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Showing posts from 2012

Spoke too Soon

Oh.my.goodness. We are back to ignoring directions. Asking the same question over and over and over and letting the siblings play Mom and overrule what THIS Mom says.

Por exemplo:

Me: Jelly Bean please get up and get dressed. You have your visit today.
25 minutes later-
Jelly Bean why are are still in your pajamas? What are you doing in the basement? The driver will be here in 5 minutes?
JB: LM told me to go get this for her.
Me: Excuse me?
JB: LM told me to go get this.
*************************************
Me: Jelly Bean, leave those boxes alone.
Jelly Bean, I said leave those alone.
JB: Mom can I open this?
Me: Not yet. You can put it to the side and when all the other presents are in the car you may play with that one.
JB: mom, I want to open this.
Me: JB I already told you my answer. Ask me again and it goes in the car too.
(A few minutes later as I'm trying to consolidate the gifts my mother loving picked out for all of us I hear a package opening)
JB What are you doing?

Christmas

We had quite a lot of attention seeking behavior leading up to Christmas but we all survived. The kids got to see their Mom on Christmas Eve and returned home without too much incident except for Mr. Mohawk who was acted incredibly ungrateful and left me very disappointed in him.

They have a visit Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week which will give them a good dose of each other and hopefully allow them to feel more prepared for overnight visits. They will begin mid- January and it seems a plan will actually be in place.

The kids received a bunch of nice things for Christmas and our friends and families astounded me with their kindness. We ended up getting Jelly Bean an iPod shuffle with the stipulation that she had to earn our trust and when she opened it, literally, breathed a sigh of relief and said, "It feels so good to be trusted."

Therapeutic Parenting at your service!

Jelly Bean

Dear Jelly Bean,

I know I could have handled things better this morning. I know I could have handled things better this evening. But for the LOVE of Pete can you please stop driving me crazy with the questions. And the fighting with your siblings. And the "never mind" when I ask you clarification questions to try and figure out what the hell you are talking about.

And please, when I ask you to give me a few minutes to walk in the door and shove food down my throat so I don't pass out because its 8pm, do just that. Give me space. It's not a trick. This mom says what she means. This Mom hated having to remind you that if I've already answered a question twice I will ignore the third time and you will not get what you are asking for. You can try to ask me the same question 15 ways I have my answer and it is the same: No. N.O. And really after 2 years you can't tell when I'm crabby and you should leave me be? Grrrr.

Let's try not to break anything in the …

It's a Good Thing That I Don't Have A Swear Jar

Because if I did I would be bankrupt....." The amount of cursing I've been doing has been on the rise the last few weeks. Are you flipping kidding me? - the favorite.

Because its Christmas and we live in foster care land. Ridiculous abounds. We have attention seeking behavior including plate throwing at siblings heads at 7:00am. We had a caseworker visit until 9:00pm on Tuesday where we laid all the cards in the table and actually asked "what were you thinking with the first overnight ending on Christmas Eve". Sure enough I was right and it was, "They haven't spent a holiday together..." Um BS. What about Christmas Eve last year? When they didn't even celebrate Christmas?

Apparently my angry email stopped the stupidity (or at least slowed it down) so a plan could be put in place. Why we had to explain that this was necessary and wasn't going to happen in 12 days is beyond me.

Oh and then there is that family member who I unfriended and have n…

Our Happenings

As Christmas is fast approaching I'm seeing an increase in attention seeking behavior from the kids. Interrupting. Constant questions. Helplessness. I have not seen these behaviors in quite some time.

Mr. Mohawk came home Friday from his visit covered in what I believe were hives. I have him an antihistamine and it was much better. By Saturday afternoon- post visit he was itchy again. He called the cow spots because that's what they looked like and they were all over his body. Today- no rash. Anyone want to take beta on if it shows up on Wednesday for the next visit?

Jelly Bean has been a pain in my butt. I know she's scared about this idea of overnights and return home but I so wish she'd take it out on her Bio mom instead of me. (Yes, I know I'm the safe Mom. But the court is going to send her home and she deserves to feel safe.)

