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#1 of 32 Old 09-28-2012, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted a question in the SN forum to see if I could get a clearer picture of what's going on with this little guy. He's 10 months old, and has some prenatal-exposure-related issues. I don't know what he was exposed to. His facial features don't appear to be FAS/FAE related, but I'm certainly no expert and the pics weren't clear closeups. If his symptoms are mild, they could be the same description as my son (who is now 4 and bright and has no issues) at that age. If they are somehow different/more severe, it looks like he could be developmentally delayed or end up somewhere on the autism spectrum/Asperger's or something else.

 

Since there's no crystal ball, we are trying to figure out how much we can handle. I'd be a lot more open if we didn't already have kids, but we have a son and want him to have a sibling. Since he was adopted from foster care, I feel like he needs to have family that understands where he came from, and a sib from the same situation could help as he gets older. They won't feel as alone in the world, they'll have someone to talk to after we're gone, etc. But since that's the point, I can't see purposely adopting a child whose needs are so high that DS will be obligated to take care of him/her when they're grown and we're gone and the second child is unable to live on his/her own or at least in need of constant monitoring/support.

 

My great-uncle had mental retardation and his family (parents and two brothers) abandoned him to the care of my grandmother, his only sister. She had to care for him on her own for her entire life. She was bitter and resentful and completely uneducated about his condition and often lost patience with him. He was able to live on his own, but they talked on the phone multiple times daily and it was a struggle. I remember seeing the pain in her face as she tried to communicate with him over the phone, how exasperated she got with him, and the relief mixed with guilt when died. I cannot do that to my son. We have no other family who could help him out if it came to that. I know that things are different now, my son will be educated, we will teach him what he needs to know about any special circumstances, but it's still not fair to lay that burden on him. I feel it's not our choice to make for him, but if he chooses not to take it on, where does that leave our second child? So even worse, our child would not have the care he/she would need.

 

I know I'm overthinking, but I feel I have to, given my family's history. I saw how all the rest of the aunts/uncles/cousins reacted to my great-uncle; no one wanted to get too involved. They were happy to see him at Thanksgiving and maybe call once or twice a year and that was it. He needed companionship. He needed to know his family loved him. There were TONS of relatives and no one stepped up. He was alone. DS wouldn't have anyone to rely on to take some of the burden off him when he needed it. He wouldn't have anyone to turn to. I can't do that to either of them.

 

So what do we do? Just refuse to take any child who MIGHT have some issues? We'll likely end up with no sibling for DS. Take a chance and hope that by the time we need it, there'll be research and cures or treatments that will make the issues insignificant? I can't fathom saying no to this kid due to developmental delays. And I can't imagine how I'd feel if the child ended up unable to be a self-sufficient adult.

 

Has anyone else here BTDT?

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#2 of 32 Old 09-28-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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A friend of the family has BDTD, with a brother who has Down Syndrome. His parents made some very poor choices about how to handle his care (100% themselves until they die, no community support, no group home) and how to plan for his future (100% my friend's problem when they're gone).

 

I post this to point out that the big problem in that family is poor planning on the part of the parents, not the fact that one of the sons is disabled. My friend adores his brother, even as he dreads becoming his full-time caregiver and resents the fact that his parents haven't made a plan that is more respectful of the fact that he has his own life to lead. Could you and your husband commit to transitioning your second son to an appropriate adult placement such as a group home BEFORE you die? Could you commit to leaving behind enough money to provide for his needs until the end of his life? Those are the big questions IMO. 

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#3 of 32 Old 09-28-2012, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, here's the thing. Not that I've explored ALL the options already, b/c obviously that's not possible, but I have yet to step foot into any institutional care facility (whether it's a medical hospital, assisted living facility, hospice unit, or even a day care) that I would feel comfortable about leaving any member of my family. I feel for the people who don't have a choice, for those who can't afford anything other than what public health insurance might cover. I've been to state hospitals and frankly I think some of the maximum security prison units they show on those reality TV shows look cleaner and more appealing.

 

My grandfather needed additional care at the end of his life, so after living with my mom for a few years he moved into assisted living. The place had different levels of care, and as you needed more assistance, you added services or moved to a different "neighborhood" within the building complex. His "apartment" was barely as nice as the worst hotel room I'd be willing to stay in. It only got worse from there when he needed to be in the full-time care unit. One day I took DS to visit him, and found him face down, upper body on his bed, lower body in his wheel chair. He had fallen asleep after waiting for God knows how long for someone to help him back into bed. We thought he was dead. He could have suffocated the way he was lying with his face planted in the mattress. And even after I called for help, it was over 30 minutes til someone came! The next time I visited him, he said he wanted to go back to bed, he was tired. So I got him back to his room and found a nurse to ask about getting him into bed. I waited 45 minutes for someone to come help him. I refused to leave til I knew he was tucked in. Ridiculous. And this was at the "best" place in town. My parents were horrified, and also out of options. That place cost several hundred dollars A DAY for his "care." There is no way we could ever save up enough to afford that, and even then, I couldn't agree to have anyone in my family living there with that kind of treatment.
 

