Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adoption Journey part 3

Less than a month after we adopted Anthony and Larissa we moved to Texas. At that time the housing market had hit rock bottom and we weren't sure if the house would sell. After a year in Texas we decided to return home. paying for rent and a house was just too much. John was not able to get a job in Columbia so he accepted one in Augusta. At the same time I started back to school to get my master
degree in special education.

We decided to continue with foster care. At one point we decided that having kids coming in and out of the home was hard for our healing kids so we continued to foster while completing our paperwork to adopt again. The decision to adopt again was simple, we still had room for more.

We completed the paperwork and then waited. The wait seemed so long. During our wait we were still taking placements for foster kids. One placement was for a teenager. We were told that she wouldn't stay long since she was a runner. I remember that call well because our license wasn't for that age group. They had to change our license and were able to do that very quickly. They brought Kassi to me at Wateree Gymnastics. She was sixteen. We adopted her at the age of 17. At the age of 18 we had different opinions as to what was important. We wanted her to finish school and stop partying. She wanted to be free to do whatever she wanted. She left and is working at a restaurant. I worry because she is capable of finishing school and so much more. The problem is she needs to realize that she is capable of so much more. At this time we have a relationship but it isn't as strong as I would like. She is learning some of life's lessons. Being an adult isn't all that it seems, paying bills requires money. That freedom to do whatever we want to do isn't a reality. Sometimes being an adult really sucks! But I hope. I hope that one day as she grows older she realizes that we are still her family. Even though we don't agree on everything, we still love her.


 Shortly after Kassi arrived as a foster child I received a call about Emma and Michelle. I said that we may be interested and requested more information. I was sent a list of their challenges and was told that they needed an answer soon. After discussing it John and I decided that these girls could be a possible placement. That was October 7th. We met with the girls social worker for full disclosure on October 12th. After a reading of their file we told them that we would like to adopt the girls. We would be their 7th placement, not their first adoptive placement. We were the only family that they were matched with. We asked about transition. There was to be no transition, they would be at our house the next day by 11 am. Their previous adoptive placement wanted them moved now.
On October 13, 2011 we received two girls as an at risk placement. This meant that TPR was supposed to happen soon. Unfortunately the system is very slow. These girls needed permanency and instead they got a lawyer who put them on the back burner. I had to go to the state to get their case to move forward.

We knew what we were signing up for with Emma and Michelle. However, there were still times that we wondered what we were doing. Having a child tantruming for hours wears on everyone in the house. Having it go on for 6 months in spite of consistency makes you wonder if there will ever be any change.

We made a lot of adjustments. Had to buy door alarms and place baby monitors. Had to add a lock to the pantry. Numerous times bedrooms have been shuffled around as changes had to be made.

The system has failed these girls. They should not have been in 7 different placements. Their first adoptive placement was with a family with no experience. They were not prepared, they were not given the support to succeed. Why would a child learn to trust adults when adults have proven to be untrustworthy. Today we are still dealing with issues of anger and mistrust from all those moves. It will take years for healing to take place, even then some of the pain may never go away.

However, there is hope. Hope that in spite of everything that has happened in their past they do have a future. A future with a family that will help to mold them, support them and love them. Every child deserves the opportunity to have a family. Our system needs to do a better job of making that happen sooner. The longer a child lives in the foster system, the better the chance that child will not be able to function in a home. I know that if we had made that call and had the girls moved then they probably would have never had hope. Their social worker told me that she thought the girls would age out of the system. Imagine being only 5 years old and already placed in 7 different homes, after coming from a neglected home environment. How would you learn to trust? To love?

That is our journey from 4 kids to 10 kids. Life is very complicated, John no longer has the good job, earnings are less than when we started with 4 kids, I have learned how to seriously bargain shop and to let material things go, Goodwill and garage sales are my friend. However, life is still good. I may be tired all the time, laundry is never done, the house is a mess but that is OK. Those things are not important when comparing it to the life of a child and the opportunity to give them a home. We have made many mistakes as parents, fallen short in many ways, but we try. Each morning we start anew.  

Last year I started praying about another adoption. We were taking two cars to church when we had foster kids so transportation was impeding further adoptions. I prayed that if we were to adopt again we would need a larger vehicle. John received some back pay. He received enough that we were able to trade in our 10 year old vehicle for a newer, larger van. We now have a large enough vehicle to do one last adoption. Wonder what the next year holds in store for our family as we open ourselves and our home

1 comment:

  1. Felicia,
    You are an inspiration to me! I love you and your beautiful family. Thanks so much for sharing your story and allowing us a little peak into the lives of these beautiful children. May God bless you for your goodness. ~ Angela