Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The long version...

Note: *Hitting "publish" on this post comes after much internal struggle. We're desperate, and nothing less.*

He first came to us for respite in March of 2015. A family in crisis, a marriage dissolving. Parents who were at their wits end dealing with emotional stress combined with institutional behavior they couldn't manage. Two weeks, then he went home. The other family couldn't believe how much more "settled" he was in just a matter of two weeks. Even his school staff commented on the difference. His sign vocabulary had increased dramatically, and he seemed truly comfortable. He loved it here, and we loved having him. He fit right into our family. But his coming wasn't for a new family, the purpose was to give his family time to pull their lives together a bit. He was a guest in our home.

A few weeks later we were asked if we would take him permanently. We said yes. Power of Attorney papers were drawn up so that his medical and educational needs would be met. He could get services here that had been lacking, in addition to a family experienced in managing his many institutional behaviors. Releases signed so all medical and educational records would be transferred. Thirteen months he has been here.

He has done very well here. We didn't really expect it, given the level of institutional effect on his little self, but he has attached to our family. He has bonded with several of the kids, and he has bonded with Dean and I. This is especially surprising given his fear of men when he arrived here. You can see his pure JOY with us in the pictures from the beach trip back in February.

Clearly, in the past year, there has been NO intent by the other family to parent this child. Never an inquiry into how he was doing. No questions as to where he was going to school or how it was going for him. What doctors did we bring him to? Was he healthy? No financial support for him at all. Nothing. I voluntarily sent pictures of him living life. An update that he had learned to feed himself, dress himself, potty training, etc. Those updates were never asked for, I just sent them. Surely they would want to know he was ok? Never a question where we were moving with him. Nothing. No desire to know. Hands were washed and dried.

His adoption should have been finalized ages ago, but couldn't be because of one loose end on their side, and attorney fees that weren't paid as agreed. Until Thursday. Thursday the other family paid the retainer fee to the our attorney. Clearly their desire was to get this process done once and for all!

The very next morning.  Friday. After a full year, one parent decided maybe this might cost them too much in legal fees so they want him back. Their reputation might be damaged, never mind that he has been out of the house for a full year!!! So much documentation we have about him NOT being wanted. After paying our retainer, demonstrating they want us to complete the adoption, suddenly "Oh wait. Never mind, I want him back now." On the other hand, the other parent, seeing how well he has done here, has granted us a new full Power of Attorney until the matter can be resolved.

Now we have a dilemma on our hands. Sure we take the easy way out. We could throw in the towel, avoid a legal battle and send him go back to a situation where he's not truly wanted. But what is "right" is not always the easiest path, is it? No, we are not willing to do that. We are not willing to sacrifice the welfare of a child to save face for the parent who didn't want him, who couldn't manage him, who is in over their heads with other adopted kids still in their house. No, we're not willing.

And so we come to you. I know we will now likely be blacklisted in the community who doesn't know all that has transpired. Who has listened to "Woe is me" stories over the past year but never questioned. Time is of the essence with a child's welfare at stake. Over the weekend we will need to raise $5000 for the attorney retainer fee, plus an additional $5000 to cover additional fees when those first funds are quickly eaten up by the attorney. $10,000. The whole situation sickens me. We just bought a new (to us) house with every penny of equity from the old house used as the down payment, and to fence the yard to keep everyone safe. We had only a few hundred left over to set things up for the kids, with a plan in place to rebuild our safety net over the next few months.  After all, we weren't expecting a legal battle to start today.

If you feel inclined to help us...Nothing goes directly to us. Funds are being collected by a trusted friend, to be paid directly to our attorney. There is a chance we will lose this battle. That even after spending thousands in attorney fees he will have to go back. We're not worried about saving face. We're about a boy.


Cindy said...

What a horrible thing to go through. I'll pray the 'one parent' will love this child enough to let him go.

Relle said...

Oh hon, when life seemed to be getting a little easier for all of you, this comes along. Your doing the right thing! The child has to come first and the other parents actions have spoken louder than there lack of words. Praying the one parent gets past themselves and how it looks or what people will think of them and does the right thing for this child.

Rachel Mills said...

Spreading the word and praying for your beautiful family!

Rachel Mills said...

Spreading the word and praying for your beautiful family.

Cindy said...

Praying so hard. Will give in a couple weeks. Til then we're broke.