Sunday, 22 June 2014


For the last year I have been caring for my dear wife full time.  Her neuropathy that continues long after chemotherapy has finished and she has very limited walking capabilities and limited use of her left hand.  The neuropathy along with her medications limits her cognitive capabilities at times.  I am telling you all this because i know just how frustrating and challenging it is caring for someone.  There are moments that i could scream at her, and she me, and we often argue over little things, how i clean is never good enough, i try to avoid conversations in the morning until her pain killers kick in.  BUT we can still laugh at each other and we still have a love and kinship that has lasted over 44 years.  And when things get too much i just go to the chopping and walk around.  The reason i mention this is that if it it is so difficult to care and manage someone you deeply love how would it be for a adoptive parent to bond and handle a 7 or 8 year old child who has seen so much pain, so much abuse, and to top it off to be removed from those people who have abused them but whom he still is attached to by parentage.

The NSW government has decided to make it easier for people to adopt children whose parents have been deemed unfit. They have passed this responsibility off to the NGO like Barnados.  There is also financial incentives to place such vulnerable children. Whilst the first choice of parents would be current foster carers and yes they would have greater qualifications than others given they have cared for the child, we also know that NGO foster care system have more negative reports in relation to a minority of the carers than the foster carers employed directly by government.  There also seems to be a buddy buddy setup with the children's courts who approve such matters with little or no judicial oversight, with cases reported of the court not recognising the submissions of the parents solicitor.

But they will also need to recruit willing couples who will adopt these " damaged" children. And therein lies the problems. i for one would never criticise or denigrate the good intentions of these possible adopters who wish to help their fellow human beings. BUT i do question their general ability to handle that 24 hours a day care that is needed to hep such children deal with the multitudes of devils they are facing .  Goodwill is never enough and I am so sure that they will eventually be like me, very worn out and tired but not having lived with the child from birth they have not developed that love and bond.  Anecdotal evidence from the USA shows that children who are adopted at a older age are more at risk from rehoming or disruptions as the yanks quaintly say ( i say adoption failure).  The former NSW minister for children services Pru Goward is on record during SBS programme admitting that there are many failures within  the foster care system, so imagine if some one who has been promised a mythical " forever family" would feel when that breaks down. Also such a troubled child would place unforeseen pressures on the couple which could cause the marriage to crack and with 40 percent of marriages finishing in divorce, there is a good chance the forever family may disappear in a puff of smoke. What happens to that already damaged child.

I don't know the solutions to all this , but i can say that i know the pressures of caring for someone who is vulnerable, albeit someone i love deeply.  I can also imagine just how a young child would feel after being promised a forever family which then disappears in a puff of smoke. The term adoption implies permanency , but in this modern world we live in , nothing is permanent any more, unless you have been married as long as Sheryl and I, and we are the exception.

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