Monday, January 28, 2008

"Having My Back"

I have heard this phrase twice in the past week.

The first time, it was from our "daughter" Kim. You can read about her in this post.. She had a financial crisis recently, and we helped her out with money for rent. She sent us a great thank you saying that this is the longest she has lived anywhere and that she loves it and that it means so much that we "have her back."

Then I was talking to another adoptive parent who mentioned that maybe just maybe that is what adoptive parents really need -- to feel like the government, or the system, that placed the kids with us, "has our back."

And when we don't feel that way, it is so easy to just get angry. We have children placed with us that are so difficult to parent. We are often misled, either intentionally or by our own naivete, to believe that their issues are not as severe. Sometimes we fight great battles to get to keep our kids, at great expense to us. We do all this and, by adopting them, save the government thousands of dollars. We take on the responsibility for life of kids destined to drain society of it's resources and we teach them a better way so that maybe they can become productive members of society.

But sometimes, we just can't do it. Sometimes they are damaged to such an extent that we can't rescue them. Sometimes their mental illness or organic brain damage or lack of attachment makes them too damaged, too aggressive, too out of control to have in a home setting.

And so, wouldn't it be a great idea, if the very system, the very government, had our backs when this happens? Wouldn't it be nice if we were not taken to court, did not have "Child in Need of Protection or Services" petitions filed against us, not asked to pay for residential treatment and services, not investigated? Wouldn't it be nice if someone said, "Thank you for what you are trying to do. You aren't doing anything wrong. Let us HELP you figure this out?"

I'm not saying nobody gets this. I'm not saying that sometimes we aren't treated this way.

But by far in talking to other adoptive parents, this is the one thing that bugs us to our very core. We can excuse the behavior or our children and forgive that most of the time because they are damaged and they are, after all, children. But the hollow feeling that we have when we ask that someone "have our backs" when things get tough and are told "NO, this is YOUR fault" is like none other.

It leaves a vast emptiness, an unquenched pain, a seething anger. I haven't felt it personally lately, but I feel it others -- I read it in their words, I sense it in their voices, I see it on their faces -- the fear of criticism when we're honest, the fear of being ignored when we need to speak up, the fear of being blamed when we're doing all we can. Even in writing this I fear what people are going to think, what they'll say. And I've never been like that.

Would it be too much to ask for someone to have our backs?


Cindy said...

Well said girlfriend....

Lisa said...

I feel the same way. It's one thing to have people telling us we're saints and they could never do what we do (duh, if they could, I imagine they would) - we don't ask for that and feel very humbled by those kind words. It's totally another thing to be constantly criticized by the people who should be helping. Why do we even have to ASK for help, let alone beg? Things should just be there in place to help our kids - yes, I'm living in la-la land. Once our kids are adopted, they are OUR problem. We do so much and at such sacrifice to ourselves, our other kids, our relationships in every imaginable way (our family reputation, our personal friends, etc.). It's never enough. We ask for help and we're immediately victimized again by the system.

Hang in there!

Torina said...

Hear hear. I fought for 8 months just to get my daughter home. She was too "damaged" to be adopted. HAH! Well, one would think that a kid so disabled would not have had her medical benefits cancelled once the adoption was finalized. What was the reasons? "No longer disabled." Reinstated after 3 months of astronomical medical bills. Her social worker had ZERO contact with us after placement (before placement she would have followed us into the bathroom if she could have). THEN, our daughter's old county FIGHTS us on having any waivered services after "forgetting" to disclose that they were available. Instead opting to notify us about the services with a cancellation notice. I could go on and on and on as it does not end there. HOWEVER, despite the awful system fighting us in every possible way, I have a happy family with a happy kid who is far from being "too damaged to be adopted".

We, as parents, have to all be fighters to get ourselves into this messy foster adoption system. We, as parents, all have to be stubborn and patient and kind and caring to continue caring for the kids once all those people who said that they would be there disappear. But you all know this already :) We've been through it. We will fight again another day and win some battles and lose some. But at least we are fighting for our kids :)

Tracy said...

Boy this blog strikes a cord with me. No support, blaming, we apparently are bad parents...despite our 2 other children who are upstanding citizens. All they can say is obviously this is your issue, we can't help you and we don't know of any resources for you!!! I am astonished at the lack of true post adoption support provided. We experienced this by both a private agency and county adoption. They tell you they are there for you when adopting but the really aren't. Thank you for posting this for the world to see. I want to write a book about the realities, but I fear that it may be a disservice to the waiting children, then again perhaps not.