What happens when a pre-adoptive placement fails is different than what occurs when an adoptive placement fails after finalization. The differences are great on several levels and whatever damage erupts after the pre-adoptive placement dissolves, the most important person to remember is the child in need of permanency. Why is it so easy for foster parents to dissolve a relationship with less time than it takes to dissolve a marriage?
Basically, all it takes is one phone call to the child’s case or social worker, a reason for ending the foster child/parent relationship and a date to have the child picked up and moved on to another placement. There are no negative repercussions per se when a foster parent decides to renege on their plans to adopt the foster child in their care. Of course, the foster parent must be in good standing with the department of social services to which they are working for before they ask to end any placement, still, why is it so easy to allow children in and out of homes when what they need is security in the first place.
Granted a regular stay in a foster home is not the same as a pre-adoptive placement, however, the pre-adoptive placement couldn’t occur if the child isn’t in the foster home for at least six months to begin with—so which is better for the child—move from home to home sooner or after believing a mom and a dad or a variant thereof promises to keep them and build a “forever family” together.
Caregivers and foster parents give many reasons why they “can’t do it”. They are creative and somewhat moving excuses. Still, I wonder, do letters like the one I received from a prospective adoptive parent who had to end her parent/child relationship with a little boy who lived with she and her family for nearly one year really mean anything to anybody except to themselves? Will the child ever know that one of the caregivers who planned to adopt was facing medical challenges that prevented her from walking, talking and left her wondering if she did allow the child to stay, who would care for him were she to die from her illness?
What her illness is, to me doesn’t matter since it was reason enough for her to end the parent/child relationship. It ended in my opinion the moment she let him go. You may believe differently and what you say is important for all prospective adoptive parents, even foster parents.
“Dear Blessed New Parent of J., If you’re reading this, you’ve seen his infectious smile.
If you’re reading this, you are experiencing what it means to honor parenthood.
If you’re reading this, it means you’ve tried for months, maybe years for God to bless your family with a child to love, honor, respect, but mostly appreciate for who they are, not who you wish they could be.
If you’re reading this, you’ve met a striking young boy named J.
We do not want to stop the process of adoption, but must. The reasons are important, but not so important that I should list them to make myself feel better, or think it will help you understand why we couldn’t follow through with our plans to adopt.
We knew from the start Jordan was special. He was special in ways we that we weren’t trained. If he is with you, we know that our prayers for him are being answered and that he will grow in the best of ways—with you, parents who can and will move the earth for him like we hoped we could have.
Our prayer for him, is that his move from our home to yours is not harmful, rather the best thing that ever happened in his young life.
We are blessed for knowing him. You will be blessed forever for keeping him.”
In the end, I realize each case is individual and should be reviewed as such, but my heart does ache for the many children who wake up in what they think is their own home morning only to fall asleep in another house later the same day.