Still a party of 3
Thank you to everyone for your prayers and well wishes yesterday. I know most of you already know the outcome of yesterdays visit and I had planned on updating last night, but I was too tired. It was a long day.
I never shared the full details, but it was a sibling group of three. Two boys and a little girl. Ages 7, 4, and 3. The boys were the two oldest and the girl being the youngest. They have been in care since May 2010 due to continuous parental neglect, and the parental rights will be terminated in October.
For now, it's still just the three of us.
It was actually a four hour drive down there and from the moment we got there, there seemed to be red flags everywhere.
First sign, they didn't even have the kids there.
This really threw us off at first and honestly immediately put our guard up. Even our caseworker was thrown off and obviously, not happy about it. That was the whole point of our four hour drive!
Second, we learned that morning that they had just been recently moved from their original foster home. We three (when I say three, that includes our caseworker), had been told up until yesterday morning, that they had been with the same foster family since day one. Which is always a good sign. When we got there, that was one of the first questions we asked was "why?" and we got a really odd answer about the foster parent didn't get along with the school system and had asked the kids to be moved. This seemed to be a strange request to all of us since we were in a very small town in south Georgia in which there is only one elementary, middle, and high school and even more questionable when come to find out, the former foster parent worked for the school the children went to.
We sat down for our meeting and the first ten minutes went well, then the former foster mom showed up to meet with us. Honestly, after talking to her for less then ten minutes, we were decided not to proceed. One thing I am grateful for is her honesty. She tired to speak positively about the children, but you could read her easily and tell she was honestly scared to death of the oldest child. Come to find out, he is extremely physically violent with others, including his own siblings. The more she shared her story and experience with them, the more apparent it was this was not going to work out. The foster home was not much different than ours...there was a mother and father present, there were other children in the home, etc. She never came out and said it, but you could read between the lines, that they were planning on adopting these three (they have a two year old they just adopted), but after 15 months in there home, things had not gotten any better and they could no longer put out the energy to try to help these kids anymore.
We talked most of the time to her, obviously, she's spent the last 15 months with them and knew them better than anyone in the room. We asked her question after question about their life with them the last 15 months, their behavior, her and her husbands discipline methods, etc., etc. and she was as honest as she could be. Finally, I looked straight at her and said to her "Like you, I have a two year old at home and from mother to mother, please be as honest as you can with me. As of right now, her safety is still my number 1 priority, do you feel safe with these children in your home around your daughter?" She stuttered and started fumbling over her words and then looked at me straight in the eye and said "No." That was the deal sealer for us.
We continued on for a few more minutes, and David went on to ask her what kind of life she saw them with in ten to twenty years if they were in a stable environment and getting the help they needed. Her response was regardless of what environment they were in, they're problems were so severe, they would never live a normal life or be functional people. Come to find out, there was much more psychiatric problems that we were first informed of. I don't want to go into great detail due to confidentially agreements and their privacy, but it was way more than we felt we could handle.
We also learned that the middle child, was described much differently in his evaluations than what the reality is. We were told that he was learning delayed and mildly developmentally delayed. The truth was, he was so mentally delayed, he would never be able to function on his on regardless of his age. I'm sure I will be judged for this, but I truly believe that if God is to give me a special needs child by birth, its something he knows I could handle. I do not believe I am called to adopt special needs children. It takes a very, very special person that has a heart of Gold to adopt a child they have to commit to take care of for the rest of their lives. I have much respect for those people, but I know I'm not one of them.
We didn't even get into the little girl. By the time we were done with the first two, we were already decided.
We finished up with the foster mom and our caseworker got their caseworker out of the room for a minute. As soon as the door shut, she looked across the table at us and said a big "NO!" Her job is to look out for our best interest and she told us that she did not feel comfortable with this child around Olivia. She couldn't in her right mind encourage us to proceed. We talked a minute and told her we were both agreed and honestly didn't need to discuss it. It was not even a option.
Their caseworker came back in and we immediately told her we didn't want to proceed, we felt Olivia would be in danger with these kids in our home. She agreed and understood. Our caseworker (who is a 28 year veteran), suggested to her that she needed to find a home without children and especially young children. She even went as far to say in her twenty eight years of foster care, she has only a hand full of times she believed it was in the best interest of the siblings to be separated, and this was one of them. She also told her she needed to be a little more honest on their evaluations, because the evaluations were much less than what the reality was. It would have saved us a four drive because she said she would have never even sent our home study in to them. I will give her the excuse that their caseworker is pretty new to the field. She is young and that was actually the first adoption meeting she had ever attended.
Yes, we did plan on coming back and being a family of six, but it wasn't meant to be. I honestly felt complete peace when walking out of that building. I felt in my heart that it was the right decision. It was nice to have closer since we actually started with this group in the middle of July.
A few people have asked if we were disappointed and honestly, we weren't terribly. We were happy to know the truth and honestly not get stuck with a situation we couldn't handle. The three of us talked in the car on the way back and honestly, I did feel sad for the kids still, because unfortunately, it seems to be a situation that nothing will make a difference. As our case worker reminded us, that sometimes regardless of what is done, some people can not be saved. Sadly, this seems to be one of those situations. I know you might think I'm being kind of harsh with saying that about these young kids, but there is a lot of other information we learned that I don't feel comfortable sharing on here. I shared the least of the problems they had. Like I said, Olivia was our top priority.
Our caseworker told us that usually by the time you get to the table, its a go because they normally put all the worst stuff on paper and by the time you get to the table, you realize the kids aren't as bad as the paper makes them seem and that's where you fall in love with them when you see them. She said that was one of the few times in twenty eight years, she's ever seen it be complete opposite. She said the moment the caseworker and the foster parent opened their mouths, she knew they were not the right kids for us.
So, we continue to wait for those kids. Regardless, it was interesting and a learning experience. There are a few other sibling groups she wanted to send our home study out on that came across her desk, but she wanted to see how yesterday went first. There is also a foster situation that she said still wanted us, but they are total foster right now and have a long way to go in their case plan. We honestly haven't talked about it yet. We were pretty worn out from the long drive yesterday. So, we'll see.
Again, thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. I really appreciated them all. I'll definitely keep you updated on any future updates.