My mom’s moving in with us, and yesterday we moved my mom’s furniture to my house, but there’s still a lot of work to be done at her old house. And in all the work I’ve been doing for the last week I seriously threw my back out. So today’s busy–we have to clean out her kitchen and I have an appointment for a massage or I won’t be able to walk.
I don’t have time to write a post where I’ve done a lot of thinking and made a ton of graphics, etc.
So I’d like to just rant for a few minutes, if that’s okay.
Unfiltered. Unedited. Just me mad. Here goes.
Imagine a child, just over a year old, who is taken into the foster care system along with older siblings.
The biological family has already had several children removed and adopted out. Now the next set is in care.
The baby is severely traumatized. She doesn’t cry or anything. She buries her head into your chest and won’t look at anyone.
She isn’t placed with the older siblings, because the older ones have major behavioural issues and are placed on their own in other homes.
Within a week the baby is crying. She is smiling. She is interacting. Within a month she is happy. She’s actually a lovely, lovely baby. Nothing wrong with her at all. Cute as a button.
She does have six or seven visits a week mandated by Children’s Aid, with mother and father and grandparents and whoever else, all separate, so the foster parents spend their lives chauffeuring the child to visits. Oh, and the older siblings, who are already behind in school, have to go to all these visits, too, even though they’re during school hours. So they fall even further behind.
The mother is a drug addict who has a habit of hooking up with child abusers.
Children’s Aid tries for a year to reunite the children with the mother, but then decides they’re better off adopting the kids out.
They go to court. Court takes forever. Finally, almost two years after the child came into care, she is officially available for adoption.
She is over three years old.
Over the next year Children’s Aid tries to find permanent parents for this child. The problem? They’ve decided to adopt her out with her older siblings, who have those major behavioural problems. The child has been in the same foster home now for almost three years. The older siblings have been moved around because no one can handle them.
If this little girl had been put up for adoption on her own, she’d be snatched up in a heartbeat. But she’s part of a “package”. You can’t take one without the others.
No one is willing to adopt these older siblings, and so she languishes.
Meanwhile, Children’s Aid demands that all the siblings get together frequently on visits. Every time she is with her older siblings she regresses and has terrible behaviours–likely because the older siblings trigger an emotional reaction in her that reminds her of her biological home. There is no bond, but Children’s Aid wants to create one so that they can be adopted out.
The foster parents are told to prepare her for adoption, so they talk up the fact that soon she will have a “forever mommy and daddy”! But this little child has now been in this house for over three years. This is all she has ever known. She is completely and totally bonded. So she starts acting out because she’s panicking. Why does she have to leave? Why can’t she stay?
“You’ve the best mommy ever. I only want you,” she says, everyday, to her foster mother.
The foster parents simply cannot adopt her.
They just can’t. First, they can’t take the older siblings. But for other reasons it absolutely wouldn’t work. They love her, but they aren’t the home for her.
And I’m watching this situation, and I’m thinking, “I am a taxpayer in Ontario. And because of that, I am the one who is doing this to this little girl. She is being put through this because of our government and our laws. I am responsible.”
And I weep.
Because, if common sense were involved, the courts would have said, “Mom has already lost other kids to adoption. Let’s expedite this matter and get it figured out in two months.”
Then they would have said, “Okay, let’s put her up for adoption by herself, because she isn’t bonded to the others and she has a chance. She’s just a baby. And she’s adorable.”
And by 18 months old she could have had a forever home, instead of waiting for three more years.
She’s been in this foster family for 75% of her life. She’s traumatized all over again. When she does finally move, the trauma will be worse than if her parents died suddenly in a car accident, because she’s going to lose everything she’s ever known and everything she’s bonded to, but she’s going to know that it’s because they didn’t want her (and they honestly can’t take her. It’s the right decision. I can’t explain why because of privacy reasons, but trust me on this one).
Why does this happen? Why can’t the system just put kids up for adoption sooner? And why do they have to put siblings together? They say that it’s because siblings need each other, but these kids aren’t bonded. And if an adoption falls apart (which so many do), the kids are basically unadoptable and are in care their whole life.
Adoptions fall apart because the system doesn’t move fast enough.
Those older siblings with behavioural problems? They were in care as babies, too, but they were sent back home. If they had been put up for adoption as babies, none of this would be happening.
This little girl could have been adopted out at 18 months old. She could have been in a forever family while she was still a baby. But she wasn’t. The mom was given a year. The court case then took a year. And the adoption process is taking longer than a year, with no family in sight. And now she gets older and older and more and more bonded and more and more traumatized and it’s just a mess.
This is our fault, citizens of Ontario. And I’m sure in other jurisdictions it’s just about the same.
And the mom in this case? She grew up in foster care, too.
And if SHE had been adopted out as a baby, the first time SHE was apprehended, this wouldn’t have happened, either.
So many kids are apprehended as babies when they are sweet and lovely and not messed up yet, and then they are sent home. By the time they’re finally up for adoption the behaviour problems are so huge, and often the physical damage is so huge, that it’s just too hard to place them.
And so they get shuffled from home to home and finally to group homes until they end up having babies at 16, too.
Ontario has a law that a kid can only be in care for a year before a permanent plan is made. But no one takes into account how long that permanent plan takes to actually get implemented.
We need to change it. Babies need to be freed up for adoption so much faster.
Because how can you look a little girl in the eye who thinks that you’re her mom and dad and tell her, “one day you’ll be leaving us,” and not have something break inside of you? How can you do that? And why in the world do we think that’s okay?
Thank you for letting me rant. Please say a prayer that a miracle will happen and a family that can handle them all well will appear. In my human eyes, I don’t see how this is possible. But I know that God can do anything, and that God is watching over this little girl. She loves praying! She even prays in church during the children’s time. She always grabs the microphone. She’s adorable. God sees her. Please pray for, too.