Adoption Not An Option with author Eugenea Couture
We talk with world-renowned author Eugenea Couture about the foster care system, what it does to a child’s brain, why people get away with abusing children, and how we can fix the problems that are endangering millions of children who, like Eugenea, are spending their lives trapped in a living nightmare of abuse inside the foster care system.
Eugenea Couture Interview
“I was very targeted for abuse in my foster homes, says Eugenea. “Most of the homes that I was in, there was stuff going on that was wrong.”
Eugenea Couture spent her entire childhood trapped in the foster care system, moving from one abusive home to another. She wrote about her experiences in her new book Adoption Not An Option.
“I felt I was being brought into foster homes for a lot of the wrong reasons., says Eugenea. “There was a lot of physical, mental, and verbal abuse.”
Eugenea says a lot of the abuse she suffered and witnessed was done by women, not men. Just an interesting little factoid for you there. Reminds me of the story of Gertrude Baniszewski, the lady from Indiana who kept a teenage girl locked up in her basement in the 1960s, as portrayed in the Ellen Page movie An American Crime.
“I lived in one house where the abuse was directed right to me, and I lived there for about five years in a really crucial time period where I was really figuring out who I was. I was only seven, and to go into an abusive setting and have somebody constantly hitting you every day of your life… that’s terrible.”
Adoption is not an option for many
Eugenea explains why some children will never be adopted, and will just be perpetually stuck in the foster care system until they “age out” and get spit out into the world to fend for themselves.
“Families are looking to adopt a baby, usually. And foster parents are looking to take in a child temporarily until the child is ready to go back home, or be placed in an adoption situation.”
So some children go un-adopted and un-fostered for ever.
Eugenea talks about what it’s like being stuck in foster care limbo, moving from home to home, changing schools, families, churches, everything. There is no constant in these children’s lives.
“The more a child moves, the more unstable their life is. That’s a fact. I moved 11 times before I was 18.”
Money for nothing, kids for free
The government gives you money when you adopt or take in foster children, so you can see how this would attract the wrong types of people.
Drug addicts or abusive people living on the fringe who just need some cash can consider adopting or fostering children. Apparently you just have to play nice when the social workers come over for their scheduled visits, and make sure nobody ever talks to the child alone (which they won’t because the system is so overloaded that no one has time to actually do their jobs properly) and that steady stream of government cash rolls in every month.
The apprehension of Eugenea
Eugenea was “apprehended,” or taken away from her real family by the government, at a very young age. Eugenea’s mother and father split up and Eugenea was living with her mother as a child. One New Year’s Eve, Eugenea’s mother went out and left Eugenea and her two siblings at home with a babysitter.
Eugenea’s mother ended up not being able to drive home so she called the babysitter to let them know she couldn’t make it home. The next day when Eugenea’s mother came home, Eugenea and her two siblings were gone. They had been apprehended.
The babysitter’s parents had called the authorities and reported that this family’s mother wasn’t coming home that night. The authorities took Eugenea to a doctor who discovered evidence of sexual and physical abuse.
Eugenea told them that the babysitter was the one who had sexually abused her, but the authorities decided to remove Eugenea and her two siblings from their home and put them into the foster care system.
Eugenea says she would have been better off living with her real family. “I don’t remember my mom ever being abusive,” says Eugenea.
How to fix the foster care system
Eugenea has a lot of excellent ideas for how we can help fix the foster care system so children’s lives aren’t completely wrecked should they have to enter into foster care. “
We need to have supervised visits, where foster parents have drop-in visits where social workers do come in and check on things unannounced. Where children can go and speak to social workers outside of the foster home and talk about what’s really going on.”
“The system is just so overloaded. A lot of times children are going into care for the wrong reasons. Children shouldn’t be in care just because their parents are poor.”
Eugenea says a lot of children in the foster care system don’t belong there, and the system can’t properly take care of all the children they take in.
“Obviously there are situations where you just know that the child has to be taken and put into foster care: if there’s sexual abuse, physical abuse, then definitely the child should be put into foster care. But we have to make sure that we aren’t making it worse.
“When children go into foster care, they lose so much,” says Eugenea. “And when they age out, that’s another situation. Some of them are really far behind because they’ve been moved through 15 or 16 schools.
They need to have support when they get out. Ageing out at 18 or 19 is not good enough. They need help until they are 23 to 25, where they’ve got help with education, parenting skills, everything.
The last thing we need is a generational pattern, and that’s what we see happening. We need to avoid that.”
What we can do to help
Here are some things Eugenea says that you, me, all of us can do to help this whole foster care monstrosity.
- Become a Big Sister or Big Brother.
- Get involved in your local community.
- Get involved with your local schools, teachers, and other parents.
- Put in as much as you can to help keep families stay together and connected.
Eugenea searches for her real family
Adoption Not An Option also includes Eugenea’s epic 40-year search to find her real family. Did she ever become reunited with her real parents and her real family? I don’t know, she wouldn’t tell us. Now I really want to read Adoption Not An Option!
Connect with Eugenea
Exclusive Dale. J Gordon
This episode starts with a bang. We are really excited to present to you some brand new EXCLUSIVE Dale J. Gordon voice guitar music song tracks you will not hear anywhere else!
Brand new Almighty Spit jawn
New RadioFubar server
And have some fun with the new RadioFubar server. Props to Frank for setting up this great new server for all of the great shows on RadioFUBAR!