I haven’t been active here as I’ve been trying to reach a wider audience about adoption issues. In case you’ve missed it, I wrote an article for the National Post and was interviewed by Martin Regg Cohn for The Toronto Star. I’m very grateful to both publications for helping to spread the word about adoption in Ontario.
So here’s the latest from Adoptionville:
A couple of weeks ago I did something that is so completely out of character that it startled me. I’m very lucky to travel the places I do for my job and this month, there was a meeting in Milan. I sat in the taxi to the airport and realised that I hadn’t checked the gate for my flight so I searched my iPhone, annoyed that I couldn’t locate the flight details on my calendar. It wasn’t until I did a full search that I made a pretty shocking discovery – my flight wasn’t leaving until the following day…
Funny story? Okay, yes. I was pretty sheepish having to ask the driver to turn around because, um, I’m too ditzy to know how to read a calendar. My husband was also surprised to see me lugging my suitcase back up the driveway having said good-bye only twenty minutes before (yes, I overpacked for Milan and I regret nothing).
The thing is, I don’t forget things like this. Dates, details, especially when it comes to travel, are just not things I don’t double and triple check. It wasn’t just screwing up a flight date. It was a pretty solid reminder that things just aren’t going well.
Those who know me would be amused to hear me say that I’m not a very zen person (stop laughing). This is me, and I have to embrace it. I can be laser focused, determined, and project management is in my DNA. It also means I grind my teeth and carry hand santiser in every purse and coat pocket.
Lately, it has been harder. We’ve gone through six rejections and I’m haunted by every single one. I wonder what families these children have gone to. Are they happy? Are they safe?
The cracks are starting to show. Upset stomach is a norm. Sleep is fitful. I’m sporting a red cystic pimple the size of a nickel smack in the centre of my eyebrows. In good news it solves my Halloween costume – I’ll make a fantastic unicorn. And yes, there are plenty of tears.
I made arrangements to miss fly home early from Milan so that we would be able to attend the CAS in-take meeting. We have been waiting for six months as they are held infrequently, but are mandatory, if you want to be a part of their program.
True, the facilitator was excellent, and the content was extremely informative for anyone new and considering adoption…but I have no idea why as an AdoptReady couple, already licensed and approved, we had to not only wait to attend, but had to postpone our intake for half a year until there was a session.
There was not one topic that hadn’t already been covered in our PRIDE training. We sat for two hours listening to a basic lecture on issues like openness, foetal alcohol syndrome, Crown Wards, and how children are placed in care. No, we are not experts or social workers, but we have done all of the provincial mandatory training, reading, and activities required to obtain our homestudy. Nothing discussed was unfamiliar to us and it was just a box to be ticked.
Well, I am ticked. I’m sick and tired of the waste of CAS at the emotional cost to children in their care. I’m bloody ticked.
The facilitator stressed that the majority of children needing forever families were adolescents (something we already knew and were accepting of). So let me ponder this: a child needlessly waited an extra half a year while we waited for this intake session? That doesn’t include the fact that CAS won’t accept our private homestudy from the province, so that’s even more time waiting. It doesn’t take complex formulas to determine why so many adolescents are in need when this is how the system operates.
I’ll close off with the only new content we were shown at intake, which are their statistics. To note, Toronto CAS boasts the highest placement rate of all Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario.
– 68 children in Toronto were placed. This is down from the average of 80 in previous years
– placements are decreasing as there are more kin placements (when a child is placed with family or acquaintances)
– 68 homestudies were completed in 2013
To put this into perspective, 679 people contacted Toronto CAS in 2013 about adoption. This means 90% drop off and only a tiny fraction become parents, since most children placed are part of sibling groups.
I cringe to think about what the statistics at other Children’s Aid Societies are if this is what excellent looks like.
Oh, and there was no reply from Children’s Aid Society to either article, or our letter.