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A Plea for Help From an Adoptive Parent

I have a friend on my adoptive parents Yahoo email group who is in dire need of a solution to her family problem. She’s in the place we were months ago with no solution in sight. She has one week. I am asking prayer for her and her family as well as any input you all might has as to a solution. Below is part of her story from her blog, Adoption Drama…The System. She lives in Michigan. The comment in red with brackets is mine.

Michigan’s Post-Adoption Support Fails Youth, Families, and the Community.

I am an adoptive mom and a professional in the foster care system. I cannot sit back and watch the post adopt system fail our children. The children that are in adoptive homes today and those awaiting adoption. At the time of adoption, some children qualify for Michigan’s Adoption Subsidy support – medical and/or financial support. The concept of this support is to provide adopted children and their families with the support they need to meet the needs of the adopted child that were present prior to adoption. These needs are considered prior to signing of the adoption document. A family has to option of submitting documentation after the adoption is finalized to add other conditions that were present before adoption but not diagnosed until after adoption. No where in any of the support, does it say there is a limit to how much they will cover for the qualified condition.

My son is 16. He came into foster care when he was 4 and adopted when he was 5. The conditions he lived in prior to adoption have had a lasting impact on who he is and how he operates in society. Its like he is miss-wired because of the abuse he suffered (prenatal drug exposure, severe physical abuse and neglect). His behaviors started around age 6 and became out of control at age 12. Things continued to escalate and he went for residential treatment at 14 1/2 years of age. Well in the first facility, things got worse and he acted out more, placing more people in danger. He was moved to another residential program and spent the last 1 1/2 years there. He’s completed their program but not without incident. Their program has not addressed all of his behaviors or needs, but has touched the tip of the iceberg.

FUNDING HAS STOPPED. Despite the fact that he has not addressed the initial needs that placed him at risk or a danger to himself or others, FUNDING HAS STOPPED. It doesn’t seem to matter that the need hasn’t stopped – the qualifying need that got him adoption subsidy. But all they can say is, “FUNDING HAS STOPPED.”

The reality is that if he makes any of the same choices he made prior to going to residential treatment, he will go to prison. The reality is that he has lived in a very structured program of 2 years and they are just open the door and send him on his way. No transition back into the community, even though programs exist to help him transition back and be successful. All this because FUNDING HAS STOPPED.

Where is the adoption subsidy support that is suppose to help him get the care to address the needs without a limit? Without a limit doesn’t align with “Funding has stopped.” Helping him be as successful as he can be given the past he was dealt, isn’t a part of their plan. Where are my son’s rights to care and treatment from adoption subsidy?

The transitional program costs money. If I had the money, I’d pay for it myself. I don’t have the kind of money the program costs. I want nothing more than for my son and the other adopted children in the same situation and the foster children with the same struggles that are waiting to be adopted to have a chance for a successful future. To be given the opportunity to use the “support” from adoption subsidy they were promised. As adoptive parents, if we don’t pick them up when funding ends even though the need has not, the state threatens to file CPS neglect charges on the parent. Yet, Adoption Subsidy it the one who is neglecting their need and the agreement to support the treatment of that need. [If we bring them home and a child is hurt, we will be charged with “failure to protect. This is a lose/lose situation for the adoptive families.]

Please help me help my son and others in the same situation. Our funding is scheduled to end on 3/19/2010. Coming home places me and the other children in the home at risk due to his violent and sexual behaviors. He has threatened to kill me and tried once before. I love my son dearly and want for him to have a chance of being successful. Home and back in the community is not where he belongs right now.

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9 Responses

  1. We have had a similar problem when my son was 14 and his serious behavior problems required extensive medical services. We filed a “wayward” petition with the court indicating we could not control his behavior. The Department of Children and Families then took over financial responsibility for him, and he was placed in a wonderful residential school. He was till our son, and he came home Friday nights through Sunday. He came home for all holidays and he was our son, just in a residential school, paid for by the state. It was a great school (for children like your son, with psychiatric disabilities due to early childhood problems.) He stayed in the school for 3 years and returned to us a different child. It was very emotionally difficult to admit we could not take care of him, but by forcing the issue back on the Department of Children and Families, we go the best of both worlds. We still had our son but they had to pay for all of his treatment.

    Lindsey Petersen
    http://5kidswdisabilities.wordpress.com

  2. Dear Mom,

    Your story has touched me deeply. I am a certified parenting coach in New Jersey and a trained professional parent advocate. More than that I am a parent of two children adopted from the child welfare system. And like you, I have a child with mental health issues because of their past.

    The situation you are in is not uncommon elswhere in the states. It sends fear into adoptive parents when they begin to realize the liability of raising an adopted child with severe mental health diagnosis. We are never warned about these things in the beginning.

    But we have done all for the intense love and devotion we have for our wonderful children. Many families suffer years of stress and worry because of their fierce devotion to their child amid severe behaviors and threat of personal harm.

    Is there a parents advocacy organization in your state that can assist you? Do you have an attorney who is an expert in child rights, Americans with Disabilites Act.? Is there a congressman who can listen and perhaps help you in your plight?

    My prayers and thoughts are with you. There is little comfort in what others say when personal fears are so high. Nevertheless, remain strong.

    Deborah Beasley, ACPI CCPF
    http://www.HowDoesYourChildGrow.wordpress.com
    http://www.TogetherAtLastFamily.com

    • Deborah, we all have enlisted the help of attorneys, senators, congressmen, and any advocacy groups we could come up with and no one has a solution. DHS rules. If they say “no,” then it’s “no.” They will only pay for residential so long, and then it’s “So long!.” It’s all about money. Cutting costs rates higher than the safety of children and their families.

      • Whatever the reasoning the so called solutions lead to tragedy. The mark of helping families and preserving families with children with severe mental health needs is horribly missed. We are not the ones who caused the problems for our children, but we are too often blamed.

        Do not give up hope. Keep reaching out. Continue to search for alternatives. There is always another answer although we may not see it now.

        Do whatever you can to remain safe in mind and body.

        Deborah

  3. Please email off site. I may have information for you. Contact me from my website at http://www.TogetherAtLastFamily.com

  4. Hello, I am inquiring on the status of this post thread. What has happened with this mom and her son? Has she been able to find help?

    Deborah Beasley, ACPI CCPF
    http://www.howdoesyourchildgrow.wordpress.com
    http://www.togetheratlastfamily.com

    • Her son is in a high priced residential that she has to pay for. She has to get a second job to be able to afford it.

      • He has now been kicked out of that facility as well and is now staying with his grandparents for a few days until his mom can find another place for him to stay. Pray for this family!

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