I’ve had several readers/followers email or contact me privately about my post on envy. Initially I thought, oh no, my example of infertility has upset some people. And while it was people dealing with infertility and adoption who mostly messaged, they weren’t upset.
Katherine asked some questions about being rejected for adoption in the comments and some of them were in response to her questions or sharing stories regarding adoptions and how not easy it could be and just how this post reminded people of difficult times they were glad were passed or found comfort in what they were dealing with now. With permission I’m sharing some of these. All the people who responded asked to remain anonymous.
First a response on Katherine’s question about why having cancer at a young age would even be a deterrent on the part of the state/private adoption agency.
The sad truth is, that if we who can have biological children had to pass muster in some states or with some agencies to have our children, we wouldn’t be allowed to. If it’s not some long-ago illness, it could be your credit score or employment history. This is particularly true with private agencies. We attempted to adopt 2 children (while having 3 biological ones) and because of some of the regulations of the state and strict requirements of private adoption, we were unable to bring either child into our home permanently. It is truly easier on yourself if you can have children. No one will ever make you pass the bar to raise them by so many seemingly random tests.
A friend who has adopted through foster care wanted to respond on the difficulties of adopting this way for many.
Like your friend, we have the misfortune of living in a state where we cannot adopt out of our area/district. It is frustrating as we live only 2 miles from a neighboring district where there is much need. Originally, we planned to adopt a sibling group of 3. In the end, only one child was adopted, the others were returned to biological relatives. Our family was so confused as were many friends when the 2 siblings were taken back and would say things like, “Can’t they see how happy the kids are now and how much you’ve done for them?” In the end, while going through the foster-to-adopt process, the ultimate goal is not adoption by new parents, it is reunification with the child’s family of origin. Two of the children had a different father from the third and members of their father’s family stepped up just as we were nearing completion of termination of parental rights. And termination of parental rights is the reason so many older children are not adopted. It’s not that everyone wants babies (the youngest was 4 in our case), it’s that it is incredibly difficult for a biological parent’s rights to be terminated. And many, many judges will continue to give biological parents chances no matter what the situation. There are no easy answers when it comes to adoption.
Several people mentioned the cost of adoptions out of foster care here are some of those that stood out:
Cost is somewhat relative. The typical costs of adoption in foster care where I live is about $5000 which may not seem like much for some people, but I work a minimum wage job and my husband is a state employee. We didn’t have $5000 in savings when we had our first child. We did have great insurance through the state but it would have taken us a while to amass those kinds of savings! If we weren’t blessed with biological children, we’d be childless.
We have been foster parents for many years. While it’s true it is much less expensive to adopt from foster care, I have taken issue recently with a meme going around about how you actually get paid to be a foster parent. First of all, we are not babysitters, much, much more is asked of us than that. Second, our local social services does give you a stipend each month and the child is on Medicaid but sometimes, that’s not enough. We took in 2 little girls who both had chronic medical conditions. The costs of special diets was more than triple what we were given for their stipends and Medicaid did not cover most of their treatments/medications. We went through the appeals processes and were always forced to pay out of pocket. We are blessed we were able to cut deals with many doctors and therapists and that we had some savings to fall back on.
While we think of cost in monetary terms, it was the emotional costs we were not prepared for. We were told several times that our adoption was a sure thing and that all parental rights would be terminated for sure. In the end, we did not adopt that child and it hurt, and still does most days. It was confusing for the child as well and we were heartbroken to let him go. We have not seen him since.
And there were people who were disqualified on technical issues:
We have 2 boys and 2 girls in a three bedroom home. We were shocked to find out our local social services require that we have a separate bedroom for the foster child. Their own bed was not enough, we were required to have a separate room completely.
No bunk beds social services said. And not just for a particular child, it was no bunk beds for a foster child, period. He or she could share a room with our kids, but had to have his or her own free-standing bed.
Finally, there was this from a prospective adoptive mom:
Infertility was the knife slid between my ribs I never saw coming. Like most families, mine would say, “well, you can always adopt!” We cannot afford private or international adoption even with help from relatives so we’ve begun the process of adopting out of foster care. We are nervous and excited. We are nervous the child will not like us or that we cannot be the parent he or she needs. So many of the children are victims of abuse or neglect, I pray to God that I am up for any challenge a child brings. Like your friend says, there are so many potential road-blocks. We’ve only been at this for just under a year and I have my patience very tested when someone says something like, “oh there are so many kids out there who need good homes.” Technically, they’re right?! But most of those kids, aren’t actually available to be adopted. Your post really helped me feel not so alone when I do get my dander up. It’s tough. Prayers for everyone going through infertility and/or the adoption process.
I thank you all so much for sharing your experiences with me. I learned many things I would not have known otherwise.