open adoption of special needs child, 20+ years later. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 04-16-2012, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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MY husband's family had a child that they decided to adopt out.  She was born with many issues, the biggest may or may not be is she is blind.  There were several conditions of the adoption, she was to be the last of the adoptions of this family (30+) and it was an open adoption.  My husband has always been "uncle" and his parents have been involved twice a year plus letters, phone calls and emails.  Her bio parents eventually married and have raised two more children together.  His brother has been more involved than the bio mother (guilt, family pressure.. whatever)

 

Fast forward..she is an adult.. on SSDI and "renting" from her adopted mom (along with 13 other special needs or under the age of 18 dependents)

 

This child's youngest adopted brother is in our child's kinder class, and again in his 1st grade class..(6 more children have been adopted)    There is no way (or desire)  to ignore her and her large family.  I have been more involved and as I saw her several times a week.. and started taking her to school twice a week and being her sighted guide. 


  I am privy to her real life and not the 'scrubbed and shiny' version.  There is self neglect, major body odor issues, hair that is unintentionally in dreads, finger and toe nails that are too long for comfort,(over 1/4 inch past toes) and this young lady's diet consists of fast food and canned goods. She is her own adult.. but she has no access to her money.  Her clothes are falling apart and reek of foul body odors and stains. She was sexually abused by a trusted family friend and her adopted sister was recently repeatedly raped by an older adopted brother.. non special needs.. that has been prosecuted. 

  I have shared this with her bio grandparents on her father's side and of course with my husband.  NOT WITH HER BIO parents.. we can't talk about her....it's too painful for them.. this comes from my FIL and MIL

 

  My inlaws think that this is too stressful for me and that I need to walk away.  AND LEAVE IT ALONE.. IE abandon her again. 

 

 

I have had her for a week... while her adopted mother took three of the other girls in the house to Florida for a vacation.    She has showered everyday.. had to be taught how to use soap and a wash cloth.  She hasn't washed her hair everyday.. she prefers for her adoptive mom to do it... I finally convinced her that it needs to be washed by her.  Her hair is long, past her shoulders and she would like to cut it, but her adoptive mom will not allow it and in fact FORBADE me to take her to get a hair cut. It took over an hour and more morrocan oil than I want to think about to get the dreads out.   I have replaced the two pairs of underwear and one bra (all full of holes) with several packages of underwear and three new bras,  and gotten her new pants, shirts, shoes and socks.  (not something I really had the money to do.. put it on credit)

I would like to see a better life for this young woman I have come to love.  I know that life can not be at my house.  I have thee children that have basically been ignored while I focus on trying to help my niece this week.  What do I do?  Where do I turn?  Is this abuse? (I think it is.. but is it legally?)

The state is very involved with this family and evidently doesn't think anything is all that wrong. 

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#2 of 13 Old 04-16-2012, 12:43 PM
 
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Adult Protective Services. They are also part of "the state," but not the same set of workers as have handed this family so many kids to neglect and exploit. 

 

They might not move her the first time you call, but they are very likely to go out and investigate. There are appropriate places for a disabled adult on SSDI to live, but the home you describe is not one of them. It may take a while to get the State to move her, but if you are persistent and things don't improve, ultimately she will probably be moved. Let her hair get dirty and her nails get long and her clothes get smelly again before you file a complaint. (Sounds harsh, I know, but I'm sure you can see why a neglected appearance now is in her best interests long-term.) 

 

It would help a great deal if you could also get her school's guidance counselor or nurse to make a complaint. 

 

 

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#3 of 13 Old 04-16-2012, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's at our local community college, and currently interning with a local non profit that specializes in the  independent living of disabled people.  Sheepish.gif  Her auntie may or may not have had a hand in that.  They are fully aware of the the house and it's situation.    It doesn't stop my desire to swoop in and bring her home with me.  I had to take her back today and she did not want to go.  Even with sleeping on my couch, and our seven year old waking her at the crack of dawn every morning.   

I don't think her adoptive mom is a bad person.  I think she is a hoarder, only instead of cats or crap.. she hoards people with special needs. Her intentions may have been good at one point but it has just gotten away from her, but  this is not newspapers, they are  people.  
 

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#4 of 13 Old 04-16-2012, 09:40 PM
 
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You know I would report it then.  She needs better.  Her choices are limited unless something better happens for her

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#5 of 13 Old 04-17-2012, 03:18 PM
 
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She's at our local community college, and currently interning with a local non profit that specializes in the  independent living of disabled people. 

 

 

That was a very good indirect move. Now you need to make a direct move by reporting the neglect to Adult Protective Services.

 

This isn't about her mom being a bad person. This isn't about her mom AT ALL. This is about your disabled relative who is being neglected, and your responsibility to advocate for her for as long as it takes to get her to a safe sustainable placement.  

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#6 of 13 Old 06-11-2012, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So my calls finally ended up in a wellness check. 

 

 

  My niece lied.  Lied about how often she goes to the dentist, lied about how often she showers, lied about her diet, she lied.  She has either been lying to me about all of this or she lied to the caseworker. 

