Sunday, February 17

Adoption Struggles

One of the rules of the placement agency that Rebecca is with is that she understands what is happening to her & agrees to the adoption. I agree with this philosphy whole heartedly, adoption is a beautiful thing & I would want Rebecca or any child to be able to fully appreciate it. We have been working with Rebecca for four months trying to explain adoption. Concepts are difficult for her as they are for many other children. Imagine if you could only remember going from family to family, would you think that anything else was normal? She thinks that all children are moved that way and that families are just temporary & then you change. So, this has been a very hard thing to convince her otherwise.

ADOPTION had never been explained to her. This bothers me very much! Someone along the way should have taken the time to explain to her that she is waiting for a home where she can live forever. She knew all of those words except for forever when she came here & it could have been explained to her a different way - we used 100 years at first.

For the last 4 months we have taken every opportunity to try to explain this to her. In Texas, the child has to be in your home for 6 months before you can legally adopt & according to our agency she has to understand what is happening. So, that was our timeline - we need to have her understand adoption & have her adopted in 6 months. If it takes longer than 6 months, fine but we would like it done as quickly as possible. Her sister took 1 year to level out and get through the legalities of having her moved into the adoption unit. When Jasmine was moved to the adoption unit, each of her siblings were also moved - so Rebecca is ready to be adopted!

Rebecca wants to change her name & we have told her that is something that can be done when she is adopted. This has started up many of our adoption conversations with her and gives us a chance to talk to her more about adoption. Most of the time the conversations end in frustration because she just does not understand or because it gets derailed into another topic.

Well, she brought up the name change again & we started talking about adoption again. This time though, she said, "I do not want adopted - I like change families". Okay, so she understands that if she is adopted she will not change families - Success right???? She says that she likes our family and is happy that she is with her sister. She thinks that her sister is going to move with her in a year or 2 years. We have told her that her sister is not going to move with her because her sister is adopted, so she stays here. She said no & started naming the next family that she would like to go to.

I understand how this could happen looking back from her point of view, but URGGGG!!!! Why didn't someone explain to her that those families are temporary & that adoption is a good thing. That is our next step with her, we are going to point out all the adopted children we know and celebrate their adoption so that hopefully she will put together that adoption is a great thing & something to be happy about.

I have talked to our casemanager & perminent foster care is a solution if she really just does not want to be adopted. I just feel like she deserves more than that - she deserves to be adopted. I know it's just a piece of paper, but I have seen what that piece of paper can do to a childs security & to us as a family. We had one month that we did not have paperwork to do or caseworkers, CPS & therapist going through our home. It was really nice & I would really like to have that again. But if temporary foster care is really what Rebecca needs until she is ready to face adoption, I'm there. We are willing to do whatever we need to do to keep these girls together. She should be with her biological sibling-they will need each other in a few years.

I'm only writing about this because I feel like the people who read this really care about Rebecca. Please pray for her to understand what a gift adoption is & for her to accept it. Help her to understand that moving from home to home to home is no way to live. We are sending Rebecca this summer to a foster/adoptive camp for kids & I hope that will also help her see other kids who have been adopted and how proud they are. Her sister tells the cashier at the store that she is adopted - she is super proud that she is adopted. It just has not spilled over onto her sister yet.

We have tried several things with Rebecca to help her understand : Adoption Stories on TLC, books, workbook pages, her sisters story, websites, magazine pictures, etc. If you have suggestions, please share - I want to give Rebecca the forever adoptive home that she deserves.


Lolypup said...

You said that "adoption" has never been explained to her and that you would like for her to understand the concept.

However, have you thought that perhaps she dosnt understand the term "family." Maybe instead of adoption you should focus on explaining family and how its a permanent idea of love and security.

Im not sure how well she see's but using pictures of your own family, showing you or your husband growing up as kids and then eventually adults with your own parents and siblings. This will reinforce the idea of permancy and forever.

Maybe one of her grandparents can sit down and work with her, showing her these pictures explaining the relationship of parents, children and family.

Also try and work on the concept of making "future plans" or setting goals that would not be possible if she moved to another foster family.

Maybe include her in planning a family vacation thats 2 years down the road, get her involved with establishing future goals etc.

Ashley's Mom said...

I don't agree with your placement agency's policy on having the child understand adoption before an adoption can be finalized. Children, especially children with disabilities, often cannot understand an abstract concept like that. It's not right that a child's future could be jeopardized because of their inability to understand and/or verbalize an abstract concept.

And of course, Rebecca is going to lean towards 'change' families. That's all she has ever known. Children go towards the known rather than the unknown.

In my state, Virginia, children with Ushers are classified as deafblind. Deafblind people, especially children, have a very difficult time with abstract concepts. This is all too much for Rebecca at this time.

If I had had to wait for my Ashley to understand and verbalize what adoption means, she wouldn't be with me today. But she can sign that she loves me and her siblings. She smiles when she knows we are near, and she asks for me when I am not near. She is happy and healthy in my family. She has a promising future with a parent who is willing to do ANYTHING to ensure her health, happiness and well-being. That defines adoption to me, and to Ashley also though she is incapable of putting the words together to explain that.

You will all be in my prayers.

Candice said...

Good idea Lolypup. We have shown her several different families in magazines and everywhere that we could find, commerical etc. She definately may just think of family as a group of people with kids. We do not have her life book yet, but we have used her sisters life book to try to explain adoption and her journey to her. We have gone though our family album and even went to a family reunion with Rebecca.

I think all that going through the album and the family reunion did has teach her what aunts, uncles and cousins are.

Family is a very difficult concept for someone who has never had it. It is something that we continue to work on even with her sister. I have kind of came to conclusion that they will only learn family over time. They have been told with every home they go to, that it is a family - this misconstrues the true meaning of family for them & makes it very confusing.

We go to Sea World every summer and have made those plans with her. We talk about where she will go to middle and high school with us.

We will definately keep reinforcing family to both of our children. I just think that one will take longer than adoption and perminancy would.

Anonymous said...

I have no suggestions, but we will pray for her understanding and for you to find the right way to help her understand.


Rachel said...

Hi Candice, you left a comment on my blog this morning or late last night and I want to reply directly but I can't find your email address. Will you email me? Hopefully we can encourage each other. :)

I agree with what lolypup said about "family". My 7 and 5 year old have no understanding of what adoption is (actually, I have read several books that say that even kids without special needs are usually 9 or 10 or older before they understand what adoption really is). But, my kids know what family is. They know that family is a place with Mama and Daddy where they are loved and cared for. Once your child understands family then maybe you can introduce "forever family" and explain that this family will never go away and that you will stay with her no matter what. It's a process that takes time. My kids still don't believe they're really going to stay here, but each day I see them settle in a little more and I am confident that one day they will trust that they really do have a forever family.