LM has been asking some really interesting, tough questions. Like why do you and Dad take us places? Turns out that a cousin she's…

Angry Eyes

I actually own a Mr. Potato Head shirt that says, "Don't make me put on my angry eyes." I also own the ladies version of Mrs. Potato Head that says, "I packed your angry eyes just in case."

Which is why it was funny that someone at work today tried to guess the anger level I was at this afternoon. They then told me that despite my smile my eyes give me away.

My grandma used to tell me my eyes were like looking into my heart.

I was a 9/10. Work sucks right now. Foster Care sucks (didn't hear from the caseworker about my email or Hubby's). And we have some family drama going on.

I don't usually talk about the family issues on here but it ties into foster care because it is our perception that this family member can't accept the kids. Somehow their presence detracts from her daughter. And she's angry that we didn't pitch in for a present for her daughter that she was going to also benefit from but not pay her own way. The kids have picke…

Overnight Visits

Oh my. Was I heated at midnight last night. I saw the email the caseworker sent about her plan for overnight visits. Can you guys when she thinks is the optimal time to start them?

Yep. The Sunday leading into Christmas Eve. It's the holiday after all and the children should spend some time with their Mom. She knows we might have plans on Christmas Eve so she can have the service drop them off wherever we will be at. Then she asked me for my thoughts.

My response back was not kind. It was not calm. And at this point I don't care. The idea that they want to rush this and not have a solid plan in place makes me so angry and the fact that she didn't consider how anxious the holiday makes the kids anyway and then wants to add the stress of the first overnight to it mystifies me.

But have no fear- we'll drop them off in whatever condition they might be in at your family function? What about behavior? What about their response. What if Mom totally fails and it ruins Chris…

And Action!

If only it were that simple. The idea that I could make something start or finish by saying so is my dream right now. Instead I'm directing all the drama surrounding me. Well trying to deflect at least....

So after the judge stated that she saw no evidence of the foster parents sabotaging the case Bio Mom goes and tells LM (during the visit) that her foster parents are trying to keep her from her. That we are trying to keep her for ourselves. And then she brought up the trauma therapists alleged statement about "God shouldn't have given her these 4 kids because she doesn't deserve them".

It's exhausting these conversations about the same make believe issue over an over. The kids haven't even spoken to that therapist on 6 months. What does that possibly have anything to do with anything?

How about you take that energy and focus it on your kids? So LM confronts her in family therapy and she tells her she's entitled to her feelings. And then it comes …

A Good Day

I felt the need to write tonight because a lot of this blog is venting for me. Its spelling out the trials (literally) of foster parenting and the challenges my kids and I face.  I wanted to take a moment and celebrate the good.

Today was just a nice day.  Despite the hellish we had with having kids testifying at a criminal trial against an abuser, a permanency hearing, therapy, a mental health staffing, school, and my husbands last week of his job of 10 years, we had a great day with little issue. Little misbehavior. Little refereeing.

You know what we had lots of?

Laughter. Giggling. Smiling. Family time.

Do you know what we did?

Shopping.

That's right. We took our four children (and Grandma) to an outlet mall and went shopping. For clothes for Hubby and a few Christmas presents. And the kids? They were angelic. No, really. They sat quietly. They helped carry shopping bags. They stayed together. No one wet their pants. We came home with all the hats and gloves we left with. I…

Verdict

So the judge in the foster care case granted overnight visits Thursday. And the states attorney defended us from the accusation that we were trying to sabotage the goal. I'm not clear on what the issue was but the idea is ridiculous. 1) I don't need to help mom screws up just fine on her own 2) it would not score me any points with the kids 3) the only issues I raise are ones that have to do with the kids. I don't know how advocating for safety for them could be viewed as sabotage but I suppose someone has to be blamed. Might as well be me. The judge and states attorney defended us and actually stated that they feel "blessed" to have such supportive, loving, dedicated foster parents.

