Post Adoption Support Services are being cut across the nation. It's a fact. It's annoying. In fact, it is beyond annoying. While I hope that some states are realizing that it is a "pay now or pay later" kind of endeavor and are not cutting support, I know for a fact that several states are cutting valuable programs that have historically helped many adoptive families.
For a while I have been contemplating writing a huge rant about this issue. Because really it is totally unfair. Many of us adopted with the knowledge that certain services would be there and now they aren't. And if that doesn't just irk you, well, it should. I am. Irked. Very very irked.
Because there isn't a viable option for us as adoptive parents. It's not like another situation where you can be dissatisfied with the service and back out or take it back or quit. In every other situation if we feel like someone has not followed through with something we were promised, we can do something drastic about it if we wish without tragically affecting a human life -- a life that certainly does not need to be toyed with by yet another system or adult. I could give you examples in life of how you can quit a job, return a car, sell a house ... all the things we do when we are dissatisfied with an agreement, but in older child adoption we just can't do it. Well, at least we shouldn't.
Many of us when we adopted were told that there were post-adoption support services provided. Now, years later, when we really need them, they are being taken away. Budget cuts are the culprit -- the recession, the economy, etc. But our kids are real, in front of us, and we as parents need post adoption support if we are going to survive raising them.
So you get the picture. We're stuck. We're screwed. We have been dealt a blow. The support group we have attended may be losing funding. The person who ran the support group may have lost their job. The grants for children's parties and picnics or adult groups with day care provided no longer exist.
And so we have a choice. We should advocate to get our services back, I don't agree with that. But maybe that isn't going to work at this point. And so after whining and moaning and complaining now for several months, the words of Muhatma Gandhi, "You must be the change you want to see in the world" have popped into my head and I am ready to move on.
So I offer to you an answer you might no want to hear today. But you and I, we can be post adoption support. Anyone can listen. Anyone can have a cup of coffee with another parent, even if you have to watch your children meltdown together while you do it. And I'm telling you based on my experience, if there is a desire to do so, anyone can carve out a few extra hours a week to lead a support group, send emails, blog, or organize an event.
Somtimes I wonder if we as adoptive parents, myself included, haven't turned into sniveling whiners. But even if we have concluded that the we have been screwed by the system, that doesn't leave us powerless. Even though we are raising children who have been victimized by their years in the system, we do not have to be victimized as well. We can choose to be victors. We can fight back, advocate tirelessly, and rally together to make changes in this world.
And in the meantime, while we are doing all we can to reinstate post-adoption support on a national funding level, we, yes YOU and I, can be the post-adoption support we rally for. It is our chance to truly step forward "be the change."
While Kari and I were coming back from the YMCA this morning, we were talking about this very thing. She mentioned how her mom, 40 years ago, had something to complain about. With long distance phone charges and no internet, they literally had to find another adoptive parent that was local or they were out of luck. But we are so blessed to have each other.
So, if you're willing to join me in being the change in regards to post-adoption support, let me know. If you have an idea or would like to publically make a commitment to do so, please leave a comment. If you are willing to be a listening ear and would like to leave a comment suggesting things you feel you are an "expert on" feel free to do so and you can email me and i'll try to connect you with someone who needs that right now.
Please don't get me wrong. I do think we need to advocate as much as possible for programs to be reinstated. But in the absence of programs, there are still people - creative, resilient, strong, determined people who don't need to stand back and watch "post-adoption support" die because "post-adoption support programs" get cut.
You and I need post-adoption support, there is no doubt about it. But guess what? You and I ARE post adoption support.
Be the change you want to see in the world.