So yes, I could put a provision in my will about how he/she is to be cared for. I can save up every spare penny I can, forgo vacations and meals out just to save everything for my child's care, but it would never be close to enough. I tell my parents now that they are not going to a "retirement home" -- they are going to live with me if they have to, and we'll figure out having a nurse come if we have to, but I'm not sending them where Grandpa was or anything of the sort. My mom wants to be shot, if that time ever comes for her. She's only half-joking. But that's no help when it comes to figuring out a plan for the kid.

 

So does that just mean we shouldn't do it? We shouldn't give a child a loving family b/c we can't figure out how to care for them after we're gone? This is so @#$*ed up I want to cry.

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#4 of 32 Old 09-28-2012, 03:11 PM
 
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I think maybe you should visit a group home environment for developmentally disabled adults. It is not like a nursing home, and it is something that your child's SSI would cover, at least in part. I'm not talking about saving up money for a private-pay nursing home, that would be totally impossible, not to mention a terrible life for a developmentally disabled adult. I agree with you that those places are not a place I want to put any of my relatives in. But a good group home placement in adulthood is something I would actively seek for a child of mine with developmental disabilities. 

 

There is a lot of discussion ongoing about this in the developmentally disabled community. For so many years kids were shunted off to institutions, then came mainstreaming and in-home care, and now there is sort of third wave - of course developmentally disabled children are being raised at home (they're kids! They belong with their parents!) but in adulthood, group living with professional support is emerging as a very popular alternative to staying home as long as the parents are alive. Social isolation is a huge problem for developmentally disabled adults. Growing up and moving into their own home are important adult experiences that so many of them don't get to have. In addition making that kind of independence possible, the emergence of the group home model means that parents can be parents, siblings can be siblings, and nobody is tied into a lifelong caregiving relationship. 

 

Maybe click through some links? http://www.new-horizons.org/hougrh.html

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#5 of 32 Old 09-28-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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I posted a question in the SN forum to see if I could get a clearer picture of what's going on with this little guy. He's 10 months old, and has some prenatal-exposure-related issues. I don't know what he was exposed to. His facial features don't appear to be FAS/FAE related, but I'm certainly no expert and the pics weren't clear closeups. If his symptoms are mild, they could be the same description as my son (who is now 4 and bright and has no issues) at that age. If they are somehow different/more severe, it looks like he could be developmentally delayed or end up somewhere on the autism spectrum/Asperger's or something else.

 

Since there's no crystal ball, we are trying to figure out how much we can handle. I'd be a lot more open if we didn't already have kids, but we have a son and want him to have a sibling. Since he was adopted from foster care, I feel like he needs to have family that understands where he came from, and a sib from the same situation could help as he gets older. They won't feel as alone in the world, they'll have someone to talk to after we're gone, etc. But since that's the point, I can't see purposely adopting a child whose needs are so high that DS will be obligated to take care of him/her when they're grown and we're gone and the second child is unable to live on his/her own or at least in need of constant monitoring/support.

[...]

 

So what do we do? Just refuse to take any child who MIGHT have some issues? We'll likely end up with no sibling for DS. Take a chance and hope that by the time we need it, there'll be research and cures or treatments that will make the issues insignificant? I can't fathom saying no to this kid due to developmental delays. And I can't imagine how I'd feel if the child ended up unable to be a self-sufficient adult.

I haven't BTDT but I understand your desire for a younger sibling similar to your son. I want the same for my son.

 

First, you need to determine what you can or can't handle. That's before you worry about what your son should or shouldn't be responsible for as an adult. And then you need to seek answers. In my state, adopting a drug exposed child from fostercare would involve a developmental assessment. It's not perfect at such a young age, but it would give the potential adoptive parents a good idea of the child's needs. Can you ask for something like that?

 

Or perhaps 10 months is simply too young to really evaluate? Maybe in your situation you should be looking at children who are 2 or older. At that age, it should be very obvious if they are significantly delayed, minorly delayed, average, or above. Have you considered waiting for a different match that suits your family better?