I didn't go. Hubby went. It's probably best. I was pretty upset afterward for a number of reasons but mostly because I love them and I have no idea how to start to say goodbye. And while I can admit that she is trying very hard, I still question if she's got enough tools…

Court

So we got through the prosecution portion of the criminal trial against the former foster parent who abused Jelly Bean. I didn't get to hear any of it because they may need me to testify as a rebuttal witness tomorrow.

From what I was told the kids did a phenomenal job. It was a long day filled with lots of waiting but we managed and now my kids are tucked into bed. They are exhausted and I'm really glad that the case worker granted my request to have the visit for this afternoon rescheduled.

Jelly Bean did a fantastic job of processing this experience. For the first time ever in the county they allowed a witness to testify via closed circuit video so that she would not have to come in contact with the abuser. I prayed that the judicial system would not fail her and no matter what the verdict- I consider this piece a win. She set a precedent and hopefully this will mean less victims will be subjected to the re-traumatization of facing their abuser. Especially kids.

Of cour…

Buckle Up

Happy December! We kicked off our holiday season with our 10th annual wine party. Last year, it fell the weekend Jelly bean was in the mental health hospital and I managed to have a very real meltdown in front of my husband's best friend and his then girlfriend (she is now his wife and I consider her family). The year before was the day of my Grandma's funeral and ended at 4 AM with a whipped cream fight in my kitchen.

Clearly, we don't ever cancel the party...

It was cool to look back over the years and see how much our lives have changed. My girlfriend had her 16 month old there and shared news that she's expecting a boy in April. Everyone at the party was married or engaged. We had a babysitter upstairs with the kids - who I babysat when I was in high school.

I managed to blow off some steam without turning into a weepy mess. And despite my 3am bedtime we got up and had a nice day as a family. Which is good because this could be a long and defining week for us.

For Good

This evening took place a few weeks ago. I delayed posting so that I could link some things but also because I felt it was too sad for the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

So clearly, I'm in a sad place. I was also PMSing in the last week so I was probably more weepy than I am the rest of the month... Maybe.... I cried at Gabby's musical this week so that probably counts as weepy. Both my Mom and Dad teared up too, so I blame my genetics.

The kids performed several Broadway songs. Singing in the Rain, You Can't Stop the Beat,76 Trombones. Then they got to a song from Wicked. The intro to the song talked about performing in a Broadway show and it being life changing. I performed in show on Chicago's Broadway when I was a freshman in high school and it did, indeed, change my life.  I had no idea how much the song coming at me was going to hit my heart, or I may have tuned out some of the lyrics.

They performed For Good.



I've heard it said
That people come into our live…

My Own Trigger

I have a few posts on pause because I deemed them simply too sad for the week of Thanksgiving. Wednesday morning as I dropped the kids off and still couldn't shake the urge to cry I realized that perhaps, I was experiencing my own trauma anniversary. Which makes sense. My Grandma passed the day before Thanksgiving two years ago and I miss her terribly.

Today is the actual anniversary date and I'm handling it fairly well. I think for me the day before Thanksgiving is my trigger. I was a mess. I volunteered to make the turkey at her house and spend the night to keep my grandfather company. And as I was opening every drawer in her kitchen, trying to familiarize myself with the location of everything, I prayed that I could recall the lessons she taught me about her secret to amazing stuffing. Then I had to laugh because at 31 it was really the first time I was allowed in the kitchen while cooking was going on and no one was telling me to move.

It did a little introspection. I c…

Grateful

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you guys, my readers. Seeing the page views and the comments has helped me get through the last few months.

I realize that my posts seem sad and frustrated and I thank you for putting up with my pain. Like many of you, we don't have a real support system that gets what it's like to live month to month. To live and have your future be hinged on someone else's choices. I'm so thankful there are so many of you who get it. You give me hope.

And let's face it, you allow me to get a grip! So in this month of thanksgiving I am thankful for all of you.

November is Adoption Awareness Month

I knew it before today but the 3 emails I got today told me so. It also said 1700 kids were adopted through foster care in our state last year.

I had a rough day with foster care today. Long story short the caseworker still can't seem to remember to inform us ahead of or nearly after major changes and doesn't seem to think its a big deal because "I observed the were happy. I was pleased with their reaction."

