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Support through the CYFS adoption process? What support?

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 19, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Support through the CYFS adoption process? What support?
Thursday, 08.03.2007, 10:21pm (GMT12)

If people think that the arrogant attitude, and down right obstructive behaviour, of CYFS workers regarding birth mothers and adoption in general is a modern problem, probably stemming from the pro DPB culture of their department, they’d be wrong.

It’s been going on for YEARS.

About 17 years ago I was a very young girl faced with the single most emotion laden, agonising and important decision of her life. To keep the child she carried, or give her up.

It wasn’t a choice, I didn’t HAVE a choice. I loved my child. Adoption was the ONLY WAY my baby could have what she needed most in the world. PARENTS.

I wasn’t a parent, I was a girl. I knew it even then (strangely, it was seeing this so clearly, and making the right decision that made me an adult!).

Still, not enough of an adult to be a parent. Sure, I could change a nappy, feed an infant, bathe and care for her, but so can just about anyone with two wits in their head. Even at 14 I knew that was not what made one a parent.

So, from almost the very start, I knew what I had to do. I wanted to do what was right. What was right for her, AND for me. My Mother approached CYFS, explaining our circumstances and requesting information about adoption and how it was done. They explained they would send out a social worker to go through the process with me.

On the appointed day she came to visit us at home, and so began the three month long battle to give the baby up. This well meaning, but stupid, woman tried for months to convince me to keep the child, despite my protests that I had made up my mind. She
tried to convince me that I could still go to school, still go to Uni, and raise a child at the same time! “We” will support you she said, you can claim a benefit she said. “We” will give you the help you need she said. It didn’t seem to matter to her that I was just a 14 year old girl. A worse candidate for a parent would be hard to find.

After months and months of this nonsense, and repeated request to start the process of choosing parents from the CYFS approved lists, all of which were met with stony refusal, my family and I finally had enough.

We demanded to see the wee booklets the couples made about themselves, so that I could meet a few and choose already! I was near 7 and a half months gone, and time was running out.

Eventually, I managed to see the list and choose parents.

We too had the problem of what to do with the baby during the 10 days I had to wait to sign the adoption papers. We were told that I couldn’t sign the papers until the 10th day after birth, so the child would be 11 days old.

This problem was solved by the very kind offices of the staff at our local maternity ward. I left the ward 36hrs after the birth, and the same day the adoptive mother moved in. There she stayed until the papers had been signed.

I cannot tell you how much pain and suffering this kind act saved me. I cannot imagine holding that child, caring for her, BONDING for heaven’s sake! I couldn’t bond with my child and then hand her over.

WHICH IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THAT CLAUSE OF THE ACT.

The adoption act is written with the express intention of making adoption the most unattractive option available. Instead of being a piece of legislation that celebrates the making of new families, it seeks to hinder the forming family, by separating child and adoptive parents for the first days of his/her life, those precious days of bonding.

You see, it’s not just the birth mother that suffers during this limbo period, the child himself is also deprived. His first few days, small and fragile, near blind and totally helpless, will not be spent in the arms of his adoptive mother, the woman who will raise him. He will not have the chance to learn the smell of her, and be comforted by it.

On the 11th day, I went to the lawyers office to sign the papers. Horrible, but at least an end to the wait. For 10 days I had stayed home, letting my body heal, waiting. During those 10 days I could have gone to the hospital and walked away with her, and even though I had made my decision, and was committed to it, it was agonising, the thought of the child, my child, still within grasp.

Having signed the papers, I went to visit my baby. The first time I held her, the first time I spoke to her. There were her new parents, two happier people you couldn’t find.

All seemed well until about 2 weeks later, when we were called by CYFS and told I would have to sign again. They hadn’t known what to do with the papers and had now lost them.

So, I signed again. Not funny,having to do that twice.

Again all seemed well until, low and behold (!), they did it again, but this time I had to go down to the local courthouse, into the main court room, AMONGST THOSE CHARGED WITH CRIMES, and those who don’t pay their debts and explain what I needed to do, right there in front of them all.

I did this by myself, barely more than a child. I never saw hide nor hair of that social worker from the moment I chose parents.

I don’t know where CYFS get off calling themselves the Children, Young Persons and their Families Service.

I was a young person, in need of help, not badgering, bullying and public humiliation.

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