 

Or perhaps after thinking this through you will feel ready to take a chance on this kiddo. Personally, I firmly believe that a high dose of intense intervention early-on can dramatically change the outcome for most of these drug-exposed babies. Maybe that feels right to you?

 

I don't know. I'm not sure what I would do if/when I am in your shoes.

 

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I can save up every spare penny I can, forgo vacations and meals out just to save everything for my child's care, but it would never be close to enough. [...]

 

So does that just mean we shouldn't do it? We shouldn't give a child a loving family b/c we can't figure out how to care for them after we're gone? This is so @#$*ed up I want to cry.

You said something that led me to believe this child may come from fostercare...

 

Adopting a special needs child from fostercare likely comes with a subsidy. So that money could, if it wasn't needed immediately for care, be saved up for care in the future. Moreover, most fostercare adoptions result in the children retaining their Medicaid, which can save the adoptive family hundreds or thousands of dollars. Just wanted to point out that there's a huge financial bonus to adopting from fostercare that can ease many of the financial uncertainties involved with special needs children.

 

It's true that perhaps even with a subsidy and Medicaid you still might not be able to save up enough for the kind of institutional care you think is adequate, but at the very least a special needs adoption from fostercare gives you some cushion.

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#6 of 32 Old 09-28-2012, 08:55 PM
 
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I would try to get a lot more info before making a decision. Personally I would be a lot more okay with certain drug exposure than alcohol exposure. I knew of twins where one had FAS and the other did not, so the fact that your son's needs were mild does not mean this child is likely not to have more intense needs. If I were in your shoes, I'd be considering my own motivations a bit more closely. Are you feeling guilty about not accepting the match? Concerned you will never be matched if you don't accept this placement? To me, those wouldn't be good reasons to proceed if you're feeling hesitant about your capacity to provide for this child and how this will impact your son long term.
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#7 of 32 Old 09-29-2012, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Smithie, thanks for the link. That helps a bit -- I never thought about group homes. Never been in one, know of one here that is not okay, but that doesn't mean they're all like that.

 

I know that kids with special needs often do get a subsidy to help with their care after adoption. I also know that my state likes to minimize needs so they can negotiate lower or no subsidy at all. And I know a few kids who didn't exhibit any major issues while they were young, but then they hit puberty and all hell broke loose. The family members who had adopted them had nothing to begin with, and weren't getting child support or any type of subsidy for them, that I know of. They managed okay until the boy (who was the "healthiest" of the three growing up) suddenly ended up bipolar, suicidal and institutionalized. If they'd had the means, they might have had the kids in counseling and maybe been able to see the signs sooner, and maybe been able to avoid sending him away. It was heartbreaking. If we do end up receiving a subsidy it will go into a savings plan for him, but I can't count on it ever being enough, KWIM?

 

APToddlerMama, I'm with you on the drug v alcohol exposure. I don't know yet what he was exposed to. I guess we'll find out if we're matched. I'm just trying to work this through before then since we'll be in this situation again if we're not matched with him. I'm not necessarily feeling guilty for possibly saying no. I know he'll find the right family. The guilt is coming from wanting to say yes, and being afraid that we will not be right for him. I will have MAJOR guilt if we say yes and he ends up being too much for us, or if he ends up needing long-term care into adulthood and DS is forced to be his caregiver b/c of a decision we made. We went into this with the intent to adopt a sib for DS. As soon as I saw our first placement, I knew he wasn't "ours" and was totally okay with it. Turned out, he had family members step up and take him. Now that I'm living this, I'm actually happy to send kids on their way to be with family or to their forever homes. I still want a sibling for DS, but in the meantime I'm happy to be helping where I can, and if we never get an adoptive placement, then at least we'll have helped other kids stay safe on their way to their families.

 

I am just struggling with gauging how severe his needs might be, how severe they could be before we would say we can't handle them, and how we would manage if the worst case scenario did happen. I'm trying to be responsible and plan ahead, and make sure we're the right family for him, since I know now that CPS isn't that concerned about "right."
 

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#8 of 32 Old 09-29-2012, 10:14 AM
 
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 Now that I'm living this, I'm actually happy to send kids on their way to be with family or to their forever homes.

 

Same here. I never thought I'd be that person. I trusted myself to say and do the right things to help my foster kids transition, but I was pleasantly surprised to also feel the "right" way. 

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#9 of 32 Old 09-30-2012, 06:16 PM
 
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We have BTDT.  We have a bio son that had more special needs than most of our foster kids.  We were somewhat worried about the adopted sibling winding up caring for the bio!  But we were equally worried about how much we could handle given that our bio at the time.

