Choosing Children: An Adoption Story

Hanging In…

with 5 comments

Thanks to C2 and A. who helped us look over our financials we re-submitted our financial paperwork showing almost $1,800/month in disposable income. This secured us a second preliminary interview which took place today (August 23, 2011).

We still do not have a straight answer on if we are approved or declined based on financials. At one point the adoption worker told us we were never declined based on financial issues an I repeated that we were told “our application would not go forward with the financial information as it was currently presented”. She agreed that was what we were told. I suppose it is semantics, but what exactly is the difference between an application not proceeding and being declined?

For the financial section the worker focused on if we had looked into the costs of child care, clothing, food. I did explain that we had done some cost compare with families we know who have children, that we are confident that we could support a biological child at this time, and the unknowns for us at the moment are cost of psychiatric care and supportive assistive care. She did indicate that CAS could help with these costs.

We moved on from the financials to our next road block. My psychiatric background, or lack thereof.

When I was 16 (almost 17) I was raped, it was a date rape, it was violent, it resulted in a pregnancy which was terminated. This had to be disclosed on our application.

I thought this may be an issue, so in the course of our medical evaluations I was referred for a psychiatric evaluation, which basically said I’m a functional adult who maintains strong relationships, holds down a job and there is no strong case to be made for psychiatric care at this time.

The status of my psychiatric care, or lack thereof, seems to be of some debate. Do I need it or don’t I need it?

I did give some background in the interview. I was given therapy immediately following the rape for 3 months at which time neither me nor the therapist thought I was going to benefit from further treatment. The therapist made a note that I may want to consider future therapy when I have children, specifically when my children reached the age that I was when I was raped.

When I was entered university I did one year of peer-to-peer counseling that I did find beneficial, the next year I became a peer counselor. I have since spoken publicly about my rape experience and survivorship.

In my last year of my bachelor’s and in my MA I studied rape as a war crime and transcribe interviews of women from Cambodia and later did my own interviews with Bosnian women who had been raped by soldiers and peacekeepers. This was a bit stressful, so I sought counseling during this year through York’s psychology department. This counselor basically thought my past traumas had little impact on what I was currently experiencing, and although not entirely unrelated, I mainly needed to deal with my work at that time. She also made reference to the possibility of needing to address counseling when I had children.

So this brings us back to my most recent psychiatric evaluation.

Apparently all this may not be enough. CAS would like me to undergo 6-months to a year of psychiatric counseling to do with my past trauma and parenting.

It’s not that I’m opposed to counseling, I think it can be beneficial. C. and I had already discussed and planned to engage in counseling as a family and as individuals post-adoption because we are strongly aware that parenting a special needs child will mean likely mean finding our own theraputic supports in addition to those that the child will need. I have always been open to counseling if at any time I feel that my past is impacting my present in a negative way.

What I am less receptive to is counseling for the sake of paperwork. After laying out my history our worker did say she would find out if I could pursue the counseling concurrently with the application proceeding.

I have also requested that CAS layout what specific outcomes they need from my therapy so that I would be considered. We are also enquiring to find out if an evaluation would be sufficient or if I need to commit to ongoing therapy.

Best case scenario: I will be able to pursue the therapy concurrently with the adoption process, we can be entered into a December or January PRIDE program, be matched with an adoption worker for the other in-home interviews by April 2012 and be approved adopt-ready for September 2012.

A little more bad news, we’re now being told that placement for older children typically takes longer than for younger children – exactly the opposite of what we were told in the intake process.

Feeling pretty frustrated today.

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Written by BeagleSmuggler

August 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Wow. I had no idea adoption questions got that … personal. It seems a little ridiculous to me that you could have had the child of your rape and not been forced into counselling over that (though I’m sure some would have been advisable), but in order to adopt a child 10 years later, you have to have more counselling?

    I wonder if the semantic difference is that if your application is declined you’re basically never going to be allowed to adopt children and you should give up but if your application is not allowed to proceed, you can keep trying to fix the parts that aren’t quite up to snuff and trying again. Especially if it’s a line they’re drawing on financials which are more apt to change than other factors.

    Jacquilynne Schlesier

    August 23, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    • I think what I find most frustrating is that it feels like they want a psychic psychiatrist. In that I kept pressing on what outcomes they would need. Basically they want to know what my future child could do to trigger me and how I would react. I have no idea how anyone could predict like that.

      beaglesmuggler

      August 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm

  2. It’s all bureaucratic double speak. If you never give someone a direct answer, you can’t be wrong. “We won’t tell you what we want / don’t want because then you may have a case against us if you are unhappy with the results of our evaluation.” It’s unfair and I can’t imagine how frustrating. Considering how CAS normally operates, in my experience, they’re being awfully picky about who gets to adopt. They give my clients kinship over their grandchildren at times, which makes me wonder just how bad things were that MY CLIENT is the better option. They give children back to parents who abuse and neglect them and they refuse to intervene at times when we’re begging them to help. If you were opting to foster, you can bet you would have had a dozen kids by now but since you want to keep one, you have to jump through hoops you can’t even see. It sucks.

    Meaghan Turner

    August 24, 2011 at 1:55 am

    • At this point I feel like I would be happy with the results of an evaluation, because then that would be results. Possibly not the results I’m hoping for but results nonetheless allowing us to move on with life. The adoption worker will try to get back to us Thursday/Friday on our questions about how much psychiatry, outcomes and if we can do it concurrently.

      beaglesmuggler

      August 24, 2011 at 11:19 am

  3. Sara, I am really sorry that you are being put through the wringer. While I can understand CAS’s concerns about lack of income, the fact that you were raped so long ago doesn’t seem to be that relevant, given that you sought counselling more than once. Moreover, they need only speak to you to understand that you are a responsible, mature, level-headed individual. I don’t imagine there are tons of people knocking on CAS’s door saying “i would like to adopt troubled older children” and being a victim of rape over ten years seems like a poor reason to delay your ability to adopt. Surely these children in need of a home are much better with you and Chris than in a foster home. What’s more, you could have not disclosed the rape, but because you did, you are now being penalized.
    It is unfortunate that like many organizations, CAS is rife with red tape and bureaucracy. These children are in need of loving, responsible homes; however, CAS seems almost to be looking for perfection in their potential adoptive parents. If you and Chris were having children biologically, no one would quantify that with “you have to get counselling first”, yet because you are going through CAS, you are asked to jump through hoops.
    I hope that they get back to you ASAP and let you know where things will proceed, and ideally, if you can do the counselling concurrently with your application process.
    My fingers are crossed for you both.
    Miriam

    Miriam

    August 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm


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