Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Adoption Perceptions

I was over at another site that has since been removed, reading about different opinions on adoption. One anonymous commenter quoted Job 24:9 " The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt." Using the Bible to say that God is against adoption. From what I can tell this anonymous commenter had a child that was adopted by another family.

Let me first say that I cannot imagine what this is like. It doesn't take much for me to conjure up some empathy for Mama when I think about it. Both of us love our babies, and call them our own. She did not directly choose to lose her children, although through her actions or lack thereof she chose. I did not snatch them, I did not buy them.

Later on in the same chapter of Job vs 21 it goes on to say "They prey on the barren and childless woman," another evil of the adoption world. Women, some of whom are not even pregnant, who offer their babies to multiple families for the "expenses".

It is said that evil rides a white horse. Evil knows that if he shows up on a black horse we would fight with all of our might against it. I believe that adoption is a good thing. We could have had more biological children, we chose not to. With any good thing that can be thought of there is an evil side to it.

These are not my kids

any of them. Regardless of whether they were born of my body or born of my heart. They are investments that God has given my husband and I to look after. Given that life expectancy is creeping towards 80 in America, we are entrusted with the first quarter. We are charged with laying the foundation. And we all know that without a strong foundation, the storms will come and all will be lost.

I live in a part of the country where every commercial break on the radio has an ad for foundation repair. You can go back and shore up the structure, it's more costly than doing it right the first time, and there will be evidence of the structural failure that you can't erase.

God help my first kid, I was just putting up bricks hoping to keep out the rain. Did a little better with my second, even better with the third. But it wasn't great

1 Corinthians 4:7 (Whole Chapter) For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

Me and My Big (Typing Fingers)

I mentioned a couple of days ago that we use our little orphans as a tax deduction. (See, I'm already at it.) This is apparently unpopular. I am supposed to be doing this out of the goodness of my heart. Believe me, if it weren't for my heart for these children I'd be working at Target and making more money, it wouldn't be 24/7 and I'd have a convertible.

I would first like to point out to those of you who have just joined me, that the only reason these children are still in foster care is that the state can't focus ten minutes of energy into the case and get the parents rights terminated. Had they done that two years ago as is "required by law" we'd have adopted the kids and deducting them.

I've been told, incorrectly according to the IRS, that the only way I can deduct the children is if I report the income that I receive for caring for them. Your income isn't decided on what you are claiming as a deduction. Income is a legally defined term. Foster care money is not income, it's child support from the state. If you care to research for yourself go to www.irs.gov and check it out for yourself. Of course you could Google "can I claim my foster children as dependents on my taxes" or something of the sort. What you will find is opinion. So what if your caseworker told you you can't, I don't care what your friend does. I don't care how long you've been a foster parent and haven't claimed them, the IRS says I can, but you don't have to believe me.

I should have learned after all of these years of fostering that some people just don't want help or advice from someone who has been there. The parents don't want to attend parenting classes because they have all the answers.

Who do you bump into

I get two days of Mothers Day Out each week. That gives me ten hours to do what it is I need and want to do without little ones each week. This can only be accomplished by hurrying.

One day I was hurrying around the mall, still in search for the perfect black, flat, open toed shoe, and there she was. A little old lady not getting on the escalator. Annoyed, yes I know, considering the grace I've been given....anyway, the escalator was not in operation that day and she needed help walking down them as stairs. Fine, but this is eating into my day......

So, what is the first thing that she says to me, after asking for my help?

"God always sends you someone just when you need them." The rest of the conversation was a direct lecture from the Big Guy himself, although she was doing the talking. By the time we reached the bottom it was clear to me that the world did not revolve around me and what I wanted to do, that people are not always in my life for what they can do for me, but rather what they can do for me when I do for them. There are times in my life when I wonder what road I was on that crossed my path with so and so.

Dump and Run

Foster families are quite familiar with this technique. CPS shows up with a kid very dissimilar to the one they described and before you know it they are gone. Before I found the right fit for a caseworker, my agency was no help at all. Our agency would tell us that if we refused a placement after we agreed to it that we'd stop getting calls.

They "forget" to tell you what disabilites a child might have. A friend of mine was brought a double amputee, no one had mentioned that this girl had prosthetic legs, there was no mention of it in the paperwork. The girl was wearing pants when they brought her, and the next morning she came out to breakfast in shorts and no legs. Later CPS came by and tried to get my friend to modify her home to ADA standards, including a very costly bathroom remodel.