 

Fostering was a huge help for us in determining what the records translated to in real life and how much we could handle.  Are you over thinking it?  Maybe.  But I think that this is a topic nobody could really blame you for over thinking... kwim?

 

Ultimately, a situation came along that we didn't have questions about.  It just felt right.  We had passed on two other matches and one match fell through (literally a half hour before the child was due to arrive!).  None of them felt right--even the one we agreed to.  And really, about 2mo before we were matched with our adoptive daughter, the state told us they would never have a match for us.  Go figure.


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#10 of 32 Old 09-30-2012, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, Heather. I think that the limited amount of fostering we've done so far and the issues my son had (despite them ending up being non-issues for the most part) has helped tremendously too. And all the reading I've been doing is either helping to ease my mind or giving me a false sense of security, I'm not sure which yet! My gut reaction to this one was a no, until I got more information and realized that his issues could be very similar to DS's. But I'm aware they could lead in a totally different direction. And yet, I'm starting to feel like it's going to be okay. I guess I'll have to wait a couple of weeks for the matching meeting and see what happens. I just hope that what "they" say about God/the Universe is true: That somehow everything works out for a reason and we will not have anything we ultimately cannot handle.
 

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#11 of 32 Old 09-30-2012, 08:56 PM
 
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I just hope that what "they" say about God/the Universe is true: That somehow everything works out for a reason and we will not have anything we ultimately cannot handle.
 

I must be in a very fatalistic mood this evening. I would take the above a step farther. It is great that you are seriously considering all the aspects of potential special needs. One of the unique aspects of adoption from foster care is that you have the opportunity to ask yourself which special needs you think you can handle. When I was at the homestudy stage, I thought that autism was the only one condition that I absolutely could not accept. I have relatives with various disabilities, and nursing experience - I was able to thoughtfully consider a wide range of physical and developmental disabilities. That was before my bio YoungSon was diagnosed with, yup, you guessed it, Autism Spectrum Disorder. In many ways, he has been my easiest child. At 16, I still don't know if he will ever live entirely independently. I never had any choice in the matter. I would not have chosen this path, but I am so happy to be on it! My life has been so greatly enriched by this experience.

 

What would you do if your bio or already adopted child had a serious injury that he required intense care for the rest of his life? The answer is that you would rise to the occasion, and do whatever had to be done. No one chooses that path, but many walk it. The difference in special needs adoption is that we are asked to make that commitment before we have time to create the bond and love that make this path a true pleasure. When you have that bond, the questions you are asking will be moot. I am not suggesting discarding or disregarding your fears and concerns. If a particular child seems beyond your abilities, of course you should step aside. But I believe we grow to be the exact person our children need to parent them.


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#12 of 32 Old 09-30-2012, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Believe me, I have thought about it that way. There are no guarantees with bio kids, and no guarantees that our now-healthy kids won't somehow (via some congenital science or some external accident later on) end up in need of more assistance or unable to live independently or whatever. I think that the burden is that I have this CHOICE. What if I choose wrong, and fail this child? Or fail my other child? Or fail my entire family? Then it's on me, not God, or whatever, that *I* did this awful thing where I could have stepped back and let a more able family adopt the child instead. Let this child have the family he deserves, who could care for him the way he needs to be cared for. And then I will have destroyed this child's life, my family, etc. I can't bear to think that I could have that kind of guilt. I have wanted nothing from my life but to raise kids, ever since I was a kid. I didn't care what my career would be, didn't care about what type of lifestyle I would have, just as long as I could be a mom. I take it (maybe a little too) seriously. It's a HUGE responsibility to be that big a factor in someone's life and I cannot fail. I used to take my work (career, other jobs) very seriously, until I was trying to get pregnant. At that point, I let it all go, because I could feel how insignificant my work for whatever company/corporation was in comparison to THIS. And I'm so afraid of being wrong. This is not a mistake that can be undone, forgiven, fixed.

 

I meet with my licensing worker every month, per the agency's rules. And in six months, she has mentioned no fewer than 4 times how concerned she is for "her families" and wants to be sure they are properly supported, don't try to take too much on, b/c she has seen several families fall apart in the few short years she has had this position. They bit off more than they could chew, and ended up in divorce. And now, not only do their kids not have a whole family anymore, the system has lost a resource so that even more foster kids don't have a family to take care of them. I can't imagine that happening to me, to us.

