Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our Foster/Adoption Financial Story: Rita's Family

This post is part of our new guest blogger series, "Our Foster Adoption Financial Story." As new posts are added to this series you will be able to find links to them at the bottom of this post.


We became foster parents in September 2009.  At the time I was a nanny and I was able to bring our foster son (16 months at the time) with me to work.  However, he had a lot of issues as foster kids tend to.  In particular, he had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and an attachment disorder and many developmental delays.  By the end of that spring, I was asked not to bring our son to work anymore.

We felt that our son would not do well in day care since it was important to build attachment with him, so I chose to stay home with him.  It was actually the best decision for him and once we began staying home and cut back on his plethora of visitations and appointments and let him "just be a kid," much of his aggression was gone.  I left work and became a "therapist/doctor mom" trying to help my child heal.

However, living on one income in the pricy D.C. area is not easy.  We cut back on everything we could and did what we could but we still are facing foreclosure.  Our only hope right now is to find a job in a different part of the country where housing is cheaper or move into the basement of my parents home.

Regrets? No. To help our son, I would stay home all over again for him.  He needed me.  We are now thinking he may need to be homeschooled, too.  Currently we have a special ed preschool that is funded by MA that we are hoping will help him (he is still socially/emotionally delayed).  That gives me 3 hours a day to so something to make money... but what can I do?  I've also thought of doing afterschool baby sitting, but we're not sure if our son can handle that either.  It's a tricky situation due to his needs.

My husband and I suffered infertility and 3 failed IVF's and chose to foster-to-adopt since we thought we could help more kids this way... Ironically, our son is the only one we have fostered so far.  I was a teacher for almost 10 years prior to that and have a Master's degree in education. You would think I could find SOME kind of job, but it's tricky with a child who is special needs and requires me to be there 24/7, and it's not like we can afford a baby sitter anyway.

This is also putting a huge strain on our marriage... we have been married for 17 years this summer but 14 of those years were child-free.  Suddenly we had a 16 month old child who is pretty much feral and needs me to be with him 24/7 so he can get the help kids with reactive attachment disorder (RAD) so badly need in attaching to a caregiver so they can function in life! Seriously, this kid never slept through the night or alone until about 4 months ago (at the age of four).  Even now, we are up/down with him or need to crawl in bed with him most nights.  I tried to do so much of it on my own that I got burnt out and any chance that my husband could get a second job went out the window because I needed a break!  It is very, very difficult to be alone all day with a child who has PTSD, attachment issues and developmental delays.  It can be even harder to go out in public!  For a long time the grocery store had to be a planned event or I would go in the middle of the night when my husband came home.  There were too many people and too many noises and things to look at for our son and he would freak out.

Before our son, before fostering, we were just average Joes who went to the beach every summer and had cook outs on the deck.  I worked, my husband worked.  We had friends and family and belonged to a church (my son can't handle church either).  When you get kicked out of Sunday School so many times, and preschool as well... you know you have to stay home with your child.

Our son is now four and things are a bit better, although we still have to follow a very structured schedule or he's thrown for a loop and the behaviors come out.  However, the financial damage is done.  Will it ruin  us? No.  But it sure did set us back a few pegs, and we don't feel like we can share our financial situation with friends and family.  All that said, for us it was well worth the financial setbacks in order to see our son's progress and know in our hearts we did what was best for him, even if that meant to sacrifice a few things.  He deserved it!

Bio: Rita lives in the Washington, DC, area with her husband and 4 year old son who was adopted through foster care. Her husband works at a radio station. Rita has a Master's degree in education but is currently a stay-at-home mom to her special needs son.

1 comment:

  1. It always warms my hear to hear about parents making tough sacrifices to do what they think is “right” (as if there is “right”) for their kids, especially those from “hard paces”.

    Speaking of Home schooling, my middle child does a public vertual school. She has a designated teacher....the parents are responsible for the daily instructions, they can and email the kids...they teach totally on line. I wonder if there is a program like that where you can teach at home...if not START one in your district!

    This is her school: