Heart and soul cry for the family that could have been.
Having struggled desperately through infertility, more than a year of NaProTechnology to restore my fertility, conception, then the loss of our child in the first trimester, failure to conceive again despite what doctors described as ideal fertility in both of us, we took it as a sign we were meant to adopt.
We completed thirteen weeks of training, a homestudy, and were licensed as foster parents. It was our intention to welcome a child who could not return to his or her family of birth into our home. We were contacted with the names and bios of a sibling group. It was a dream come true, two children who needed a family, for a family in need children! We were chose as a pre adoptive family, and told our adoption would occur about 6 months after placement.
The children were presented as “normal” with some mild behaviors due to all they had been through. Looking back on the last nine months, I marvel at all the lies we were told and can only come to one conclusion: the children’s worker either lied to us to get the children off her caseload, or she is beyond incompetent. Having heard the worker described as “one of the best” by her boss, I believe I have my answer.
The children who were described as, having “difficulty with transitions but no real problems,” came into our home and ate up the love they received. They got on well with our dogs and our extended family, at least at first. What started out as a dream soon became a tornado of violence and chaos.
Although the children were barely out of kindergarten, our home was not a safe place while they resided with us. It became apparent that their needs were well beyond what we had been trained to care for. Even the numerous clinicians working with our family agreed that the children were not ready to live in a core family. After numerous calls to Emergency Medical and Psychological Services (EMPS), and even a few 911 calls, we knew we were in over our heads. It was the most difficult decision we’ve ever made, but after nine months as foster parents, we had to admit that we were not the family the children needed.
Prior to making the decision, we participated in family therapy, learned to work around their numerous triggers, patched the holes they put in the walls, helped them learn to use soap and wash cloths, removed the lice they contracted at camp, got them through countless nights of tantrums complete with hours of screaming, physical violence, including harm to them and us, and even a behavioral hospitalization. And still we intended to adopt. It was when threats to our lives and safety came, that we finally made our decision. Again, these were children barely out of kindergarten, who had planned harm, and showed the EMPS clinicians just where we kept our cutlery and how they intended to use it to harm themselves and us.
In the end, we learned a few things. It didn’t matter how hard we tried, the children need more help than we could give them. Even the clinicians said they’d need residential treatment, for 12 or more months before they’d be ready for adoption. Living with us, having access to the intensive therapy, and the experience—albeit an unsuccessful one—of living in a family, provided the required evidence to prove that the children are not able to be adopted and required therapeutic care.
Our lives are forever changed, we will always love and pray for the children who we cared for. And while we would have loved to give children from the foster care system a home, the lies, deception, and violence of the last nine months caused us to end our career as foster parents.