 

Mamarhu, responses like yours give me hope, make me feel more secure that at least there will be support out there if I need voices of experience. I am so grateful for your perspective, and for everyone who has responded so far. Poor DH is out of town this week, and has no idea what has been going through my head. I sent him the profile, told him I said yes to submitting our homestudy, and he probably hasn't even had time to look at the little guy again, never mind ponder what could be and whether he's ready for it. Meanwhile, I've been crying every day (not all day, mind you, but when I post here all these feelings come up and I'm so torn) and reading and researching and trying to come up with questions to ask if the opportunity should come. I've never been particularly strongly spiritual before, but now I realize why so many people turn to religion and "leave it all up to" God/Jesus/the Universe. Who wants the burden of this big a responsibility?? It's tearing me up. I so badly want to help, to be a "resource" family in the truest sense of the word, and I'm so scared that there's no safety net.

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#13 of 32 Old 10-01-2012, 08:30 PM
 
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 But I believe we grow to be the exact person our children need to parent them.

 

Or, we dont. We can't muster the skill set necessary to parent a particular child and everyone suffers. greensad.gif


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#14 of 32 Old 10-01-2012, 09:05 PM
 
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About those with developmental disabilities and the future...

 

When i lived in a different state i was a Support Coordinator for a private agency that had contracts with the county board of MRDD to provide supported living services to those with MR and MR/MI. I started out in direct care. The emphasis at the time was away from group home living (although our agency did have a Group Home division) and instead into independent living. Our homes usually consisted of one or two "consumers" (clients) and one staff person (either a live in staff person on salary, or hourly 24/7 staff, or drop in staff depending on the needs of the client) who helped the consumers with whatever they needed. These people lived in the community, whether in a rental apartment, townhome, rented house or sometimes they lived with parents or in a home bought or rented for them by a family member. We had clients who were nearly 100 percent independant, held down a job, managed their own money etc but needed staff to "check in" with them to make sure they were taking their meds, taking them to doctor appt, making sure their home was clean etc...maybe 10-20 hours a week. (Also, provide companionship.) We also had clients who either for developmental reasons or supervision reasons needed staff 24 hours a day (nighttime staff were allowed to sleep as long as the client was asleep as well.) This supported living program was NOT just for clients who were able to take care of themselves....we had total care clients (needing help with toileting, transferring from w/c to bed, feeding etc), clients who had severe DS, autism etc. All clients had SOME level of MR (mental retardation) and many also had a co-diagnosis of mental illness (usually schizophrenia or bipolar.) The staff person not only made sure all physical needs were being met but would take the client out to the movies, shopping, park, to social events with friends of the clients etc. For most of the people i knew in this program...it was a very full life. One woman even arranged to marry her boyfriend in part to get him out of the nursing home he was living in because then he would automatically qualify for the supported living program she was in....we threw her a wedding (yes, a real legal wedding)...it was nice. Our clients were well loved (most of them anyway...some we just had to put up with winky.gif ) and while yes i had crappy staff come and go, i had many staff members who had worked with the same person for years...and it in many ways was like a family.

 

I only tell you all of this because i want you to know its NOT all state hospitals and horrible abusive staff....that DOES happen. We are caring for my mom in her own home (stroke in '99) because she had such a horrible nursing home experience (i think it would have eventually killed her) and because frankly you really cant trust people....and thankfully she is in a position to afford care at home.

 

There are way more options for kids with developmental disabilities than there used to be. You just need to be aware of what is available in your area because its very state dependent.

 

That being said....i would recommend not killing yourself worrying about this until/unless you are MATCHED with this child. If you are matched, then review all of his info and go from there. At his age i would imagine its really hard to predict the future. Are there issues other than drug exposure? Prematurity? obvious delays? Is he doing things like sitting up? trying to walk? feeding himself? (not sure what a 10 mo old is supposed to be doing)...has he been in early intervention? Here we have something called Early On for kids under three that anyone is eligible for to diagnose and get early treatment for any issues.


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#15 of 32 Old 10-01-2012, 10:03 PM
 
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Or, we dont. We can't muster the skill set necessary to parent a particular child and everyone suffers. greensad.gif

Granted. But I guess I think that is based more on innate character/personality differences than a specific diagnosis. This outlook is based on my own experiences raising several kids, and observing my clients (parents of kids in the highest level of mental health care). I think it would be hard to predict which parent could handle which kid, just based on a diagnosis or the brief description we are given before a potential placement. Several of the families I work with are foster/adoptive parents who "knew what they were getting into". Others are bio families with their own mental health issues. And many more are just regular folks, playing out the hand they have been dealt. I have yet to see any pattern in who can parent which kid.

 

I totally respect that we should define and recognize our own limits. For me, the line is physical aggression. Some families I work with can handle this; I am daily in awe of their patience and perseverance. Yet I survived stages of autistic meltdowns, fecal smearing, depression, anxiety, sexual reactivity, and attachment issues that would have really bothered someone else. I don't mean it didn't bother me - but I was able to cope, I think pretty successfully.  I didn't mean for that to sound like bragging. It is just that that stuff didn't cross my lines. And I think my patience comes from the bond I had with each of the above kids. The one child in my home that I never really bonded with irritated me MUCH more than than the higher needs kids I had a deep bond with. And I guess it is a chicken/egg question - did I fail to bond because he was irritating, or was I irritated because we were not in love? Hard to say. Yes, I do feel I failed him, but I don't think it had as much to do with his diagnoses (there were quite a few) as with our mismatch in personalities.

 

My, I have rambled away from the original question. Or maybe not.


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#16 of 32 Old 10-02-2012, 06:40 AM
 
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Granted. But I guess I think that is based more on innate character/personality differences than a specific diagnosis. This outlook is based on my own experiences raising several kids, and observing my clients (parents of kids in the highest level of mental health care). I think it would be hard to predict which parent could handle which kid, just based on a diagnosis or the brief description we are given before a potential placement. Several of the families I work with are foster/adoptive parents who "knew what they were getting into". Others are bio families with their own mental health issues. And many more are just regular folks, playing out the hand they have been dealt. I have yet to see any pattern in who can parent which kid.

 

I totally respect that we should define and recognize our own limits. For me, the line is physical aggression. Some families I work with can handle this; I am daily in awe of their patience and perseverance. Yet I survived stages of autistic meltdowns, fecal smearing, depression, anxiety, sexual reactivity, and attachment issues that would have really bothered someone else. I don't mean it didn't bother me - but I was able to cope, I think pretty successfully.  I didn't mean for that to sound like bragging. It is just that that stuff didn't cross my lines. And I think my patience comes from the bond I had with each of the above kids. The one child in my home that I never really bonded with irritated me MUCH more than than the higher needs kids I had a deep bond with. And I guess it is a chicken/egg question - did I fail to bond because he was irritating, or was I irritated because we were not in love? Hard to say. Yes, I do feel I failed him, but I don't think it had as much to do with his diagnoses (there were quite a few) as with our mismatch in personalities.

 

My, I have rambled away from the original question. Or maybe not.

 

Yeah....that makes sense. I can agree with that. I thought you were saying that no matter what the issues, parents will just deal with it well and what i've seen from my online groups of parents disrupting, thats a myth. But...you're right, its not really a matter of the specific diagnosis or issues the kid has.

 

I'm finding not having a bond or common interests incredibly difficult to deal with. Little things that didnt bother me at all with my oldest (just normal kid stuff, leaving dishes out, underwear in the middle of the floor etc) drive me craaaaazy with my daughter. It feels like nails on a chalkboard to me. I dont know if its all her little irritating behaviors that have prevented a bond from forming or if its the lack of a bond that makes those behaviors irritating, probably they feed off each other to make the issue worse. I've discovered that having a child who displays no emotion when emotionally challenged (does not rage, does not throw things, does not yell when angry or cry when truly upset...yes she'll tantrum but i mean when sad or emotionally hurt she wont cry)...who just stares and goes blank and puts up a brick wall....is very difficult for me to deal with, i've actually told her i'd rather her throw a chair or break a window, at least i'd see there is a real little girl in there. instead, she stares at me. And i didnt realize lying would be such a trigger for me. Others might be able to let it go (and i THOUGHT i would be, if you would have asked me a few years ago!) but given that my oldest simply never lied to me about anything having this girl lie to me about EVERYTHING def. pushes a button. Its much harder than i thought it would be.


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#17 of 32 Old 10-02-2012, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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...

My, I have rambled away from the original question. Or maybe not.

 

Not. This is all very helpful.

I talked to DH last night and he said he had some red flags going up just from the profile. So did I, til I read as much as I could and asked around a ton the past few days and now I'm feeling a little better about it. It does make sense to not get all crazy about a particular case that may or may not pan out, but DH doesn't do his own research and if it weren't for me being prepared to answer questions and ease HIS concerns, we wouldn't have ANY kids. And the matching meeting is next week, and they want to transition the baby "home" by the end of the month, so there is not much time after the match to do all the research and thinking we (DH) need(s) to do.

 

Maybe this won't be "our baby" but at least now we will have gotten the ball rolling in terms of considering what we think we can handle and researching what certain symptoms can translate to.

