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Military family searching for a third option 

Julia Ross always wanted a family, even if it meant seeking outside options to make that happen.

After years of trying with her husband Warren, an ACS tech sergeant in the CAF, baby Carrie was chosen for their family. 

“I always knew I would be a mom, and when I was faced with infertility, I had to find a new road to go down. There was no backup plan. I needed to be a mom,” said Ross.

Photo: Raising Baby Carrie Facebook page (Julia Ross)

It didn’t come without challenges, however. The couple worked with the Children’s Aid Society, where they were working to fully adopt Carrie as their own, dealing with pregnancy loss, and the excitement of expecting their now 10-year-old daughter Sophie, and 10-month-old son Eli, and helping other families by acting as a surrogate three times, for two different families.

However, that didn’t set her back. Ross knew Carrie needed her, and she needed Carrie. 

Since their first meeting in March 2008, the Ross family have helped Carrie adjust the best they can. 

Ross has a background in childcare which helped when easing Carrie into her new routine, and as Carrie got older, Julia noticed when Carrie she wasn’t like other kids she had encountered.

During the period of time between 2011 and 2017, Carrie was diagnosed with a variety of complex illness. Reactive attachment disorder, ADHD and ODD, “assumed” FASD and most recently, Trichotillomania, leaving the family forced to deal with these obstacles without substantial resources.

“Over the years we have gone back to the society for help, only to be told time and time again that unless we declare an adoption breakdown, they can’t help us,” says Ross. “We have applied for special services at home, disability tax, and respite. All had been denied.”

For the last 61 days, Carrie has been removed from the Ross home due to safety concerns with their two younger children. The Ross family isn’t getting any active help with providing proper care for Carrie.

“Over the years we have gone back to the society for help, only to be told time and time again that unless we declare an adoption breakdown, they can’t help us,” says Ross. “We have applied for special services at home, disability tax, and respite. All had been denied.”

 

Currently, there are only two options for families who require private care. The first option costing families $70,000 a year out of pocket, or relinquish their rights as legal guardians and the society will fund care.

“We are not in a financial position to fund care, and we are not emotionally prepared to give up our parental rights to our first baby,” says Ross.

Now, they are working on a petition to send to both provincial and federal governments to change the requirements to access care, and allow parents to remain legal guardians to their kids who might require this type of complex care. 

So far, Ross has sent emails to local government representatives and to Doug Ford’s office. She is still waiting for a response. 

Raising Baby Carrie Facebook Page (Julia Ross)

“We don’t have a clear answer as to why this is required. What we do know is many families have been faced with this. So much so that a few years ago, the Ontario child and youth Ombudsman did an investigation on this very issue. Families like ours who have been faced with this decision,” said Ross. “There is a huge gap in the services, and the services that do exist are designed for a very specific scenario that is far from our situation. When the society is faced with a “simple” abandonment, they know what to do. They protect the child, find a placement, and carry on. Our situation is making heads turn, and no one knows how to help us.”

The petition has over 500 signatures, with the goal to collect 1,000. 

Sophie, Julia and Carrie
Photo: Raising baby Carrie Facebook Page

The lack of resources available to the Ross family has not only affected Carrie but her younger sister Sophie as well. Since Carrie was removed from the household two months ago, Sophie has stopped going to school. 

“She has never gone to school without Carrie, and her anxiety around the whole situation makes it really hard for her to be away from me. So for this year, we have allowed her to withdrawal from school,” said Ross. “We are all going through a process best described as a grieving process, for that reason, we don’t want to push Sophie to tackle anything emotionally overwhelming right now.”

Ross said she will continue to work towards a third option for her family as well as others going through similar battles. 

Look for an update on Ross family in our Winter 2020 issue!

 

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Paige LeClair

As a recent graduate from the St. Thomas University Journalism program, Paige has a passion for storytelling and investigative journalism. In 2016, she, along with her journalism team were awarded first place at the Emerge Media Awards in the multimedia category. The team was also a finalist at the Canadian Association of Journalist Awards. She is excited to work with other military spouses providing stories and information to the military community. Paige is newly married to Andrew, a Lineman, and moved to their first posting in Petawawa in May of this year. She is excited to begin this journey with Andrew, their dog Diablo, and cat, Linux

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