Friday, July 13, 2012

They all deserve better than an institution or a life all alone

I don’t think anyone can disagree. Can anyone say it’s not important for a child to be wanted and loved, receive proper medical care, and have the feeling of belonging into a forever family and a forever home? Independently of socio-economic status, most children have parents who give them as much or as little as they can—but at least give them the most they can. That’s something that an orphan child can never have.

Growing up in impoverished areas, underserved communities, or crime ridden neighborhoods is bad enough. For children who grow up without a family it’s even worse. They do not only face a very bleak future. Worst of all, they face that bleak, hopeless, ominous future alone.

Whether locked up in an institution or all by themselves in the world at the mercy of the first human predator hunting for human prey, kids without families face an undeserved life of misery with no way out. This does not only apply to children in orphanages in remote corners of the world.  No matter what the U.N.I.C.E.F. may try to make us believe about the alleged wonders of the foster care system, things are not much better for foster kids once they are on their own. On the contrary: quite often children who have been through multiple foster placements are much more adversely psychologically impacted than those growing up in the same orphanage with many other children similarly situated who share the same fate. Foster kids instead are being exposed to the wonders of family life by finding themselves assigned to a family to which they very well know they don’t fully belong. That can be even worse.

Anyway, none of those children has a future ahead. Those children don’t worry about what they want to major in. They don’t worry about the need to improve their GPA’s in order to be admitted to a good college. Quite often they don’t even care whether they live or die—because they know that nobody else cares either.

It is extremely sad that so many innocent children face such brutal destiny when they grow up. And it is even worse to think that we’re talking about something avoidable—but not avoided yet. Against what pro-choice propagandists try to make others believe, there are no unwanted children in this world. No medical condition, disfigurement, or cognitive delays make any child unwanted. Some may be surprised to hear that—but those who are in the Pro-Life and special needs adoption communities very well know that no matter what challenge, disease, or combination of both children may face, there are always families willing to come forward to adopt them. There are families praising God for the adoption of children who will never function beyond infancy level. There are families willing to adopt children with serious attachment disorders or behavioral issues. There are families willing to adopt children in need of life saving yet highly risky surgical procedures. There are even families willing to adopt children who are terminally ill. Honestly, I admire those who can do it. I confess I wouldn’t adopt a child who doesn’t have a normal life expectancy. If something happened, we would never recover. I have three children by birth, ages 26, 15, and 15, and all three of them are willing to commit for life to their younger brothers with special needs—to a much more devoted level than any parent can expect, ask for, or even dream about. Yet, none of them would be prepared to say a premature good-bye to a younger sibling. A good-bye would destroy their lives—not their voluntary commitment to never allow any one of them to end up in a group home.
Yet, families know what they can and cannot handle—and my point is that there is no child with so many or so severe issues that no family can handle.

This takes me to the crucial argument I’m trying to make. Quite often kids are not adopted not because there was not any willing family to give them their name, take them home, provide them with proper medical care, and surround them with love. In many instances there may have been a willing family, and even more than one—but there were some deterrents. Ironically, in many cases those deterrents were neither related to the child’s behavioral issues  or special needs nor to any concern on the part of the applicant family about their own ability to cope with those issues or needs.

I do understand that the foreign country where the children are located may have certain eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents. Whether or not those eligibility criteria make sense, it is still undisputable that a country may have a say regarding who can adopt kids who are citizens of that country. It is also only reasonable that the parents’ country may have its own eligibility checklist that applicants need to meet before being allowed to proceed with the international adoption of one or more children.

Yet, I cannot understand or condone that quite often adoption agencies that claim to be working in favor of the orphan children as well as in favor of their clients are the ones that impose more stringent eligibility requirements than those set forth by the foreign and domestic countries. I cannot understand or condone that quite often and for no valid reason social workers make their own clients cry by refusing to update a homestudy to include one more child, or to approve concurrent adoptions, or back-to-back adoptions, or the adoption of a child with more severe special needs.

Our own family story is a vibrant testimony of the nonsensical nature of such arbitrarily imposed limitations. First of all I’d clarify that even though I’m widowed, and therefore a single applicant, when talking about adoption I always use the plural due to how totally, absolutely, unconditionally involved my mother and my three biological children were at all times, and are, in each one of the processes. Thomas and Nicholas joined our family from Haiti in 2008—and we cannot be more thankful to God than we are for having them. Yet, there was also a younger boy with more severe c.p. whom we desperately wanted home as well—but it never happened because the home study agency refused to approve for three children with special needs to be adopted concurrently. I cannot put in words how many tears we all shed for that little boy whose name would have been Jonathan. My Mom was praying to die—not thinking that God might want her life as a trade-off, but only thinking that a stroke due to distress might make the agency change its mind out of fear of liability. We still intended to pursue Jonathan’s adoption later on, after Thomas and Nicholas were home—but the adoption laws would change in Haiti, making it much more difficult for families with biological children to adopt. We know that Jonathan was adopted by another family. That’s as much as we know, though. When I went to Haiti to pick up Thomas and Nicholas I had had a chance to hold Jonathan in my arms. That picture is all we have about him, together with an earlier one of Thomas still in Haiti and lovingly holding him in a small inflatable pool.

