Post # 1
Regular bee coming back with a bit of a moral dilemma.
A good friend of ours is in the process of adoption for a second child (their first child was an IVF miracle) and have asked us for a reference letter. We are struggling with what to say to the adoption agency, as we don’t think they can afford to have another child. Only one parent is working and the other parent stays at home with their toddler, and they are already struggling to make ends meet. The stay-at-home parent seems to have a lot of expensive hobbies (going to concerts, collecting merchandise from major bands, etc.) and does not make an effort to help out at home. The stay-at-home parents does not cook, clean, or generally help out around the house, and has to be convinced to take the toddler out of the house to activities or play dates. When DH and I have invited them over to our house, we have seen the stay-at-home parent ignoring the child, constantly playing on a cell phone, or just not paying attention to their surroundings. Now that they’re trying to adopt, they have started fundraising through GoFundMe and various sales parties, up to $50,000. While we understand that adoption is immensely expensive, they’ve also chosen to avoid the foster care system and explicitly do not want an older child.
We’re conflicted to what to write in the reference letter, as we don’t think both parents are equally committed. It’s more than just the financial burden of the process, but also how they will manage raising a second child. Should we back out of being a reference? What can we do to support them through this?
Post # 2
penguin14 : I don’t blame you for not wanting to provide a reference letter. I know they are raising the fees via go fund me, but wouldn’t their income come into play when applying to adopt? Would they look at their financial status before approving them for adoption?
Have they taken the classes? My sister has her first foster placement and it took months of classes, paperwork, background checks, and a home visit before she was approved to foster. From the people I know who have adopted, home visits are required and classes were required too
If you’re not close enough with them to tell them your concerns about their ability to take on a second child, I would find some way to bow out of the reference letter. Sugar coat it somehow but I wouldn’t want to write a reference letter either
Post # 3
Also, I would not look down on them about not wanting to foster or not wanting an older child. My sisters foster girls are five and three and they are a handful. They have the trauma of what happened to have them removed from their mother, on top of the trauma of being taken from their mother, on top of the trauma of being moved from foster home to foster home. My sisters home is not their first home, we believe they’ve been in foster care for two years.
I wouldn’t judge them on that, I would question their finances, and what you know to be facts of how they struggle a being parents
Post # 4
penguin14 : if I felt that way and for those reasons I would back out but I know that is easier said than done.
Post # 5
Is it possible to tell them you are not comfortable with writing one for them? And if they ask state you don’t want to be the reason they might not get a child? ( even with a good reference letter that is not a guarantee you will get the child).
Post # 6
- Wedding: November 2019 - City, State
Oooh, this is a crappy position to be in. Personally, I would back out of being a reference. Although I’m not even sure what I’d say to do so. How they run their home is their own business; if both partners are OK with one not doing their fair share, that’s up to them. But it certainly doesn’t mean you have to advocate for them to add another person to the mix. If you’re not close enough with them to voice your (completely legit) concerns, maybe just tell them you have too much on your plate right now to give the letter the attention it deserves.
Post # 7
penguin14 : I would decline to be a reference if I couldn’t write anything other than a glowing recommendation. I have so many questions and I sense some judgment toward the stay-at-home parent but that’s not really the point here. Just tell them that you don’t feel comfortable writing the letter OR write a truthful letter and then ask them if they want to use it (which sounds like they won’t want to if you write what you have here).
Post # 8
penguin14 : are you okay with losing this friendship? although that’s exactly what will happen, please understand that sticking to your guns on this one should take priority over your friendship with this couple. I hate to sound like a snob, but if you have to start a GoFundMe to adopt a child, I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to actually bring a child into that financial situation—especially once there’s an already-existing child that needs to be taken care of. the other reasons you gave simply solidify the choice to not provide a reference.
also, if adoption is truly a priori for them, they could just save money for however many years it will take for them to adopt. there will always be children in need of adoption, sadly.
