Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Returning a Child to Get Him the Help He Needs

From the Seattle Times:
Deb and Doug Carlsons' adopted sons have trashed bedrooms, stolen credit cards and threatened to kill them. One drew a disturbing picture of beheading the southwest Florida couple and throwing a party.
When the Carlsons adopted the now teenage boys from foster care in 2007, they were handed a slim file with few details except the two suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. No one told the empty nesters the boys had severe mental health issues and had bounced among foster homes. Now teenagers, the boys are living in separate therapeutic group homes.

Therapists say one son needs to be in a supervised residential facility, which the state government no longer will pay for unless the Carlsons restore custody to the state.

"We love him and he's part of our family. To have to make such a difficult decision to get him the care he needs is ludicrous. It sends a horrible message to him," said 55-year-old Deb Carlson. "You really feel like once you sign on the dotted line you're on your own. You're totally abandoned by the state."
So who's to blame -- plenty to go around, huh? The adoptive parents? The agencies who fail to train them? The state, who fails to offer post-adoption services?


Anonymous said...

Very surprised you are not mentioning the birth parents in this one. Obviously the birth parents have a huge role in why these kids feel they need to act out.

Jessica said...

Not sure how the adoptive parents are "to blame"? Deb Carlson says, "We love him and he's part of our family. To have to make such a difficult decision...is ludicrous."

I understand why the Carlsons feel "totally abandoned by the state." The State doesn't seem to be stepping up to preserve family by paying for care while keeping the family intact.


Linda said...

Sure they feel the need to "act out", anon. Abuse and then moving from home to home will cause the most "normal" child to act out.

I blame the state and the agencies. these people tried to do the right thing. They were not informed of the damage that had been done to these boys, and were not equipped to deal with their issues.

I am so sick and tired of the "ADHD" label. It is so overused with children who are either in state care, or who have been adopted. These kids have suffered trauma.

I acted out as a child, and there was no abuse from my first parents. Adoptees' disproportionate number of behavioral or mental health problems are well documented- whether or not their adoptions were due to abuse.

I could never blame the ap's in this situation. While I hate that they had to put them in a group home, what choice did they have? Their children needed more help than they could provide. I blame the system. Period.

Linda said...

I had to add this to my comment- while there have been cases of "adoption disruption" that have made my head spin, I do not consider this example to be in the same category.

thewonderfulhappens said...

I agree 100% with Linda!! Very well said.

Anonymous said...

Why would you blame the state? The birth parents created these kids and then dumped them on the state, abandoned their responsibility to these kids and now you and me and the rest of us are paying for it with our tax dollars. I do feel terrible for the adoptive parents. I've heard of too many horror stories with older children adoption and would never recommend it to anyone.

Lucille said...

"Dumped them on the state"? Really?

In the vast majority of instances, it's stage agents who actively make the choice to remove the children from their families.

Why make assumptions about the birth parents? For all you know, the kids might have been put in foster care because the birth parents were dead. In other cases, children are removed on very flimsy pretexts. Any drug use on the part of the parent? Remove. Parents can't afford housing that is up to code? Remove? Parents too socially conservative for social worker's tastes? Remove. Parent disagrees with doctor on medical treatments and wants a second opinion? Remove. Custodial parent is abusive? Remove the child, and make the non-custodial parent spend his life savings in lawyers fees to get the child back.

Lucille said...

That should be "state agents".

Laura said...

I don't see this as being in the same category as adoption disruption - many bio parents have to make the same decision when it comes to getting their handicapped children the care that they need. A friend had a severely mentally disabled sister, and when the parents became to old to care for her (imagine a 2 year old mind with the body of a 45 year old), they had to fight the state (NJ) tooth and nail for 2 years to get her placed in a group home. They ultimately terminated their parental rights, which was heartbreaking for them, but it got the daughter into a phenonmenal group home, where she stills and is thriving 17 years later. It's terrible what the state makes people go thru to get the services to which their entitled. If my friend hadn't been a lawyer and not working, I doubt they would have been successful.

Linda said...

Bravo, Lucille.