Perhaps my family suffered more than I myself did over Jonathan. And we all suffered together again over a little boy in Russia whom I’ll call John. He’s the one for whom my heart was really torn apart. Assuming that he is still alive today, John has arthrgryposis, with severely underdeveloped legs and some hand malformations.  Back in October 2007, with the reddish glow of the rapidly spreading wildfires in San Diego being quite ominously discernible in the distance, still it was our unanimous wish that I should take the time to go to Kinko’s and fax a basic initial application to the adoption agency so that more information could be disclosed to us. We were panicking because of those antiques from our family from Italy for generations which are testimonies of a much more illustrious past—but still we all felt that sending that fax that very same day justified some delay in the packing needed to be ready for the emergency. We were not in an evacuation area yet, but would get evacuated around 4:00 a.m. that night. During that odyssey, we still kept on thinking about that little boy whom we desperately wanted to bring home. Soon the evacuation odyssey would have for us a happy ending. Our possessions were safe, and are now in storage, still in San Diego. But the odyssey around John’s adoption would be a much longer one and would turn into a real nightmare of tears, anxiety, heartbreak, and sheer agony. Thomas and Nicholas were legally mine by then, but were not home yet. In Haiti, the adoption decree is not the final document. Following the granting of any adoption, the file goes to the MOI (Ministry of Interior) for a second-level scrutiny, and that process can take several months. The problem was that having two adoptions still in process, no agency would approve to adopt one child more.  One agency pretended some confusion, charged its fee, and then refused to do the homestudy. Leaving details aside, by the time when finally one agency in Orange County, namely Life Adoption Services, agreed to do it, there was the murder case in Utah, or, actually, the aftermath thereof—which would cause the region where John was to close down to special needs adoptions.

Another agency’s inexorable mandatory waiting period and its capricious refusal to update our homestudy to start the adoptions of Maximilian and Philip immediately following Stephen’s homecoming resulted in our move all the way from San Diego County in CA to RI. In the end, things took longer than if we had stayed in California—but we hoped we’d be speeding up the process. Personally I don’t regret the move at all. Yet, Catherine misses her friends from her former parochial Young Adults group—and working on her dissertation from the distance is proving really difficult. At the time of making the decision to move, Gerard and Warren seemed to be extremely enthusiastic about the colleges and medical schools on the east coast—only because they wanted Maximilian and Philip home as soon as possible. Once we were definitely and permanently established in RI, the twins finally disclosed the truth: they’d rather had transferred from junior college, which they had been attending since the age of 10, to U.C.S.D. University of California in San Diego) for college, and then would have gotten priority consideration for admission to their medical school—without all the fierce competition they’ll have to fare now for any of the medical schools on the east coast.

Even if not so dramatically, many other willing families also had to deal with social workers who, instead of congratulating them on their desire to adopt, only made things much more difficult. Some outcomes were successful, and in other instances families were forced to call it quits. Many children who could be home by now are still waiting. Some may have been adopted by another family, some may still have their chance—and for some others such chance will never arrive.

I should feel guilty because I cannot advocate and fundraise for other children as many of you relentlessly do. First of all, I don’t have the time. Secondly, fundraisers are extremely uncomfortable for me. I desperately need to do it for our adoptions—and still I’m finding one excuse after another to endlessly wait “one more week.” I cannot contribute to other people’s fundraisers because God heard me when I was a child and thought I had too much—in privileges, in dedication, in love, in care, in everything. I thought that being short of funds might be some sort of unknown and yet fascinating adventure. Well, as an adult I’m constantly short of funds. I know that advocating does not cost any money—but I never have the time, and besides I must confess to being too possessive. I simply cannot go through photo-listings if not for the purpose of bringing one more child home. 

I do feel thankful, though that notwithstadning the reality that my advocacy for other kids in the past may have been limited to one group post about Victoria K. and one blog post about Kolina, the latter may have been instrumental to some extent in geting that little girl who's been through the horrors of Pleven a family. Now Kolina is soon to be forever in the arms of a wonderful mommy: Linda Duncan, among lots of wonderful siblings.

So, I found another way in which I can do something. I started a petition to the NASW (National Association of Social Workers) asking the Association to issue a recommendation to its members indicating that discouraging adoptions for no objectively valid reasons goes against the principles of the profession.

Please, click on the link below, sign, and share.

In addition, I also started another petition, this one as a last appeal to Obama’s conscience (assuming he has one) about the sanctity of human life. Needless to say, even not directly related to adoption, it is strongly related as well because it is about babies. As we know, there are always families, whether biological or adoptive, eager to give each and all babies all the love, dedication, and care they need. We also know that the special babies are the ones who are most severely at risk of never being allowed to see the light of day.

I’m not so naïve as to think I can change Obama’s position on abortion—but still it is always important to point out that there are no unwanted children, that there is always at least one family willing to adopt every single child. By spreading the word there is always the possibility that after a concerning ultrasound report a pregnant woman who finds herself unable or unwilling to raise a challenged child may hear the good news just on time.

