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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Foster Care Training #AdoptionReality #NAAM

I am sharing an excerpt from One Small Sacrifice about my experience getting foster care certified in Oregon.  This month is National Adoption Awareness Month (#NAAM).  I am blogging about my own experiences. I was like so many foster care providers and future adopters, filled with the exciting prospect of taking in a young child and giving them a better life.

I still have the binder and info from my 12 week course in 1994. There is nothing in there about how a child reacts to being abandoned. I was starry-eyed at the idea of becoming a foster mom then adoptive mom. NOTHING was taught about how an adoptee reacts to losing their identity! I was an adoptee myself and clueless, even though I had lived through it. When I started research in 2004 as a journalist, a whole world of adoption reality opened up for me. A light bulb went on and I could see how adoption propaganda had skewed reality and what adoption really is... keeping their billion dollar adoption industry going....

...What I learned and what surprised me most of all is the adoption industry was created for the adoptive parents by the adoption agencies. The system was actually designed to grow and to recruit potential parents. Churches handled immorality so there were plenty of babies to distribute. States opened and operated secret places called maternity homes and facilities for girls and women to wait out their pregnancy until they deliver. Babies were farmed out like fresh produce. Over time it became a booming billion dollar business for someone.
I tried to imagine how it must feel to give up a child. I watched a few television movies about birthmothers who would change their minds, then fight in courtrooms to regain custody using lawyers. People on both sides would argue who was more deserving, which mother had bonded more with the baby.
America finally instituted a six month waiting period for a birthmother to change her mind, before the adoption decree was final. This made adopting a baby more difficult and scary, since a birthparent might want their baby back. Recent movies like Juno don’t mention the orphan who lives with trauma and sadness, nor do the movies relate what it’s like for the adoptee who grows up in a closed adoption.

Foster Parents

Since my adoption in 1957, couples who wish to adopt a baby still fill out paperwork, give references and have two or more home inspections and rounds of interviews. There are still caseworkers in the state-governed adoption systems. Now prospective parents are finger-printed. Most states, not all, perform extensive background checks on potential adoptive parents. In recent years, more and more adoptions are open.
Couples today take classes before adopting; first they must become foster parents.
I know this because I became a certified foster parent in Oregon in the 1994. Single and divorced people do adopt. Most important was income, if I could afford to raise a child.
It’s inconceivable to me that periodic checkups on adoptees are not mandatory, especially for children who come from a different culture or country prior to their adoption. After my adoption was final, all investigation stopped. No one came back to check on Joey or me. Since my original birth certificate was sealed by a court of law, I might never have found out I was adopted.
Again, it’s not about the adopted child.
Social Workers
Who is looking out for the orphans? They are the social workers. There are thousands of them. In my twelve weeks of pre-adoption training in Oregon in 1994, I learned that all children over age three are considered special needs because they have been abused sexually, emotionally or physically, or neglected in some way.
In America? They weren’t kidding. It’s true. One would think this would make adopting a child less attractive. Well, older kids are usually fostered and not adopted. People prefer cute cuddly babies.
Slap on a band-aid, write a prescription and it’s going to be alright. Place these special children with foster families, and move on to the next case, which they do every day.
We know social workers have hundreds of cases, and foster kids slip through the cracks; this makes the news from time to time. There was one story in Florida where children were caged like animals and their foster mother collected money on each caged foster child every month.
During my foster care training, one class debated if drugs and medication are best when it comes to behaviors in young adoptees and foster children, like those who have bonding problems, or they act out, get aggressive, or have the newly-discovered Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
My class heard medicating “troubled children” was the preferred option. To my astonishment (and horror), this is common in every state. Apparently bad behavior is just not tolerated – so at the first sign of trouble, special children are medicated.
I thank God I wasn’t medicated. I’d either be dead or drug-addicted, and definitely not sitting here right now.
Sometimes ideas are just plain scary. It’s easy to see why the pharmaceutical companies (and drug cartels) are so successful, with television campaigns on various drugs. We know what drug we need and tell our doctor.
Really, I use herbal medicine and natural healing and only their western medicine and first aid when absolutely necessary.
Social workers admit but seriously underscore behavior problems in adoptees. In many states, they’ll pay for psychiatric care and prescription drugs until the foster child or adoptee becomes an adult.
You won’t see a TV commercial about this.
(I never adopted a child in Oregon.)
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Read more  about Lost Daughters NaBloPoMo/NAAM at

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Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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