Failed adoptions are the one thing no one wants to talk about. Texas has just recently started keeping record of the number of failed adoptions. The guesstimate is between 11% and 25% of all adoptions end in the children going back into care.
How does this happen? Parents that have experienced adoption disillusionment say it is due to lack of support. Lack of support from who? Glad you asked. Lack of support from friends, from family, from school, from their church, their community and lack of support from the very system that placed them with you to start with.
Their are families out there that are hurting. Why don't you hear about it? Embarrassment, stigma, fear of failure.
Lets talk about the system first.
Many adoptive families have never heard of post adopt services but each state gets funds back from the government for all adopted children to go toward paying for services to help keep families and children together. This is no small amount of money but large amounts.
I myself worked for an agency that did post adopt services. While working for that agency we would usually hear from parents when they were to the point of saying "come get this kid, I cant do it anymore."
What services does post adopt provide? This varies from provider to provider.
Some of the services available and that they have to offer:
- Information and referral. (This is info on support groups, trainings and resources)
- Casework services and service planning.
- Parent groups. (Telling you about ones in your area. Depending on agency some start support groups where there is none. )
- Parenting programs. (Trainings, some agencies pay for them other do not)
- Counseling services. (medicaide usually pays for this)
- Respite care. (reimburses you for it and very limited.) Often if the child qualifies for this services you cant find anyone that will do respite because their behaviors are so severe)
- Residential placement services in critical need situations. (Funds are extremely limited and they child has to be extreme)
You will hear about that Texas now has the YES waiver program that works to help the child be able to stay in the home. We went this route with ours. First it was not offered in our area. Then it was offered but their was a waiting list. Then when her name came up on the waiting list they did an assessment and said she did not qualify even though the tantrums several times per day and our other children leave the house to get away from her.
How do you get post adopt services? Call your provider in your area and have them send you an intake packet. It is a lot of paper work and you have to provide a lot of documentation.
Now lets talk about the school. How many times as a foster or adopt family has your child been suspended from the bus? Well I don't know about you but mine prefer me taking them to school. So even though I make them do extra work to pay for gas to drive them to school they some how think it worth it.
How many times has your child had in school suspension? Often I have found that my kids like in school suspension because they don't seem to fit in with the other kids anyway. So TAP or in school suspension or detention what ever the school call sit now is a safe haven for our kids.
I love a quote from my oldest son Charlie, when we talked about ordering his cap and gown for graduation a few years ago. He refused to walk the stage. When his sister said I'm going to watch you walk to get your diploma he said" you better get here to watch me walk to the mail box and get it. Those kids have made my life miserable for 12 years whey would I want to walk with them?"
What about community? Going to a movie, or even grocery store can be a major event for our family. I know its unusual to see a family with soooo many kids and soooo many colors etc but we get crazy questions.
Are they all yours? (No they are all Gods)
Is this your husband? (My then 16 year old African American son)
How can you afford that many kids? ( Again God Answer)
Do you have a big house? (NOOO) Just lots of bunk beds.
Do you have maids (yes you are looking at them)
Are these your grand kids (No we are just really old)
How can you afford to take everyone out to eat ( Thank God for CICI's)
Do you know what causes that many kids? (Yes court Rooms)
Are yall a day care? No
Are yall a day camp program? No juvie detention out on a day trip for good behaviors.
Do yall have a bus? Well we used to but couldn't afford the gas for it.
Lets talk about church. The one thing that all youth groups have in common is loud music and lights. This is very over stimulating for our kids. First of all their safe place is near me, what is familiar. Don't be offended if my child refuses to go to youth group. When and if they finally do, don't be offended if they don't participate. I will do my part to send ear plugs for the loudness but do them a favor and don't hug and touch them. I know that's what pastors do but it makes them very uncomfortable. Don't insist on them going to youth camp. Night time is very scary for our kids.
Family and friends usually no longer welcome you into their homes. You no longer get invites to gatherings and events. You often find your only friends left are other families that foster or adopt as well. This is really healthy for our kids this is a safe place and these kids usually hit it off. They share the same brokenness.
All of this to say you can help hurting families by first of all praying for them. Respecting their privacy and privacy of their children. Churches can offer respite, small groups for adoptive/foster children, support groups for parents. Schools can offer tutoring, mentoring and patience for these kids and families.
As parents of 20 my husband and I have a calling and made a commitment that will not end any time soon, probably not in our life time. But it has made me a better person and I would do it a thousand times over.