As I said in part one, we’d tried to access post-adopt services but ran into a road block that seemed too large to overcome. We had used Christian residential, boy’s homes, for two years but were not able to use them anymore, so we turned to the state for help. We were told they would fund a state approved residential for only 30 – 90 days and that it could take weeks to do the paperwork and make arrangements. This seemed completely ludicrous to us, since we’d used two private ones for over two years and seen no improvement in behavior, how could the state do any better in 30 – 90 days?
At that point we were told that if we didn’t accept the state’s decision to limit residential due to funding issues, we’d be brought up on charges – charges of neglect! We were completely appalled that this was what we were offered when we asked for help. When we told him this plan was totally unacceptable and we would not agree to it, he suggested we cut to the chase and just start the paperwork to call Protective Services in and charge us with neglect! We told him we’d get back to him and hung up. There was no discussion, suggestions, or an effort to find a way to work something out that would benefit the whole family. Our eyes were opened to a system that was more interested in saving money than the lives of the children or their families that try so hard to meet the needs of their adopted children. After talking with other adoptive families and a lawyer that had been working with families who were similarly charged, we decided we were going to ask God would to preserve us as we continued on our quest for state help – even if it meant we were charged. Since the law requires that adoptive parents be charged with neglect in order to get services for their child, we knew the ax might fall on us next.
One parent who adopted the first FASD child back in 1973, advised us to go forward with asking for residential and see what happened when the funding was withdrawn. We didn’t even have to wait that long. Because of circumstances beyond our control, our number came up sooner than the original 30-90 days we were expecting. We found ourselves in the middle of charges with lawyers, protective services and a judge. Through the years we’d experienced many things, but this was a new one even for us. We were very fortunate to have the ear of several people who were experienced in this area and had connections to those in charge at the top of the DHS ladder. We also were able to seek the help of a lawyer who was well versed in this type of situation and already had been working on a similar case. Fortunately he didn’t require a retainer for his help – we’d really been in trouble! As a rule. adoptive parents of tough kids tend to have empty pockets and we’re not the exception that that rule!
Long story short, we pressed DHS to give us immediate help when we were in serious crisis and found ourselves charged with neglect the next day complete with a court hearing that we missed because we weren’t informed. Fortunately it was postponed, which gave us a few hours to seek help from our experienced allies. In just one day, we met with DHS, started the paperwork necessary for residential placement for our son, met with the court appointed lawyer, talked with half a dozen workers, had our sons interviewed by the local PS worker, and got the charges dropped. We don’t know who exactly was responsible for getting the hearing dismissed and the charges dropped, and we may never know. But we do serve a sovereign God who can do anything and between Him and whoever He chose to do His work we were rescued! DHS had even gone so far as to lump all our boys into the petition of neglect, using the typical scare tactic, “If you neglect one, you must be neglecting them all, so we’re going to take all four.”
I met an adoptive mom a couple of weeks ago who told me that she went through the same thing, only worse. She was told that it would be easier for her to move out her “good” children and take back the difficult one and that her adoptive child wasn’t like a puppy that you can just dump off anywhere when you want to get tired of them! This mom has demanded residential for her son because he physically attacks and tries to kill his brothers whenever they are in the same room together. When she was told he had to come back home due to his funding being pulled, she was also told that if any of her other children were hurt by this boy, she’d be charged with neglect. She is in a lose/lose situation. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who hears her story that she has good reasons for not wanting that child to live in her home any more, don’t you? This poor lady has mountainous lawyer fees, multiple charges of neglect, and has been reduced to a frazzled, worn out mom. I don’t know about you, but it is pretty clear to me, especially since I’ve been living it, that this ought not to be going on. These are families who opened up their home to adopt kids who had no mom and dad. It isn’t right that they should have to fall on the sword to get help when a child is too hard to handle in a normal family setting.
To be continued…