Fan flipping tastic for you. Unfortunately, trauma behaviors came at me and I had no idea why. But as long as you think it went well then I guess no need to let the foster parents know until 5 days later. But a kid fell at family therapy and bruised her knee and that warrants an urgent text message? Seriously? We are so far off the mark in what constitutes important I can't even discuss it anymore.

So Hubby fired off a response basically stating that if the common courtesy of a heads up letting us know something changed cant be extended, neither can we. So …

It's Like Giving Up On a Dream

That's what it feels like to start to let go. To realize, that perhaps, you were wrong. That this isn't really the life you are meant to have. That despite how right it feels, it isn't really yours and because you love it so much you have to let it go.

And man it is hard. So very hard, to put on the brave face and cheer on the things that should have been happening all along. That should have been completed before you ever became a part of it. For the sake of those that you cherish, you must be the better person. And twice in the last week I've not been able to do that.

I know that it means I'm human. It means that I'm sad. It means that I felt love in a way I never thought I would- as a Mom. And I know deep down I will get through this because I have to. Because life is not going to stop for me to grieve. I know that because it never did in the past.

I have given up on dreams. A few of them in fact. Because I couldn't hack the schooling to become a doctor.…

Election Day Soap Box

I'm standing in a line of more than 100 people. I have been in line 20 minutes. I have another 45 minutes to go and only 29% battery left on my phone.

I have opinions. But I don't feel well versed enough about any of the hot bottom political issues for any candidate to spout off about them their campaigns, or the consequences of them being elected.

The issues I do care about though don't make the news. I didn't hear any of the candidates, national or local, make a plea to the overworked foster Mom. I didn't hear anyone talk about the issues my kids and my family face. I'm in a state full of budget cuts. Heard nothing about how DCFS is supposed to do more with less. Heard nothing about how congress and county representatives are going to work for the children in their districts. And I'm not in the same county as my kids case so I can't vote out those who didn't prosecute their Mom.

There is lots I'm sure I should care about. I work in the medic…

6 Years

6 years ago today I married Hubby. We were 25 and 26 and had already spent 5 years of our lives together. The weather was very much like it was today. We spent the day surrounded by friends and family soaking in the support and love.

It was one of the best weddings we'd ever been to. The dance floor was packed. The food was delicious and our guests had a blast.

We stood in my childhood church and promised God and our family that we would be true to each other in sickness and health, in good times and bad. I had no idea that day how soon we would test our vows. Less than 6 months later I lost my job.

We also promised to accept children lovingly from God. I had no idea that those children would not come from my womb. Or that there would be 4. Or that they wouldn't necessarily be permanent. But we accepted them lovingly. They have brought us much closer. We have solidified ourselves as a team. A family.

Which is why today we spent the day together. We went to a family birthday…

I Wish You Could See

How calm and content my family is at this very moment. We settled in for our family night of pizza and a movie.

When the kids first came an that first day they weren't enrolled in school yet Hubby ran a Disney movie marathon. This is something we have continued. We hang out together while laughing and cuddling.

When they first moved in we could never had done this. We were too busy handling the fall out from visits and the behavior that went with it. Tantrums would last hours. Kids couldn't sit still. Kids couldn't be in the same room. Tears would be falling and everyone would be too wiped out. But over time we've settled.

And tonight I'm listening to kids giggle and talk. And discuss our family trips. Which is beautiful and hard all at the same time. But I'll take it. For however long we have it...I'll take it.

Why do they always pick THE worst day?

So after running around for 10 days straight I of course got sick. Like really sick. Like I had to actually go to the doctor today. I avoid the doctor. I spent so much time in their offices when I was first diagnosed with sarcoid and neurosarcoid that unless I'm sure there is something wrong I don't go. (I am the woman who dealt with nerve pain in my head for a year before mentioning it.)

I called in sick to work. And then everyone needed me. Umm hello people! Mom is sick. Didn't matter. Gabby left her flute. So I run to the school and drop it off but not before she called a second time to make sure I was coming. No sooner do I get home but the phone rings from the school for a third time.

