Adoption and Financial Assistance: Tools for Navigating the Bureaucracy

By Rita Laws; Tim O'Hanlon | Go to book overview

11
Setbacks and Victories: One Family's Story

No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I'm not talking about the children. Their behavior is always normal.

-- Bill Cosby (b. 1937)


A NOTE ABOUT THIS CASE

This story is a composite of the true-life experiences of several families. It is representative of what adoptive parents in most states must go through in order to advocate for their children's needs in a retroactive subsidy fair hearing or administrative hearing. It illustrates the long-term nature of advocacy. In this case, the parents renegotiated the contract several times while raising their son.

Some of this composite may seem unrealistic, even outrageous, but every element of it is based on true-life advocacy cases, and typical ones, at that. It is the very unreal nature of the roadblocks adoptive parents face that breaks them down. For example, when told no emphatically by a state worker, the average inexperienced adoptive parent has no reason to believe that the reasoning behind the denial could be faulty. People who have never had reason to mistrust the system are not likely to doubt what they are told. Yet, research tells us that the typical social worker receives inadequate adoption support training, including the proper negotiation of an adoption assistance contract. There's a good chance that no should be yes, or at least, maybe.

The state in this story is referred to as "State X" because of the everchanging nature of adoption policy and law in the United States. Every

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