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#18 of 32 Old 10-03-2012, 07:35 AM
 
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 I think it would be hard to predict which parent could handle which kid, just based on a diagnosis or the brief description we are given before a potential placement. Several of the families I work with are foster/adoptive parents who "knew what they were getting into". Others are bio families with their own mental health issues. And many more are just regular folks, playing out the hand they have been dealt. I have yet to see any pattern in who can parent which kid.

 

 

Amen, sister. Not only can I not figure out what other people can handle and how well they can handle it, I have so far not had any luck in figuring out what my OWN family can handle until we are, you know, actually handling it. Some situations just don't lend themselves to abstract analysis. But abstract is what we're stuck with, when trying to determine if we will accept a placement. 

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#19 of 32 Old 10-11-2012, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Smithie, unfortunately you are right. And we just found out we were chosen by the committee to be his family. So now we go to a meeting next week to find out the truth, er details, about him. Cynical much? I think that's probably what's causing most of my angst. It's not about his condition(s) it's about being prepared to handle them. I'd be much more open to saying yes to something I know. And I know that I do not do well when I am handed one thing and told it's another, in cryptic language. That's what happened with DS, and everyone downplayed any "issues" he was having, and ultimately he seems to be okay, but I wonder if he (and I) wouldn't have benefited from a little more caution or honesty, or something.

 

What I'm saying is that I guess my fear isn't that the little guy might have issues, it's that they will be bigger than we are led to believe, bigger than we are prepared for and bigger than we can handle, especially for my son. But we'll learn more next week, and I'm sure I'll have lots more questions then!
 

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#20 of 32 Old 10-11-2012, 06:25 PM
 
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Congrats on getting selected!  I hope you are able to come to a decision that you feel sure about, one way or the other.  I don't know what "exposure related issue" you are dealing with, but you may want to consider his issue in context of his history and home environment.  I would be more concerned about issues in a child that has been very well cared for since birth than in a child that was in crappy homes.  One child I had was prenatally exposed to several serious drugs in utero, then was in 2 crappy homes.  The child had significant verbal delays.  After 6 months of high quality parenting, the child was verbally advanced and doing well by all measures.  The horrible home environments just made the child appear to have issues related to the drug exposure.  Issues in a child from a good environment are more likely to have a biological basis.

 

Also, here is a great resource that might be helpful in making your decision.  It is an adoption medicine clinic that does long distance consultations.  They specialize in diagnosing FAS.  I think it costs about $500, but I am not sure.

http://adoptmed.org/

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#21 of 32 Old 10-12-2012, 01:58 PM
 
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Congratulations! No matter what you decide, I'll bet you feel one heck of a lot better once you've gotten these people in a room and forced them to be more frank with you. 

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#22 of 32 Old 10-12-2012, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Zombie, THANK YOU for that link! So helpful. I wish we had a practice like that here.

 

We are supposed to get his file early next week and will have a few days to review it before the meeting. I can't imagine there will be anything in there that will make us say no, but my real hope is just that we really are the right family for him and that we can know one way or the other with certainty.
 

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#23 of 32 Old 02-07-2013, 01:17 PM
 
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What would you do if your bio or already adopted child had a serious injury that he required intense care for the rest of his life? The answer is that you would rise to the occasion, and do whatever had to be done. No one chooses that path, but many walk it. The difference in special needs adoption is that we are asked to make that commitment before we have time to create the bond and love that make this path a true pleasure. When you have that bond, the questions you are asking will be moot. I am not suggesting discarding or disregarding your fears and concerns. If a particular child seems beyond your abilities, of course you should step aside. But I believe we grow to be the exact person our children need to parent them.

This really speaks to me, mamarhu. I also get what queenjane is saying, that not everyone can rise up. Perhaps it's overly simplistic, but maybe the answer is that if you are the sort of person who thinks the above paragrah fits you perfectly, then you are probably the person who can parent this child. If you think you aren't, maybe you're not that parent.

 

My husband and I adopted two little boys with special needs. Every single day is hard as hell. It's harder than I could have possibly imagined, even though I am an extremely resilient person who is accustomed to hard work and who prepared a great deal for this. If it seems insurmoutable now, maybe it is?


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#24 of 32 Old 02-07-2013, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply. It's a bit late, as we've now been parenting him for nearly 4 months!

 

The trouble was, there is no diagnosis. There was nothing to say, "Here is his condition <look it up online and see what it really means>. Here is the prognosis," or even "Here is what we think is going on and what we've seen with kids like him." They made it sound like he could potentially be in need of home care or being institutionalized, although there is no official diagnosis for him. So without a "label" I had no idea what we would be dealing with.

