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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Foster Care Training #AdoptionReality #NAAM

I am sharing an excerpt from One Small Sacrifice about my experience getting foster care certified in Oregon.  This month is National Adoption Awareness Month (#NAAM).  I am blogging about my own experiences. I was like so many foster care providers and future adopters, filled with the exciting prospect of taking in a young child and giving them a better life.

I still have the binder and info from my 12 week course in 1994. There is nothing in there about how a child reacts to being abandoned. I was starry-eyed at the idea of becoming a foster mom then adoptive mom. NOTHING was taught about how an adoptee reacts to losing their identity! I was an adoptee myself and clueless, even though I had lived through it. When I started research in 2004 as a journalist, a whole world of adoption reality opened up for me. A light bulb went on and I could see how adoption propaganda had skewed reality and what adoption really is... keeping their billion dollar adoption industry going....


...What I learned and what surprised me most of all is the adoption industry was created for the adoptive parents by the adoption agencies. The system was actually designed to grow and to recruit potential parents. Churches handled immorality so there were plenty of babies to distribute. States opened and operated secret places called maternity homes and facilities for girls and women to wait out their pregnancy until they deliver. Babies were farmed out like fresh produce. Over time it became a booming billion dollar business for someone.
I tried to imagine how it must feel to give up a child. I watched a few television movies about birthmothers who would change their minds, then fight in courtrooms to regain custody using lawyers. People on both sides would argue who was more deserving, which mother had bonded more with the baby.
America finally instituted a six month waiting period for a birthmother to change her mind, before the adoption decree was final. This made adopting a baby more difficult and scary, since a birthparent might want their baby back. Recent movies like Juno don’t mention the orphan who lives with trauma and sadness, nor do the movies relate what it’s like for the adoptee who grows up in a closed adoption.

Foster Parents

Since my adoption in 1957, couples who wish to adopt a baby still fill out paperwork, give references and have two or more home inspections and rounds of interviews. There are still caseworkers in the state-governed adoption systems. Now prospective parents are finger-printed. Most states, not all, perform extensive background checks on potential adoptive parents. In recent years, more and more adoptions are open.
Couples today take classes before adopting; first they must become foster parents.
I know this because I became a certified foster parent in Oregon in the 1994. Single and divorced people do adopt. Most important was income, if I could afford to raise a child.
It’s inconceivable to me that periodic checkups on adoptees are not mandatory, especially for children who come from a different culture or country prior to their adoption. After my adoption was final, all investigation stopped. No one came back to check on Joey or me. Since my original birth certificate was sealed by a court of law, I might never have found out I was adopted.
Again, it’s not about the adopted child.
Social Workers
Who is looking out for the orphans? They are the social workers. There are thousands of them. In my twelve weeks of pre-adoption training in Oregon in 1994, I learned that all children over age three are considered special needs because they have been abused sexually, emotionally or physically, or neglected in some way.
In America? They weren’t kidding. It’s true. One would think this would make adopting a child less attractive. Well, older kids are usually fostered and not adopted. People prefer cute cuddly babies.
Slap on a band-aid, write a prescription and it’s going to be alright. Place these special children with foster families, and move on to the next case, which they do every day.
We know social workers have hundreds of cases, and foster kids slip through the cracks; this makes the news from time to time. There was one story in Florida where children were caged like animals and their foster mother collected money on each caged foster child every month.
During my foster care training, one class debated if drugs and medication are best when it comes to behaviors in young adoptees and foster children, like those who have bonding problems, or they act out, get aggressive, or have the newly-discovered Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
My class heard medicating “troubled children” was the preferred option. To my astonishment (and horror), this is common in every state. Apparently bad behavior is just not tolerated – so at the first sign of trouble, special children are medicated.
I thank God I wasn’t medicated. I’d either be dead or drug-addicted, and definitely not sitting here right now.
Sometimes ideas are just plain scary. It’s easy to see why the pharmaceutical companies (and drug cartels) are so successful, with television campaigns on various drugs. We know what drug we need and tell our doctor.
Really, I use herbal medicine and natural healing and only their western medicine and first aid when absolutely necessary.
Social workers admit but seriously underscore behavior problems in adoptees. In many states, they’ll pay for psychiatric care and prescription drugs until the foster child or adoptee becomes an adult.
You won’t see a TV commercial about this.
 
(I never adopted a child in Oregon.)
Please share this...
Read more  about Lost Daughters NaBloPoMo/NAAM at  http://www.thelostdaughters.com/2012/10/adult-adoptee-centric-blogging-prompts.)
 

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Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

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Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

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