Hi Mrs. R. It's the principal Mr. L. My automatic response? What did he do today?

Because my Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday phone calls weren't enough.

"He bit another student during gym class...on the butt. I know you work but I need to send him home for the day. I have t…

Gems from the "Team Meeting"

- Mom needed to be told that she needs to monitor TV watching. Apparently letting her child with sexual abuse history watch a show that depicted rape and dismemberment of a young girl didn't register that it might not be ok because after all "Well she turned on the tv and chose the program." We'll just overlook the fact that the kid had nightmares and wouldn't pee at school. Mom's been told now she needs to monitor television.

- The bio dad with no legal standing and a history of violence against Mom popping up at visits is "a situation being monitored". Yes let's monitor that.

- Selling food out of your home and customers showing up during visits and inviting them in is totally ok. We'll just ignore the fear the kids have and pretend to be shocked when something goes wrong.

- Unsupervised Wednesdays can't begin because the visit supervisor helps LM with her homework while Mom takes the other 3 elsewhere in the library. Wednesdays are g…

How do you do it?

Cherub Mama recently posted about juggling a crazy schedule when both foster parents are working after a reader posed the question to her. I was honored to be included in a list of bloggers to check out.

The reader asked "Can it be done?" The simplest answer is yes. Yes, it can be done. It is done every day.  But I think what she was really getting at was how can it be done? How with a full work schedule and all the responsibilities of adulthood and the responsibilities of a relationship could we fit in children, doctors, caseworkers, licensing workers, family visits, sibling visits, school, etc. Its a great question and one I get asked constantly. (I'm not going to touch on therapeutic needs or disability in this post.  That's another piece of the puzzle left for a different day.)

I get asked the question "How do you do it?" every time someone finds out I'm a foster parent. Then I get the shock when they find out both Hubby and I work full time (and l…

Home

- I am even more convinced after the last week that I do not need a piece of paper to tell me that these kids are mine.
- This does not mean I won't fight for them or their permanency.
- I spent the better part of the day hanging out with my family. Lounging in pjs, napping and watching movies together. The snuggles were unbelievable.
- We had a blast at a "old Hollywood glamour" wedding yesterday. The kids wore pill box hats, fedoras, and I got to wear a wool hat that belonged to my great grandmother. It was awesome.
- More nonsense happened at the visit this week. I really am tired of being the tattle tale. But alleged bio Dad showing up at the home during and unsupervised visit is somewhat shady.
- The kids spun out of control at family therapy while we were gone. I don't think bio Mom knew what to do.
- I am looking forward to a long weekend away from the kids in a few weeks.
- Someone told me this morning that they were shocked to learn we were not a family …

3 More Days

• Bio Mom went back on permission to LM about being in an activity at school where she was going to miss the next 4 Friday 2 Hour visits. She claims LM never talked to her about it.
• LM took her turn to cry tonight. We ended up video conferencing with her.
• When we hung up hubby says to me "I love that LM kid. When she smiles it just makes me so happy." I melted.
•JB had a great conversation with me. (She refused to talk to Dad). She was able to tell me very clearly that she missed us and used great feeling words including jealous, scared, worried and sad. She told me one reason she wanted me to come home early was that we are going to miss her school concert. I told I ordered the DVD. That made her feel better. It was a great conversation and I told her so.
• Gabby was short with me and sassy/sarcastic with Hubby. I'm worried that she'll be ticked off when we get home and take it out on us when we return.
•Mr. Mohawk got another red card. I'm not sure what we…

Vacation

Sorry for the break everyone. The last few weeks have been a little crazy at work and at home. And now hubby and I are on vacation sans kids so I'm taking a little break from therapeutic parenting. Well mostly.

Being away after some drama that happened with the kids Mom has really stirred up the fear. Day calls from Jelly Bean telling us she wants us to come home today have been heartbreaking and amusing. This is after all, the child who routinely leaves hate mail on my doorstep.

I was giving tapping instructions and deep breathing walking into the fireworks in Disney World.... It doesn't end.....

