I have been contemplating when to post this, actually having originally written it about six weeks ago, but not wanting to interfere with the process and at the same time wanting to share the frustrations we have endured trying to adopt our grandaughters. We lost Kae-Lee to adoption when she was awarded to the foster care parents rather than us. Since then we have been working on adopting the older grandaughter, Kiley, and have been trying to obtain answers as to why DHS is against us having even supervised contact with her. Over the course of the past two years we have been dealing with this quietly, waiting patiently and expecting that the professionals involved would do their jobs appropriately and efficiently. However our patience has not paid off and the situation continues to grow more frustrating as time goes on.
In August of 2012 my husband and I applied to adopt our two granddaughters, Kiley Grogan and Kae-Lee Grogan, who had been in foster care since June 2010. At the time they went into foster care we had applied to have them placed in our home and DHS denied our request. After the termination of parental rights in 2012 we applied to adopt. Our application packet was turned in within a month of receiving it from the adoption agency. It took Ebony Armstrong, adoption worker for Bethany Christian Services, seven months to write her report and submit it to MCI in Lansing. William Johnson is the one person at MCI who makes the decision on adoption for every child who is a state ward in Michigan. During the entire time the girls were in foster care DHS denied us any access to our granddaughters, and the adoption agency continued to withhold our contact.
After waiting for seven months during which we were lead to believe they were going to recommend we adopt our two granddaughters together, the adoption agency advised us that they had talked with MCI in Lansing and based on Lansing’s instructions they were going to recommend the youngest child, Kae-Lee, be adopted by her foster care parents, who had also applied to adopt. Their reasoning was that Kae-Lee had bonded with them, not with us. Of course this had happened, we had been denied all access! After Kae-Lee’s adoption went through, to strangers so we have no contact, I created a photo book Kae-Lee Joy Grogan: Forever in our Hearts.
Bethany Christian Services did recommend we adopt the older granddaughter, Kiley, who had suffered severe brain trauma at seven months of age and is visually, mentally and physically handicapped. We also discovered that Kiley had been listed on the MARE.org website, incorrectly stating that she has no siblings when she has a full-biological sister and a half-sister who had also been placed into foster care, plus she has another half-sister by a different mother. Although they never indicated she had been matched with us, her biological grandparents, almost immediately after the adoption agency indicated that another family was “interested” Kiley’s Status on MARE.org changed to “My name is KILEY and I was matched with a recruited family on Friday September 19, 2014.” The original MARE.org listing is shown at the bottom of this posting. As of this date we have never received an official denial from William Johnson regarding our application to adopt Kiley.
It was approximately four months after Bethany Christian Services submitted their report to Lansing before William Johnson, Supervisor at MCI in Lansing, issued his recommendation. Because DHS in St. Clair was objecting to our adoption William Johnson stated that we needed to receive supervised visits with Kiley so he could make a determination on our ability to provide for her care. The visits were set up to begin but the day before the first visit took place a hearing to which we were not invited nor notified of (Ebony Armstrong, adoption worker, refused to provide us with information regarding hearings after the termination) was held and our visits were suspended. We were contacted after that hearing by Ebony Armstrong, adoption worker, who informed us that Rory Ayotte, DHS Foster Care Worker had objected to our receiving the supervised visits and that the Honorable Elwood Brown had suspended the visits. We were never given any notice, any opportunity to respond to whatever accusations were made, and when Ebony Armstrong told us she had a court order that we not receive the visits she refused to provide us with a copy of that order, and no order has ever been provided to us by anyone. I find it extremely upsetting that a foster care worker who was not involved in the case after June 2011 (a new DHS Foster Care Worker was involved from June 2011 through the termination in August 2012 and was favorable to our adopting) was allowed to make objections and that Judge Brown issued an order without giving us the opportunity to appear in court and respond to whatever those objections may have been.
That happened in November 2013, and we were told by the adoption worker that William Johnson was going to order transcripts and talk with Samantha Lord, guardian ad litem, about resolving the issue. We have repeatedly emailed William Johnson over the entire course of the adoption process and stated that if he had any questions to feel free to contact us. No one ever has — not William Johnson, not Samantha Lord, and not the DHS worker who made the objections.
