Friday, November 15, 2013

Broken Adoptions: Another Story in the Headlines

Another story of a desperate family with an adopted child who gave up. I do not condone the method of how they gave up their son, but I understand their desperate measures to keep their family safe.

In October when the Reuters story broke about the rehoming of children hit the headlines, I wrote a piece on

Adoption: Where  The Systems Have Failed Both Children and Families

The Ohio story is spreading like wildfire across the internet. How come the real story is not ever heard?   When will it end... if we don't start addressing the problems with the lack of help, diagnosis, post adoption support, families will keep making the headlines by giving up, or in some severe cases find themselves in unthinkable circumstances.  Families are not equipped to be residential treatment centers without any guidance or support or understanding.

Here is my attempt at educating the media. As a long time adoptive parent and advocate of some very challenging children I have seen adoptive and biological families struggling to find services in a broken system. There is much written about the failure of the children's mental health system and the lack of qualified board certified child psychiatrists, plus the lack of parity with insurance companies, lack of evidence based practice and the lack of research into the effects of psychotropic medications and the off label use on our children.

Many of these children also have been prenatally exposed to alcohol and drugs in utero and the kids from the foster care system also have challenges and brain structure changes from the effects of abuse and neglect. Normal parenting strategies for these children do not work and the advice given by the children's mental health system often is opposite from what actually works with children with prenatal alcohol exposures.

A recent study written in Canada says 55% off the children in foster care have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorders.

The lack of research, diagnosis, and awareness and evidence based practice is really hard to find. And there is little post adoption support, foster parents move these children from place to place and some of these children due to their histories have a hard time fitting in home leaving families desperate, grieving and broken from trying everything and faulted for not loving them enough.

Post adoptive support services need to be funded to help families when they find themselves with a child who needs help. Love alone will not heal the children when they are genetically challenged by their parents genetics which are often loaded with mental health issues, prenatal alcohol and drug exposures, for children from institutional settings and the foster care system abuse, neglect and trauma.

From the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law  Child Welfare

There is much written about the failures of the well kept secret of broken systems of care and the Custody Relinquishment to garner Mental Health Systems not just from biological families, adoptive parents, kinship parents have all faced the awful decision that after exhausting options to gain a very expensive out of home placement. All children belong in homes and parents sometimes are sleeping under threat of harm, fear not only for their child, themselves, the siblings and everyone suffers from secondary trauma.
More on the issue of Custody Relinquishment

Policy Documents on finding alternatives to Custody Relinquishment

We need help and I have been helping parents find services for now 15 years after I adopted a set of 5 from foster care. I had little help, I had to fight, I had to learn the ins and outs of Medicaid law and fought for the right for my adopted daughter who while on medications which were making her worse nearly killed me. The black box warnings were too late. But she was not mentally ill only, she had Fetal Alcohol syndrome and I had to fight for two years for her right to family and a residential placement as a young teen. Today she is an adult, she knows that this mom never gave up.

We have not come very far since 2003 when the United States General Office of Accounting wrote a report on this tragic practice.

Nami's information on that report: 

But few families can fight a broken system. Until we look at the underlying problems and find help these stories will continue to happen and families crucified by society and the media for the lack of support and understanding of some very complex issues and the underlying cause of most of these stories. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders compounded by no support for families and often times inadequate histories when parents adopt. Kinship parents, foster parents, biological parents also struggle with our FASD, mentally ill and all become traumatized and every one loses.

Why do I know so much:  I had no choice but learn it all to fight for my adoptive daughter's right to family and not be relinquished to the vary system she came from.

I wrote our adoption and fight story in the second half of our families story.
Tiny Titan, Journey of Hope by Ann Yurcek

I have spent the last 10 years helping families keep custody and find support and diagnosis for their complex adoptive children. 

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