What The Hell Was Going On?

Joy’s post about foster care got me thinking.  I was in foster care too, but I was with my adoptive parents.  I was about 2 weeks old when they took me home from the hospital on a trail basis.

I had known that I was a ward of the state until my adoption was finalized when I was 2, but I had not known it was a “trail adoption” until recently when my a-mother mentioned it.

What the fuck is a trail adoption?

A-mom really didn’t know.  That’s just what the social worker had told them.  They were pretty much under the impression that I was with them to stay.

I don’t know the date of my relinquishment.  All I have are my adoption papers and they only mention that my first mother had given up parental rights at an earlier date.  Not what date.

What the hell was going on for those 2 years?

Had I been relinquished immediately after I born?  Was I not relinquished until later?  Was my relinquishment voluntary?  Was I removed from my first mother because she was judged to be incapable of caring for me?

Were the concerns with my adoptive parents?  Had they not decided if they wanted to adopt me?  Did the state have concerns about their fitness as adoptive parents?

Was there some concern for my health? Were there questions about my mental fitness?  What?

I’d really like to know.

If the state hadn’t placed me, and I had grown up in foster care, I would be able to know these things.  But since I turned out to be a healthy little thing that somebody decided to keep, they won’t tell me.  As far as the state is concerned I’m a different person than the baby they were responsible for.  The foster child ceased to exist when I was adopted.

I ceased to exist.  I didn’t die.  I didn’t change.  I just ceased to exist.

That’s a pretty good trick, being able to make a person disappear.  Anything at all could have happened, then it’s all just gone.  Like it never happened.

But it did happen.  It happened to me.

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12 thoughts on “What The Hell Was Going On?

  1. Oh, this gets me hopping mad! You have every right to your FILE from the county – every handwritten note, every court document, every progress note. Our former foster kids will get their entire file when they turn 18 if they request it. It includes our address and full name, every report WE wrote, every transcript of when we testified about their care.

    I would suggest calling the county Department of Health where you were born and demand the file under the Freedom of Information Act. If they give you the run around, write an email to the governor of your state. You should also be entitled to the hospital record from the hospital you were born even if they mark out the bio mom’s name. This way you’ll be able to see if you were removed due to having drugs in your system at birth which is the most common way I know of for a child to be taken into custody at birth. The other is if the mom was incarcerated during her delivery.

    Don’t feel bad about lying, yelling, naming names and basically scaring the devil out of every person you talk to. It’s effective and you not only DESERVE that information, you OWN it.

    ~ Cyndi

  2. Just one more thing I wanted to clarify for you (and Joy, if she reads this) is that foster care between the time the child is released from the hospital and placed in the home is pretty common. It’s called Cradle Care and isn’t really foster care – but more of a family who provides care despite what’s going on in the courts or with the paperwork. The point of it is to provide an unbiased intermediary whose sole care is the child. Many adoptive families fear taking custody of a child before he or she is legally free for adoption. It depends on the state, but it can take 30 days for the relinquishment to be legal and permanent. I know a family who took custody directly from the hospital three times, and three times, the bio-mom decided not to relinquish custody. It was devastating for them and that’s enough to scare even the most stable of us.

    If it’s a situation where the state is involved (drug abuse, incarceration, neglect, etc…) the process takes a LONG time. Sometimes the child can go back to the bio-family in a couple of weeks and everything is great. Sometimes… reunification fails. After TPR and the appeals, the intending adoptive family signs initial intent to adopt paperwork. This is kind of a “trial adoption” because if the adoption is disrupted after finalization, everyone involved is hurt terribly and both the child and the parents are mentally “black-balled” against ever adopting or being adopted again.

    After placement of a child, most agencies ask that a family wait 6 months in a “supervision period” before signing 33s. 10-33s are “final intent to adopt” at which point a lawyer can file a request for the court to hold a hearing to approve and finalize the adoption. Then everyone waits on a court date – normally 60 days to 6 months. If something goes wrong whether its the adoptive parents decide to divorce, one of the a-parents is diagnosed with cancer, or the child suddenly starts hiding knives under his bed, its preferred that it go wrong BEFORE the adoption.

  3. Great info Cyndi. Thank you for posting it. I’m sure it will be very helpful to some adoptees. Unfortunately I’m not one of them.

    I was adopted in the 1960’s, in a closed records state, in a very small county. I already know that there were some irregualrities with my adoption. Things weren’t so well supervised back in those days.

