I might actually get to adopt AJ yet. This process has taken so long. I only have one hurdle left. The State offers adoption subsidies to parents who adopt foster kids with special needs. AJ qualifies - about 6 times over!
Anyway, I did the "negotiation" meeting. (That's actually what they call it! Like I'm buying a used car - or in this case a used child??? Ridiculous.) At the end of actually a very cordial and productive meeting, the guy informed me that the amount we just spent 90 minutes discussing, would be reduced by a significant amount when she turned 12. Because, apparently in 15 months, she will have miraculously changed into a child that will not need close supervision. Since I know this will not be true for my alcohol affected, PTSD, social skills deprived daughter, I am "negotiating" for the entire amount to be in place until the mandated 5 year review.
So now we wait again. The State really wanted to complete the adoption in June since that's the end of their fiscal year. Well, that's obviously not going to happen. Without the pressure of the June deadline, I hope they get back to me soon.
It's amazing how much of an advocate I've had to become for my child.
Did you know when you adopt a child out of foster care, the State provides the entire foster care case file as part of the full disclosure? So I received a paper box FULL of 8 volumes of AJ's life the past three years. And oh the things I've learned. Like dad's seriously a few fries short of a happy meal... her mother is legally married still - but not to her father... alcohol abuse is multi-generational issue on both sides... CPS (child protective services) involvement in three states... family health history of spina bifida, breast cancer and mental health issues... and the family story is so sad and there are so many victims.
I do want to provide a good life for her but I'm completely overwhelmed now. I feel blessed to have things like monthly financial support, respite care, counseling, etc. Things I know many parents would love but don't have access to. But I'm also feeling so strained by the thought of the future and raising this wonderful, fun, athletic child who is so very difficult.
I'm currently in volume 5 of 8 - she came into my home at the end of volume 4. When I finish through all 8 volumes, I'll probably feel differently, but right now I'm feeling very inadequate as a parent. In the other volumes they describe AJ as no longer needing counseling, on target for grade level, doing "wonderfully" in her foster home etc.
Now all the things I started documenting are showing up. The nightmares, the violent fantasies, the day care issues, the school work issues, the need for counseling. AJ is described as doing "fine" in my home.
Granted there was a lot going on. AJ had moved from a long foster placement (14 months), to a placement that barely lasted 5 weeks to my house. She was no longer able to visit her birth parents because of their legal issues. She went from 2x weekly visits to nothing to one a week and then she didn't get any visits with dad because of a restraining order.
So there's good reason why she was acting out in my home. I just like being the hero. In volume 5 there is a marked change in how well AJ is doing and it's hard not to connect it to me. Then again, hopefully volume 8 will document the marked improvement that's happening in her life! =-)