Monday, October 19, 2009
If a sibling group is in an orphanage or foster care, and it is known that one child has consistently/repeatedly injured/abused one or more of their siblings ... should the sibling group stay together because "they're siblings"?
If a family brings home a sibling group and immediately discovers that abuse is taking place within the sibling group ... should the sibling group stay together because "they're siblings"?
If you believe that it would be okay to separate siblings in either of these instances ... than at what point does it become wrong to separate a sibling group?
I personally know a family that brought home a sibling group through foster care. It was quickly discovered that s*xual abuse was taking place in the home, by the oldest sibling. The family desperately wanted to adopt the younger siblings, but the state determined that "siblings stay together". I absolutely believe that this was wrong ... that the siblings should NOT have been kept together. That, rather than throwing all of the siblings back "into the system", that the younger ones should have been allowed to stay with the wonderful loving family that wanted to adopt them.
I personally know another family who had brought home a sibling group through foster care. Both siblings had been previously abused (s*xually) in their bio. home and in another foster home. And, the siblings were acting out s*xually towards one another. In that situation ... the state determined that separating the siblings would be best ... which I agreed with.
I have been in contact with another family, who chose to keep their troubled adopted son in their home, and now they are dealing with the trauma of their mentally handicapped daughter being pregnant. Yes, their adopted son s*xually abused their adopted disabled daughter. In this case, is it "okay" to disrupt an adoption ... or do they need to keep their son at home, with the fear that he will impregnate more of their daughters?
You cannot imagine ...
... the stories that have been shared with me,
since I first started writing about our CRISIS.
... the heartfelt cries of the mamas that have emailed me,
when they have nowhere else to turn.
... the pain and trauma that families are walking through
because they have been told "disruption is wrong".
If so ... if it is wrong to disrupt an adoption ... than what is the answer for these families ???
One commenter likened an Adoption Disruption to Divorce. They said they would do whatever it took to keep their family together. At first, I didn't see the similarities. While I could imagine the Disruption, I couldn't imagine a Divorce. However, now I think I do. If my husband was physically or s*xually abusing me or my children ... I would "disrupt" the marriage. I would not keep my husband in my home, with "boundaries" set up. I would not just tell him, "Don't have s*x with your daughters." I would not just put an alarm on his bedroom door, nor tell him to stay within my eyesight at all times. No ... I would tell him to go find another place to live. I would not allow the possibility of the abuse to continue happening in my home.
Now ... after 27 years of marriage to the most amazing husband and Papa ever, I cannot even fathom any of the above taking place. But ... if I knew someone who's husband was physically or s*xually abusing them ... I would tell them to "get out now". Yes ... I would.
No, God does not like divorce.
God wants marriages to be "forever".
But, God also does not like abuse.
God wants us to protect ourselves and our children.
No, God does not like adoption disruptions.
God wants families to stay together "forever".
But, God also does not like abuse.
God wants us to protect our children.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
While Sarah and I may not agree on all aspects of this most difficult situation, I sincerely appreciate her well-thought-out post and her approach. Thanks, Sarah, for not placing judgement upon those of us making these difficult decisions.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
I came across a blog post today, that truly touched my heart in many ways.
I emailed this mom, and got her permission to reprint her post on my blog.
I am posting her story for two reasons:
#1 Maybe you or someone you know will be just the right family for this little boy.
#2 Maybe, by reading Corey's story, you will have a little more understanding of the CRISIS situation that our family has walked through these past 4 months. When I have so often felt misunderstood in our CRISIS ... maybe Corey's words will speak her heart better than I have tried to speak my heart. So much of our situation is similar ... especially the pain of a Mama's heart, when an adoption doesn't turn out as she has dreamed, planned, and prayed for.
THIS POST is written by Corey ...
This is a hard post to write, because I don’t want to talk about it, because I don’t want to open us up to attack, and partly because I just don’t want this to be my life.