    My first mother died before I could meet her, but I do know some things that I have heard second hand from other birth relatives, or found in public records. I know I should have had 2 TPRs since my mother was married when I was born. At the time the man she was married to would have legally been my father, the state didn’t allow anyone else, or “father unknown” on BCs at the time, if one was married. So he should have had to TPR too. Even though I know he’s not my biological father.

    My mother was currently raising 4 other children, who I know remained in her custody. I really think one thing they did is threaten her with the medical bills, if she didn’t give me up. She was poor and going through a divorce. I know she was in the hospital for 2 weeks after my birth, that coincides with my adoptive folks taking custody of me.

    As to getting my records, I don’t think that will happen either. the lawyer that handled my adoption for my adoptive parents is the father of the district court judge in that county right now. When I was doing my search, I contacted this judge as he had all all his father’s records. I had a affidavit from my adoptive parents telling him to release everything he had to me. He still wouldn’t do it. If I petition for these records, I have to go through him first.

    Also my adoptive parents got my non-id info at the time of my adoption. Just for fun I requested it 35 years later. They sent it to me. But it didn’t match the non-id that my adoptive parents gave me. The non-id that my adoptive parents got when I was adopted was accurate, the newer wasn’t.

    My story isn’t at all unique among adoptees my age. It’s actually kind of tame compared to some I’ve heard. I know things are much better now. There is a reason for that.

    What we really need is to not only allow for original birth certificate access for all adoptees, but also allow for access to all records pertaining to their adoptions.

    Again, thank you for the info. I know lots of folks will find it very helpful.

  4. Wait…a “trial adoption?” Like a try out…one of those car things where you can take it back if you were like “JK” didn’t really want to adopt?

    That’s seriously messed up. How do we keep forgetting that the children are the ones we need to fight for.

  5. Addie if they threatened her with the medical bills that she could not afford to pay if she didn’t give you up then how is that a voluntary adoption? How awful for you not to be able to have access to information that everyone else has access to.

    My mother lied about when I was born and I find that annoying so it must be a thousand times more distressing for you.

  6. Addie, I am so… at a loss for words to hear that. I can’t even begin to imagine how terrible that feels. Both of my parents were adopted around that time frame too and my mom didn’t find out until one of my great grandparents demanded that mom be told – when she was in her 30s. Thankfully, they did have the info on her bio dad and she met him a couple of times before he passed on – and still, it changed not only her life to know all this but all of ours too.

    And it sucks – still – that I’ve had to coerce every bit of information I have on our three out of the “powers that be.” There are no hospital records at all on our youngest, and our oldest’s file was lost for 3 years and no one knew where he was or who he was. I finally found his name in a hand written court document and then yelled loud enough that we were able to find him in a group home for teenagers. He was 7 years old. It still took 8 months after that to get custody of him and reunite him with his siblings.

    I do hope something shakes loose for you and you’re able to find something that lays the issue to rest – even if it doesn’t make it “better.” If you need me to call and threaten someone, I seem to have gotten lots of practice. 😛

  7. Papa,

    I think maybe they offered something like a money back guarantee. With us adoptees you never know. Maybe that’s why a-mom was so upset when my hair didn’t stay yellow.

    Kim,

    I know. I know. Your mom lied? About your birthday? Why on Earth? That would annoy me too.

    Cyndi,

    I may have to take you up on that. I thought I was a world class threatener until I came up on my adoption stuff. I could probably use some help.

  8. Oh, Addie. I have nothing to say except I’m sorry.

    I’m trying not to be an indiscriminate online hugger these days, but I think you could use one. So here it is. (((You)))

  9. “I now have Jesus as a big brother and friend”

    hmmm, going bowling with the savior now are we? Jesus teaching you to drive and lending you cash?

    Interesting.

    I guess if Jesus doesn’t adopt you, you are SOL, but if you adopt you are savior-esque.

    I am going to the prom with Jesus. It is okay because he didn’t adopt me—

  10. We are struggling with this in a different way. The father of our children had spent time in custody with his siblings in the early 90s. The sisters accused him and their father of sexually abusing them. Since the sisters were adopted, the entire file is gone. It can’t even be obtained by the D.A. He has gone on to abuse his children before they were removed and there is no proof he was accused or what had been done. None of them exist. His probation officer has told the D.A. it happened but it was so long ago, she can’t remember the details. The funny thing is, DFCS gave us a child history for each of our children that included their parents history. It clearly states that he was accused of sexually abusing his siblings. Good thing I found that this week. It can be used in court against him.

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