I have been pursuing adopting Jxxx, child number xxx on the Children Awaiting Parents website, for eight months. I have completed courses, including medical and behavior classes, MAPP training, and CPR/First Aid. My homestudy was complete as of July 31 and all background checks have come back clean. References that I provided indicated superior ratings for caring for children, especially for children with severe special needs.
My adoption caseworker, Lxxxx from XXXXXX Agency, and I met with Mxxx and Sxxxx of XXXX County DSS on August 5, 2009 to discuss Jxxx and his extensive needs. I learned of his medical and developmental needs and was not overly surprised at the care he required. As Jxxx requires round-the-clock care, I outlined three different methods by which I could gain any assistance I might need in providing this constant care while retaining my current job as a music therapist working with special needs students.
On August 10, Lxxxxtelephoned Sxxxx to let her know that I still was interested in pursuing adopting Jxxx. On August 13, Sxxxx called me saying that the agency was looking for a two-parent home with a stay-at-home mom. When I asked this state social worker if I had tried to adopt the toddler before my late husband, Craig, had died, she said that we would have been more seriously considered my application.
Unable to comprehend why the state would choose not to consider a willing and qualified potential adoptive parent for a hard-to-place child, I consulted with an attorney who informed me not only that New York expressly authorizes adoption by a “single unmarried person” but also that New York law prohibits agencies from setting a higher standard for adoption by a single parent than a married couple. The only relevant consideration should be the best interests of the child.
Given my willingness to adopt Jxxx, a medically fragile child who has been available for adoption for more than three years -- his entire life -- I do not feel the best interests of the child are served by excluding me from consideration as an adoptive parent for Jxxx. To do so for a reason explicitly prohibited under New York law puzzles me even more.
I am hopeful that my writing this letter will prompt the agency to reconsider this decision. Please contact me at XXX-XXXX and my caseworker at XXX-XXXX.
 I asked Sxxxx if she could put this information into an email, but she said she would be uncomfortable doing so.
 A New York regulation on adoption studies specifically directs that “[a]gencies must not consider marital status in their acceptance or rejection of applicants” and that “[a]gencies must not establish policies which place single or divorced applicants . . . at a disadvantage.”
That was the letter that went out yesterday to numerous people. Realistically, I don't expect a change, but I am now telling myself to move on from this situation.
~oh, check out Adoptive Momma of Two and the cool books she is giving away about adoption!