Adoption = Hypervigilance

Social worker to Hubby: “Your wife is hyper-vigilant. She needs to relax.”

Honestly, getting appropriate services for our foster kiddos was all I wanted…but six months from retirement, the social worker wasn’t feeling the urge to do more than minimum. She made that statement to my husband, right in front of me, as though I weren’t in the room.

As you begin the adoption process, be prepared to advocate for your child(ren). In our case, the social workers who weren’t jaded and unconcerned were overworked and overwhelmed. Even the Guardian ad Litem (GAL), an individual appointed by the court to represent the child’s best interests, didn’t seem to understand the definition of her own title.

I tried going “over” our social worker’s head by contacting the GAL prior to one of our court dates.  She agreed to come to court with me. The social worker arrived, dressed in jeans and a stained top.  I was encouraged, feeling confident in my suit. The GAL finally arrived, minutes before our scheduled time in court. I no longer felt secure.

Let’s just say that she had once been a hippie…and forgot to stop.  Stringy, badly dyed long hair, Lennon glasses, big floppy, flowy outfit. She may have spent the 60’s in a van without showers; the habit (or lack of) apparently continued to the present.  I was concerned, to say the least. Then, she walked right past my offered handshake and embraced the social worker.

Feeling betrayed (and realizing she would not rescue us), I determined to work even harder to make sure the children received every service necessary. Two months later, our social worker called me hyper-vigilant.

Six months later, we received the children’s much-requested medical records.  Mind you, Department of Social Services had been in possession of these records for several years. I read every page.

EVERY page.

Our boy had a heart defect.

Found at birth, then confirmed through  follow-ups at one month and one year, the hole did not appear to be diminishing. He had a follow-up scheduled for his 18 month checkup, but there was no page in the record showing a completed appointment. The social worker paid no attention to the missing medical paperwork.

I noticed.

I took him to the pediatrician, who couldn’t hear a murmur but suggested a follow-up visit with the original specialist.

The specialist couldn’t hear a murmur but suggested an echocardiogram, or echo, a test that creates pictures of the heart with sound waves. The echo showed a significant hole the little guy’s heart.

Our cardiologist said that if I hadn’t noticed the missing document, it’s likely our boy would have died. “This is my specialty, and I couldn’t hear it. Your pediatrician would have never found it. Good thing you are attentive.”

Attentive, indeed. I believe the scientific term is “hyper-vigilant.”


About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at - we're in this together.

Posted on August 25, 2014, in Adoption, Parent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Overprotective and hyper-vigilant = disguised compliments


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