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Foster Care…a shortcut to Adoption?

August 7, 2012

Summer has flown by and I have made a few realizations.
Waiting a year to find our boy has forced us into a holding pattern. Without this boy our family doesn’t feel complete. One girl + one boy = perfect family. Right?

Realizing this and feeling like the government has control of our lives has caused an overwhelming feeling of being frustration and being stuck in limbo. It’s time to take back our lives!

Our adoptive worker has insinuated (not in so many words) that we need to keep our “empty bed” empty and waiting for an adoptive match to be found. Meanwhile, our Foster care Social worker is getting frustrated with us since we have been turning down foster placements and filling our “empty bed” (a foster care term). 12 whole months go by…

In the past I have felt that the law of attraction (LOA) meant that we needed to keep that bed room empty, therefore the universe would want to fill it with a child.
I have been a bit obsessed with keeping myself in the mindset of LOA, and I feel it has caused me to be stuck. It has also caused me to kick myself every time I have a negative thought.

You might have noticed a bit of this in past blog posts. Please feel free to call me on it in the future. I am NOT going to kick myself anymore! I am going to take charge by not obsessing about things happening exactly like I pictured them. I am taking in a foster child that we hope to adopt. My husband, is being supportive and going along with this somewhat insane plan.

I have seen three trends happening in Alberta for the last few years.
1. Couples moving to Alberta for the best post adoption program available in Canada.
2. Foster parents adopting kids, therefore keeping them out of the adoption “pool”.
3. Couples becoming foster parents as a short cut to adoption.
A few years ago, foster parents were asked to “step up” and adopt their kids. Alberta, having the best post adoption support program in Canada, has caused people to migrate here from other provinces (providing financial support to adopted children until age 18). Many couples have become foster parents in the last two years especially as a short cut to adoption. This is where the problem for families like ours has began. These factors and others have caused a shortage of adoptable children under age 3.

Here is an example. 2 years ago when we were matched with our girl, we were told we were competing with about 10 other families. Those home assessments from those families are read and then the worker of that child chooses the “best family” for that child. Now, two years later, I am told that every time a child comes available there are 60-100 families to choose from. This is done through an automated matching system located in Edmonton. In just two years in Alberta, this is how much things have changed.

So what has annoyed us from the beginning, we will now do. “If you can’t beat ‘em then join ‘em” someone once said. Right? We are asking to be given a few young boys to choose from and we will pick the one most likely to be a “keeper”. This is going to be done almost totally blind since I could write the information given on them on the palm of my hand. We pick, and hope for a healthy child and not so healthy parents. Remember, the kids parents failing to “get it together’ is what makes the child available to us. Not a great situation.

Summer has caused the foster care system to reach capacity. Apparently hot weather causes bad situations to get worse, so many foster care apprehensions are done just prior to or over the summer. Knowing this, I would like to feel good about taking one child off of their hands. Therefore freeing up one more bed, but I need to be honest here (since I can’t be with my worker). We are taking the child for another reason. That reason is not so selfless. We are hoping to adopt him. In the foster care world this is bad, bad, bad!

I just hope I can keep it together emotionally in the meantime. Hold tight for the roller coaster! We will do just about anything at this point to adopt another child. I am sad that it has come to this. What are your thoughts? I would like to hear them regardless of what side of the fence you’re on. In fact, I am going to start a poll.

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