Category Archives: Adoption

Benefits of Hitting a Brick Wall

When I started this blog my intent was to begin building a reader base and to also write a book about the events that surrounded my husband and I attempting to foster and adopt our granddaughters.  We were denied contact, denied the ability to foster, DHS fought the recommendation in our favor on adopting the oldest child, and the girls were eventually adopted out to strangers, not family.  I wrote about it in Attempted Adoption: An Emotional Whirlwind three years ago.

I also began a memoir at the same time about the events surrounding that time in our life.  I got the first draft of the first four chapters written and then my life turned into a turmoil and I sat it aside.  I have had it tumbling around in my brain and do want to get back into the writing.

At the time I was working on those first four chapters I knew something didn’t seem right but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  I have just completed reading  The Truth of Memoir by Kerry Cohen and now know what was wrong.   I was writing when I was still angry at what happened.  If you write from an angry/frustrated viewpoint you do not treat the people in your book fairly.  I wanted to get back at Child Protective Services, Department of Human Services, Michigan Children’s Institute, the guardian ad litem, the judge…everyone who had a part in denying us our grandchildren.  There were other people who also frustrated me, such as my son’s ex-wife who was addicted to pain killers, which played a roll in the children being taken, and my son who was caught doing home invasions and went to prison for a lengthy enough period of time that his parental rights would be terminated.

When I started the book I felt it important to tell our story, to help people realize that this is a corrupt system and it is a nationwide problem.  At the same time I was out to make those I felt treated us unfairly look bad.  While their behavior may have been deplorable, I still need to treat them with fairness in the book, meaning I need to stress that it is my viewpoint.  I also need to make allowances for the fact that these people were doing their job, and recognize that it can be a pretty horrid job to be involved in.  While emotion is important to a memoir, so is understanding and fairness.

Memoir - not about blame or hurtSo what do I do now?  I pick up where I left off and keep on writing.  When I have completed the first draft I will go back and re-work, edit, and tweak every chapter.  From a legal standpoint I have to determine for which persons I will use real names and which people will have their name changed.  As I work my way through the writing and editing process I may on occasion share a small section here as a post.

My brick wall was life, but in the end it was a good wall to hit when it came to my writing.  I have had time to process the events now.  While I may not agree with the process and outcome, I can now deal more fairly with each person in my memoir.  The benefit of hitting that wall is that my writing will now be better because of it.

 

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Filed under Adoption, celebration, Child Protective Services, children, Coping, CPS, Department of Human Services, DHS, education, Family, Foster Care, Life is a Melting Pot, memoir

Caught up in Life

The past couple weeks it seems like life has been in a whirl and I can’t seem to catch up.   But then, how boring would life be if it were always the same.

Some of you who have been readers for a while know about the struggles of my husband, Ron, and I trying to adopt our two granddaughters.  We were denied the youngest, Kae-Lee, and she was adopted by her foster care parents almost a year ago.  We were still hoping to get Kiley, who is seven and severely handicapped, but we recently received the denial that they are giving her to complete strangers who live in northern Michigan, ironically in the very area where Ron’s parents retired to and we have spent a lot of time.  That adoption will most likely go through in the near future.  I did put in a call to the attorney that was trying to help us before to see what the retainer would be and what she thinks the chances are of winning a Section 45 hearing, but I already know from reading numerous appeals decisions that it is very hard to win.

Life is like a bicicleWhat is very frustrating is CPS/DHS denied us contact with the girls, both before and after the termination of parental rights.  Then when Michigan Children’s Institute wanted us to have supervised visits for MCI to make a final adoption decision, DHS fought against that as well and the judge ruled against us getting the visits.  So what is one of the reasons we are being denied?  Lack of contact for over three years — and yet they are giving her to a complete stranger.

When the adoption agency wrote their recommendation that we adopt, they recommended we get only the older one, not the younger.  Why?  Because the younger had been with the foster care family from the time she was an infant and they wanted to adopt.  As for Kiley, they said she should be adopted into a family as the only child — but they are awarding her to a family that has other handicapped children in it.

Their third reason was that we do not have experience in caring for a child with severe handicaps requiring 24-hour care.  The time we spent caring for her prior to being kidnapped by CPS apparently doesn’t count.  That’s okay, because I had started a book about this situation and was taking my time to see what the outcome would be.  Now that I know, I can delve into my writing more intensely and obviously will have a lot of time for promotion of the book once published.

