Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Discussions at dance class

This topic is proving so popular (and edifying!) that I'm moving it up to the top. God bless all involved!

I was talking about kids (what else?) with another mother at dance class last night. (Coincidentally, they homeschool too and her daughter is in Madeleine's ballet class.) I showed her the picture of Louis. "It's a baby," she said, impressed. "And it has been."
"Yep," I agreed. "His heart was beating before I knew he was coming." Sarcasm turned on and she would know that. "But remember, at that point it's just a clump of cells."
"A very expensive 'clump of cells' that some people go to great anguish and effort to get," she grinned. "What's ironic"--she sniffed and blinked quickly, as she was starting to choke up--"is there are over four thousand kids right here in Michigan who won't be with their permanent family this Christmas."
I told her I know, to varying degrees, three different families who adopted or are in the process through the foster care system.
"Four thousand. But so many of them have problems." I was trying to be realistic, not discouraging. I could have bitten off my tongue for what she said next.
"But God adopted me when I had problems."

It reminded me of that nugget of wisdom from my sister: "You don't get to choose what your kid needs therapy for." We have one with asthma and another who needed speech therapy. And that's it. Cue the crickets.
I think of the other families I know. One from my subbing days had two sons, both with muscular dystrophy. Another had two sons with cystic fibrosis. Yeah, one of mine needs a nebulizer at regular intervals when the weather is weird. It sure beats the heck out of treatment for CF or MD.

You don't get to choose what your kid needs therapy for. God adopted all of us when we have problems.
Words to live by.

UPDATE: If this hits home, here are a couple links:
Shelly's wisdom (saved from the comments)

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At 7:13 AM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...

You are so right about this. The statistics alone are so sad. Then, you know, you and I have seen the faces that go along with these stats and our hearts just break.

In Michigan ALONE there are over 4,400 children waiting for adoptive families.

Want one?

There are THOUSANDS more in our STATE foster care system. Over 800children in our COUNTY alone.

These children and teens don't have those snuggly Christmas memories that we had.

They will be sitting there on Christmas day, wondering why they aren't wanted and why these people are not adopting them.

Whatever the reason may be that the foster family can't adopt, the fact is that those children feel that loss. Their memories are not our memories. The Christmas songs don't give them the same happy thoughts or give them that
peace-at-home-in-the-arms-of-mom-or-dad feeling. They are empty of it.

I can't think about this right now...ugh...I feel a blog coming on.

At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Kasia said...

Very true. All of it.

I remember being at a trendy restaurant in a trendy suburb a few years ago and hearing a woman talking to her dinner companion about her international adoption experience. She and her significant other (gender never specified) had adopted a girl from China, who was sitting contentedly in her stroller by the table. But originally that wasn't the girl they were going to adopt. At the eleventh hour, she and her s.o. discovered that the girl they were adopting had some sort of congenital defect - I want to say it was a heart issue - and they demanded a different child.

Although I can appreciate preferring to adopt a child who doesn't have a potentially expensive and life-threatening condition, the way she was talking horrified me. (And this was before I was pro-life.) She was going on and on about "What kind of stunt were they trying to pull?!" and talking about being "landed" (my paraphrase) with something like that. I just kept thinking "Does that baby have less right to a loving home than the one you replaced her with? And how will this baby feel when she grows up and finds out that you chose her because she was less 'defective' than another child?"

The big impediment I see to adoption is cost. But then, I've not had much occasion to research it, since I'm only just engaged.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...

Hi Kasia,

The cost of an international adoption costs $15,000 - $25,000 plus the cost of traveling to the country if you have to do that. Some countries require that you travel there two times.

In Michigan the cost of adopting your foster child or a child from the foster care system is $200.
I believe that is the standard adoption cost for most states when adopting from foster care.

If they are 3 years old or older you will be paid a monthly check until they are 18 years old, even though you are their adoptive parent. They will have medicaid until they are 18 years old even though you may choose to cover them with your own insurance plan.

Hope that helps some. I'm all ears if you have more questions.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...

...that is not a typo...the cost to adopt a child who is waiting from foster care is...

2 hundred dollars...that's it. :-)

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Catherine said...

Please take this question in the most charitable way possible. Does Michigan disclose the nature of a child's life pre- or post-foster care? With two little girls, the idea of bringing an older child into the family with... issues that I'm not told about (recently, my home state would not disclose some information about the child) scares me senseless. The Husband and I have often discussed fostering, but with periodic deployments, the idea is on hold for now. The biggest, scariest thought is that I might adopt a child who, because of his previous environment, might hurt one of my girls. Just wondering kind of out loud... My current way to deal with this fear is only to be open to adopting when we will have no more children on the way, and then to restrict the children to being younger than my youngest. We couldn't consider an overseas adoption.

We have some acquaintances that have done this. Their one daughter is a teenager now, and has special needs. They adopted a couple of girls a couple of years ago, and just recently adopted a newborn. But the father is now in a position where he isn't deployable, which is (I think, I haven't asked) why they waited. I love stories like this, as well as those of people who find out as older children or adults that their sibling is actually a cousin or uncle that was taken in because of dire circumstances. It's such an example of charity, which is part of why I'm so torn about the whole idea. Sorry to ramble...

