Thursday, February 8, 2007

Step One: Assessment, Part Five: What Kind of Family Are We

Matching is a competition of sorts. The kind of issues a child has, the number of children in a sibling group, the age of the child and the child's race all determine how much "competition" there will be.

For example, I know that if I let the word out that I know about a 1 year old Caucasian boy with no issues, I will be able to, on my own, find 40 or 50 families, just in my circle of connections, that will want that child.

If I post a sibling group of six African American kids, ages 9-16, I won't get a single study.

In fact, I checked on a 16 year old Hispanic male that I had first registered with our agency almost 3 years ago and we never had a single study sent. Not a single family in 3 years was interested in him.

So, let's say that you are one of those families who has determined, for the sake of discussion, that the only child you are willing to parent is a 1 year old Caucasian boy.

Are you going to have what it takes to win the competition? I realize this may sound crass, but what is the "perfect family?"

Fortunately, the perfect family is defined differently by every social worker. And the perfect family for a particular child is different than it might be for another child.

But, if you're talking about a one year old caucasian boy with no issues, the perfect familiy might well be defined as:

» 2 parent, male/female couple
» middle class
» Caucasian
» Wealthy enough, but not too wealthy
» Stay at home parent
» No more than one sibling, at least 2 years older
» Great neighborhood, schools, etc.
» In the same state as the waiting child
» In an agency that has a good reputation with the social worker
» Endured enough negative things to show that you can handle some adversity, but not so much that it damaged you a lot.

If you differ from this, then you may get chosen, but your chances are more slight with everything that isn't "on the list."

And as I said, this could be the list. Or it might not be, depending on the worker.

Every once and a while I get surprised. A match that I thought had no chance of being a match became one. But realistically, there are certain kind of families that social workers look at for certain kinds of kids and the closer to the "traditional" family a family is, the more chances they have for the children that seem to be considered the "most desirable."

1 comment:

FosterAbba said...

And that, in a nutshell, is why we are fostering and may never end up adopting. When we went into this, we were looking at adoption. But, once we figured out how the game is played, and how the "desirable" kids will always go to heterosexual couples, we decided we'd foster instead.

That way, if we have a kid who is truly more than we can handle, we can call "uncle" without breaking promises to the child or anyone else.

Sad, but true.