Sunday, September 18, 2011

Letter to our Adoption Agent

I know it's been fovever since I've posted on here. I know I'm a total slacker ... but my to job is just soooo busy that I hardly have time to get my nails done much less blog!

I wanted to catch everyone up on the whole adoption process. Since March (my last post 6 months ago) we've had a lot of things and also nothing really going on with our adoption. I felt the best way to sum it up was to share an email I sent to the lady in charge of our adoption process. I must note here that the lady we started our process with was PHENOMINAL! She was truly a God send us in this whole crazy process and we feel as though we're stuck without her. She's become a great friend to us and we're so blessed to have known her. Unfortunatley she has transitioned to another position within that agency and the main case worker at that office is now the person we are being contacted by. I also want to note that this blog post is in NO WAY a means to bash the organization we are affiliated with. Because of this I will not accept anyone speaking negatively on that organization, I will only accept the common understanding that our situation just plain sucks right now.

So here's my last (as in most recent not as in final) email to the lady in charge of our adoption process. All names have been removed for privacy. Also, as a background, this email follows up on a placment call that occured a few days prior. I was having issues replying to her through my Yahoo email and also needed a day or two to sort my thoughts out on the issue.

Good Evening ____,

I’m sorry I’ve been trying to respond to you, but have been experiencing issues. So I'm glad I'm now able to get this email to go through.

Thank you for considering our home for _____. She seems like a very sweet girl.

I spoke with ____and she suggested I try to connect with you just to make sure we’re all on the same page with our placement through ____. However, my current workload at the office is providing little time for me to step away at all right now. In hopes to clear up some concerns we have I’m sending this email. I hate to have to email you, I’d love to talk on the phone or in person, but it appears my only free time is after office hours.

First and foremost I want to make sure that everyone in our ____ “family” knows how much we appreciate the prayers and support through this process. We’d be completely lost without the help of everyone in your office. I want to stress this because I do not want for one moment for anyone to think we’re ungrateful for everything everyone has done for us.

With that being said we have some concerns regarding our placement and just want to make sure we’re all on the same page.

We were under the impression that although we were approved up to 8 years old by the state our agreement with _____ would be that we're not contacted about children over 4. So far, we've been informed about:
· the sibling group of the 1 & 2 year old girls (that we didn't get unfortunately)
· the sibling group of the 2, 3 and 4 year old girls (that we couldn't take due to the amount of children)
· the sibling group of a 5 year old little girl and a 2 year old little boy (which we only have one bedroom for)
· the sibling group of a 6 year old little girl and 4 year old little girl (that we had to say no b/c of John leaving two days after we were informed of them)
· Now we've been contacted about a 9 year old girl

Our concern here is that we have a room set up for a child from birth to 4 years old. At this time we do not have the resources available (as in furniture readily in our home) or financially to at the drop of a hat outfit a room with a bed and appropriate needs for a child over 4. I know that we agreed to consider children close to our age bracket and that’s why the last two sibling groups were so hard to decline, but a five year gap is very large when considering children out of our age bracket.

In addition as long as John is gone we cannot accept a child that would be school aged because I do not have a power of attorney to enroll children into DEERS and school on post at all. Either the Soldier must be present or the spouse must have a POA to do so (b/c of the state and post regulations for foster children), neither of which I have at this time due to John being at Ranger school. I want to be clear that because of this we do not want to be on hold whatsoever as you offered before, our time here at Fort Benning is beginning to tick away and we do not want to delay this process any further, we just simply do not have the ability to take in a child that is above 4 years old.

I do not mean to be picky, I want so badly to bring a child into our home that needs loving parents but I feel like we're being offered children that are far out of our sheet and this is really putting us both in a place of feeling terrible because we're having to say no.

We've also both stressed to _____ that in the coming year John and I are planning on expanding our family both through adoption and biologically and from reading this little girl's bio, I see that she is suggested to be the only child or youngest child. Neither of which will be the case in our family. We don't want to do a disservice to this little girl by taking her into a home that will not fit her. This isn't about just us and our wants, but we're not going to stop our family plans either, that would be unfair to both parties. I know _____ needs a family, but it feels like something as important as the child in question needs to be an only child or youngest child would be considered seriously if John and I are an appropriate family for her. In reality, we are not.