We need to find a new home for our son, AngryBoy.
I know there are many people out there who do not understand disruption, and to them I say, I am so happy for you. I am relieved that you have never known the agony that the last two years has been for our family, and I pray that you never will. There was a time when I, too, may have been judgmental of diruption. Now I know that it is possible to go to that decision kicking and screaming, but with no other options.
Five years ago, I saw a picture of this little boy, and I fell in love.
I didn’t know much about him. I knew how old he was, that he had a sister 2 years older, and a baby brother. I knew that he was picked on in his orphanage; that the other kids, and sometimes adults, called him “gwo tet” (big head), that he sometimes had angry fits about this, and that a new nanny had taken him under her wing. I knew that we had just brought home a child from Haiti, that we were in the middle of another adoption, that we lived in a 3 bedroom townhouse and drove a Toyota Corolla, and lived on one income, and that no one we knew had SIX CHILDREN. But I felt, strongly, that God wanted us to adopt this child. Eventually, we did.
We took several trips to Haiti to meet him and spend time with him and his siblings.
He came home at age 5. Of all of our kids, I would have said that he had the easiest homecoming. He was sweet. He was affectionate with us. He looked to us for approval. He was a good boy. Sure, there were some odd things. He preferred to spend time with adults rather than with kids. He’d rather work than play. He seemed to have quite a bit of anxiety. He’d laugh when one of the other kids got hurt. But none of it raised red flags… a lot of it was orphanage behavior, some was Haitian culture. Then one day, when the kids were playing “mom and dad”.. something transpired, and we learned that our boy had endured terrible things in his early life.
We did all the things we were advised to do. We educated the heck out of our kids. We roleplayed. We rehearsed. We did not get AngryBoy therapy (because he didn’t even speak English yet). We hoped that the change from a Third World orphanage to a loving, supportive family was enough. We had baby monitors everywhere. We supervised our kids more than the average bear. We did not do sleepovers. But. AngryBoy’s issues were not first and foremost in our minds. Vivi clearly had attachment issues, and we needed to be careful who we roomed her with. We needed to decrease her parentification with AngryBoy, and be wary of the artificial twinning/competition issues with Tina. We were co-sleeping with BabyBoy, who had been in the orphanage since he was 6 months old. WildGirl had multiple surgeries, major separation anxiety, and had frightening rages. Over time, AngryBoy seemed to be doing okay.
Until Halloween, 2 years ago. When we discovered that not only were things NOT.OKAY, but that terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad things had happened, had been happening, for months, and that we needed to call Child & Youth on our 6 year old son.
I cannot tell you how terrifying that weekend was for us. I was so scared that they were going to come in and take our son away… my baby! All I could think was that he had never even slept away from home before. He didn’t know he had done anything wrong. He had only done what had been done to him. He was SIX. And then, I was terrified that they would take my other children.. because I had failed to protect them. I was so, so angry. I was nauseous. I couldn’t stop crying. Somehow, by the grace of God, we got through it. Somehow, all of our kids stayed.
But things changed. AngryBoy moved to a different floor of the house, and he was never, never unsupervised. He morphed from my sweet, good boy into AngryBoy. Or maybe that sweet, good boy had only been maintaining because he had an outlet. Or, or, or, I don’t know. When everything you KNOW to be true is turned inside out and backward, it is so hard to get your feet under you again and trust your judgment. All I know is that this is the point where this blog really started, the point where I couldn’t ever find my boy, and I couldn’t ever find help for my boy, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t ever, ever help my boy.
I have fought my ass off to get help for my son. I took him to psychologists and psychiatrists, I brought him to a psychiatric hospital, to inpatient programs and outpatient programs. I put him in special school programs. I worked the system to get him into what I think is the best residential treatment facility in the country for young kids with issues like his. And I work like a dog to keep him there, pushing the boundaries with my insurance company and with Medicaid and, I’ll tell you what, the Governor’s office knows me by name.
