My Adopted Son Needs Help...and the State Doesn't Care

3 years ago

The news media is full of stories of parents abusing and neglecting  their  adopted children and stories of mentally ill indivials harming others. As  parent, I think to myself, how many of these parents have sought help for their children and not recieved it?  Why aren't we hearing about that? Please, read my story. People need to know that there is very little in way of support and help for these children.

Mordecai was placed in our home for adoption October 1, 2002. He was a beautiful baby with wavy black hair and big brown eyes. He was four weeks old. We knew a fair amount about Mordecai’s history; his birth mother was quite forthright in telling the agency about his prenatal environment. It was obvious that she loved him and wanted the best for him. Mordecai came to us through the foster care system here in Washington. Prior to Mordecai’s adoption being finalized in July of 2003, we signed an Adoption Supportagreement with Washington State. {Adoption Support is a way to allow families to adopt “hard-to-place” kids who couldn’t do so otherwise, either because of finances or lack of health insurance.} In the agreement, a legal document, the state agreed to:

a. Provide medical and dental services through title XIX Medicaid program

b. Provide out-patient psychiatric and other counseling services

c. Pay a monthly cash payment of $328.12 per month

{and just in case you think we are getting rich off of our adopted children, Mordecai is the only child we have with adoption support}

d. Other costs of  finalizing the adoption…

And for the past eleven and a half years, they’ve done a pretty good job. They have  paid for Mordecai’s four surgeries (three on his hand and the removal of his tonsils and adenoids). They paid to have him evaluated at the Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic and Prevention Network, where he was diagnosed with “static encephalopathy alcohol exposed“. They have paid for his well-child and sick visits to the doctor.

Now, at age 11 (and starting last year, really at age 10) we are beginning to see what we strongly suspect is some mental illness. I won’t go into the details online, for his sake, but there are very serious safety implications for everyone in this house. His primary care doctor, who has been his doctor since he was a newborn, believes he needs to see a psychiatrist. The psychologist who recently examined him and declared him “disabled” by the Social Security’s standards believes he needs to see a psychiatrist. The State of Washington? Nope. He can go see a counselor at  Catholic Community Services, like we did today.

Unfortunately, by Catholic Community Service’s standards, having a diagnosis of  FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) does not qualify you for counseling. Why not? Because it is not currently in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders). Nope, not a “mental illness”.

According to the MOFAS website:

While a Fetal Alcohol Diagnosis may facilitate the appropriate recognition of the underlying organic brain damage involved in individual’s difficult behaviors and assist in the treatment with the child and family, there is no effective way to link the medical health side of FASD with the mental health issues that arises in approximately 90% of these individuals. (emphasis mine).

So, 90% of these kids will have mental  health issues…but there is no “effective link”?

 Okay. But certainly he qualifies for counseling, right? His aggressive, threatening behavior and rages alone should qualify him. Right? Just barely. Unfortunately, Mordecai’s symptoms didn’t “fit in” to any of the categories on the drop down menu on the computer of the woman from CCS that I saw today. Oh, friends, I wish I were joking about the drop-down menu, but I’m not. He barely, barely qualified by their standards…so in three weeks (what’s three weeks when we’ve been waiting months?) he gets to see…a counselor. Not a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. A counselor.

There is no way to deny that Mordecai is getting sub-par care through his adoption support. Today he walks around with an unprotected broken foot, because the state won’t approve a cast. Today, I was told he barely “qualifies” to see a counselor. The psychiatrist his doctor believes he needs to see is out of our reach. We can’t possibly pay cash, and the state of Washington doesn’t want to pay.

So  here I sit.

A son with a broken foot, in need of a some serious mental health intervention.

A mom with a broken heart, fighting a broken medical system, for her son.

{Edited to add: In December we switched our health insurance to a company in the Affordable Care Act. In recent years we have spent as much as  $30,000 per year on healthcare between premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Because of the switch, there is no “primary” and “secondary” insurance for Mordecai. Just Provider One through his adoption support. And I began the search for a mental health provider last September when we had private insurance, but was unable to get in due to long waiting lists. Seattle Children’s Hospital won’t treat him for mental health issues due to contracts lost when the Affordable Care Act went into affect.}


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