Please sign and share!!! Here is the link:

Thank you so much.

God bless,

Lillian Godone-Maresca
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The above picutes show me holding Jonathan four years ago in Haiti, and the little boy from Russia whom we never saw but who is still in our hearts. In order to protect his privacy, I covered his facial features.
I will advocate for three little ones who desperately need families to love them and to whom to give all the love they have inside:


Kolya - Who wouldn't want to have him home? Kolya is a high functioning loving boy with DS, with a kind personality and great loyalty to anyone with whom he bonds
Victoria - That smile melts anyone's heart!!!


Emmitt. It is simply beyond our comprehension how such an amazing, courageous boy doesn't have a family yet. How very much we wished he could be adopted by a widowed mother!!! The same as Victoria, Emmitt has been institutionalized for quite a long time now. Yet, he remains nice and considerate, kind to everyone, and intelectually active. No, none of these precious children deserve to have their lives wasted away in horrendous institutions where all they can look forward to is premature death. Who is getting Emmitt home??? And who's getting Victoria K.??? And Koyla???



7 comments:

Becki Little said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE! Keep it up! Living your beliefs IS advocating for these children!

Lzzz said...

I'm strongly, deeply, emphatically pro-choice. I'm also strongly, deeply, emphatically pro-special needs adoption. The two are not mutually exclusive by any means.

Blessedmom said...

Thank you sooooo much, Becki!
God bless, Lillian

Blessedmom said...

Lzzz,
I don't know why you don't want me to know your name, but will respect your wishes. Concerning your position, I'll reply expressing my viewpoint the same as you expressed yours. If you truly love special kids, you must want life for them, not death. In my opinion both positions are incompatible--because if all birthmothers were pro-choice there would be no children to adopt. I don't want to turn my blog into a battlefield. I don't want to delete your comment either. You made it,it's your message to me, and it'll stay. Yet, I cannot agree with you. I cannot agree with giving a mother the right to murder her own child. I try to be understanding whenever I can find at least some minimal angle to understand. But no matter how much I'd like to be able to reach a point of compromise, when it comes to babies and their right to see the light of day, I cannot compromise. It's not about winning or losing an argument. It's not about being persuasive. It's not about debating. It's about precious little lives waiting to bloom. It's about their right to live. It's about babies, about human lives--and about their moms too. . . because almost no woman who had an abortion can keep on going without a devastating sense of guilt. God bless.

Suzee said...

Because its totally responsible to be an unemployed single parent with 6 kids (5 still at home, 2 newly adopted and not yet settled in) AND to be reliant on your MINOR CHILDREN and elderly, blind, wheelchair bound mother for raising the 2 new Bulgarian kids you are hoping to bring home.

Have you considered that perhaps the "evil" social workers who deny you the opportunity to adopt a gaggle of unrelated kids (with or without SN) in short order simply want to ensure:

1) each child has a chance to settle into the family before another kid is added to the family
2) the best odds of successful adoption for each and every child -- it is proven that adopting multiple unrelated kids simultaneously SIGNIFICANTLY increases the odds of a disruption? This is why USA foster care agencies advise against adopting kids in bulk.
3) expenses, if anything, increase after an adoption -- and many therapies, respite, etc aren't covered by insurance. Are you telling me that APs who are well-rested, able to pay for attachment therapy and extra physio if their new kid needs it AND is in a position to get out of the house for date night with their spouse once a month is a BAD thing???
4) wants the child to have a GOOD quality of life, ie not just slightly better than a grim orphanage?? The Sousa Browns have 17 kids-- thus 9:1 caregiver to kid ratio for each child... Better then Pleven, but still much worse than a bad foster home. Also RR's rate of adoptees murdered by AMerivan APs was 6.3%.... Way worse than the Pleven death rate this year.
5) has serious reservations about anyone who works with a lawbreaking "ministry" like RR and is disrespectful enough to plaster pics of not their kid all over the web. Why Ten for Orphans dropped RR?
6) thinking of RR Nicolai emelyentsev (murdered by his parents), Yuri Winkle (RR momma Autumn Winkle kept the cash but kicked the boy to the curb for being too annoying), Victor Reilly (disrupted by Tom and Kar Reilly so they could adopt cuter, lower maintenance orphans firm etiopia; exactly what Jesus would do, right??), Chrissie Patterson (dead within a year of being afopted by Lorraine Patterson) and emmitt Bedford (dumped by 1st RR family and taken in by Shelly Bedford).

Adoption -- the permanent severing of a family tie -- is NEVER EVER an emergency... although medical care and food for a given child may well be.

You're petitions totally irresponsible... but hey, it's great we live in a free country si you can do it!! I will, however, pray that gov of Bulgaria has the sense to not allow you to adopt 2 boys that you are in no way shape or form to care for!!!

Leatta Workman said...

http://www.2bcontent.blogspot.com/2012/07/jon-is-8-today.html

prince mondal said...

I strongly agree with your opinion .I will back again.
Keep posting.
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