 

The other trouble was/is, that yes, most people rise to the occasion when it's a bio or a child already bonded to you in some way. But not all do. I would love to think that DH and I would, in any situation, but I don't know too many people who truly know that for certain. We all have limits. I was really scared that our limits are not where we think they are. Part of that was fueled by the presence of another foster child in our home with whom we are NOT bonding at all. He is just not "ours." There is nothing "wrong" with him, he's just not meant to be family. But he was already here, no major issues, and we didn't love him. So how could it be EASIER to love a baby we haven't met, who might have insurmountable issues??? I was just picturing us picking him up, not being prepared to care for his needs (I'm a "fixer" and I know that's not realistic or healthy, but it's still my instinct to want to fix everything), and then us feeling like we're failing him.

 

Thankfully, that doesn't look like it's going to be that way. First of all, we are in love with him. Second, we can see that he has made rapid progress since he's been here, and his therapists and doctors are pleased with his development. He's not caught up, but he's still growing, so that's a good enough sign for us.

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#25 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 09:02 AM
 
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Thanks for the reply. It's a bit late, as we've now been parenting him for nearly 4 months!

 

...

 

Thankfully, that doesn't look like it's going to be that way. First of all, we are in love with him. Second, we can see that he has made rapid progress since he's been here, and his therapists and doctors are pleased with his development. He's not caught up, but he's still growing, so that's a good enough sign for us.

This is so good to hear!love.gif


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#26 of 32 Old 02-08-2013, 04:42 PM
 
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Doh! Somehow I didn't look at the date.

I'm so glad you have fallen in love and he's progressing! It sounds like you thought this through, decided to take the leap, and are now in the right place. Congratulations!joy.gif

It sounds like you are on top of things working with the doctor and therapists so that if there ever does need to be a diagnosis, you're right in there ready to get his needs met. Enjoy him!

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#27 of 32 Old 02-09-2013, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No worries. You were right on target with what I was thinking. If it seems like too much before we're even "in it," it's probably too much for us. Fortunately, what was in the files and what is in reality are two different things. He is still high needs, still has issues, but the "issues" documented were at 6 months old and he is now over a year. We were given the impression that the things like "can't roll over by himself" that were documented at 6 months still applied....

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#28 of 32 Old 02-09-2013, 07:52 PM
 
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Nevermind..

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#29 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 12:14 AM
 
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So happy to read your update. I am Mom to 9, 6 are bio and 3 came to us fost/adopt.  3 of my bio kids are on the autism spectrum and 1 was born as a 2 1/2 lb preemie who had had some medical issues. I thought I could handle anything LOL

 

Our first adopted dd came to us at almost 3, was born post toxic for meth and had been in and out of foster care. She has some extreme attachment issues and is 8.

The next 2 came as a sibling group of 3 and were 12,5,and 2 ( the older one had to be placed into residential treatment)  They were suppose to be with us for 6 months LOL. That was almost 5 years ago. The 5 year who is now 10 is a bright loving wonderful child, with anxiety due to her PTSD but is thriving. The then 2 year old we were told was " Just so sweet and quiet"  Umm ya because he had been so severely abused he had no language! He presented as classically autistic. At 4 they told us to put him back into the system and give up as he would probably be a psychopath. I wasn't taking that for an answer. At 6 1/2 he is a loving , sweet boy who has some struggle with impulse control do to a TBI from shaken baby, but has come so much further then anyone would have ever thought or given us hope for. 

 

My super long point being that so many ( not all ) but a lot can overcome so many things by having a family that loves them, believes in them, and will fight for them to get what they need to grow into the best them they can be :) 


*~Kelly~*
 Waldorf Mom to 9 blessings ~6 by birth and 3 by fost/adopt~

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#30 of 32 Old 02-15-2013, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OMG, thank you for sharing that. I'm struggling with 3 kids right now -- I can't imagine having *9* and some with special needs at that!

 

The little guy seems to be doing okay. To most people, he seems like a "normal" 1 year old and most don't notice his lack of speech. Then his therapists say he's so very delayed, and my mom friends think that's crazy. So I'm still not really knowing what to expect, what is "normal" for him, and what could become a problem, but we're rolling with it. None of his issues seems to be particularly concerning to the half-dozen doctors he sees, with the caveat "given his history, of course." So we're rolling with it, b/c really what else can we do? ;-)

 

I just want him to SLEEP. (Okay, really, *I* just want to sleep!)

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