But the reality is, my boy cannot come home. He cannot. And it is not because I am angry with him, or because I hate him, or because I refuse to make it work. I am a mother of six children. And I cannot bring my son back to live in the house where he has hurt my daughters. I just cannot. If he was an only child.. it would be a different story. But… it is what it is. This is the new motto of our lives. Some things cannot be changed. Some things just are.
AngryBoy is currently 8 years old. He has been in residential treatment for almost 10 months, and likely will be for several months more, which would allow a family to work with the therapy team to transition him into a new home. The team does an excellent job when a child comes home of coming to your community and working with you AND anyone and everyone the child will be working with (school, church, respite) to train them in continuing with their program for maximum success. Our son’s diagnoses include RAD, PTSD, and oppositional defiance disorder. There’s some debate about whether or not he has ADHD.. whether he does or not, meds seem to help him slow down and make better choices. He also takes some meds to help him sleep.
He likes basketball, and he likes to do jigsaw puzzles.. the bigger and more complicated, the better. He likes school, and is proud of his reading and math abilities. He works pretty consistently at a second grade level. I would imagine he will need an alternate school setting, or a 504 plan that includes 1:1 supervision. We would insist that he be in a family that has pretty serious RAD experience. I think even for families that have dealt with RAD previously, our boy may be a challenge. He does well with a strong routine and strict limits. I *do* 110% believe that he has the capability of forming attachments. He is slow to trust, he will test you beyond belief, but he can attach. It is much, much easier for him to attach to men than to women. I think he would have to be in a family with at least one male parent.. we’re not opposed to a 2 Dad family, either. He might do okay in a large family if he was the youngest (physically, mentally, and emotionally.. there must be no one for him to victimize; this is still a concern). My husband needs to be able to maintain contact.. as much as his therapist says is appropriate. Also, because we have his biological siblings, we need that door to remain open somewhat, for whatever level is mutually beneficial.
It has taken us two painful years to come to this point. I know some of you will judge us harshly for it. That’s ok. There is nothing that you can say that we haven’t said to ourselves, and to each other. We have considered every option, including divorcing and maintaining 2 households. We’re doing what we have to do. No one else has to understand it. No one else has to bless it. I can’t say that we’ve come to peace with it.. how does one do that?.. but it’s time. I don’t want our boy to come out of residential treatment and go into foster care, because there’s no place for him to go. I don’t want him to grow up in a group home. He needs a family.
My prayer is that this post gets to where it needs to go. Maybe you know someone. Maybe you know someone who knows someone. Maybe you know someone who disrupted had to disrupt and they have some suggestions about how to proceed, who to talk to, how to do this without ripping your guts out. Scratch that. It should feel like ripping your guts out. No matter what, it’s still losing a baby.
Thanks, Corey ...
... for sharing your story .
.. for sharing your heart!
While the details differ, our story is the same in so many ways. A family brought home a son from another country, fully intending to become his Forever Family. But, unbeknownst to the family, this precious child had experienced the unthinkable ... and had followed the behavior patterns that had been "taught" through the abuse. Sadly, this situation created an unsafe living environment for other children in the home. While this Mama and Papa love their child dearly, they KNOW that it is best if he not return to their home. If you have never faced such a situation/decision ... you have absolutely no idea how gut-wrenchingly difficult it is. No idea. Nothing compares.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
We're just "hangin' out" today ... as it is POURING rain, with intermittent thunder and lightening. We haven't had a day of sunshine in over a week. Crazy! But ... we're still havin' fun. We did a LOT of schoolwork this morning. Now, I have a few quiet computer minutes, while the kids are starting a Monopoly game with Tammy. (They tried out the swimming pool; but it didn't last long ... with a 69 degree water temp.)
Tomorrow we will start our journey home. New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon ... watch out! Here we come! Hopin' for some sun in AZ and CA. We hear it's already been snowin' in OR.