30 October 2014

The Second Set of Adoption Papers (pt. 1)

I don't want to write this. I don't want to remember what happened. This was the most traumatic single event of my life thus far. I want to forget the entire thing. 

What I do want is to tell how that trauma affected me and our family afterward. I want to show what trauma looks like when it strangles you long after, when you thought you were safely out of the woods. For everything following to be fully understood I have to share this event, the morning we signed the papers undoing the physical custody of our son. 

I mentioned in an earlier post that our family had been threatened by an employee of LDSFS. This threat controlled how everything went the day we signed those papers, so I have to start there. The day after letting our caseworker know we had decided it was best for Noah to be with another couple he was rushed in for another emergency surgery for a duodenal obstruction. Bowel obstructions were a frequent part of his Russell-Silver Syndrome and each time he had one they would give it about a day to resolve on its own and then take him in for surgery if it didn't. Around Christmas during our 6 weeks at Primary Childrens Hospital he had a few bowel obstructions that resolved on their own, one when he was actually on his way to surgery. Anyway, he was in the hospital recovering when the threat was made.

To back up again, in Utah there is a 6 month waiting period after adoption papers are signed. During this time the adoptive couple has physical custody but the overseeing agency (LDSFS in our case) retains legal custody. That means the agency can intervene and remove a child at their discretion, although this rarely happens. We were nearly 5 months into our 6 month waiting period.

Now back to the hospital. One couple had come to meet Noah and I had serious concerns about their ability to be the home he needed. I let our caseworker know the issues, the things the couple said, and she passed my concerns along to the LDSFS office who had control over choosing the new couple. She got back to me and said that office felt good about this couple but that they were still considering other homes for him. 

Over the next few days several things didn't line up. While Noah's birth family was being told this LDSFS office was waiting for his birth mom to give her approval of a couple, we were still being told that many couples were being considered, and the one couple who had met him was told immediately that he was theirs and it was a done deal. All of these conflicting accounts had the same woman at their source. I was in the hospital with my son, helping him recover from yet another surgery, dealing with the heartache of preparing to let him go, helping our daughter grieve, and at the same time getting all this conflicting information about Noah's future. 

I decided to go to the source and call this woman directly. I left her a brief, friendly message saying I was Noah's mom and was hearing a lot of conflicting information about what was going on and would appreciate if she could call me back and let me know what the latest information was. I had never heard directly from anyone in the office over my son's case (and never did).

Five minutes after leaving the message I received a call from our caseworker. "(Worker) just called me. She said you need to facilitate a smooth transition for this couple or they'll move forward without you." I was confused, so I asked for clarification. We needed to not ruffle any feathers, not ask any questions, do exactly as we were told or they would terminate our custody immediately and take our son. We would be completely powerless to stop them. All because I simply asked to know what was going on.

So with that threat hanging over our heads, we moved forward...do as we're told or he'll be ripped away from us.

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