Saturday, November 9, 2013

Adoption Journey part 2

After completing an international adoption we decided to become foster parents. We weren't looking to adopt. We had 5 children and didn't feel that we had to grow our family. We did feel the need to help children and families in crisis. We were allowed the opportunity to foster some children where we developed relationships with the family. This allowed us to help and support families on a deeper level.

 Foster care is a challenge. You don't know who will be walking through your door next. What issues you will be dealing with or how long they will stay. To bring a child into your home, love that child and then lose them is hard. But you do it for the child. The best possible outcome for the child is being able to stay within their family, even if it is with extended family. So your loss can very well be in the best interest of the child. When children come into care, they need a good home to land in. Right now there is a need for more good foster homes. More people need to step out of their comfortable lives and stretch themselves.

We know that when a child leaves our home they have received any services that they may need to grow. More importantly, they have received our love.  

When you are a foster parent you have no idea when you will receive a call about a child. I will never forget the call I received for the placement of a 4 month old baby. They asked me to take her for a little while until they could find a foster home for her. I remember vividly telling them that if a baby came to my house it was staying. I had no idea at that time that this baby would one day ...become my daughter.

It was considered to be a temporary placement because of race. At the time we were relatively new foster parents and they did not realize that race didn't mean anything to us. Although race didn't mean anything to us we quickly realized that it did to many others. We lost relationships because of this placement, even within the church we were going to at that time.

When they brought us the baby we were quickly aware that she was going to have some challenges. She had no neck control, actually her neck was cocked to the side and one arm was in an odd position (neurologist later believed that she had a stroke in the uterus). She was not able to suck well and was not used to being held when she was being fed. She would arch her back when held and look away when offered a bottle. She spent the first 4 months of her life lying on a bed. We quickly requested an evaluation by Babynet and she received early interventions. We also knew that she needed serious attachment interventions. we held her....A LOT. In the beginning she was uncomfortable with it, but in the end she attached.

At the time they came in to care Anthony and Larissa were sent to different homes. A lot of kids were in the home they came from and there was a lot of chaos. A short period of time later Anthony's foster parents requested that he be moved. He was 2 1/2 years old at the time. We were called and asked to take him and we quickly said yes.

We didn't know what we had gotten ourselves into. For the first few years of Anthony's life he was terribly neglected. He didn't know how to use silverware to feed himself, how to sleep in a bed, how to talk, or how to form a relationship. He didn't even know who Larissa was. He was tested and it was determined that he had intellectual disabilities. Early interventions were started with him as well.

It was a very hard time for us. Anthony did not have any social skills and had so much anger. He didn't know how to play in any appropriate manner. He started school at 3 and challenged his teachers. We were concerned. His family admitted to me that they never talked to him. He didn't know how to communicate so he acted out. He destroyed everything, toys, walls and furniture. There were times when we were tempted to call DSS and have him moved. It seemed too much for us to deal with. But, we didn't make that call. we knew in our hearts that if he moved that all the improvements he had made would be lost. Each move means a loss for these kids. We stayed the course for him

We were told that Anthony and Larissa would be short term placements. For 3 years they went to visitations every two weeks. Anthony came back from every visit more angry. Larissa came back more withdrawn. Larissa never spoke to her biological family. We came to realize that she didn't speak to anyone outside of the family. Visits were so painful, Larissa would scream while they pealed her off of me. All the work with attachment was tested every other week for three years.

Finally after three years as foster children Anthony and Larissa's parents had their parental rights terminated. This allowed for the visits to stop and for us to adopt them. On May 22, 2009 Anthony and Larissa because our children.

We now had 7 children. Life was complicated, busy, challenging, fulfilling and joyful. We stretched ourselves and although our income hadn't increased, we always had enough. Life was good.

To be continued....

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! There is so much of your story I don't know still. Like I had no idea that they were a sibling set. :-)