At 5:57 PM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...

Hi Catherine,

When you become a foster parent you have all the power actually. You tell them what ages you want. You tell them if you want only boy or girls or siblings. You tell them if you will take special needs children or if you will take children from different races/ethnicities.

You get to choose everything basically.

We took only children younger than our children. We only took children of our same race and religion. We decided not to take children who had been sexually molested though I would reconsider that now.

My brother-in-law called foster parenting "renting to own" because the child lives in your home long enough that you know if they mesh with your family and if they like your family. By the time adoption would come Michigan that is only one year...then you pretty well know if you want to adopt your foster child or let them be placed on the national registry.

I hope that answers a few of your questions. :-) I'm still all ears... ask away. :-)

Sorry to take up your blog space Heather.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Shelly--I saw Catherine's question and knew you would be on it. And Kasia's, too.

This is such a worthwhile topic I really don't care how much time or space it takes up. :)

I started it more as encouragement to that other foster mom from MNO (should she decide to reveal herself), but this is quite the positive side effect!

At 7:38 PM, Blogger HISchild said...

That lady was right! If you examine your life and the lifes of the apostles, HE uses filthy rags to do HIS business.

We ALL have a hole in our being that only GOD can fill.

Maybe HE will fill yours with a child of the heart.

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Peanut Butter Kisses said...

So I'm revealing myself...

We recently took two little girls into our home in October only being told they were from a neglected home.

We've found out since then that their little lives have had to deal with so much more, leaving the scars on them emotionally and mentally. It's been pretty rough as we are feeling a bit overwhelmed at times and feeling like we are trying to find our way in a very dark unfamiliar room.

One night as I sat in my chair asking God, why he chose us and gave him all my excuses why I didn't think I could handle this, I felt a gentle answer across my heart and my soul.....

God never gives us more than we can handle and has provided a window of escape for those girls....we are their 'window'.

I pray that through all our inadequacies and failings, that somehow we can impact their lives for the good for the time we have them. I also pray desperately for the healing of their hearts and minds, that somehow all the hurt, all the pain they've experienced so far will melt away leaving security and love in it's place.

Thank you, Heather, for your encouragement....I am, too, thankful that God adopted me with all of my problems and that His love is given freely.

At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Kasia said...

I do have more questions, actually. How close is the scrutiny in Michigan for adoptive and foster parents? How much money do you have to have in the bank? I've heard people say that they wouldn't be considered as adoptive parents because they don't have enough money; do you have to have a certain amount set aside?

Also, do the things that have been happening recently in Great Britain (i.e. requiring that you, as foster parent, teach kids that things like being gay are normal and OK) happen here? (I'm in Michigan too.)

Can you meet with the child first, say have a few "play dates" with them, to get to know them a little and see if they like you?

Fiancé and I haven't even touched on the subject of adoption yet, but it's something I would like to keep open as a possibility.

I assume they pay foster/adoptive parents of kids 3 and older because most people want to adopt babies?

At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Kasia said...

I just surfed that site. What a lot of beautiful children and sad stories!

I see what Heather meant when she made the comment about problems. More specifically, so many of those kids need to be the only child in the family, or at least the youngest. It sounds like fiancé and I should think about it down the road, after we've had our own (God willing). :-/

At 11:42 AM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...

Hi Kasia,

You do not have to be rich to foster parent or adopt from foster care.

For foster parenting you do not have to have money in the bank. You have to show that you can pay your house and utilities with your current income.

For Adoption you have to show that you can pay for all your bills and the child's needs with your current income. You still do not have to have money in the bank. If you can't pay the $200 to adopt them the state will pay it for you.

To Foster a child you get to choose what age and sex of the child you wish to care for. You can choose to care for those with disabilities or those without. They will call you and say something like, "Hello we have an 8month old healthy white male name John. Are you interested in caring for him?" Or "Hello we have an 8 year old female names Jane who has 2 broken legs will you care for her."

You just say yes or no.

To adopt from foster care you can first foster some children and then wait for them to come up for adoption. (which may not happen..they may go home) OR you can go to the list of kids who are already available for adoption..which means their parental rights have already been terminated. Then you will have visits, and weekend visits and then adopt them if all goes well.

More questions? Have I touched on all of your concerns?

I could do this all day. :-) I love it!

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Kasia said...

OK, what about the thing recently where a child was removed from loving foster parents in Britain because they refused to sign onto new guidelines saying they would teach him same-sex relationships were equal to opposite-sex relationships? Is anything like that going on here in MI?

(I could do this all day too! :) )

At 4:51 PM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...

I've never heard of such a thing in my life. Absoulutely not.

Honestly, there is such a need for foster parents that if they started dictating what you say or teach them in the home the State would be really hurting for foster parents. The only thing they care about is that you feed them, clothe them and keep them safe and healthy.

I can't imagine that any agency would intrude on your personal rights in American in such a way as you've described in Britian.

At 4:53 PM, Blogger The Story Of Us........ said...


I just saw your other question too...

Yes, most people want babies so they will pay you to take children age 3 and older.


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