Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The System

I am frustrated by the system. We want more kids. We want to adopt more kids from foster care, (I also want a baby but that is a different post for a different day) we believe that kids need forever families and we want to adopt again. We are ready,our homestudy is updated, we are hoping and dreaming, but we are waiting.

There are a number of reasons that we still do not have a placement and all of them suck. Most of them have to do with stereotypes and problems with the system rather than a lack of kids who need homes.

You see P and I are not your typical couple,  he is older than I am and a lot of people have a really hard time with that. I don't care, our kids, our families and friends all accept it, but many, many social workers are just not willing to get it. They are not willing to understand how a young woman meets and falls in love with a widowed man who already has a teenager who is not much younger than she is at the time. They are not willing to understand that it was about love and not about money or crazy fetishes or other strange things. We know that I will most likely live a whole other life after P (unless something horrible happens to me), he will die before me, there is really no way around it. I know that, I knew that the day he asked me to marry him and although it is not something that I think about all the time it is something that I am aware of. I also know that my children are going to lose their father before they are ready but he will of been a great father to them. A strong, patient man who will taught them about what matters in life and why it is important to follow your dreams. It's not morbid, it's not sad, it is just our reality. I'm ok with the fact that others don't get it, although I must admit I wish they would open their eyes a little wider.

Then this unconventional couple adopted two very broken kids. Two brothers who really had very little hope of being adopted together until we came along. They were older, they had attachment issues and some serious behaviour problems. If you have been reading here awhile you know that it has not been all roses, rainbows and unicorns. Adopting kids with attachment issues is hard but when my kids are having good days or when I see how much they have grown and changed I don't mind the hard work as much. Adopting our boys made it even harder for social workers to understand us, most simply do not understand why we would want to do this again. Many workers also seem to have issues with big families, thinking that there is not enough of us to go around and that new kids will not get enough. Clearly we disagree and I know plenty of large families who do an excellent job at raising multiple kids with attachment issues and they do it with grace. The bias that a big family is an unsuccessful family really bothers me and is wrong in all sorts of ways.

We want to help other kids find happiness again. Foster care is tough, termination of parental rights is tough, bouncing from home to home is horrible and we want to make it so that a few less kids are in that situation. But convincing a worker that placing kids here is the best thing for them is way harder than it needs to be. I think we are dismissed or looked over because workers judge us based on our choices before they even get to know us.

We are a great family, we are a super family who think that we have room for more dirty socks, raging tantrums, hugs, toothbrushes and lego to step on. But because we are committed to adopting from foster care we are waiting, It's been over a year since we first expressed interest in a sibling group, they were placed with a half brother and it was a good ending for them. After that we decided we really did want more kids, it took us a long time to get all our new paperwork in order but we have and yet we are waiting.

The other side of the problem is the way that the system works. Canada does not have a national adoption program, children are rarely placed inter-provincially, it happens but not as often as it could. Even within the province of Ontario, where we reside, placing children outside the boundaries of each Children's Aid Society is no easy feat. We do not have a provincially mandated adoption system and although programs like Adopt Ontario exist not all the agencies use them or are willing to post children's profiles on them. So once we get past the stero-types that people have about our family we have to find kids who are younger than our kids who are available to be placed outside of their city.

It really should not be this hard to be able to adopt kids from foster care. I always encourage others to adopt, I talk about how wonderful it is and I will continue to do that but I am pretty frustrated by the process and by the inability of "the system" to get it together.

8 comments:

GB's Mom said...

The system is broken. I admire your determination to adopt from it anyway. Our last two were adopted outside the system.

Megan said...

I think you need to print this out and hand it to your case worker! It is very well said!

Mama Drama Times Two said...

We had to come up with a one page "Bio" describing our unconventional family. We made copies and stapled a photo to the top and handed them out to social workers we met at adoption events...putting the "face" on our family truly helped. It is indeed a fractured system...

Diana said...

Fractured system indeed...and one that is driving WAY more hurt and problems than it is fixing in their attempt to "act in the best interest of kids."

BTW, my grandparents were 20 years apart, too. It was a second marriage for both. Both of their first spouses had passed away. Both had children from previous marriages and some were teens not much younger than my grandmother when they married. Made for some interesting family dynamics at times (still does, actually), but in the end, my grandparents were happily married for 45 years before he passed away.

Sarah said...

I love you. I am so glad I got to know you. You make me feel so much less crazy.

krlr said...

Yeesh. You'd think the social wrkrs would be lining up at your door. That sounds like a system in need of reform...sure, because you have that much spare time.

KJ Dell'Antonia said...

It's funny how much harder domestic adoption is than international here in the US, too. Funny wrong, not funny ha ha. I hope you can find the right match and social worker to get things working. And, of course, once they do, it will seem like it had to be that way!

Marcy said...

Well said. WE are a "typical" family and had issues with the system because of someone elses completely wrong intrepretation of what we said. Broken system? you betcha! I hope that, despite it's fractured state, the system gives you AND your future kids a break. It's about the KIDS afterall...why do they keep forgetting that?