It started from the very beginning. We realized early on that we couldn’t depend on our case worker in Conway for any help or support.
Jen read through Abby’s paperwork, and saw her as just another case file. She could never admit that there might be a mistake in her file.
By the time Jen came out to our home to do the pre-adoption home study, we had gotten to know Abby pretty well. Jen tried to tell us that Abby had an IQ of 56 because this is what the paperwork stated. We told Jen that from what we were seeing, this was not true. We knew that the tests given to Abby were given under improper circumstances, but Jen would not listen. After all, these were “experts”. As if experts couldn’t be wrong. We dropped the subject, because we knew that there was no way her IQ was that low. Abby could not have done the things she was doing on daily basis if it was. We would continue to work with Abby, and hope that Jen would sooner or later see that what we were saying was true. This never happened.
Even after several special ed teachers, the principal at her school and her therapist told Jen that Abby’s IQ couldn’t be that low, Jen would still not believe it. After working with special needs children for years, the educators could tell that Abby’s IQ was more in the 80’s-90’s. An IQ of 100 is normal. Jen never budged on her opinion.
Jen never really got to know her as we did. How could she? She only spent one hour with Abby each month. We were with her 24/7.
Jen’s listening skills never improved. Each time we tried to tell her something about Abby, she would tell us “you have to accept her for who she is”. We knew Abby was a little on the “slow” side. Abby was definitely very immature for her age. She acted more like 8 or 9 than she did 13. She lacked many social skills that most children have by that age because of her past, not her abilities. She definitely was not mildly retarded as an IQ of 56 would have put her. We would just drop it. Abby was progressing, so it didn’t matter what Jen thought. We believed in Abby, even if Jen didn’t. We had the case worker in MA to back us up. He believed in us, and in Abby.
Jen not only didn’t help or support our family, she hindered it. She wouldn’t listen to us. We tried to tell her that Abby was not the child that was in the reports. Month after month she just kept repeating “you have to accept her for who she is”. Who Abby was on paper, was not the child that we had in our home. We kept telling Jen that she has to accept the papers are wrong. It was a no win situation.
Time went on, and Abby improved almost daily. We got the help we needed through her case worker in MA. Asking Jen, or the Conway office for anything was a waste of time. We asked for respite, and were denied it by Jen. We asked for family counselling, and had to wait 8 weeks. It was pointless to even go to them.
As of August 26, we could have legally filed adoption papers. The child has to reside with you for at least 6 months before any papers can be filed in the court. We had this date marked down with a giant star on our calendar. The day came, and went. Jen was holding up the adoption. The papers were always somewhere other than where they should have been. She had to give written consent to MA before anything could be done. She had given the verbal, but that wasn’t what MA needed. Jen knew this.She had been told multiple times by us, and by Abby’s caseworker in MA. It was the end of October before she sent a written okay to MA to go ahead. This put Abby on the edge of her nerves. In fact, we had both therapists write a formal letter to tell Jen to get this adoption through ASAP, to avoid Abby from having a meltdown. Abby had one failed adoption in the past, and she was scared to death that this one would fail too. Jen could have avoided the two months worth of stress in our family, by filing the paperwork on time.
We finally got the word that National Adoption Day, November 19, 2009 was to be our date to finalize. We were all so excited. An end, or really the beginning, was just a few weeks away.
Halloween was Abby’s first trick or treating ever. She told every house she went to that she was being adopted in just a couple of weeks. She was so happy.
November started, and we started marking off the days until the adoption. We thought Abby was happy, but started to wonder.
By November 7, something had changed. We aren’t sure to this day what really happened. Abby started to act as if she didn’t want to be adopted. With the adoption only 10 days away, we had to find out.
Abby came home happy from school. We then got ready and headed out to therapy with Alice. Our appointment was for 4:30. We went into the office first. We discussed with Alice our fears. We wanted to know if Abby truly wanted to be adopted. We asked her to “find out” for us. After about 10 minutes we left, and Abby went in. About 10 minutes later, Abby came out and said Alice wanted us to come back in.
As we sat down, Alice stated that Abby did not want to be adopted, and that Abby felt like she was going to hurt herself. This had been a tactic of Abby’s when she wanted her own way. She told us that Abby did not want to return home with us. I told Alice that she needed to call 911. She hemmed and hawed, and I told her that if she didn’t dial 911, that I would have to. She tried to talk us into taking Abby home and talking with Tammy the next night. I told her again that 911 had to be called. I had to do it. She would not.
I called from my cell phone while still in Alice’s office. I told the dispatcher that my foster daughter was threatening to hurt herself. I told him that we were in therapy at the time. I gave him the address, and he then had the ambulance and proper team dispatched. Abby was taken to Huggins Hospital for evaluation. We arrived at the hospital shortly after the ambulance, close to 6 p.m. We were told that Abby did not want to go home.
We were told that Abby would not be evaluated until close to 11 p.m or after. They knew that she was not in danger of harming herself. We wanted to go home and sleep because we had been up since 4:30 a.m We were told that we could not go home and sleep and that if we left we could be charged with child abandonment. We needed help and support from someone at the Conway office. There is a 24 hour emergency person at each NH district office, yet we didn’t receive any support. We thought someone would come, or at least call and tell the hospital that we were not required to stay there because Abby would not be going home with us. No one called or supported us. No one cared that we had just lost a child.
We slept on chairs in the waiting room, or the floor. We were there until 4:30 a.m. Still no support from anyone. NH told us it was a MA problem. MA told us it was a NH problem. We were stuck between two states, and hadn’t slept in 24 hours.
November 10- Gail called at approximately 1 pm. She told us “there had been a report to the state of a 13 year old girl out of school, and they had traced it back to Abby”. What kind of lying nonsense does the Conway office pull on people? There would have been no report of her being out of school, since the school was told. I am also sure that Gail had a report on her desk at 8 a.m and was well aware that Abby was not with us, since Abby chose to leave our home and was put into a group home in Manchester, NH very early in the morning. Another lie from the Conway office.
If this is the kind of support NH offers it’s foster to adopt parents, we don’t want any part of it.
No one in the Conway office seems to care that we lost a child. We have never gotten any kind of help or support for our loss.
They don’t seem to care that they lost a good foster home.
We truly believe that if Jen had helped and supported us, instead of fighting us the whole time, Abby would now be our daughter.