Saturday, August 25, 2007

Adoption Question

Several of you asked what would happen if Frankie wanted to be adopted.

There's not a precise answer. In agreeing to enter this program, Frankie has agreed not to have his profile made available for adoption. That is not a legal contract, of course. Frankie could change his mind.

He could call his social worker and say he had. His social worker would point out the statistical chances of any fifteen-year-old boy being adopted, much less one who had spent a couple of years in treatment centers, but if Frankie insisted, a profile would be made and his name would be put into the hat, so to speak. And the chances that anyone would adopt him would be tiny.

If I wanted to adopt him, I would be reminded about why Frankie chose to go into a program that did not include adoption, about how he is still attached emotionally to his mother, about how much psycho-social work he has to do and that upping the emotional ante, especially in his case, could be damaging.

But I won't pursue that. I've successfully performed an "adoption of the heart" with the other boys. They are still part of my life. When I have considered adopting one or the other of them I always end up in this circle: it would be wrong to adopt Evan as his relationship with his mother is very much intact; would he feel bad if I adopted Carl and David and not him? And do I want to adopt David? I love him, and he has issues of dependence. Would adoption mean to him that he could expect us to support him financially? Carl is the one who most accepted me as his mother (which had a lot to do with his mother's death), and so is the one for whom adoption feels the most appropriate, but even if Evan was not bothered by other boys being adopted and not him, David definitely would be.

And if I adopt any of them, especially if I adopt some and not all, what expectations will that create for those who come into our home?

Some foster parents want to adopt their children because they find the state more of a hindrance than a help. For me it is the opposite. My agency provides services and support to me and my kids that I could never afford. They have decided that the best counselor for Frankie is one who does not accept the state-funded medical card. So they are going to pay him privately. It is a 60 mile round trip for me, and they will reimburse me for every mile at whatever the government set rate is (something like 40 cents a mile). On those weeks when things are crazy for me and I really can't get him there, they will arrange for transportation. When Evan revealed his addiction they sent him to a small, expensive, private program hundreds of miles away, because that was the best one for him. They paid for Hubby and I to go visit him -- air fare, hotel, car rental, and meals. When living with a recovering addict was triggering my issues, the agency paid a private therapist to see me once a week for 8 months.

For me, the advantages of staying within my system greatly outweigh any disadvantages.

I do have this fantasy though about adopting all the boys (and girls if there are any) who want to be adopted when we decide we really are done doing care. Of course, Carl will be 30, or 50, but still, it would be cool to adopt the slew of them as adults in one fell swoop, huh?

1 comment:

  1. I wish it were the same for us. I really do see the state as a hindrance, and I really fear that one day they'll find "something wrong" and take our kid away from us.

    I feel like adoption is the only way to make sure our family stays a family. It seems risky and scary to do that, too, especially in light of the results from the psychological evaluation, but I'm not sure what else to do.

    And the truth is, our daughter wants the adoption more than anything. To her, an adoption means, "you will never, ever have to go back to your biological mother again."

    That, in her mind, means a lot.


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