Good news for total strangers.greenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread
It's good news.
We had agonized over applying to adopt a large number of children in different sibling groups, but to be honest, we just aren't ready yet. The kids have been available to our personal knowledge for at least the last eight months. We didn't want them to remain in foster care while we fooled around trying to define what "ready" meant, so we decided to look into it officially and find out what we had to do. We had to decide which group to ask for first, which was one of the awful Solomon-dividing-the-baby decisions. Should we ask for the older group first, or the largest? Which needed us first?
And then we got the news early this week that the kids -- all of them -- were not available outside of their home state. This is odd, because federal law mandates kids be placed, period. So we were confused and unhappy, because the kids were waiting. Not only could we not meet the first rule of residency, but truly we aren't ready yet and we shouldn't try this yet. But, gosh... they're waiting.
As of today, every single one of the kids in the group has a family in the process of adopting them. I'm soooo relieved they're all going home to someone, even if it isn't us.
All of them.
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 19, 2002
Oh Helen, I understand your need to do what you can for them, especially bring them into your home. It is the scariest, most challanging, most rewarding job you can ever take on. The love comes naturally, over time the children will feel it and trust you and your love. The day one of them looks at you with a serious expression and informs you that they love you is the day you realize every hardship, every struggle, every minute was worth it.
I don't understand the reasoning behind the decision of not allowing them to be adopted across state lines. The laws have started changing, for the better of the children this past decade. No longer will a baby be put into foster care, just to be passed around from one to another their entire childhood, waiting for an absent father and mother on crak to decide to get their sh*t together 12 years down the line (if ever). I think it is 18 months and if no effort is made to repair the situation then the parental rights are terminated and the child is freed up for adoption. Children deserve safe, healthy, loving homes.
-- Cherri (email@example.com), April 20, 2002.
Thank you for understanding this, Cherri. One of our kids went on a field trip to the local jail, and all of the many women in jail were mothers of three or more children. All of their children were in foster care. All of the mothers were facing federal drug crimes with long sentences. All of the mothers said they felt bad about it and wished they hadn't done the crime, because their kids were effectively incarcerated in the state system right along with them.
Our kid came home asking us what would happen to kids with no father and an incarcerated mother. We figure the kids will bounce around -- they constantly write articles about the lack of foster homes here -- and maybe after 18 months of this they would be up for adoption. But few people want to take a chance on an older child who has seen God knows what, so they keep getting moved around.
A little girl in class with one of our kids was adopted fairly recently. I asked her how she felt about being adopted. She said that every kid in foster care wants to be adopted to keep from being moved around. She said adoption was the best thing that ever happened to her and that she is so relieved to be out of the system. Those were her words. She is nine years old with eyes like you see on people who survived concentration camps. Like she's seen it all and doesn't believe the good times are permanent. She said we shouldn't adopt a child over the age of seven, because it would be easier on everyone if the child doesn't know things you don't want it to know. So you can teach it what you want it to know. Her words again, and I don't know what happened to convince her of this. Such an uncomfortable thing it is to hear this from a very little girl. Her eyes are different from the other kids'.
This is probably the time to mention that this little girl is hell on wheels, extremely hard on everyone around her. Awful in every way. But ever since our conversation, she hugs me. And she never, ever hurts one of our kids. So maybe she needed to talk to someone, and she feels calmer around us. I told our kids to be especially good to her, because no one could have her kind of feelings and not be in pain.
We know a little bit about what we could face. One of our own children was mentally disabled in an accident several years ago. When I read the profiles of children that warn of problems, they sound like our own child. The wild child in school with our children isn't so different from our own disabled wild child. And our children are used to making allowances for other people who can't help what they do. They look forward to adoption. We wouldn't even consider it if they didn't.
Anyway, we truly aren't ready to do this before next fall at the earliest. When we do it, we want to do it properly. No room for mistakes. Sorry for the core dump, but this issue is something we consider every day.
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org.FREE!), April 20, 2002.
Cherri and Helen--
I don't know the details or circumstances of what either of you have done but it is clearly "something", which is more than many can say. FWIW, you have my profound respect.
-- (email@example.com), April 21, 2002.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 21, 2002.
Lars, Thank you.
Helen, I loved doing it, I knew of other foster homes I wouldn't send a dog to. Some people expect the children to act like their own, even thought they were not brought up in the same kind of home. These kids will push every button they can to test you, to see if you will reject them (usually for the same actions that others rejected them for). They don't trust anything or anyone and thier trust has to be earned. I learned a few important things. They want clearly defined limits (a lot of times they were never told limits or they were different in different homes) and they need consistancy. It makes them feel secure, even if they act like they don't like the limits, they need them. Tantrums *grin*. Ignore them if they are harmless. I cannot name the number of times I was in a grocery store and had a child lay down and have a tantrum. I would tell them "I don't do tantrums" and would walk away (go around a corner and peek). I learned bad behavior ignored is usually given up. I also would not threaten them with any kind of punishment when they misbehaved, I would tell the little ones that I would bite their nose and try to reach it, the older ones I would threaten to tickle them and try, which would change their mood and get them laughing. Once I had a 12 year old hard assed boy who would not stay in the bus stop, he kept going out to the street. I quietly informed him if he continued to do so I would tickle him until he peed on himself. He mindded me then, I think more out of shock at what I said, because I didn't threaten him with violent punishment. They don't believe compliments, theve heard them before and had them mean nothing, you have to praise them on little things that are real (not superficial). It takes a long time for them to trust and love you, but when they do, it is real and forever.
One think I learned, only from experience, was the emotional confusion the children have towards their biological mother (and father if he was involved) but mostly the mothers. They love their mothers...and hate them.This rips them apart because they don't have the ability to reason out the why the most important person in their lives have let this happen to them, or even abused them. I had one child scream "I hate my mommmy!! I love my Mommy11 After thinking about a whhile I sat him down and explained it was ok to love his mommy and at the same time hate the "things" she did. Once he learned to seperate the two he learned to talk about the things she did and let out his frustration and hatrid of the actions.
Kids are amazing in their ability to heal emotionally when the time and patience is given to help them. One thing that was important was to make sure the child seperated the "bad" things the parent did from themselves, they would often feel that because mommy was bad then that made them bad. I would emphasize possitive attributes of each child, ones that were theirs alone, things they had a right to take pride in. For "throwaway children", pride replaces the feeling of worthlessness they tend to harbor
-- Cherri (email@example.com), April 22, 2002.
Thank you, Cherri. I'll remember.
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 22, 2002.
I love you, Cherri. When you post something real about yourself it shines much brighter than any of your other posts.
-- Little Nipper (email@example.com), April 22, 2002.
LN you are just so in touch with your feminine side. ;o)
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 22, 2002.
Front side, back side, left side, right side, inside, outside?
-- (email@example.com), April 22, 2002.
ditto LN. Mom stuff tracends all squabbles here. Hats off to both ladies.
-- Carlos (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2002.