We realized that Kiley was due for a re-check with her pediatric cardiologist this year. She was born with the center wall of her heart being too thick and was on a compounded heart medication the first two years of her life. When she was removed from the heart medication at age two the pediatric cardiologist informed the parents that she needed to come back five years later for a re-check and ultrasound of the heart. We advised Ebony Armstrong, adoption worker at Bethany Christian Services of this both verbally and in writing and sent a copy to the guardian ad litem, Samantha Lord. When we notified Ebony Armstrong, Bethany Christians Services, verbally she kept saying “the pediatrician said she is fine,” discounting the need for a specialist to re-check her heart. The foster care worker from Bethany Christian Services stated that Kiley’s insurance has been changed and it wouldn’t be covered and then that the pediatrician would not be able to refer her back to her pediatric cardiologist (I had provided them with the contact information). The foster care worker did eventually say they could check with the pediatrician , but that the pediatrician would not be able to refer her back to the original cardiologist.
This is extremely frustrating. A child that was removed from the parents in 2010 for alleged medical neglect (they were giving her a recommended break from her physical therapy) is now being denied medical follow-up because DHS and/or the adoption agency has changed her insurance and it probably won’t be covered. If you take responsibility for a child you assume all their medical needs and expenses, regardless of whether or not you were careless about the kind of medical insurance you put her on. Kiley was on medicaid that covered those needs when she was placed in foster care, and she should still be on medicaid so it is a rather poor excuse for their negligence.
This entire adoption process was supposed to be a rather easy process, where everything just flowed into place and instead it has turned into an absolute nightmare. We desperately want answers on what DHS has against us, we want to make sure Kiley receives the needed medical follow up, and we want to adopt her. She is a beautiful little girl who deserves the love and care of her grandparents, not living in a foster care home. Even though someone has now applied to adopt, the excuse that she cannot bond with us is weak…we are her biological grandparents and had a bond with her prior to her being placed in foster care. How can Rory Ayotte, Samantha Lord, and Judge Brown believe that she is capable of bonding with total strangers but not us? It makes no sense, but than nothing in this case does.
We had some difficulties finding an attorney that handles adoption and was willing to drive to St. Clair County. We were able to obtain one through Ford Motor Company’s legal benefits, and after the attorney attended an August 18, 2014 hearing with us she was also baffled. The attorney had filed an appearance on our behalf, but Judge Brown was short with her and instructed her to go beyond the rail, even though attorneys are allowed to stand inside the rail, even if it is not their case. Neither Samantha Lord nor the adoption worker and foster care worker from Bethany Christian Services brought up Kiley’s medical needs, so the judge is not even aware of those. Both Ebony Armstrong and the foster care worker did inform our attorney that they are still favorable to our adopting Kiley, but it is DHS, the guardian ad litem and the court that has caused the breakdown of that process. The court refused to allow our attorney to look at the file and she was refused a copy of the court order in which Judge Brown allegedly ordered we not receive visits. She did say she would attempt to obtain a copy of that order for us and contact William Johnson regarding the situation at hand, but to date we have not received any additional information from her. What the attorney did tell us is that in a weekly meeting at her firm she advised the other attorneys of what had happened in court and the Judge’s conduct towards her and they all agreed that there is something strange with this case. It appears DHS and/or the Court are attempting to hide something.
This situation has been an emotional whirlwind for us for four years now. Kiley, Kae-Lee and Katlyn were separated from each other and placed in foster care by DHS in June 2010. We have tried to be patient and allow the professionals to conduct themselves in an efficient and appropriate manner. They have failed our granddaughters and it is time to stand up and take action. If nothing else, their refusal of our adoption application has provided me with the time to engage in making people aware of the tragic conduct of DHS/CPS, the adoption agencies they hire and the Courts that support such conduct by supporting the destruction of families and ultimately, the destruction of the emotional well-being of children.
If you have lost children or grandchildren, whether temporary or permanent, because of the bad behavior of workers employed by Child Protective Services and/or the Department of Human Services please let me hear from you. I know this is a country-wide problem and I would like to communicate with others who have had similar experiences. We need to unite to strive for changes to the laws of this country to put an end to such disgraceful mishandling of our children and enact appropriate sanctions for those workers who misuse their power and cause emotional trauma and suffering to children under the claim that they are protecting them.