I had the pleasure of being the adoption worker for a 5-year-old several years ago. This child had experienced significant abuse and neglect before coming into foster care. As a result of that trauma, she needed additional mental health treatment to help regulate her behavior towards herself and others.
This child was moved to several different foster homes. One family expressed an interest in adopting her. After the 2nd visit, that family declined to adopt her and stated they “did not want any more contact with her.” Unfortunately, as her adoption worker, I (along with her foster care worker who also works at our agency) became the only consistent people in her life after that family elected not to proceed with the adoption.
One day, I received a phone call from a licensing worker stating that they had found a family that would be great for her. I was very hesitant. I felt like she needed more time after the last family had rejected her, especially due to her very young age. I had my guard up when I initially met the new prospective adoptive family without the child present. I shared detailed information about the child’s trauma and behavior. Then I asked lots of questions in an effort to avoid putting this child through another family meeting her and not wanting to adopt her. That meeting had a surprise ending.
Based on the reactions of the prior families that had changed their mind about adopting this child, It was difficult to expect this new prospective adoptive family to be any different. I was pleasantly surprised that they had all of the right answers. They appeared both genuine and kind. Even after we disclosed all of the child’s behaviors and services that she was enrolled in, they still wanted to meet her. I agreed to an initial visit with the child but as a precaution introduced them as “my friends” instead of potential adoptive parents. That day at the park the family played with her, made her laugh and made her feel so special. They instantly fell in love with each other.
After many visits a transition plan was made for the child to move to the family’s home. After moving to the home, we had to wait the required 6 months before we could finalize an adoption; and let me just say those 6 months were not easy. This child’s trauma showed up multiple ways throughout the process and these parents stepped up in a way that even some birth families may not have. Not only did they love her through it all, they advocated for everything she needed and then some.
After the adoption, I continued to receive text messages and picture updates. This year, our organization received a referral for twin newborns that were abandoned in the hospital by their mother. The family described above decided to re-open their license in order to take placement of these babies. Although, I believed they would be an excellent family for the twins, I was concerned that the child they previously adopted might be resentful of the time her parents would have to spend with the twins at the hospital and then at home. Boy was I wrong! She is the very best big sister to these twins!
When the twins came home from their long stay in the hospital the little girl began to worry when the twins foster care worker started to visit. Not only did she not trust many people but she was also concerned that the foster care workers might take the babies from them. I was not sure what to expect when I scheduled my first adoption worker home visit with the twins. I was not sure how the older child might react. I wondered if my visit might trigger any of her residual trauma.
I was delighted to discover that she was happy to see me!! She was so excited to introduce me to her baby brothers and asked me if I was going to get them adopted so they could stay forever. I am currently working on completing the documents that will make that happen!