We come back every time to the fact that we’re not “outfitted” for a child over the age of 4. I know younger children are harder to “get” (I hate that term so very much but I can’t think of a better one), but we know what we’re prepared for and that is a younger child. This isn’t only just the “stuff” we have but also the fact that we want to have our own children and having a 9 year old and a baby in the next two years (if we’re blessed to have a baby so soon) would put us with an 11 year old and an infant. Right now, a 9 year old wouldn’t be that bad, but we’re both looking down the road, not just at this moment - because to us this child is forever, not just right now. We have to look at our forever commitment and if we’re the best parents for a child at that age, and we know we’re not.

I can’t explain to you how my heart is just crushed when we have to say no. I feel like the most undeserving person of a child if I can look at my family and say, “no this one isn’t a fit.” I wish I could explain to you how angry I am with myself when I turn a child down. A child is a gift from God and deserves loving parents and I look at myself as a poor excuse for a parent when I say no. But I have to be honest with myself, because when we are placed I don’t want to call you and tell you they have to go back. In the long run, I think that would be more harmful to both us and the child than good.

Because this kills us so badly to decline a placement I need your help. Is there a way that we can only be informed of children that meet our sheet? We can’t keep getting our hopes up when we see your emails to only be deflated by the info to follow. John and I want a placement so badly, but saying no when the children are far beyond our requests is killing us. We do not for one moment want to stop or delay our process, but we feel like failures. That’s why I need your help and guidance.

Again, please don’t think we’re ungrateful or picky. We are so grateful for everything that’s been done for us. We just don’t know where to turn or what to do at this point. I also know that I don’t have to say this, but I look up to you and value your guidance and for that I hope that you know how much we do not want to disappoint you. You wouldn’t have been praying for us this long if you didn’t see something in us. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you are not losing faith in us as parents because we have said no in the past. We never want to make anyone think less of us or ever second guess our intentions.

I’m sorry this email is so long. I hope to hear from you soon. Please, if you think we should discuss further please let me know and I will do everything in my power to get away from this crazy office.

Hoping you understand,

Dana Haines

Well the next day I recieved a pretty "cool" (as in lacking much warmth and compassion) email from this lady. She pretty much told us that being placed with a child can happen but she can't tell us if it'll happen in our time here at Benning. She also coldy told us that the state sends our homestudy to other case workers and they contact our adoption agency to offer us said child. She said nothing about our question to not be contacted for children outisde of our age range, and nothing about our concern for disappointing her or anyone at her office. She only ended her short message with "If you wish to discuss further I will make time to meet after office hours."
So where do we stand now? When John came home we discussed this and he was pretty disappointed too. We're pretty heartbroken because we feel like we're just waiting for nothing to happen. We don't mean to sound negative about the situation but this is just very discouraging.
We talked to someone from the state agency b/c many people are placed through the state MUCH quicker than through an adoption agency. The state gave us worse news: to take our homestudy from the adoption agency and place it with the state agency we would face heafty fees from the adoption agency which John and I just can't afford to spend with no guarantee our financial investment would place a child in our home before we leave Ft Benning next August :(
So out of stinky news comes some good news. John and I have decided that we are no longer putting off our biological children any longer. We have let the Army and this adoption put off our plans long enough so although we don't have any news of a baby Haines to announce, we certainliy are on that road and hope to announce a baby "Sharkfin" (for those of you that know John's nickname) on the way soon :)
Although we're no longer actively seeking an adoption we know that God works in many crazy ways and are hopeful that our adoption will happen when we stop looking for it. Please, if I may ask, keep praying for our adoptive child and for him or her to come home soon. This is still our prayer everyday in hopes that God will bring the child we're meant to be parents to.

1 comment:

  1. Dana -- I can only imagine how difficult this entire process has been for you and John... you have such an amazing soul and spirit to be willing to foster children.. it takes a special, special kind of person to do this.. I am only sad that you feel so deflated because of the system. But I hope that we have a little baby Sharkfin to celebrate soon... keep your chin up, beautiful! Keep smilin',... it'll all happen in God's time. :)