Friday, 6 June 2014

everyone needs an advocate

When I last left off (my last post) we were waiting to hear from the MW about the girls on the adoption bulletin- not with any real expectation but just wanting to know if this was something we could pursue.

 Last night (26 days after first asking about the girls) I got an email from MW saying that she sent an email to their social worker but didn't hear back. She was able tell me that the girls live at the opposite end of our province. She then said that she was looking for a home for two boys around the same ages but the only other descriptor she gave me was that they are Caucasian. I don't know what she is basing this potential match on as she has never met us and hasn't yet seen our home study. The fact that they are Caucasian doesn't really matter to us- we are more concerned about their special needs and their interests and how we would be prepared to meet those special needs and interests. This email also seemed to imply that if we wanted more information then we had to act fast as she is trying to match children to other couples as well. 

This is the kind of stuff they don't prepare you for in the Adoption Education Program.They make it sound pretty straight forward: your social worker meets with you, does the home study and will eventually propose children based on the information they have about your family. At any point along the way you can ask your worker questions or ask about profiles of waiting children. 

Instead we have had a home study done by a private worker who we will never see again once our home study is approved and we are being proposed (well not quite proposed... "softly proposed"?) children by someone who doesn't know much about us. The communication breakdown between ministry offices is absurd (we have heard this from other adoptive parents as well) and the communication between the office and families is lacking as well. They also tell you that they do not try to find children for couples- they try to match children with the family who will best suit the needs of the child. I mean, permanency is obviously the end goal (however it is arrived at) but all parties are better off if the match makes sense.

Ok... I have typed out all my frustration and it feels better.

Now I have to remember a few things:

1. I have to believe that everyone is doing the best they can with what they are given. 
2. This is a learning experience wherein we grow stronger by learning how to find advice, support and advocacy and also how to be support and advocate for our family. 
3. Sharing my frustrations is not about shaming or blaming anyone. I share because a) it is cathartic and b) it is important that folks understand just how difficult this system is to navigate. Hopefully some of us will take this information and use our votes and our voices to try and improve the situation for families (birth, foster and adoptive), for social workers and other ministry staff.

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