My Little Brother

Yesterday was a no good, very bad day- that ended a no good, very bad week. It started with Jelly Bean deciding that the outfit she had on was not acceptable to wear so she changed. While everyone else was getting in the car- thus making everyone wait for her. I know it is about control but I swear that this kid is going to end up with exactly 5 shirts and 5 pairs of pants in her dresser. Hubby was not happy when he came back in the house to find her changing at the pace of a snail.

This led to a phone conversation between he and I that started to aggravate me simply because we were going over all the nonsense that happened this week. From sleepless nights to 200 ft of toilet paper pulled off the rolls at school resulting in the 3rd week in a row of Wednesday phone calls from the principal.

Then I arrived at work where upon everyone decided to blatantly ignore direction and pester me about deadlines and cause me so much stress and irritation I ended up in tears - twice.

So after leav…

My Addiction to TLC

I LOVE The cable channel TLC. I've been watching for years and a good chunk of our DVR is set to programs on TLC. We as a family watch "The Cake Boss" and "Long Island Medium" religiously. I'm fascinated by families and how they operate. We loved Jon and Kate and their 8 and were sad to see them go off the rails. (And now as a parent of 4 I understand the stress a tad bit better.) we're rooting for "the Little Couple" as they realize their dream of becoming parents. I was especially interested when the show highlighted special needs international adoption. TLC- if you ever want to come to my house and document the reality of foster care and foster parenting I'm game! (Especially if it means college for 4 kids could somehow be paid for because as of right now I got nothing....)

I digress....

So in feeding into my TLC addiction I looked into the Long Island Medium touring. I saw The Cake Boss live and loved it so when I heard Theresa Caputo …

Parenting Tips From Foster Mom R

1) CSI is not appropriate tv for the under 12 set. Even less appropriate is watching it with your child. Most inappropriate is leaving it on and walking out of the room while a victim's rape and dismemberment are discussed while your sexually abused child is still sitting there watching.
2) Real glassware should be put out of reach of the child throwing said glasses after the 1st and 2nd glasses are smashed on the ground. This will prevent the 3rd glass from being broken.
3) it is wise to take the advice of the professionals and keep your mouth shut about impending change. This will allow your children to sleep better and perhaps cause less drama at your visits.
4) Donuts for breakfast when you plan to let 6 children stay inside and watch TV all day is perhaps a poor choice.

Please start sending me the cases of Diet Coke now. I have a lot of nights of interrupted sleep coming at me.

Visits

We have some family functions coming up in the next month or two that require the kids to miss their regularly scheduled visits. So we have 2 make-up visits this weekend in addition to their regular Saturday visit.

And in a change of events- I actually PUSHED for these to occur the same weekend. Close together. They will have 5 hours today, 5 hours Saturday, and something like 8/9 hours Monday.

And I just got a message that the case worker is off until Wednesday. Ha!

I'm prepared for some crazy behavior over the next week. This will be the most visitation she's ever had. The kids will be totally off their normal routine. And there will be no therapists to help process.

***********

I wrote the above Friday but it didn't publish. I'm waiting for the kids to leave. They are going to plant trees today. No doubt part of Moms community service requirement for her probation. Not sure how I feel about bringing the kids you beat to working off your debt to society. Oh who a…

Some More things I'd Love to Say

- I know that your Mom told you you were going home in six months but she's said that before. Several times over the last 2 years, in fact. So I wouldn't worry too much. She's also got to get a job and a house and it's hard to pay for a house when you don't have a job. And since you Mom has no skills and is here illegally it's not likely she will find one.
- Oh really? Your Mom promised you BOTH cell phones? Are they the fake kind because real ones cost money and she was unable to call from the hospital because she could no longer pay for hers.

Sometimes, You Need Your Mom

Thirty one year old women are no exception. After a very, very trying week where everyone took a piece out of me I reached my breaking point. And at lunchtime I called my Mom.

I really just needed a hug. The warmth if her cheek next to mine. Hands rubbing my back, reassuring me that I was not alone. I needed encouragement that I was doing good. That I was serving a purpose. That this feeling of unbelievable helplessness would go away at some point.

