Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I guess I AM an adult now

Today I received an interesting letter in the mail. Actually, I received two of them. One I had to sign for, the other was a duplicate. At first, I thought it was a bill collector for some lost long bill. I cringed when I saw the big "Oregon" in the return address area on the envelope. But as I looked closer, I realized it was from the Oregon Department of Human Services. The letter started out,

"Dear Rayleen:

The above named child(ren) are in foster care with the Department of Human Services (DHS). We understand that you may be a relative of this child/these children. When children cannot live with parents, DHS must consider placement with family members. It is our policy to ask family members whether or not they would be available as a possible temporary or permanent placement home for a relative child."

The letter continues to explain fostering and a little how it works. And then asks if I'm interested. One of the children, the one I'm related to is around 5 years old. The others age is ambiguous, all I know is he's younger than the older one but is no blood relation to myself.

My first instinct was to call my Mom. After several attempts, I finally reach her. She sounds angry. She is angry I would even consider it! (I'm sure she doesn't think that's how she came across.) She believes it is the responsibility of the father, who is a relative, and the grandparents to take care of these children. She believes the father should have first dibs on the 5 year old no matter what - he is the father after all.

I call my sister, she hems and haws with me. We have different ideals in life; she likes kids but doesn't want any, I like kids and do want some but my eggs are getting old (and possibly defective). So, we both look at this from different angles. We both agree that while this is just more family drama, maybe someone should think about the kids rather than not hurting someone's feelings. And after all, why is the father having difficulty getting custody?

I talk to Apollo who was in the foster system until he was 18. He is angry and bitter about what he calls "The System." He says the longer a kid is in The System, the harder it is to get him/her out. His experiences with all foster familys were negative; he was either abused or mistreated in each family. Since he was separated from his brother, he believes kids shouldn't be separated and should be kept together. He's also angry that nobody in his family stepped up to take him (he overheard family members talking about how they didn't want him).

This is a big decision, definitely life changing. Saying 'yes' to the letter doesn't necessarily mean anything but, it is a commitment that shouldn't be taken lightly. I don't even know how this could even work out, simply due to my living about 1200 miles away.

All my life, I've been making decisions based on my feeling like a kid still. This letter changed things. I have a lot to think about.


Yaya said...

I am all for adoption. I actually personally know several people who adopted children. If you want kids and thinks that you can love the child as much as you would if he/she was your own kid, I think its a great idea. Every child deserves a loving home. But... of course, I also know someone who adopted 3 kids & messed up these kids' lives. Anyhow, how does Apollo feel about the adoption? Would he adopt? Does he want to? Please blog an update :)

Faythe said...

That is some heavy stuff. I couldn't even imagine having a family where I'd have to think about whether or not to adopt a relative's kids. I do know that you would definitely provide a much better home for these kids than what they currently have, and if for some reason you actually had to adopt them, they would be in good hands.

Katrina said...

Well, unfortunately, I CAN imagine having a family where I'd have to think about whether or not to adopt a relatives kids, but thank goodness that hasn't happenen...YET. Ray, I know that this sounds trite, butpray about it and listen to your gut. You have really good instricts and will do what is best...for the children and yourself!

aimee said...

Okay, I know this is a serious subject, but... I came home from being gone all week and I still haven't received the letter that all the other relatives have gotten! So either they know me well, I'm not really an adult or I'm not parent-worthy. Hehehehe.... Okay, I'll be serious now, sorry.

barbbeers said...

I'm sorry if I sounded angry cause you are right I didn't think I was. But heres the thing, you would not be adopting but fostering and if and when the state say they can go back to their mother then she has fisrt dibs and where does that leave you? You are my child regardless of your age, my concern is for you!You are more important to me then these children. "I" know how you are in this field, you will get really attached and then boom, the state will take them away and you are left childless, hurt and really emotionly drained. This will hurt you to no end, this is why I was discouraging you. "I" do not want you to be hurt. I am trying to protect you. Now I have found out the reason Nate couldn't get the 5 year is b/c he didn't want the 2 year old. And he didn't have the space for both of them. So beings the one grandma, the mother's mom, had a 3 bedroom house, she got both kids. According to Oregon State each child has to have their own bedroom now. Its not like it used to be. And yes I did consider getting the kids too cause like you my heart went out to them. But I also know they would be taken away and I didn't know them and I knew the one grandma who they knew wanted them too. So I felt it was best 1) for the father to get them of course and 2) for an adult the kids knew to have them and not a stranger. Now if there was no other person wanting them, then yes you and i both but then I would pass it up so you could have the child as I am getting to old but if no one wanted a child then I would applied to foster them. But again the parent could take them away from in 6 months or longer. So I too think adoption is the best next thing for you. This way you will have a child that can not be taken away from you.
Rayleen I do love you and to me you and Aimee will always till I die be my little girls. My pride and joys! MOM