Monday, October 11, 2010

When You Have Had Enough.....

My friend Traci handed me a phone number after our Connected Child book club last week and said 'when you have had enough - call this lady."  The number was to our local link into the Medicaid/Special needs assistance person and by Thursday I was exhausted, emotional and 'had had enough.' 

I called and talked to a wonderfully compassionate and realistic woman who actually asked the question that I wish someone had asked me earlier in our journey.   "WHY on earth did you adopt these kids through private agencies without subsidies or support in place?  I CANT help you hardly at all because of it!"  Which of course made me cry...but not out of control, just more as an affirmation of what i had been thinking myself.  We (and many other adoptive families) are in an awkward position.

What I know now and wish I known earlier is that between the way private health insurance has been  moving (fewer and fewer benefits for mental health issues like FASD and an almost total dependence on the early intervention services of public schools that are already overloaded.) and the way the public assistance programs run (our kids are too high-functioning to qualify for benefits, we make too much money to qualify for others and the wait list is 5-7 years in Colorado anyway) the odds are definitely against us and more specifically against our kids.

It's a sad thing to face.  For 15 years I have been a strong advocate of private adoption - trusting that the high adoption fees that are involved will be paid and children spared years of languishing in the foster care system.  I am still an advocate (and willing to adopt again) but when I am counseling potential adoptive parents I am adding into every discussion the reality that the cost of parenting kids with FASD's is higher than most of us can pay for out of pocket and the tide seems to be turning away from providing the care and treatments that would best help our kids.  I am encouraging parents to seriously follow up on provisional subsidies before bringing home a high-risk child through private adoption (benefits kick in if there are genetic or prebirth damage related diagnosis later - it's like a safety net.)

So what does it all mean? I don't know yet - I am still struggling to find a FASD specialist in Colorado that will work with my children and am resigned to paying their high fees out of pocket.  Ten years into this journey I am becoming more aware of the long-term emotional commitment that I need to make to my children's care and gaining a deeper understanding of what that might entail.  I am not discouraged, but I am seeing the reality of what lies ahead and taking a deep breath to take the next step.

9 comments:

Psycho Mom said...

I too learned the same thing and had the same thing said to me! Live and learn. I'm sorry that the services are more difficult in CO. Hard to imagine, but we are blessed here, even if it doesn't seem so on some days. I was just telling a friend today that I would recommend adopting through the system instead of private so they would get more support. I am sorry it has been feeling more tough and crazy for you lately, I have wondered for years how you kept your sanity with the sheer number of challenges you have. You are amazing. Praying for support for you!!!

Anonymous said...

Its hard to tell from your sidebar how old your oldest adoptee is. I can testify, after having raised 4 FASD kids to adulthood, the hardships with lack of services. I wish it I could say it will get easier, but it will just be a different set of issues as they age. I can't imagine doing this without services, and it's harder and harder to get them.

Blessings.

Natalie said...

Taking a deep brath with you. I know you will be more than up to any challenge presented, do be kind to yourself. We love ya!

Jenny said...

What type of services should we be fighting for? My state will only commit to services they need now. I don't think they understand what we may or may not be facing in the future. I have some services for a year, but will have to fight again after a year to keep them.

one thankfulmom said...

I've been thinking about these issues too. We chose international adoption but were unaware that services would not be available for our children. The percentage of our income devoted to meeting the needs of our children from "hard places" is staggering. I try not to think about it much, but Russ doesn't have that luxury.

I often wonder if our next calling will be foster care.

Lisa

AKBrady said...

I cannot imagine your day, so call me any old time. Text, even, and I'll send you some good vibes back. Yes, we need to plan a mom weekend, and soon.

Kari said...

I'm so sorry. I know that without the state medical assistance we would be bankrupt.

Do you have disability advocate services near you? It might be that there are few services they can offer you right now, but if enough families connect through them you might begin to change that!

~Kari

Hilltrain said...

Can you get any of your kiddos on a waiting list now? 5-7 years is going to pass anyway, and if you're still in Co....

Just an idea.

momofspecialkids said...

oh my! I am about to start googling! I thought that kids with special needs were eligible for federal or state AAP even when adopted privately? I'm raising two with FASD (adopted from foster care) and disordered attachment and am saving their AAP payments in hopes of lowering the cost of residential treatment which they are sadly, likely to need. If my assumption is incorrect, I'm going to gave to rethink things a bit...
I would really appreciate any info you might have on this,
bre
bressonfan at gmail dot com