She was nearby my office and her and my Dad met me for lunch. The minute I pulled into the parking lot and I spotted them I started to cry. It was like a dam broke loose. All of the feelings came pouring out. The fear right at the very front.

I'm watching everyone around me start to break apart and close off and I don't have the luxury of doing that. I'm not built that way.

After listening to my Dad telling me I have to approach it simply and understand the kids are going home and remind me that no one would blame me if I deci…

Questions

How do you explain to a 5 year why his other Mommy was asking him where he wanted to live when he doesn't know living anywhere else?

How do you clear up his explanation that he can live with you because "your babies got lost"?

How do you reassure him that people are trying to protect him and won't send him anywhere until they are sure he will be safe, when you, yourself, aren't convinced?

How do you give him e a hug goodnight and ignore the death grip he has on you because now he is worried that his safe Mommy is going to send him away?

How do you explain to a 12 year old why you are sitting in the basement crying alone wen she comes down to talk to you?

How do you explain to her how proud you are of her that she could come talk to you, especially since the very thing she's going to tell you is that she couldn't talk about what was bothering her with her "real" Mom a few hours before?

How do you respond to being told that she's not ready t…

When Failure Makes the News

The following watchdog article was posted in the Chicago Tribune this past Sunday Fatal Flaws.

It is an investigative article on how DCFS failed properly intervene in the deaths of at least 8 children.  I cried as I read the article. Discussion of how investigators found claims unfounded.  How time after time people in positions of power told those who questioned that everything was fine or checked out.

I will say that I don't think our caseworker has falsified any information or acted negligently. However, the system HAS failed my kids. It hasn't protected them from further abuse or harm. The length of time in care is entirely too long. Everyone is fatigued. By the number of providers, appointments, people, issues.....So now the approach is push it until it works or it breaks. Which still isn't the best way to go about things but no one wants to continue on in this manner for the next 5 years.

My biggest fear is that these kids will go home and I will read about them in …

Saturday Morning

So Gabby did go to the visit this morning. I could tell she was nervous but she said her stomach was fine.

Jelly Bean woke up in a foul mood and then dragged, and I mean dragged, in getting ready. I have never seen someone take so long to tie their shoes.

Mr. Mohawk seemed happy. He was the first one ready. I hope he doesn't kick her today like he did Wednesday.

Little Mama was finding reasons to be angry at me. She asked to take a board game knowing full well I would say no. My standard: "Your Mom is working on being prepared. That's a great suggestion. You should tell her that's a game you'd like." only served to provoke the silent treatment.

I'm not responsible for providing entertainment for 4 children at an in home visit. In the past, I might have considered it but the training wheels have to come off. The kids have to adjust to what life without me is going to be like. What life with her will be like. She doesn't have the capacity to plan ahead…

Things I'd love to say

I'm sorry. I'm not picking up your call because: I worked 60 hours this week while juggling disregulated kids, principals calling, teachers calling, meetings interrupted by meltdowns, a visit, therapy and court. I've sat down for the first time all week with my family and they are actually calm which may only last for the next 15 minutes.

I realize you are calling to check up on the kid who missed her visit today because she was sent home for throwing up. I'm pretty sure she's just fine and that her throwing up had more today with her visit today and the plan to start unsupervised visits tomorrow since you haven't really convinced her you're a safe parent. Don't worry. I'm sure she'll be there tomorrow because if she isn't she'll have to miss a birthday party and I'm fairly certain she really, really wants to go to the birthday party.

Goal Change

So we had the 2nd 1/2 of the permanency hearing today. The goal was changed from return home in 12 months to return home in 5 months. Apparently, this qualifies Mom for some housing grant. The state is concerned that in light of her not currently being employed (yep) that she will be unable to maintain the housing.

The judge didn't seem convinced as she shot down the departments request to be able to grant Mom custody down the road.

Thankfully, it was pointed out that 1)the kids need room and that is a concern with her history of sharing a room in a house 2) the kids are not the same that lived with her previously - their expectations are WAY different 3)the deserve to know that their supports will stay in place.