 

 

AND of course she was just freshly showered.. makes sense really.. it's been two weeks since she was last clean by my documentation.  (yes, I take notes, and yes, even photos of her)

 

  Caseworker is going to make a couple of more calls before closing it as unfounded...but really I have no hope that anything will be done except I will now be shut out of her life. 



 I am SO frustrated.   I am now at odds with my in laws (all of them, any of them) because my husband and I are the only ones in this.. and it's not his god damned child. It had been OVER FIVE YEARS since her bio father had called her..let alone seen or smelled her.   I am the one who has to smell her while I take her to her classes.. I really don't understand WHY with all of her other barriers to friendships and interactions with people... WHY does she and her adoptive mom think it's ok to be absolutely repulsive with body odor and clothing?  Why does she lie about her hygiene?  Why? Why?
Why am I even bothering? 

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#7 of 13 Old 06-11-2012, 01:41 PM
 
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Because you have a moral obligation to intervene in the neglect and exploitation of a disabled relative, that's why. 

 

hug2.gifI'm sorry the first round of calls didn't result in a removal. If you are NOT shut out, then in all probability you will gather further evidence and make more calls as the years go on. If you ARE shut out - well, you have to obey the law. Maybe the shut-out will be temporary. 

 

It's so frustrating, to be powerless when somebody you care about needs help. I am so sorry for your trouble. 

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#8 of 13 Old 06-12-2012, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The good news is I am not shut out.  That does give me hope.  Thank you Ms. Smithie for your words, it helps more than you know.

 

I guess I will continue with my documentation and my love.. not much else I can do. 

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#9 of 13 Old 06-12-2012, 03:56 PM
 
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Keep calling. I used to work in child welfare and I'm assuming it is similar... It can take a lot of calls before something is done. Good for you for stepping in to help. It sounds like you're the only person who she can count on.
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#10 of 13 Old 06-17-2012, 06:33 AM
 
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I'm glad you aren't giving up on her.  Keep loving, Mama! 


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#11 of 13 Old 06-17-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post

  My inlaws think that this is too stressful for me and that I need to walk away.  AND LEAVE IT ALONE.. IE abandon her again. 

 


I would like to see a better life for this young woman I have come to love.  I know that life can not be at my house.  I have thee children that have basically been ignored while I focus on trying to help my niece this week.  What do I do?  Where do I turn?  Is this abuse? (I think it is.. but is it legally?)

The state is very involved with this family and evidently doesn't think anything is all that wrong. 

 

Your in-laws fill me with anger.  Not caring is the worst human sin.  I (and my siblings) were severely neglected and battered as children.  I just found out from my slightly older cousin that our extended family knew about it and did nothing.  My cousin said she was afraid of my parents as a child, and her parents felt the same way.  She wasn't allowed to come over to our house to play, because her parents knew my parents were psychotic.  I was just reeling with sickness when my cousin told me everything.  In fact, I got the feeling that she knew even more than what she said.  My grandparents, whom I loved, who were my only safe people...they knew and didn't do anything.  I don't know how to describe how I feel, just sick and horrible.  On the one hand, it was confirmation that my childhood was as bad as I remember, on the other, my trust in humanity in general is shattered.

 

The problem with special needs children in foster care, is that no one wants them.  That's why this foster home has so many.  She is probably the only foster parent who will take special needs kids, so the state warehouses the children with her.  Unless the state can certify more foster homes, nothing will change. 


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#12 of 13 Old 06-21-2012, 12:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post

 

 

 

The problem with special needs children in foster care, is that no one wants them.  That's why this foster home has so many.  She is probably the only foster parent who will take special needs kids, so the state warehouses the children with her.  Unless the state can certify more foster homes, nothing will change. 

 

I'm sorry for your experience growing up. greensad.gif

 

That being said, i wanted to address your repeated use of the word "foster parent" and "foster home"....i dont recall the OP ever saying the adult in question was in foster care or that her mother is a foster parent. She said she adopted many special needs children, and that the adult in question was adopted as a baby. I know lots of families who have many adopted children (with or without special needs) and they adopted these children for various reasons but the primary one was because they love parenting them. I cant help but feel a little defensive of the adoptive mom only because she isnt here to give her side of the story and because as an adoptive mom to a child that presents as one way to 99 percent of the people she meets, and behaves totally different at home...i know there is always another side to the story. Its easy to come from the position "oh how terrible, this mother isnt doing her job, there must be neglect, she must not care/is overwhelmed" but at the same time, i used to be a paid caregiver for adults with MR and mental illness...and the bottom line is they ARE adults...even though they may not act like it. I've cared for people who refused to bathe, refused to take care of themselves, refused to eat or would gorge themselves. Refused to take meds. There isnt much you can do other than continue to try to encourage good habits. And even though the girl was happy to bathe in the OPs home, that doesnt mean she doesnt refuse to do it at home. of course its possible that its totally neglect on the part of the adoptive mom and the girl isnt getting what she needs. if the adoptive mom has many other, younger/needier children at home, she may be choosing to not fight a battle or educate this girl even though she really should be doing so, and thats not right.


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#13 of 13 Old 06-21-2012, 03:16 PM
 
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These life skills should have been taught much earlier in life....
 


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