I know we are not the only family this has happened to.  Kidnapping by Child Protective Services/Department of Human Services is a nationwide problem, no family is safe.  Removal of children from loving homes, placing them in foster care and then giving priority to non-family members, rather than biological relatives, has been going on for at least 15-20 years and needs to be stopped.

If you were not reading my blog at the time I wrote in more detail about our situation you can check it out at Attempted Adoption.  I would love to hear from others who have had experiences with this type of situation, good or bad.

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Filed under Adoption, Family, grandchildren

Caught in a Tornado

It started out as a heavy wind, then the momentum kept building, blowing harder and harder, starting to spin around me.  The power increased steadily until it was overpowering, hitting me with its impact and before I knew it I felt like I was spinning uncontrollably.  I was caught in a vicious tornado, life had thrown too much at me and I was loosing control.

Ultimate Measure of ManBack in July my husband, Ron, began having some trouble swallowing when eating.  By the time we returned home from vacation in August the problem had become much worse.  It was discovered that he had a large tumor in his esophagus and that it was cancerous.    During the time it took for the various tests and consultations with doctors to be done the tumor became worse and his ability to eat went from normal to soft foods only to very thing liquids/broths.  At the beginning of his 5-1/2 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation his esophagus was 90% blocked.  He has lost around 40 lbs and is down to around 131 lbs, very thin.  He finished his chemotherapy last week and today, the 4th of December, was his last radiation treatment.  The treatments have reduced the tumor and four about 1-2 weeks he was able to get some foods down, but the burning from the radiation has now caused that to be extremely painful.  We have to wait about a month for the burning to heal and the poisons from the chemo to leave his body.  In January he will have surgery to remove the esophagus and they will raise his stomach up to replace it.  Once those steps are done and he recovers from the surgery he should be able to resume a normal lifestyle.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that my husband and I have been trying to adopt our granddaughters and lost one to adoption already.  We found out on the 17th of November that although we have never received an official denial that another family has been found and she will likely be placed with them in January and adopted in June.  DHS has fought us all the way, and although we have not totally given up, we know that we are not likely to succeed in any attempts we make.  If you are not familiar with what has been going on, you can read about it in Power of Emotion and Attempted Adoption:  An Emotional Whirlwind.

My father has been experiencing health issues for the past year or so, plus struggling emotionally since my mother’s death in 2013.  He recently went into the hospital in a weakened state and with fluid around his lungs.  He was  transferred to a medical rehabilitation facility to regain his strength when a set-back sent him back to the hospital about a week ago.  I spoke with him on the 7th of December and he was uncomfortable, weak, and having difficulty eating/swallowing.  On the 2nd of December, his 75th birthday, he began to fail badly.  They attempted to drain fluid from his lungs and one collapsed, his kidneys were not working properly, and a multitude of other problems existed as well.  Throughout the day he changed floors in the hospital twice as his condition worsened.  By the end of the day he was intubated and not expected to live through the night.Death

The hospital is two hours from where I live.  Ron is weakest in the evenings and has had some dizzy spells and falls so I didn’t want to leave him home overnight.  The emotional impact was hitting me and I was struggling with  everything — the loss of Kiley to adoption, Ron’s condition, and my father’s anticipated death.  I was able to call the hospital and they held the phone to his ear so I could talk to him.  I was surprised when my sister, who lives near him, called the next morning and said she was at the hospital, he was failing very fast but they could maintain him for family to arrive.  I called into work and hit the road.  I was lucky, the roads were clear and very little traffic, I was at the hospital within about 2-1/2 hours from when I received the call.    My father’s skin was cold and clammy to the touch, his vitals were very low, but when I spoke to him I could tell from his facial movements that he could hear me and was able to register what I was telling him.  My sister and I decided to go to the cafeteria for a quick lunch, as her son-in-law and a pastor were expected to arrive and we would then remove life support and switch him to comfort measures only.   When we returned to the room we said a few final words to him.   Once we made the change in his treatment he passed peacefully within about 20 minutes.

children reinvent your worldOne life ends and another begins.  My daughter is pregnant, a high-risk pregnancy and her C-Section is scheduled for December 12th, so 1-1/2 weeks after the death of my father, the birth of another grandchild will take place.    The juggling of life continues as we have to drive her 45 minutes away to the hospital where she will deliver, take care of her other two children while she is at the hospital, and handle getting her and baby back home and to her follow up appointments.