Post # 9
My response to students who wanted a letter of recommendation when I didn’t feel like mine would be particularly positive was always: “I prefer to write really strong letters of recommendation. In this case you may want to choose someone else who has more experience with the positive facets that you would want highlighted.” If the student persisted and wanted a letter, I wrote an honest one. If you don’t even feel comfortable writing a straight out honest letter of reference, I would just tell them that you’ve thought about it and you are not comfortable with that level of responsibility. It’s a hard situation. On the other hand, unless they’re super blind to their situation, there’s a good chance that they may be upset, but not necessarily surprised that someone would have a hard time writing a reference for them.
Post # 10
How are you possibly going to write a useful, sincere reference letter, feeling the way you do, without actually lying?
I think you need to bow out graciously. I’m not sure of the excuse you can use other than you’re just not comfortable.
Post # 11
Starting a GoFundMe to adopt a child are you kiddingme?
Adoption is a CHOICE.. not a life emergency that requires immediate funding to save a life or save people/animals from a crisis
Also ya if you need to raise money just for the fee.. guess what.. YOU CANT AFFORD THE KID
Not only can they not financially handle another child, it seems like the one parent sucks.. so no they do not get to put a second kid through half-ass parenting.
The reason adoption agencies go through such struct rigouros processes is exactly to avoid these situations.. until the stay at home parent learns how to actually parent and they have more financial support they dont deserve to adopt sorry.. this is a human life.
I would not do a reference letter.. you would feel so much guilt everytime you saw the stay at home being a crap parent or heard about financial troubles because by doing a reference.. you are aiding them in this.
Post # 12
1. Do they see the letter or is it sealed and only to the adoption agency?
2. Are you closer to the SAHP or the working parent?
You have three options:
1. Gracefully decline and say you don’t know enough about the kinds of things an adoption agency would be looking for to feel comfortable writing such a letter.
2. Ask the parent you know better or are closer to to address some of your concerns before you can write the recommendation wholeheartedly. Try not to be judgy about it. Start off just asking why they want to adopt and how they feel things are going with their child currently. Ask if they feel concerned about their financial picture with a second kid and how they are planning for that. Ordinarily I would say other people’s finances are none of your concern, but they left the door open when they started begging for money on gofundme and asking for recommendations for something that should require them to be reasonably financially stable. And if the opportunity presents itself mention your concerns that even though their child is loved and cared for (I’m assuming that’s a true statement in general), there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm about parenting. They are the ones asking for a favor here and are opening themselves up to this. If they can’t assuage your concerns or are offended, thems the breaks. See how they answer and decide about it then.
3. If they won’t see the letter, write an honest one tactfully saying what you do know without condemning them nor necessarily vouching for them. (PARENT A works hard and keeps the home, child is cared for and loved, appear to make ends meet though you aren’t privy to their financial details…And leave out Parent B or simply say you have not seen sufficient examples of Parent B acting in a parenting role to provide a good assessment.)
Post # 13
I’d be less concerned about the money part (people make things work) than I would about the fact that one stay-at-home parents appears to be a shit parent to the kid they already have. The adoption agency can look into the financial aspect themselves, that’s not even what the letter is about, it’s about if you think this couple will be good parents who provide a stable, loving home for a child and you’ve witnessed that one of these parents is not fully invested in the child they have so unless you outright lie, I don’t know how you could write a positive letter.
I wouldn’t write the letter.
Post # 14
one more thing—can I just say, if you’ve gotta start a GoFundMe campaign for something that isn’t an emergency life-saving necessity, you probably don’t need said thing.
*climbs off soapbox*
Post # 15
Sansa85 : Thanks for this perspective! I hadn’t thought about trauma an older child has already faced.
LilliV : 100% spot on with some bias towards the situation. I’m not a huge fan of the SAHP, only for many little things that have happened in the past. The SAHP parents has been divorced a few times, and has a much older child that they do not support at all. I truly don’t think they are a good parent, but that’s also from the outside looking in.
happiekrappie : annabananabee : I worry about this exact thing – I’m closer to the working parent, have known her over 10 years, and knew her before they were married. I’d hate to lose this friendship, but she has openly admitted that parenting alone sometimes is difficult. I was supportive through the whole IVF process, but she so desperately wants another child. I’m not sure how the letter will be formatted or whether the parents will see it at all. I am thinking to bow out, but not sure how to just yet.