Here in The USA we have 50 states that act as 50 semi independent regions. Health and human services are under state control so every state has a different bureaucratic protocol. I entered foster care at age four and was adopted by my family at 14. My parents took me in as a foster child at age 11 and by that time the system had done it's damage to me. To say I was a work in progress was an understatement.
My FPs arranged a doctor's visit shortly after I moved in. I hadn't really seen a doctor in a few years and from what I could remember the exam itself was just checking my vitals, etc so naturally there was some concern about my health. Being in foster care also caused some psychological damage. I was painfully shy and withdrawn. Attending school was difficult. I was incapable of forming relationships with others. In other words I was a loner.
My FPs informed me that this physical exam would be quite thorough. The doctor informed me she would have to touch my body in sensitive and uncomfortable ways. I was extremely anxious but somehow I respected her honesty compounded with her kind and reassuring demeanor. There I was underwear clad in front of 3 people who might as well been total strangers. Throughout the exam both my doctor and my FPs kept encouraging me by telling me I was doing a great job, everything's ok and how brave I was.
The exam concluded with the doctor ordering some lab tests, a chest x ray (asthma) and an EKG. Then something odd happened. The doctor excused my parents from the room so we could have a private talk.
“I am willing to bet good money your FPs have some goals for you. The system has given you a beating you didn't deserve. Your FPs only want to help you succeed. You are going to be a teenager soon enough so it's important we get you ready for those changes that are on the way. I know you are capable of trusting people and with our help you are going to learn you can develop your abilities and be a happy person.” I broke down and started crying. I understand now that I was sobbing because I felt a great burden was being taken from me.
My FPs, my doctor and my new counselor (private counselor) helped me gain some self confidence. Positive influence and solid nurturing helped me to become far less socially awkward. By the time my HS years rolled around I made a few real friends who understood me. My closest friend (to this day) convinced me to join him on the cross country team. I felt pressured but I did it. It was a game changer. I did well and enjoyed being amongst my teammates. My coach pushed me just hard enough for me to keep going and not to give up. Shyness was yielding to confidence.
The summer before grade 9 was one of my best ever. Right as school was ending my parents took me for my annual check up. My mom said “The doctor has to advise the adoption board you are in good health.” My jaw dropped. Mom smiled at me and said “What part of the word adoption do you not understand?” You are going to be OUR son, so please start calling us mom and dad. We would appreciate that."
Once again the same old thing but this time my parents asked me if I wanted to be alone for the exam. It was another major hurdle I crossed. My doctor was also quite pleased with my decision. We had a conversation. “If you ever want to talk in private about something you can trust me. I will only have to tell your parents if you are going to harm yourself or somebody else. I will also help you understand and navigate the health care system. Managing your health is a responsibility you need to learn, and I am happy to. .”she stopped and looked at my school form. “it says on this form you are going to run cross country? That is so great. I bet your soon to be parents are proud of you. Damnit, so am I. Wow! Let's get you checked over and make sure you are in good health. I have to also submit this paperwork to the adoption review board and along with it I will submit a personal letter recommending your adoption. You have made incredible progress since you became my patient. The courts are always a little backed up but hopefully they can fast track you and get your adoption approved by the time school starts".
A week later my caseworker requested an appointment. Thing seemed to be going well because we had not been in contact in about 7 months. No news is good news, I suppose. “Thanks for coming into see me, I know it has been a while but you folks have been doing so well from what I can see I decided to let time take it's course. So let's get down to business. I need you to sign some forms today so we can get your adoption concluded. If all goes well this matter should be concluded in a few weeks. Ultimately it is not my decision but my input is crucial in this process and of course I will give my stamp of approval. Your counselor as well as myself recognize you have made great strides. You have always done well in school and since you have been in the care of your FPs the accelerator switch got kicked on. According to your doctor you are in excellent health and far more stable and confident. She could have just signed the forms and sent you on your way but she also submitted a personal letter of recommendation regarding your adoption. I cannot agree more and congratulations on your decision to participate in cross country. I think it will benefit you in many ways "
Adoption day came about a month later. It went well. The best day of my life, in fact. I had a short chat with a judge after which he summoned my parents in and made it official.