Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Generational Problems

In response to The Ball is Being Dropped Somewhere, Cyndi wrote:

I have been reading this blog for a long time and I am pretty sure your daughter will not learn to manage her life, period. I can also guess given her issues and abilities she will become a mom of a kid that she will not be able to parent and then this entire story will play itself out for yet another generation. I am an adoptive mom and have been a foster mom and I see this all to often. It is a really sad state of affairs.

My fear is that Cyndi may very well be right.  What's worse is that there is absolutely nothing that we can do about it.

The problem boils down to the fact that Danielle has problems, but the system doesn't see her problems as being bad enough to see her as being truly disabled.  She has at least two other older biological half-siblings who are classified as developmentally disabled.  One lives in a supervised adult guardianship arrangement, the other receives Social Security Disability Income, lives independently, but has a caseworker who does things like pay bills and help arrange housing.

Danielle isn't impaired enough to qualify for those services.  Worse, she thinks she knows everything she needs to know, and views our opinions and help as nothing but unwanted intrusions.  She doesn't want to follow our rules, she doesn't want to live in our house, but it's becoming increasingly clear that she's probably not going to do so well on her own.

I'd like to think that maybe we'll be surprised.  Sometimes, a few ugly lessons from the school of hard knocks is enough to kick some sense into errant young people.  I'm just not sure if Danielle is truly capable of learning those lessons.

I hope we'll be pleasantly surprised.  I fear we will be disappointed in the way that we expect.

In response to the same post, Batgirl wrote:

I work as a sub teacher, mostly in special ed (a lot of kids like yours). I heard a SPED teacher once refer to this cycle as job security. Sad but's amazing how many IEP's start with "Student was born to a mother who admits drinking and using drugs and having no prenatal care..." It sucks.

The generational aspect of this is not lost on me.  Danielle's maternal grandmother was an illegal immigrant.  She was disabled, uneducated, and never learned to read or write.  Danielle's mother, also illegal, was uneducated, a drug user, and we suspect that she may have worked as a prostitute in front of her children.  We've never met her but, by all accounts from reports and social workers who knew her, she suffers from developmental disabilities as well.  All the reports that mentioned her noted that she seemed, "slow."

Danielle's grandmother was clearly a victim of poverty, poor parenting, and a lack of education.  Those problems have plagued her children and her grandchildren.  There's no doubt that this generational legacy has left its unfortunate mark on Danielle, too.

In the end, I think that sad reality is that as much as foster and adoptive parents want to make a difference and want to break the generational cycles of substance abuse, mental illness, poverty and ignorance, we simply can't do it.  I suspect that the only way to stop the cycle is to prevent children like Danielle from breeding, but that treads dangerously close to the eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The idea that only those who are worthy to breed should be allowed to breed has a very chilling effect, doesn't it?

But if we can't stop birth parents from breeding, and we can't stop them from their substance-abusing ways, how do we stop them from inflicting so much damage upon their children?

The truth is, we can't.

All we can do is the best that we can do.  We can love our foster and adopted children.  We can care about them.  We can try to do the right thing for them.  But in the end, we have to let them go, because they all turn 18, and have the legal right to be treated as adults in the free world.  Only the most profoundly disabled and impaired qualify for further supervision and financial support into adulthood.

Batgirl is right, it does suck, but there's not a damn thing any of us can do about it.  The damage has already been done.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to get comments from my readers. Please be aware that comment moderation is on and there may be a delay between the time you post your remarks and the time they appear on the blog.

If you would like your comment read and/or published, sign your name to it and play nice.