My hard truth: Post Adoption Trauma

My cousin was my help, my last hope, my saving grace that would enable my adoptive daughter to remain in the family and out of the system and now she’s gone and I do not know what to do… Prior to sending her here, Shana said: “you did more than enough let me help you, it’s my turn now, let me do this for you cousin…” I never would have thought this day would come to be without her, I can’t envision her not being here with us. Her murder, now another trauma in her life. I seriously do not know what to do. Before moving to NOLA, I allowed her to stay with my sister only to be presented with the need to have her come to New Orleans and just to need to have to send her back to Minnesota.

Unlike, Niyah who came into my life at 6 weeks old, I am all she knows, I am her Mama, my other 2 adoptions were to girls who were older. And I only knew them 2 years via being their foster parent with the constant help of the county social workers. The siblings had several placements and issues in general from being in foster care, away from their Mother, the mental health issue I would learn to know as Attachment Disorder.

From foster care to adoption to be granted a good faith termination of the older sibling, things were more than challenging, but I accepted my role. I was willing to try when it was recommended that I terminate on both, but she told the court she was committed to being in my family and I felt obligated to give her another chance. She expressed that she was sorry for the role she played. Reminding us she was only 12 and that she lied because she believed she would be reunited with her mom.

So much, too much happened by way of the roles others had to play in these girls lives resulting in loyalty always given to the biological parent and family. Often, I look back and can’t believe I didn’t agree with the recommendation, because not too much changed. I did accept her apology, but it’s been so hard to trust her again. I was cut so deep by children, by way of adults…. My family thinks its crazy that I continued on, but I recognized the power players. I thought I could handle it, cope with it, after all these are children. It would take years later, actually now to realize that I haven’t healed from the trauma done to me regardless to if they were children. A part of me was regretful and resentful of the girls and their family.

I had a placement that lied on her adopted brother saying he raped her because her bio Mom told her to do it so she could come home. I was trained in “false allegations and fostering parents,” but I wasn’t ready for what would happen. Looking in from the outside it looked manageable, not as painful as I would find out. The adoptive mom did terminate leaving the child in foster care never wanting to have anything to do with her to this day… That should have been have been a clue, a red flag that the betrayal would be a hard thing to get over.. But once again these are children and I was trying not to put the blame on them understanding how it must feel to not be with your parents has to be painfully hard. But I started hearing cases of child rapist and murders and thought at the age of 8 a child fully understands the consequences of lying so a 12yr and 15yr old defiantly knows. I was 16 years old and pregnant, started having sex at 14 years old and that’s what made me realize these kids knew it was wrong to lie even for a parent…

Just recently, I was confronted by my own biological niece for being unforgiving to a now teen for the manipulation, a spell she was under from the loyalty of blood, the thinking she would be reunited with a loving caring birth mother. I recently forgave her, but more so for me, because it’s been hard carrying around that pain. I accepted that I can’t forget and I continue to hold my guard up when interacting with foster kids, well kids who I had no hand in raising from birth.

I say all this because as I mentioned Shana is gone and I have no clue as to what to do with a teen who can’t go to anyone on either side of her bio-family, for either her reasons or theirs. I sat up here in Minnesota for months, because I needed to be here for her, because there were no other alternatives. I should have realized this after the family and friend adoption search came back with no other relatives who could adopt them. Being here, doing and not doing, because I have to follow the rules of a child has me feeling bullied. At first I fully embraced this feeling horrible for all she experienced. She endured not only the murder of my cousin but witnessed and survived it as well. But I realized it’s the the crime that has her treating me this way, but her behaving as she always has, not my child, a child who knows the system oh too well. When I reminded her, the therapists and lawyers as to why she was here, I’m still somehow wrong for bringing up the past after such a tragedy.. Is it wrong for me to bring up behaviors that are and have been problematic?? Apparently since entering and exiting the foster care system the evidence of Attachment Disorder and the rest of those issues are still in need of addressing, right??

I have been lead by counselors and social workers who do not relate to how it is to be a black parent. I’m sorry to report that there is a substantial cultural difference in the parenting in black households compared to white parenting. I was told to let her have her power, do what she wants and that I am going to need help with dealing with her choices and letting go of my control. I’m to do all this so she can heal. I learned of the difference in addressing parental child issues in New Orleans and I must say they understand. This is not about whipping a child, but understanding the black parent whose done all they can do and need help, not recommendation to be a passive parent.

It’s as if we switched rolls. I felt and still do feel I have a choice but to let her do as she pleases. And if I don’t, I’m not only wrong, but I am put under attack, and I can’t take it anymore.

I’m here to tell you that it’s been hard coping with the murder of my cousin who was helping me care for a teen who was also a victim; assaulted and traumatized by the offender. My adopted daughter was sent here for a reason, a reason that does not allows her back in New Orleans for a period of time. My sister opened her heart and door, let us in her home, but once again the rules are thrown into the wind, by a teenager. It’s hard enough dealing with teen years, but OMG.

The only good thing about it is she’s doing reasonably well coping, but then her actions may suggest not. Honestly, I blame it all on the systems here, especially with children raised in foster care. They are given lawyers and told they have rights, but never entirely explaining to them that does not mean POWER. Out of all the kids I fostered over the years these two siblings took this info and ran with it. I can hear “You can’t tell me what to do, I’m gonna call my lawyer” on repeat. It has not been a great experience with this set of siblings I must admit. Even after the termination I continued to have a relationship with the older sibling. Not that it made for their bond to continue, because I have to damn near pull teeth for them to text each other. My current adoptive daughter blames her older sister for the leadership and planning of our mishap. She believes her actions where controlled by her and that it ruin our bond and future. I read the report, both share equally I reminded her, but I accepted her back, because she realized her actions almost immediately.

It came to me that I do have a life, adult children, son in college, an 8 yr old and 3 grandchildren. I was told to let her tell her own story, reminded that there have been issues before my cousins, murder and given choices. I was reminded of teen shelters, foster care, 16yr old can be emancipated and so on… But where does that leave my care taking spirit and feeling of failure or giving up on a child who has endured this tragedy.. I have been here, because even though she is mean to me, I want to be that one consistent person who did not give up on her and I just can’t leave her healing to just anyone, but it’s not as easy as said. I had few people open up their hearts and home to help me with her, and I have not accepted, because she refuses to.. She refused to go to the school I registered her for, refuses to come to New Orleans once the order is lifted, and the list goes on but she has the POWER. I am only fake Mama Auntie Dee.


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