An adoptive mom to 21 children in Florida, Amy, sent out this email today and I'm using it with her permission. It impressed me on every level as we moms are often shunted aside when we struggle to find help and resources for our children. Amy also is sharing her email address here, DailyDalliance@aol.com if anyone needs to contact her regarding having a legal plan in place.
Sharon has been struggling in trying to find help for her mentally ill daughter just as I am also trying to secure therapeutic, versus punitive, help fpr Fabian.
There comes a time when it is unsafe for some children to remain in family settings, either unsafe for them or for others. There truly is very little help available as these behaviors are often so bizarre as to leave everyone at a loss. To be blunt, sadly, usually our children, that were adopted from the foster care system, came from marginal birth parents who often suffered from their own diagnoses.
Amy has undergone many trials and years later, like most of us, has learned how to continue to seek help that, at one time, we may have either been too polite, or even too timid to ask for...often unrealistically feeling like we ought to be able to handle this or that. Yeah, right.
Amy's email read:
"Every adoptive mom needs a course on posturing. In governmental offices, medicaid, SSI, hospitals, etc, you need to burn this phrase into your brain: "Let me talk to your supervisor." That one phrase has helped me sooo much over the years. And if that supervisor doesn't help, keep going up the ladder until you get to the CEO. Then you get help.
Know your rights. Yesterday Jeremy's bus was very late, (He rides a special bus for kids with behavior problems) and I needed the car so I had to take DH to work. So Jeremy and I started off on the 45 minute trek to his school. When we get there and sign in at the main office, the principal says Well our special bus driver is sick, you'll have to pick him up later.
Sooo...knowing the kid's rights, I said, "So you're saying that since I can't pick him up that he can't come to school today." She counters with "No, I'm saying you'll have to pick him up." I reiterate I cannot do that as I have to be home for the other kids. She says, have someone else pick him up.
So I pull out the big gun. I said, "Well let's go have a look at his IEP. I'm pretty sure it says he needs transportation for his special needs." She looks at me and realizes I know this boy's rights. She says, "Just a minute." And she calls the bus garage and arranges for another bus to be dispatched and bring him home.
I could have taken another hour and a half out of my day, making it 3 hours I spent in the car going to and from that school. But just a little posturing got me what I wanted.
When Ethan was a baby and needed heart surgery desperately and I was having trouble getting medicaid, I went up the supervisor levels there but still wasn't getting anywhere. So I called Senator Bob Graham's office and told them the story. Now that probably wouldn't have gotten me anywhere, but I told the aide "Tell Senator Graham that his help to save the life of a little boy with DS would make a GREAT newspaper piece." BLAM...I had the medicaid that day. The article in the paper was out in a week.
Posturing. Supervisors, state level administrators, and especially attorneys. In 37 years of doing this, that's what has made my life easier. I know my rights and how to enforce them. And now with the legal plan in effect, I have some power behind my posturing with CPS as well. I love the idea of when CPS shows up, being able to go call my attorney and then hand the phone out the door to the "angels of torture." So many problems over the years could have been prevented by having this legal plan in effect at that time.
If there is one thing that should be taught in a homestudy, and isn't, this would be it."