Friday, June 7, 2013

Open Letter to a Hospital Social Worker

Dear Hospital Social Worker:
Today you helped seal the fate of a baby who had a chance at a good life. You also participated in breaking the hearts of a family and their son, awaiting a brother. You have no idea what you've done because you don't know the history of the people you are manipulating.  Four months ago, a woman in crisis called for help because she had nowhere to live, no family support, no income, three kids, and she was pregnant. She wanted an abortion. Perhaps we shouldn't have talked her out of it, but we did. She was given some options and she chose adoption. She chose a lovely family and they helped her get on her feet, get a place to stay, and feed her kids. Her own family had kicked her out more than once. She was 41 and has bounced from place to place her whole life due to drug use and familial problems.  Her large family won't help, but they criticize a lot and tell her she's worthless.  You don't know this because you weren't involved.  The adoptive parents talked to her almost daily and she shared a lot. She shared that she had a previous problem with drugs and that she had a warrant out for her arrest because of it.  She had failed to appear in court.  She appeared to be using speed.  A plan was made that after having the baby, she would go in and handle the warrant and try to get her life back on track.  To that end, it was arranged for her to go to a sober living home with two of her three children.  She agreed and felt that was a good plan that the court would applaud.  That was all paid for by the adoptive parents.  They wanted her to succeed.  They knew there was a chance that the child would be born drug-exposed, but they were willing to take him anyway and to help his mother.  They offered to skype, send pictures, and visit with him over time, so that she would feel that she was still a part of his life.  That was incredibly generous of them.  You weren't there for that either.

We arranged for her to be taken to doctor visits, other errands, and for food.  I personally drove hundreds of miles taking her where she needed to go.  We helped her with job searches and arranged for her to be in a 12 step program. Several organizations and multiple individuals helped  financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  We moved her and her kids.  I didn't see you there helping.  All the while she told the adoptive parents how wonderful they were and how grateful she was that they were there for her when her family wasn't. Her family turned their back on her and her own mother told her she would never get a job and that she was worthless.  Meanwhile, several social service organizations, the adoptive parents, myself, and others found ways to help her, taking care of her and making sure she had a plan for the future so that she could support the children she already has. Their life has been hell, moving from place to place, leaving friends, and not having necessities. She knew that she didn't want that for this baby.  She didn't have a home to take him to.

Last night, she told the adoptive mom to have adoptive dad and big brother get on a plane so that they could take the baby today when she was being released from the hospital. You weren't there. We questioned her at that time and asked if she was sure, so that another child wouldn't have his heart broken.  She stated emphatically that she had made a commitment and even though her family wasn't on board, she was going to keep her commitment.  Her family had pressured her to keep the baby, even though they had thrown her out when she was pregnant and told her to abort.  They insisted "no more kids".  This morning, she told the adoptive parents to bring up the car seat and she sat down with the state mandated ASP worker, who is her advocate in the adoption, and signed all the papers.  She didn't waver. You weren't there.

Then you went into the room.  45 minutes later when you emerged, she had changed her mind.  Do you realize that by talking her out of the adoption, this baby will suffer and may be in danger?  She was overheard on the phone telling someone, "they wouldn't give me the Vicodin, but I know someone who can get me pain medication".  You wouldn't let anyone back in the room to talk to her, even to verify that it was HER decision.  You went so far as to make sure armed guards didn't let anyone near her -- the people who had helped her all those months were told to leave.  All along, for months, the plan was the same and she was solid in her desire to do right by her baby and to build a future for her other children.  You are sending her home to live with a dozen other family members in a small one story, three bedroom house where there isn't even enough room for beds for the children and the adults are on air mattresses. Yes, the same one she was kicked out of just a few weeks ago.  You see, her family can't tolerate her for long.  Her mother is overbearing and wants to control.  Her sister is the same.  It's the sister's house. They butt heads until someone has to go and it's always her.  This has been a pattern and the children have suffered as a result, changing homes in the middle of the night, sleeping at the homes of other random people, some drug users, and out on the street.  They watch as their mother does what she has to do to feed them.  They hear it all.  The youngest asked to go with the adoptive mom instead of having to go with his grandmother.  It's all very heartbreaking.  But you weren't there for that either.

There is so much more history and drama in the family that you can't possibly begin to understand what you don't know.  And yet, you forced your will.  How selfish is it to assume that you know what's best for this woman or anyone?  How tragic is it that you altered the life of a little one who could have had a home and a life and opportunities for an education?  Instead, he will be like his brothers.  No preschool, different schools -- several per school year -- and no chance at a higher education.  Now that will make four generations of welfare grads.  You did a disservice not only to this child, but to his mother.  She had a chance to get out of the chaos.  You have sentenced her to a life of addiction.  She would have been able to have a place to live while she got clean and sober, a chance at a decent job and, subsequently, the ability to make a home for her two minor children.  She would have had ongoing support.  She will likely now end up, at some point, being arrested for her warrant.  Her kids may end up with the state or, worse yet, with her family.  The adoptive parents were inconsolable.  They didn't blame her.  They knew you pressured her.  We all did.  They have stated that what this cost them both financially and emotionally won't allow them to adopt again.  She wasn't pressured to place her baby.  She made that decision on her own and she sought out adoptive parents. She was pressured by you to parent and you manipulated her feelings and made her feel like a horrible mom.  In fact, she was being a good mom and providing something more for her child.  You have your own agenda. You didn't see her crying when you left the room.  You didn't see the adoptive parents sobbing in the hallway.  You weren't there when a 6'5" man bent down to try to explain to an 8 year old that the child that the birth mom introduced him to as "your little brother" wasn't coming home, all while crying.  What you did was unprofessional, unethical, and aggressive. If you can sleep tonight, you have no soul.

1 comment:

Heather said...

This experience is so painful to read, I can't imagine living it. How can these types live with themselves? I pray that the adoptive family will recover...what good can come of this?