We were called for an 11 year old deaf girl. Her only problem was that she was deaf. She'd been neglected a little, but otherwise a normal happy girl needing a place to live. What showed up at my house was a fourteen year old girl who had gender identity issues. While it didn't say it in her paperwork, she'd been raped by just about every close relative and when she was sent to a deaf school in another state the abuse continued. She'd spent most of her time since leaving the deaf school in one mental hospital or another. She had a medication list as long as all the other kids in our home combined, but since she had just been released from a hospital and the caseworker didn't bring her hospital meds, Medicaid would not pay for additional meds for the month. It was the third of August. Every August in our state we run out of money for foster care, fiscal year starts in September. CPS provides only essential services, returning calls about a psychotic kid who's trying to kill you is not one of those services. We then became the next family who had to call the cops to get her dragged into a mental hospital in the middle of the night.

Of course this is the way it works. They will tell you whatever they can to get you to take a placement, then they disappear.

Cleaning House

I'm morphing this site into my others to get one big happy site. There will be a lot of drafts getting published today as I do a little housecleaning. They will all appear on the new site soon:) These have all been written but not published for whatever reason, some are still not ready, or complete, but as I read them I feel they need to be published as they are.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My little money makers

I was recently reminded that some people think foster parents are in it for the money. Yes, that's so true. Here is what we have to go through to get our $21.00/day

Baby gates that didn't work - $60

Baby gates that did work - $135

Baby proofing that didn't work - $45

Putting locks on every door in our house - $75

Chains and door stoppers - $60

New washer and dryer $1400

Miles on car each month attributed soley to fostering - 440

Pullups each month $56

Babysitting $10/hour plus $125/year for licensing

Fire inspection $60/year

Health inspection $45/year

CPR and First Aid class $60/person over 14/year

Mothers Day Out $570/month

McDonalds on visit days $16

Gas station snacks on visit days $8

Sippy cups $1000 (give or take)

Car seats $300

Beds broken $240

Remodeling to accomodate $2500 probably more

Bandaids $400/month

Then there are the hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, the new toilet that will flush shampoo bottles because somebody is always trying to flush something that they shouldn't and we got tired of paying the plumber. The countless bottles of their brother's shampoo and body wash that he won't put away, (I don't pay for that though), the gallons of paint we will need when they get over their artistic phase. The upholstery they've cut, the dvd players they've overfed. The dvd's they've broken. The upholstery in the car. The 12 passenger van, the repairs to the 12 passenger van. The brand new 8 seater van. The 20 hours of training we're required to take each year to learn how to do this.

All of this is before we actually want to do something with them or take them somewhere.

And if that is not enough, the state has the great idea that each April they do a new contract for their Medicaid provider. So, each April I have to go back to the pediatrician and get a referral to a specialist that my children have seen since birth. After receiving the referral I then have to go and see the specialist. I have 30 days from the time we get on the program to visit the pediatrician and the specialist for each kid. This means two unnecessary visits per child per year. That might not seem like a lot, but how many thousands of children are in foster care, gues who's paying for two extra visits? You are. This is why we want socialized medicine? I also have to take them in each year for a psychological evaluation. One is required for each foster kid every year, by law, there is no getting out of it. If that isn't bad enough, I have to take them in for an assessment prior to the psychological to see if they need one, we've already established that whether they need one or not they are getting one. Then following the assessment to see if they need something that they are required to get, we have to wait for approval to get it. This can take anywhere from 45 to 60 days. I cannot take them in for their assessment to see if they need one until the month that they are due for one, I am also required to get their evaluation in the month that they are due. I have been cited every year for not getting them the psychological care that they need in a timely manner.

This is the same with dental care. Most dentist won't schedule an appointment unless your current Medicaid card says dental checkup required. It doesn't say that until the month it is due. When is the last time you tried to get into a pediatric dentist? There is a six week waiting period at mine, even though I take all of my foster kids there every six months and have been doing so for the past four years. Luckily I now have a friend there and she just overrides the system to say I'll pay for it if Medicaid doesn't come through.

We also have to double lock our medication and knives. We have to separate our medicine into categories of prescription, non-prescription, psychotropic, topical. Each category must be locked separately. And let's say we'd like to cut our WIC cheese, it requires that we unlock a door and then unlock the lock box in which we keep our knives. We have to have thermometers in our fridge and freezer, to keep our WIC food at the proper temperature. And we have to get WIC. This requires monthly visits to WIC for each kid. We can't get the multiple months everybody else gets, because the kids might go home, even though they haven't for three years. God knows I'd really like to get one over on the WIC people and be able to get $60 worth of free food, which is exactly what I'll be thinking if they take the kids. I only go when they agree to give me the multiple months because quite frankly one trip to WIC ain't worth sixty bucks.

So, we are either stupid at math or we're not doing it for the money.