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a speck of light

I will continue to treat people with kindness even when they try to trample over me emotionally.  I will be triumphant in the end. ~ Alex Elle

This has been a long and frustrating summer on the adoption front.  I have tried and tried to get my head around updating this blog… but given up each time.  However, it is possible that there is the teeniest, tiniest flicker of light at the end of this very, very long dark tunnel.  The unfortunate part is that we do not know if that is daylight or the train – because, of course, we are not privy to that information.

OK… I’ll back up and fill you in…

First off, it is important that you understand that when you are adopting a child from another state… it is a little more effort for the agencies involved than a local adoption.  Basically there’s more paperwork because the two local agencies make recommendations and those recommendations go to the interstate agencies and then they decide if it’s a go.  This required extra effort, sadly, is why we have so many children looking for homes across this country.  When we started looking domestically, we probably put in inquiries for about 15 different kids.  We were asked to send our home study (which would provide information as to where we live) for almost all of them – meaning that they were still actively looking for homes.  We were contacted by one.  It’s a good one… and, we believe, the right one… but still, that’s pretty sad.

Anyway, back in April, this case was referred to Fairfax County and unfortunately someone… somewhere along the way… check a box that required Fairfax to rewrite our home study vs. amending it.  But, no big deal… right?  I mean, our existing home study was just done last October and that agency offered to send it to us as a Word document.  Easy Peasy!  Not so much!  That would have made way too much sense.  Now, I understand that reports need to be re-run… like CPS reports and FBI reports, etc.  But let’s face it – where we grew up, where we went to school, the friends we had, the jobs we had, the places we have lived, our favorite cartoons… yada yada yada – that is NEVER going to change.  Why re-write this?  I’ll never know!  This is just the fine work of our county government… so glad our tax dollars are hard at work.

So the case was referred to Fairfax as “fast-track.”  And since it is now August… I guess we should have asked early on what “fast-track” actually meant to them.  What it meant to us was… get the paperwork redone quickly (which is akin to the amount of paperwork required to buy a house), setup a home visit and drop everything and commit to attending a 3-hour class each Thursday for the following 6 weeks in addition to 2 – full day Saturday sessions.  The latter piece… not particularly easy with a daughter who has field hockey 30 minutes away every Thursday, had a full-day field hockey tournament on one of the Saturdays in question and, on the other Saturday, had her one and only All-State Chorus recital.  And, just in case you were wondering, both Bob and I had to attend the class and we had to attend ALL sessions.  But somehow… we worked it all out… because it was just that important.  And when we finished that class we thought… “this is it!”  But then… we really hadn’t gotten to know Palinda (our case worker – and I use the term “worker” very loosely) very well by this point.

And so, the class ended just before Memorial Day weekend and we were ready for an update.  I was making summer arrangements for Michael once he was moved up here.  We were getting the room ready… etc, etc, etc.  But there was no update… because during that 6 weeks that we were attending the class – she literally did nothing.  We should have had 2 more home visits during that time… not even on the calendar.  There were reports that were missing – no notice, not a word.  So we thought… ok, well let’s just get it moving now – should be quick, we already have a valid home study – all you need to do, Palinda, is copy it and update it with Micheal’s information.  But no… that’s really not how Palinda operates.  And again… I really do struggle associating any action word with Palinda because her efforts have been pathetic at best… and I am being kind.  Honestly, it’s been almost as if she has some other agenda on this case – always looking for a problem, like she didn’t want it to be approved.  This might seem far fetched… but remember, Micheal is not a Fairfax County kid and we are now a viable Fairfax County foster/adoptive family.  Why use this resource for some other state’s problem?  Sounds pretty bad… but this is the reality of the system.

And this effort of pulling teeth to get anything done went on… all summer.  We once believed that Micheal would be moving here as soon as school let out in the spring… then we were certain that he would at least be here when we went on vacation… we are now just hoping that he might make it here before school starts in two weeks.  The folks in North Carolina were worried that we had changed our minds.  And we can thank Palinda and Fairfax County for this “fast track” process –  100%!  Emails went consistently unanswered, home visits rescheduled, things that should have taken 10 minutes took a week and 10 minutes.  And sadly… in the middle of all of this is a 9-year-old kid!

OK – deep breath!

Anyway, it appears that by the end of this week we will have a recommendation package that will be ready to send to the Virginia interstate folks and after their review, it will go to the North Carolina interstate folks and then, I believe, a decision will be made.  What will the recommendation be?  Well… remember the potential train I mentioned above?  We don’t know what the recommendation will be – because Palinda cannot or will not give us that information.  I mean really… why do we need to know?  Right?

And… that’s where we are.

On the positive side, we had Micheal here over his birthday in May and again for 10 days in July.  As it turned out… he wasn’t really supposed to be allowed to make any of these visits – but the rules were not clearly written.  As you might imagine, I couldn’t be happier that we were rule-breakers on this front.  We had an opportunity to get to know him and to confirm for us that we were making the right decision.  The interstate folks should really focus their efforts on developing some rules dealing with deadlines as far as I’m concerned.

Our visits with Micheal were good.  Are there things that need to be adjusted?  Absolutely!  But they are kid things… not broken kid things.  He has proven to be a kid who can persevere and I think that he has a bright future ahead of him.  And, we are hoping to be part of that future.  Will we be?

Only Palinda knows…

9 responses »

  1. I can’t understand how a family as wonderful as yours keeps getting the shaft! Prayers your way…and hope that Palinda finds a new job!

  2. If only she would open her eyes and see how good of a home he would have with you!! Oh, how frustrating even just to read this. Lets hope that she will be “enlightened” and make the right decision.

  3. Marilyn H Chubb

    Remember Job? My the Lord bless and keep you in his sight as you conquer your quest. Upward and onward Christians soldiers.😇

  4. Sally Poznanski

    Sometimes it is difficult to understand why things happen as they do, but we need to trust that the timing of Michael’s adoption into your family will be perfection. It seems that if “People” were really interested in doing what is right for Michael then they’d get him to before he is ready to start school to integrate into the family. Karma will deal with Palinda in her time. Hang in there & Hugs to all of you. You’ve sure had to learn a lot of patience going thru this process. Bless your hearts!

  5. Rog & Ginny Huseby

    So sorry to hear you are having so many problems. I am amazed that Palinda still has a job. It certainly seems like she is in the wrong profession since I always thought social workers were supposed to be helping people and doing what is best for them. Michael will be so lucky to be a part of such a wonderful family as yours. Keep the faith.

  6. Have you contacted your Fairfax County Supervisor or State Deligate? They are valuable resources.

    • This was suggested to me by someone else as well. I can tell you that when all is said and done… I will be sharing this story with someone as high up the totem pole as I can find. For now, my main goal is to keep the peace.

  7. Oh my gosh.. if it’s not one thing it’s another. How is the cooperation with North Carolina..? Is there a social worker on that end that can poke the social worker on the Virginia end?

  8. For those who are interested in learning more about the interstate adoption problem, this is a good, but frustrating, read:

    The good part is that there are solutions. The bad part is that it seems to be hard to get them implemented. Perhaps we can work together for change, for all the Micheals out there…


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