A good online friend of mine recently adopted two girls through the foster care system. One would think that she would have been given as many advantages as possible to help get these girls out of "the system." NOPE! Instead, she has gotten the biggest run around between her state and the girls' state about who is going to cover their medical expenses. Here is her story....
(reprinted with permission to post)
Economic Solution for Foster Kids
By Ali Bond-Smith, 2/26/09
I’ll never forget the first time I saw my new foster daughters. I’d left my husband and three kids back in Oregon and flew all the way to Arizona while eight months pregnant to pick them up. There standing in the lobby was 5-yr-old Sadie with her dark brown features and 3-yr-old Jamey with her tempting squishy cheeks and missing tooth. Arizona DES hoped if they could get the judge or birthparents to terminate their parental rights we could adopt them. There young drug addicted birth mom was my second cousin making the girls second cousins twice removed and though it’s not an actual relative and we haven’t spoken since I was 11-yrs-old I thought she’d consider doing what was best for the young girl’s by getting them out of a distant foster home, knowing James and I have adopted before and are capable of loving them as our very own.
Their caseworker promised their medical records, foster care records, social security numbers, and birth certificates were all in the mail to me so I’d be able to enroll them in school, take them to the doctor, and get state insurance to cover the cost till we could adopt them, if we could adopt them. Seven months later we’re still unable to enroll Jamey in the special classes she needs for her emotional difficulties, Sadie is threatened by the school every trimester for not being able to provide proof of age or immunization despite an Oregon caseworkers letters, and our family of eight is still paying cash out of pocket unreimbursed for emergency doctor and dentist appointments despite the fact that our self employed business is directly tied to the failing real estate market. Sadly after using a 401k account we still can not afford the mental health services the girls require to deal with their mounting anxiety and attachment issues. Jamey’s breathing machine, prescriptions and treatments sit at the pharmacy waiting half a year later because the cost is too great for us combined with the emergency dental treatments they’ve required. Our health insurance company won’t accept responsibility for the girls because they are not our kids. Oregon Health Plan won’t place the girls on Medicaid because we don’t have the social security numbers, proof of naturalization, and as it turns out one of the girls has a different legal last name even their Oregon caseworker was unaware of. Finally Arizona ICPC office prompted a caseworker visit to our home yesterday to inform us the state is out of money due to the economy and our options as foster parents are to continue to pay out of pocket or send the girl’s back to Arizona.
The government seems to feel that in times of economic stress children can be thrown away, “sent back” or disposed of.
If you know of anyone who could help her with this situation, please leave a comment and I will pass the information along to her. It is a shame that a family has stepped forward to adopt these girls but are being denied the benefits they were promised. After talking with numerous caseworkers, they were given the option to send their girls "back" like they were a piece of furniture or item that could be returned. Things like this are what makes me thankful we are done with the DSS system for now.