a child is in any way a corrupt one.

Even in situations where the adoption is as ethical as any can ever be, an adoptee may find it impossible to ask about their original mother, father and other related biological family members.  Can not even begin to discuss feelings of abandonment. Many simply sense it would be an absolute nightmare to even try.

The prevailing feeling is that people devoted to the idea of adoption don’t want to understand anything perceived as “negative” towards adoption.

And more often than I care to admit – I read stories like this one.

My adoptive sister and I don’t even say that our adoptive mom was abusive. Since she was a narcissist, everyone else thinks she was so nice and loving but that was her public facade. In private, she was mean. But I doubt anyone who knew her when she was alive would believe us if we tried to tell the truth. It ends up making me feel like I have these big parts of my life that I have to keep secret.

Or this one on trying to talk honestly with their adoptive parents –

They’re convinced I’m hyper-sensitive, over emotional and ungrateful to them. They absolutely have a savior complex. They live as though my biological family doesn’t exist, and I don’t exist outside of the box they tried to keep me in.

And even sadder still –

My adoptive mom is deceased (and told me before she died that she wished she hadn’t adopted at all).  It would just be too hard to get my adoptive dad to understand my feelings regarding my adoption. We just don’t really talk about it.

The only discussion I know of my mom having with her adoptive mother was when my mom was in high school and the story about Georgia Tann’s baby stealing and selling scandal broke.  My mom always knew she and her brother (not biological but also adopted from the Tennessee Children’s Home) were adopted and from where.  She asked her adoptive mother about it.  Her adoptive mother said something like, yes you came from there but you were NOT one of “those” children.  That was the end of it.