Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More on Nursing Home Adoptions

Wow, the response I got to yesterday’s post regarding the adoption of children from US nursing homes was completely overwhelming.  Most likely, I will never be given the gift of enough time to reply personally to everyone who expressed interest in adopting, advocating, learning more, spreading the word, etc., so I pray those who are willing to help and be a voice will stay tuned in here on the blog.  I am so sorry that I am not able to reply to each of you.  I promise to publicly share (here on this blog) as much info as I can possibly gather on this topic.  I do not have all the answers, at all, but I am willing to pray, research, share, and try to help however God allows.


I was made aware of nursing home adoptions by a woman who personally adopted a girl who was living in a wretched nursing home, committed to a life full of abuse and neglect.  I cannot share the full details yet, but it is absolutely a miracle from God that this family was able to adopt their precious daughter; completely by the mighty hand of God, without a doubt.  I am forever grateful that this woman contacted me to make me aware of the need for advocacy in this area, and I pray she will share her story right here with you one day soon.  For now, this woman is trying to help me to help you to help them, the helpless, voiceless ones left in US nursing homes to die without a forever family.  We must be educated in order to be the voice for these precious ones, so please pray that if there’s someone out there who has knowledge in how we can be a voice for these children, how to best go about identifying these children, how to best advocate for these children, how to help get these children adopted, that God will bring everything together for His glory and the best interest of the children.


If you are interested in adopting a child who is in a nursing home, I am told that the first step is to get a domestic home study completed that approves you to care for medically fragile children.  Then you can start inquiring HERE.  This is the Adopt US Kids site that advocates for children currently in foster care and/or in the care of the state.  There are LOTS of children listed on this site who currently live in nursing homes, BUT, from what I understand, the children’s bios do not specifically state that the children are living in a nursing home/care facility.  This makes a little tricky to determine which children are actually in care facilities.


For example, the following two bios are taken directly from the Adopt US Kids website (except I excluded the children’s names).  We know FOR A FACT that both of these girls are living in a nursing home, yet their bios do not mention this at all:

“X” is an adorable girl with a sweet personality, who is eagerly waiting for a perfect family. She would love a family who can commit to a life time full of care. She enjoys listening to music through headphones and being wrapped tightly in a blanket to stay toasty warm. Once you meet her, you will understand why she is loved by everyone around her.


And, the second bio of an unrelated child, who is confirmed to be living in a nursing home:


“Y’s” smile will captivate you. This little girl needs a special home that is willing and able to work with a child with medical needs. She will need a strong advocate to make sure she gets her needs met. “Y” is currently wheelchair bound but no doubt this does not dampen her spirits. She is a bright eyed child who will require life long care. “Y” is fed via g-tube, on numerous medications, and receives occupational, speech and physical therapies.


It is also my understanding that if you read a bio on the Adopt US Kids site that mentions high medical needs, there’s a good chance that child is living in a nursing home or care facility.  There simply are not enough medical foster homes available to keep these kiddos from being committed to nursing homes. 


If you are willing to become a medical foster home, to help keep children from being committed to nursing homes, visit with a foster care agency in your state/area.  Licensing and eligibility varies from state to state, but the need is national.  ALL states need more medical foster homes and ALL states need more families who are willing to adopt medically fragile children in order to keep them out of nursing homes.


I know that there are many good care facilities and nursing homes out there, but a facility can NEVER replace a family.  Never.  God’s perfect design is for every child to have a loving forever family, not a facility, no matter how good the facility is, no matter how caring the caregivers are.  I highly respect and commend those loving caregivers who dedicate their lives to caring for others, whether it be in a nursing home, a facility, a hospital, etc., but, no matter how awesome that person is, a facility of any kind just cannot compare to having a loving forever family.


Many states provide 100% of the associated expenses of taking a medically fragile child into your family by offering Medicaid, medical waivers (allowing families of any income to use Medicaid for their medically fragile child), in-home health caregivers, personal care assistants, and much more in order to keep children from having to live their lives in facilities.  Even children requiring 24-hour care are able to successfully live in families instead nursing homes when a family is willing to be trained to care for the child and/or the state is willing to provide in-home health care, care assistants, etc.  It is possible, but we have to have home-study ready families who are approved and willing to step in and help.


I am also told that many of the children who have been committed to a nursing home/care facility are misdiagnosed, and often times do not have as severe of medical needs that are stated in the bios.  (Our Selah would have been one of those misdiagnosed children because God has miraculously healed her, but her bio would have stated all of the sad diagnoses and prognoses if she had been admitted to a nursing home and made available for adoption via the state.)  Also, many times these medically fragile children will soar simply from being in a loving forever family, much more so than being in a facility where one-on-one love and attention is so much harder to come by.  Plus, medically fragile children DESERVE a forever family.  ALL are precious in His sight.  ALL.


I guess I need to clarify, too, that there are children in nursing homes who still have their biological families and are not available for adoption.  I am also told that there are many children whose families have deserted and abandoned them, but they are not available for adoption, as the parental rights have not been relinquished.  And then there are the children who are available for adoption, but they are committed to a nursing home, usually by the state, because the state either didn’t have a family for the child or the child’s social worker and conservator felt the child would do best in a nursing home.


I also had several people contact me who are now adults who grew up in nursing homes, without a family.  Either their family members never came to visit them, or they were available for adoption, but no one came for them.  I’m not clear yet on how these individuals were able to leave the nursing homes.  Perhaps once they were 18, they could check themselves out and begin to live life outside of those four walls.  These people shared what a horrible life they had growing up alone in a nursing home, how they wished someone had come for them, yet they are still alive and seem to be doing well in society today.  One person spoke of how Jesus held her and comforted her as a child living in a nursing home without a family.  Praise Him!!!


If nothing else, we could ALL VISIT children in nursing homes.  We can ALL PRAY for them.  We can work to educate ourselves, research, and advocate.  We can inquire at our local nursing homes to see if they have any residents who are children so that we can bring our children to visit them, play games with them, sing with them, and let them know they are precious in His sight.  We can get certified as medical foster homes.  We can get domestic home study approval to adopt medically fragile children.  We can contact our local foster agencies to let them know we’re interested in adopting medically fragile children.  We can inquire about medically fragile children on the Adopt US Kids website.  We can pray God will open our eyes, lead us to those who are in need, allow us to advocate, educate us on how to best help, and raise up an army of warriors to be the voice for those cannot speak for themselves. 


Yes, we can all do something to help this situation, and if I find out any more helpful information, I will most definitely share it here.  Thank you for your support.  I pray many of you will come back soon to let me know what you’re doing to help.  So grateful for all of you who have such big hearts and willing hands.  Thank you!

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