Adoption is supposed to be a permanent home and a forever family for a child in need, but sometimes forever isn’t as long as a family thinks. Often adoptive families reach out and adopt a child in need thinking they are doing what is in the child’s best interest and often not receiving all of the information or pieces of the puzzle they need to parent effectively. Although when we adopt, we are supposed to treat the child like our birth child, and parent regardless of what comes up, often many adoptive families are not equipped or prepared for the trauma, or other needs of their adoptive child and they seek to place the child with another family whom they hope can meet the child’s needs better. This doesn’t happen with birth children who have not gone through the trauma of an orphanage and an international adoption.
This is where Second Chance Adoptions comes in. Second chance is a supported avenue where families that have adopted a child, and no longer can meet that child’s needs, can find a new family better equipped for the child. Such is the Case with my daughter Missy. This decision does not come easily as there is a lot of judgement and stigmatism that comes with feeling like you can no longer parent this child you committed to caring for.
Missy was born with a heart defect. Unfortunately, her medical needs were not met until her 1st adoptive family took her home to the US. They were given some of her information ahead of travelling to the country, but when they got there her time was up. Either they adopted her and got her the medical help she desperately needed, or she would not survive.
They chose to adopt her and take her home and got her the medical help she desperately needed, however that help came extremely late and caused irrevocable extensive damage. As a result, Missy suffered seizures that in turn caused a watershed stroke permanently damaging her brain and leaving her with an anoxic brain injury resulting in non-verbal autistic like tendencies. The family was devastated. They were not trained nor equipped to handle Missy’s long-term needs. Her needs were suffocating the adoptive family, causing issues with their other children, stressing their relationship and making them feel like they were failing Missy.
They did what was in Missy’s best interest despite the pain and heartache it would leave for them and their other children to have her leave. They sought the help of Second Chance adoptions and placed Missy for re-adoption. This is where I found her picture and read her story.
I ended up inquiring on her and eventually was matched to her. I distinctly remember writing my profile for Missy and explaining why I was best suited to parent her. I remember the first phone call with the placing family and explaining the skills I have learned over the years, the team I have assembled and the resources that I have available to me to best assist Missy.
I remember telling them that they rescued her from the orphanage, but I was here to take the baton to get Missy where she would ultimately need to be. They were doubtful because here they had 4 children including Missy, and I had 13 before Missy. I explained that having foster care, medical and trauma related background made me a perfect fit for her, as I know how to parent outside the box. I remember telling them that I don’t think I would even know how to begin to parent neurotypical kids, because all of the kids that I have parented or am parenting have some sort of neuro-divergence, trauma, medical or behavioral issues.
One also needs to understand that services that I have available to me might not exist everywhere. My state has the Family Enrichment scholarship that allows me to home school and provide tutoring and other services that aren’t available in other parts of the US. I also have an amazing team that I have assembled over the nearly 2 decades of doing this. Some adoptive families live in areas where these services are not readily available. Also, I would be adopting Missy as a US domestic adoption and there are benefits available through that avenue that are NOT available to families who have adopted internationally.
Since Missy has been home with me for the past 2 months, she is learning to communicate more, as I am working with her and her team to teach her sign language and give her a voice where in the past she has been silenced. I have taken her out of school and am home schooling her and getting private therapies in place that are more concerned about her overall functioning and not narrowly focused on her educational functioning. Missy has learned 2 new signs, has started vocalizing the sound EEEE while approximating the sign for eat. She has learned to take her shoes off and put them back on. She can assist with dressing (if we put her pants on to her knees, she will pull them up to her waist). Missy has learned to get an empty cup, fill it with water and drink from it.
I have more time, patience, and experience so I give her more freedom and flexibility to explore, try, learn, and fail. My approach is different than her first family’s approach and it is working for Missy.