Saturday, February 16, 2008


Lisa has a wonderful post on permanency you should read if you can.

I too am leary about the push to get all children into permanent families where that seems to mean either adoption or reunification. I don't mean that that isn't the right option for many kids, even most kids, but it isn't right for all of them.

At my recent one-day training I spoke with several researchers, none of whom had been case workers, foster parents, or foster youth. I tried to explain to them that I would have lost David if I tried to adopt him. That level of commitment would have made him nervous. It would raise the stakes in ways that he did not want to have to deal with.

But we never did. We were "just" the foster parents who were offering him a permanent home. We were a place to stay until he was ready to live on his own. We are now a place to come for the holidays, and a group of people who can be relied upon to take him out to dinner for his birthday. (Which we re-scheduled to next week since we are all sick.) We are the people he calls to find out how to cook salmon or to bounce major decisions off of.

We are his parents in the ways that he needs and can accept parents, and I am very proud of being that.

It was so difficult for the researchers to understand that that was all he needed, all he could accept. Their attitude seems to be "but adoption would be even better! Then he would KNOW he belonged." I think I got through to a few of them. Got them to understand that he would not respond by feeling safe and knowing he belonged, but be feeling trapped, possessed, and in danger of being discarded with no backup.


  1. That last sentence is so sad. Here is the major problem with care...the people who are making the decisions fail to adequately understand. Honesty without being a part of it how could you understand that adoption wouldn't be even better?!?!

  2. I completely understand what you're saying. And I can see that in so many of the kids I know. After all the heartache and danger, it's too scary and too hard to have a new family.

    By not pushing the issues, David got exactly what every child deserves: a loving, safe home that will be his forever.

    Whether he's "legally" your child or not, you know he IS your child.

  3. It can be very difficult to see through the eyes of some of these very damaged children. You are right, of course, and even more than right, willing to accept what he needs, not what you need. We parents sometimes have such an intense need to possess our children. Mine! Mine! Mine!

  4. Just out of curiosity. How many of these researchers have done foster care themselves? Have they worked closely with kids of all ages?

    Unfortunately in our society we assume what works for most is best. We do it in our education, etc Expediancy and efficiency, which of course doesn't happen because there are no plans for those who don't fit into the profiles and patterns.


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