Searching for transparency:

Full disclosure regarding kids with special needs

Monica and Justin got married 6 years, hopeful of starting a family. They purchased a family home preparing for their dream of children. One year into their marriage Monica was still not pregnant. After some attempts at fertility treatments they turned their efforts to adoption as a means of growing their family. 

As more information was provided to them, they realized it was the same child. The worker had given the child a different name but was not as detailed about his disabilities.  

As more information was provided to them, they realized it was the same child. The worker had given the child a different name but was not as detailed about his disabilities.  

They decided to pursue public adoption and attended an information session in December 2012. Hearing about the long waits with their local CAS they chose to do their PRIDE Training and get their homestudy done privately.

Monica and Justin completed their PRIDE training and homestudy just in time to attend the April 2013 Adoption Resource Exchange (ARE). The ARE is an event that allows Children’s Aid Societies  (CASs) in Ontario to present difficult to place children. Whether it is due to the child’s age, special needs of because it is in the child’s best interest to be placed outside their jurisdiction, the ARE is designed to cast a wider net in order to find the best family math.

After a long afternoon at the ARE watching videos, reviewing profiles and talking to social workers they expressed interest in a few children. Following the ARE, Monica stayed in touch with the agencies they had expressed interest with, providing the necessary documentation. During their wait one of the CAS they had communicated with at the ARE called them to present a little boy who had moderate to severe Cerebral Palsy.  The worker was very positive and anxious to place this little boy. Monica and Justin discussed the little boy very seriously and came to the decision that they were not able to parent a child with these needs. Monica called the worker and explained their decision. The worker said “Thank you, we will keep your profile for future matches”.

A few weeks later the same worker who had called about the little boy with Cerebral Palsy (CP) emailed them. In the email he stated that he had another potential match. It was a little boy who had a minor disability and difficulty with fine motor skills. Monica and Justin recalled similar difficulties with the other little boy who had CP.  As more information was provided to them, they realized it was the same child. The worker had given the child a different name but was not as detailed about his disabilities.   Monica and Justin were very disappointed and shocked by the workers lack of competency and disclosure. They immediately closed their file with that Children’s Aid Society.

This experience left them feeling very distrustful of public adoption. They feel competent to parent high risk children due to Monica’s professional background in working with special needs children however they do not feel confident they could parent children with certain physical challenges. From their experience they would ask for better transparency from CASs regarding the history and needs of the children they present. This journey is already challenging and prospective parents need to feel confident they are being given accurate and complete information to be able to make the best decision for their family. 

 

*A pseudonym has been used in this story

Disclaimer "These stories are the perspectives of awaiting parents. Adopt4Life aims to give parents a voice, and as such stories remain unchanged even if they may appear controversial. It is the hope of Adopt4Life that by bringing awareness to the thoughts and feelings of families, together we can work to bring change that benefits everyone."