I occasionally browse foster care photolistings on the internet. Whenever I come across the statement that the worker will only consider families in which the child is the youngest by many years, or the only child in the home, or in a small family with only 1 or 2 other children it makes me pause.
First off, I know that [hopefully] the workers are out to see that this child is successful in life. Secondly, I know that I hvae no idea who this child is and they have some. But I also know that in the almost 2 years James has been with us, his worker [of whom he has had 4!] thinks that she knows a lot about him. She knows only what I tell her, and that is still jaded as it is just my opinion influenced by my parenting experience and personal preferences.
So I then get really sad thinking they are limiting this childs chance at success. Now in some situations they will consider other families outside of their preferences, but not in most of them. :( EVEN if this means the child waits LONGER for a family!
Quite a while back I inquired of a child... only to be told they will ONLY consider families with fewer than 4 children. WHY? THAT seems very wrong to me! And to my knowledge he is still waiting....
I realize in some cases it is imperative that a child be the youngest. That makes sense to me. But family size, and cases where the child doesn't pose a danger to ones younger than them, but instead is a "time or attention issue" frustrate me.
I am guessing, and pretty accurately I believe, that if either of my girls were in the US foster care system today these statements would be applied to them. In fact, most of the children adopted from abroad with special needs would probably have quite a few "stipulations" put on their adoption as well.
It makes me so mad to see children wait unnecessarily long for reasons that I believe should be suggestions, but not set in stone! Esp. in the US where we have the resources available! It also makes me mad to see children listed at older ages. You can bet they should have been legally free for adoption years before in probably 90% of the cases ... and because of our faulty legal system, where the best interests of the children are rarely put first, they have to wait until they are over age 6 or 7. They wait longer to find a permanent family, if they ever do. And by that time often have been through a few foster homes... that only increases in number as they age!
I HATE it! When it comes to things like drug abuse, severe neglect, obvious physical abuse, and others... why is chance after chance given? My heart hurts for these birthparents because of the good chance that they are only living now how they lived as children. BUT someone must be able to be courageous enough to step forward and say "TOO BAD! When it comes to a child, you dont' get second chances!" The needs of the child come first! And they need their chance to be a child protected NOW! Today! This minute!
I do not believe that emotional trauma should just be viewed as an expected consequence of the fostercare system! I think that if the childs needs are put first, so much emotional pain could be avoided.
When my foster son was finally removed from his birth mother... he didnt' hardly look back. He was 7. He was one of the younger ones. His older brothers [3 of them] have since bounced around in many foster homes.... they get further and further away from success with each move. I can see the deterioration and can do nothing to stop it. EVERYONE in this town KNEW and reported what was going on for 3 1/2 years before something was finally done! 3 1/2 years people!!! What precious moments of childhood were stolen from these boys! Someone messed up big in my book! Really big!
To be frank.... I dont' give a DARN about birth parent rights when a child is being put in harms way time and again! I don't care about freedoms or about the right to raise your child the way you see fit. I don't care about forgiveness, mercy, or the fact that everyone makes mistakes. My heart may go out to the birthparents, but they lost their chance at being a parent to these children whom they have hurt. Someone has to protect those who can't protect themselves. Being a parent IS NOT A RIGHT! IT IS A PRIVILEGE THAT CAN BE LOST!
When a child is intentionally, or neglectfully harmed I believe it is because of a "ball" that has been dropped by "MANY" people. And many people will have to answer for it.
I will forever find it amazing and humbling that despite what some people do to their children, God has yet to lose hope for man!