When placement does not occur in an adoption plan should it be considered a failure?

I read a blog on BirthMom Buds this morning that I really liked and decided to respond then decided I had my own agenda and it wouldn’t be fair to Monika who wrote the blog. I thought what started out to be a response but ended up much longer should just be my blog today. So thanks to Monika for her post.

I had a mom choose to parent this week. She came to me in her 30th week of pregnancy. No prenatal care yet. Although she has lots of friends and family physically surrounding her, she felt given the chaos in her life – adoption was her best option. Her 10 yr old was removed from her by the paternal grandparents, her sister had 2 children removed by CPS, she has been dealing with a chronic drug addiction (used during her pregnancy too) she is living couch to couch, FOB is married, living with his wife and other children, just got out of prison and is using. Her mother is bipolar and just got out of an inpatient hospitalization. Six weeks ago she was in a stolen car that ran in to the kitchen in someones house after a police chase and she suffered a fractured arm. As I write this I know what some people will imagine her to be, but she is really a nice woman who has grown up in the culture she continues to surround herself with. She is a survivor. She choose a family, a plan was made. This was after a few weeks of deciding whether adoption was the right option. Given some resources and guidance – could she make some changes in her life? She delivered this past week and has decided to parent. The father of her baby, who was not with her during her pregnancy decided not to leave her side during the delivery or hospital stay, even calling his wife from the delivery room to ask about names. CPS is involved, and is seriously considering removal, given the mounting pile of history and current facts. Our inpatient drug beds are all full with 30 day waits and then another 30 days to have her daughter join her. That means we can count on 60 days in foster care. If this mom can use this time to really make changes in her life (and I will continue to support her needs) then I would not call this a failed placement, it would be considered a success, for both this woman and her daughter. But if this plan goes on for 6 months and baby ends back in foster care and then to a home that she has not been able to choose, and the AP’s will not allow contact, then I would consider it a failed placement. I worked in child welfare for 7 years. I am back in private adoption because I wanted to see women have choices. Choices to choose a family, be a part of that family. To get the right follow up care. To remove the shame, when someone felt like adoption was the right option for them and their child. I’m asking for prayers for this woman and her daughter..that whatever the outcome, they are safe and loved.

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2 thoughts on “When placement does not occur in an adoption plan should it be considered a failure?

  1. Lisa, wonderful post.
    When my husband and I decided to try to adopt we agreed, should we be matched and the match be disrupted due to the mom deciding to parent, we would fully support mom’s decision. As long as the baby was in a safe, loving, nurturing environment, we would suffer through our own heartbreak knowing baby was where he should be. . In my opinion, the ultimate goal, with all of these babies is that they be cherished beyond measure and most importantly, safe. They deserve nothing less. If their birth mothers can provide them that love and stability then we must support their decision to parent. There is no failure there.
    That being said, we have seen both sides of a failed match. Our first match was disrupted when mom decided to parent. We were heartbroken, but were comforted knowing that mom had the support of her family, a safe, clean place to raise baby and was enrolled in college courses. We continue to stay in touch…her request…and baby is doing fabulously. No failure there.
    Our last match was a fail. Birthfather was never in the picture, he offered no support to the mom either financially or emotionally throughout the pregnancy, actually spending a large portion of the pregnancy in jail. Birth mom wanted us to have the baby as she saw him as unfit to parent and she did not want another child. For three months we spoke weekly with the birth mom on the phone.
    One week before baby was born, dad was paroled from jail and staked claim to the baby. When baby was born , dad received custody. Dad promises to clean up his act, get a job, and quit with the drugs. The reality here unfortunately is that baby probably will be shuffled from place to place when his father breaks parole and heads back to jail. To us this feels like a failure. We can only pray that it is not.

    1. Hi Karri,

      Having spent 7 years in Child Welfare it makes me said to say out loud you are right. We would love to see the dad clean up and step up but statistically there are more failures that success and in the mean time the baby is the one to suffer as they never had any voice in the choices that have been made. The mom I wrote this blog about sent me a picture of her baby today. She of course is beautiful. I get to visit with her tomorrow. We can only pray to our higher power and continue to provide support. Stay strong…your baby is waiting for you to be ready.

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