Sunday, July 11, 2010

An open letter to the "system"

Dear System,

You are trying very hard to save the world. That can be such a good thing. Your heart may be in the right place... But, if I may be so bold as to share...

There are children who do desperately need your help. Children who are being hurt and damaged need someone to step in and rescue them. They need to be taken out of harms way. Do it quick!!! Do it NOW!!! Do EVERYTHING you can do to prevent further harm and damage. Protect them with everything you've got!!! Pour all of your heart and soul into your job to make a change for the better in their lives. But make sure that you are protecting a child in need and not destroying a family.

There are some children who have been damaged and hurt. I understand that you tried. You did the best you could in getting them out... well, maybe in some cases you didn't really do the best you could. The fact is that they are damaged now. They need help to heal.

We and many other families have chosen to make some of these children our own. Please hear me.... We did not make the mess. We simply chose to pick up the pieces and try to make something good out of the destruction of others.

We do NOT need you to come in and protect our children!!! We do not need you to sweep in like Superman and take over ... you missed that opportunity when you allowed OUR CHILDREN to be harmed by former families!!!!!!!! Though we do thank you for removing them eventually. Now we are at the helm and we are parenting and caring and loving and nurturing. WE ARE NOT THE BAD GUY!!!!!!!!!!!!! And most of us already know how to parent our special needs child. We know because we have researched and read and learned and sought help for year so that we could be the parent they need. We have invested our lives and hearts and souls... sometimes we have sacrificed our homes, jobs, marriages and even laid other children upon the alter so that we could help the damaged child to heal and be whole.

If you want to do something and you feel the need to be involved or if we seek you out and ask for help... just help us. Support us. Under gird us. Empower us. Find out what we want for our children... don't tell us what we need to do.

At the point that we invite you in we have likely already invested years into learning what we need to do and what our children need. We just need an extra pair of hands or pockets, to get us on the way.

Just because we seek help does not mean we want you to take over.

Do you have children? Do you know what it's like to live with a child who is damaged and bent on destroying everything and everyone in his path? Please do not tell me that since you were a child that you know what it's like for him........ Please do not tell me that you have read a book/attended a conference/or helped many other kids with RAD or any other disorder, because unless you have walked in my shoes you do not know what my life is like. And unless you have recovered from RAD or struggled with Bipolar or DID or SID or PTSD, then please don't say you know how my child feels.

System, you are broken. Even while you seek to fix the world, someone needs to fix you.

When you take families who are strong and loving and trying to help their damaged child, and place them into the slot for abusive or neglectful families you have done a great injustice to society.

When you go through the check lists of requirements for families who maltreat their children and force strong healthy families to meet these requirements simply because they are what you do and on your check list, it creates the problems you say you are trying to avoid. You can't help a stressed out family by adding to their stress! You can't ease the burdens of an overwhelmed family by adding to their demands!

When you take a child who doesn't understand the abstract meaning of "family" and you tell them that whoever they live with at the moment is their family and you remove the power and authority of the parents, you FURTHER DAMAGE THE CHILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is not helpful!!!!!!!!!!!! When you tell the child that they don't have to obey their parents or even ask them anything because someone else is in charge and then you attempt to reunify that child with the castrated family, you have damaged the structure of the family unit!!!!!!

Now let's discuss what you do when you remove a child from harms way. You do know that children need to be nurtured. So could you try to place children into homes that would provide care and nurture. See... toddlers and preschoolers who spend 10 hours in a day care, classroom setting only to come back to a foster home where they are bathed and fed and put to bed, is NOT HEALTHY!!!!! Yes, I know that you are over worked, yes I understand that you have a shortage of foster homes... but there are foster homes with stay at home moms who are fostering older teens who would be better served in the career household, while the little ones who need to bond and attach should be with a full time caregiver and not shuffled around from person to person.

And even though you are short of providers couldn't you do something about those who obviously are in foster care for an income and not for the kids. Can you justify a foster care provider who refuses to provide adequate food and nutrition, does not provide a time or place for enough sleep, refuses to supervise, learn about the child's needs or provide for their routine health care? No! That can't be justified!

If someone is going to be a foster parent they need to be willing to give and sacrifice. This is not a niece or nephew staying with them for a few nights. This is someone's child being entrusted to them. This child has needs...that's why they are in foster care! Most kids in foster care have been through trauma and loss. They need a caregiver to care.

System!!!!! You are responsible for these lives!!! You are responsible for the damage that is done. You can't go in and take over someone's life without being responsible for the outcome.

Furthermore... remember that you too are human. Before you accuse someone of lying, go back and check your own information. You could be wrong. Before you reprimand someone for questioning or misunderstanding, make sure you have first given them information. Before you speak keep in mind that listening first is always wiser than speaking in haste. Adjust your own paradigm and try to see things from their perspective. Who knows... you may grow and learn and become a better system than you ever imagined possible.

If you should shift in your views and begin to see the needs of us families who parent damaged children, let me know. I think we should discuss what you actually could do to make the world a better place.

Until you are ready to look at our side, stay out of our parenting and just help. Be a servant leader and not a authoritative dictator.

System, you are broken, but not without redemption. I have hope that you too can be helped and healed.

A Mom

*This will be a work in progress ;o)


mamatomany said...

erBravo! Well written!!
Now, who are you going to *send* it to, or have you already?
This is a message that needs to be sent to the System - hoping and praying that someone reads it and it makes a difference somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Wow. I wish I had a way to read that at our next hearing, where WE plan to be abused some more by The System because we committed the unspeakable sin of trying to help a child, followed by the unpardonable crime of trying to keep that "child's" victims safe. (You know me dear one, and know why I must remain anonymous. Because, we, too, face EVERYTHING you described.) Much, much love.

GB's Mom said...

So sorry it needed to be written. {{{Hugs}}}

Lindy said...


Mama Drama Times Two said...

"When you take families who are strong and loving and trying to help their damaged child, and place them into the slot for abusive or neglectful families you have done a great injustice to society." Our dear foster/adoptive friends adopted a little girl at a year old. She is now 13 and severly mentally ill. On order to access the residnetial mental health services she needs, the family needed to be clients of the "system". Because they are "clients" they can no longer be foster parents. How messed up is if they didn't get help for their mentally ill kid, they could be foster parents??? Crazy, huh? Ou social worker told me something like 60% of the foster parents in our state get abuse/neglect investigations filed on them - but only something like 3% is substantiated. CRAZY. CRAZY.

Tammy said...

Mama Drama,

It is CRAZY!! and so very sad.

I wonder if and how it can be changed....