Support For Foster/Adoptive Families

Warning: Fostering a Child with a “Clean” Bill of Health.

Warning: Fostering a Child with a “Clean” Bill of Health.

4 medical/psych appointments, 3 interventions, 1 social worker meeting, 1 special needs program, 1 support group meeting. That’s the appointment schedule for one week.

In a matter of months, this child we were caring for had received nine diagnosis‘ with three more to be confirmed or ruled out. I call bullshit on his records. The social workers told us he had “No major medical concerns.”

So, you may be wondering…

How did our son receive a clean bill of health prior to coming to us?

Be warned. This is not an unusual cirsumtance.

When the child starts having problems, or is acting unlike other children and is not meeting important milestones… NO ONE does anything about it.

It’s that simple.

If there are no medical exams completed, then no traceable medical concerns can be documented. This was true for my child while under the care of his biological parents, and while under the care of several other foster families. They did nothing.

One family I met told me, “He’s got some issues. He might have XYZ.” But there was nothing in his paperwork or medical records to support this. The social workers didn’t know, and therefore could not tell us. So, we knew nothing.

Inconsistency in care means major misunderstandings occur.

Kids in the foster system move around enough times to have a massive disconnect in their ongoing care. Nearly xero follow-through is able to happen.

Get this (now I’m just ranting) he could barely see out of one eye – yet instead of having his eyes checked, someone at some point suggested he had motor skill problems and maybe a learning delay. Oh, did they follow up about that, perhaps? Nope. Guess that makes five open loops for me now, not three.

The children get stuck being labeled as bad or a misfit, or defiant and violent.

Like my sweet and eager-to-learn, front-row-center child getting in trouble at school for asking for help “too much.” When I inquired about this, I was told by the teacher he is just trying to get attention and is disruptive. I didn’t realize that she was moonlighting as an eye doctor, psychologist, or learning specialist. My bad. 

So the teacher put my half-blind child in the back of the class (out of everyone’s way, perhaps?) and chastised him for his incomplete work. It is truly a sad thing. That’s one reason why we now homeschool.

10 appointments per week!

How the heck am I ever going to make it to play dates or moms groups this way?! How am I supposed to remember anything or call people back with this kind of schedule? Thank God for backseat homeschooling!

“Pack your crayons and workbook, son. We can go over your math in the waiting room.”

In a span of six months, our foster son had averaged 23 appointments per month. (I did the averaging math, now YOU multiply by six to find the sum total – my brain is too tired.)

New babies are expected to go to a 1-month, 2-month, 4-month and 6-month check up. That’s a total of 4. Ugh. Babies. (She said lovingly with some jealousy…)

For a year, I stopped asking up on the three other conditions yet to be figured out. It’s all a wild goose chase right now and I don’t even have the time in my day to GET to another appointment.

A wise woman once asked me…

“What would having a diagnosis or label on his behaviors do for YOU?”

For me? At first, I was desperate for answers and determined to read every parenting and child development book on the market so I could help him. I thought that if I knew, I could fix them. But after a while, I realized that the diagnoses no longer mattered. My son wasn’t a fixer-upper.

He could have 1,000 more diagnoses added on. But all I really needed to label him as was “my son.” I, above all, needed to see past the behaviors and labels. They were useful for helping him function, but my acceptance of him as-is, was much more useful for helping him heal.

The author writes from an unabashed, had-it-up-to-here, daily defeated and re-strengthened by grace and hope… kind of place. An adoptive mother of a curious kiddo, full of spirit and sass, tells her tales of homeschooling, fostering, and raising children with special needs. Thanks for joining us on this adventure from adoption to life!

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