I’m either adjusting to the speed of the tornado or it is loosing momentum.  We are now down to my grandchild’s birth, a family Christmas at our house, my husband’s surgery in January, continuing to monitor what happens with our granddaughter being adopted out to a non-relative rather than us, and my sister and I sorting through and cleaning out our parents’ home and belongings and handling the details of settling their estate.    It only goes to show that Life is a Melting Pot of incidents and activities.

 

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Filed under Adoption, cancer, death, Family, grandchildren, Life Changing, Life is a Melting Pot, marriage, memoir, parents

Toot My Own Horn

As a writer I love putting thoughts down and sharing them. This week I am going to share two columns I recently had printed in the local paper…I’m going to toot my own horn.

It seems as if the government is getting involved in our lives more and more, taking control in areas they never have in the past. Once such area has to do with the regulation of school lunches, so I wrote a column School Food Guidelines Will Not Solve Kids’ Nutrition Problems. I am sharing it with you here both as a link and with a copy of the column posted below in case the link no longer functions, as sometimes happens with newspapers.

The other column is on a subject much more personal to me.  My grandchildren were taken by CPS, parental rights terminated and although my husband and I tried to foster and adopt our granddaughters CPS/DHS fought us all the way. That battle is the subject of a book I am writing. I recently wrote a column that Foster Care Policy Change is Modest Given the Need for Reform.

I hope you enjoy the subjects on which I have chosen to “toot my own horn”. If you have any accomplishments to share, please do in the comments section below.

Times Herald Column - Foster Care Policy Change Times Herald Column - School Food Guidelines

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Filed under Adoption, Child Protective Services, children, CPS, Department of Human Services, DHS, education, Family, food, Foster Care, grandchildren, kids, Life is a Melting Pot, lunch, nutrician, school

Attempted Adoption: An Emotional Whirlwind

Kiley Grogan, our granddaughter we are trying to adopt.

Kiley Grogan, our granddaughter we are trying to adopt.

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.

0014 Kae-Lee-1

Kae-Lee Joy Grogan

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.

Kiley Grogan's photo posted on MARE.org

Kiley Grogan’s photo posted on MARE.org

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.

Kae-Lee Grogan July 2012 taking during a sibling visit to which we were not invited.  Kae-Lee was lost to adoption.  We wanted to adopt our two granddaughters together and raise them as sisters, but Kae-Lee was awarded to her foster care parents so we have no contact.

Kae-Lee Grogan July 2012 taking during a sibling visit to which we were not invited. Kae-Lee was lost to adoption. We wanted to adopt our two granddaughters together and raise them as sisters, but Kae-Lee was awarded to her foster care parents so we have no contact.

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.

Kiley Grogan - the granddaughter we are trying to adopt.  Photo taken in 2012 during a sibling visit to which we were not invited.

Kiley Grogan – the granddaughter we are trying to adopt. Photo taken in 2012 during a sibling visit to which we were not invited.

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.

While we were not invited to sibling visits, the biological mother's family was allowed to attend.  This photograph is a niece of the biological mother, in yellow is Kae-Lee Grogan, lost to adoption, Katlyn Hosang, half-sister to Kiley and Kae-Lee and who is being adopted by her step-grandfather, and in the stroller is Kiley Grogan, who we are trying to adopt.

While we were not invited to sibling visits, the biological mother’s family was allowed to attend. This photograph shows a niece of the biological mother in the pink shirt, Kae-Lee Grogan is in the yellow top and is the granddaughter lost to adoption, Katlyn Hosang, half-sister to Kiley and Kae-Lee is being adopted by her step-grandfather, and in the stroller is Kiley Grogan, who we are are still trying to adopt.

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.

Kiley Ann Grogan - MARE.org listing

Kiley Ann Grogan – MARE.org listing

Patrick and his girls - Kiley Grogan, Katlyn Hosang, and Kae-Lee Grogan

Patrick and his girls – Kiley Grogan, Katlyn Hosang, and Kae-Lee Grogan

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Filed under Adoption, Child Protective Services, CPS, Department of Human Services, DHS, Family, Foster Care, Life Changing, Life is a Melting Pot, MCI, memoir, Michigan Childrens Institute