How is that negotiating?


I’ve been “negotiating” with the Adoption agency in our state.  You see when you adopt a child from the State they provide a  monthly stipend (per child).  Here is my experience and (current) understanding of how the “negotiation process” works.

First the State says that they will negotiate a monthly stipend (per child) which will carry through age eighteen.  If the adopted child is still in school the stipend will carry through the age of twenty-0ne.  The State says they will start at $0.00 per month per child.  I said that our opening bid would be $X.  The Local State Lady says, oh no the most they would approve is $x because that is what normal Foster Parents would receive.  So I said, okay then I am requesting the max allowed for Foster Parents. 

Of course keep in mind that in two weeks we will be marking/celebrating the three year anniversary of accepting physical custody of our two new kids.  During those thirty-six months the State was so generous enough to send us ONE CHECK FOR TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!  It was marked “quarterly clothing allowance” with the kids’ name on it.

Now back to the negotiating.  So I say we want to “max out”.  The call comes in that our negotiated price was not accepted.  A smaller amount (by nearly $100 a month) was approved.  I said, that’s unacceptable.  I want to appeal.  You can’t appeal.  What?  I can’t appeal?  That’s final?  Over?  How is it negotiating if you decide what you will give and we have to accept  it?  Why don’t we do it the other way around and I decide the amount and you have to accept it?   Well…. that’s just the way it works.  You can call my supervisor in the Up-State.

Me:  Hello, this is Mr. We B. Abused, I’m calling about the monthly stipend.  Can you please explain to me how you go about coming up with the amount per child?  State Lady:  Well, it’s based on the child’s special needs:  how much we believe it will take a family to provide above the normal expenses for an adopted child based on their special need.  Me:  So you have already determined  how much a Foster Parent will receive right?  State Lady:  That’s right, but I have to look out for all the children in the system and of course there have been drastic budget cuts.  Me:  Well, State Lady, what does a child being placed for adoption need to do to receive the maximum predetermined amount per month?  Stab some one with a screwdriver?  I mean our four year old has already been suspended from school twice this year.  He (literally) shredded his Principal’s office.  Knocked all the stuff off of her desk, turned over the trash can, tore all the books off the book shelf while yelling and screaming.  That was a two day suspension.  Then he told his teacher he was going to bring a gun to school and kill him!  That was another two day suspension!  I suppose there are children who have more challenges than our little guy but it seems based on his (current) behavior, his diagnosis of Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD)… He just turned five last Friday and his medical record is already almost two inches thick!  I was reading the day he was born where he tested positive for canabinoid and it was documented that he was “flailing his extremities and rooting around in his crib.”  He was only a few hours old and he was DETOXING!!! 

Ms. State Lady I don’t want you to take this personally but here is my view of this whole thing.  The biological mother loaded the gun and The Agency helped her shoot it.  I mean she admitted when the boy was born that she had been smoking pot, drinking alcohol and smoking the entire time she was pregnant.  The bio-dad had already confessed to having a cocaine problem.  So what does The Agency do?  They make the cocaine bio-dad the “supervisor” and then sends the new born and mom home for him to watch over!  Then over the two years up until the two children are removed and placed into our care the children are removed from their home for periods of time TWICE!  And remember during this two year period the bio-mom and bio-dad did not pass a single drug test!  Once again Ms. State Lady, don’t take this personal but it is my layman’s opinion that if The State would have done their job (which is to protect children not unite families) neither of these children would be in the psychological or physical condition they are in now.

State Lady:  Well Mr. We B. Abused, I’m sorry you feel that way but I can certainly understand your point.  Once I have a chance to verify what you’ve told me… Oh, I’m sorry, that didn’t come out right.  Me:  That’s okay I completely understand that you need to check the facts.  As a matter of fact I expect you too.  State Lady:  Thank you.  I wasn’t aware that the little boy had been suspended twice already.  I need to verify that.  Me:  Well that just goes to prove my point.  We provided written copies of his disciplinary actions from his school and the written diagnosis of ODD with the psychiatrist’s notes to the local DSS office.

State Lady:  Well once I verify this information I will be able to “max out” on him but I’m afraid I will not be able to provide any additional funding for the little girl.  Me:  I think that’s fair.  State Lady:  Once I do that will you be willing to move forward and sign the paperwork?  Me:  Yes, of course.

Why do I feel so exhausted now?


6 Responses to How is that negotiating?

  1. Joy says:

    Man, I sure hope this gets easier for you. It just plain stinks. I don’t know how you keep your composure.

    mssc54 replied:

    Joy: When I spoke with the State Lady I said that someone needs to pay for what was done to these children. She actually said that we are the ones who will be paying for it over the years. These people don’t think sometimes!

  2. leafless says:

    There’s a lot of State to deal with. I feel your pain.

    mssc54 replied:

    Leafless: And very little accountability. 😦

  3. “Mr. We B. Abused” that’s genius.

    As for the adoption and foster care systems, they are deeply broken. (Well, at least I can speak for the state of Florida.) When my brother and I were in that situation it seemed like there was nothing that would get HRS (now DHS) to take us out of the home.

    And abuse rates will only go up as the economy continues to have issues.

    mssc54 replied:

    Hayden: I try to use humor to dull the pain.

    I’m seriously considering writing the Governor a letter about all of the times these children “fell through the cracks.”

  4. Michelle says:

    Very well put. At some point in time I think maybe they need to become aware of the fact that you have had the kids for 3 years without recieving money from them. (Probably after the papers are signed) : ) I wasn’t aware that he had detoxed at birth. I guess if I had thought about it I would have. Do they even acknowledge the fact that they called you to take these children in the first place? Shouldn’t the bio-people (cant call them parents) have to pay child support or would that give them some kind of access to the kids?
    BTW Easter pics were nice.

    mssc54 replied:

    Michelle: “Do they even acknowledge the fact that they called you to take these children in the first place?” I can’t tell you the number of times we heard, “Well this is an unusual case.”

    As for the child support: I forget exactly when it was but sometime when we went to court in that first year the Family Court judge ordered the bio-dad to take his pay stub down to the clerk of the court and sign up to pay child support. Still waiting for that. I’m trying to decide if it would be worth pursuing back support (just to put it in the bank for the kids) or if it would be better to let that hornet’s nest lay.

    Great to hear from you!

  5. Lindsey says:

    Oh, man, that’s sad. I hope they really try to help you!

    mssc54 replied:

    Lindsey: “We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.” hahahahaha

    Good to see you. I trust things are well on your end! 🙂

  6. Sue says:

    You’re a bigger person than most for taking these children and helping them. Why is it the good people always get shit on? (Pardon my French!?) Good luck and keep praying!

    mssc54 replied:

    Surgical Sue: It’s not (really) about being the bigger person. It’s more about realizing who ultimately holds the big stick.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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