We left court feeling a little more comfortable that perhaps the state sees that there isn't a long term solution here an they are trying to document it. And we know that they will probably be here for Christmas.

We have another hearing in November to see if she…

If you teach a man to fish

Hubby was going to use the "teach a man to fish;feed him for life" phrase when trying to clarify why the team was going to gather the resources for Mom to find homework help for the kids but figured it would get lost in translation.

It was a good call considering that Gabby tattling on Jelly Bean to her Mom about the "kick me in the balls" post it note resulted in an email to me and a therapist that JB was telling boys to hit her in her privates...

Today we actually went fishing. We caught nothing but plants but we had a nice time. The kids made really good decisions. Everyone had fun.

Days like today I cherish.

Apparently Yelling Worked

As did my no nonsense email about MY expectation regarding homework- it will be done on Wednesdays if it is not I will direct the teacher to the caseworker who can work with Mom.

I remember reading advice from somewhere (I can't remember or I would credit the source.) that case workers don't change until they feel your pain. Seemed like having the caseworker potentially contacted by 3 teachers would be a great way to spread my pain.

Because it prompted a call from the case worker's supervisor to "do damage control".

Yep.

And I vented. Expressed that we are tired of being the doormat. Not sure how long we can continue like this.

She stroked my ego. You are doing a great job. Don't know how you do it. Yada yada. But we need to push them if we are going to get them home by Christmas break.

As in three months from now.

So I've gone back and forth between being grateful for finally having a date to work with and understanding what the Department has been th…

In a Dark Scary Place

I soo totally want to throw in the towel. I want to protect my heart. I want to bottle up the happy memories, forget the ugly ones and walk away knowing I gave it my all.

I'm in a place that scares me. And I'm not sure if I'm more scared that their Mom CAN actually do this or if she's going to do "good enough" to get them home and we'll have to start all over.

And really I'm not mad at her. I'm ticked off at the casework and family services something fierce. There is a major lack of respect for us as equals and I'm just tired of being the doormat.

I was already pretty ticked Friday when Mr. Mohawk came home with a haircut (it's not about the haircut) and found out no one told me for the last two years that I need a bioparent's permission to cut foster children's hair. When expressing my frustration the caseworker texted me to "hang in there" "she knows it's hard" and to "not be so negative".

And …

Not Enough Words

Lord, have Mercy. There were not enough words to express my frustration today.
- Apparently, expecting homework to be completed when the kids come home from their mid-week visit at the library is too high of a goal and unrealistic. Guess who was asked to find them a tutor to be there with their Mom during HER visit?
- I got a call from daycare that LM told the teacher "I don't give a shit , what you said."
- the email from JB's teacher said she got a red card yesterday for writing "kick me in the balls" on a post it and sticking it on a boy's back.
- a bunch of stuff happened at work too.
-hubby is working late tonight.
-there is a therapist here tonight so opening up a bottle of wine is out until she leaves- then it might be too late to be worth my while.

Random drug store adventures

Returning a lice comb tonight I bought the following: diet Pepsi, Funions, 3 Carmel Milky Way bars, and a box of pregnancy tests.

The more time I spend as a mother the more random this stuff gets. Interestingly, the lady checking me out struck up a conversation about what I do for a living.

I almost said- buy random sh*t at the drug store 10 minutes before closing.

Seriously, almost as bad as the night I purchased condoms, butter, and Hormel Chili No Beans.

And I'm sorry, can someone please explain to me how on earth pregancy tests can cost so much. No major break throughs in the science and I'm peeing on a stick and a single generic test costs at least $9?

I'm pretty sure they are manufactured in China for like 50 cents. Is it so you can get used to paying through the nose for your future children?

I'm not pregnant. Apparently, my period has gone MIA for 45 days with no sign of returning. Which is good because I drank whiskey yesterday and I Sony want to feel guilt…

A Little Help From My Friends

I started this journey two years ago. Ironically, just as my kids were beginning it. They came into care on 6/30/2010. I called the Illinois Center for Adoption on 7/1/2010. I wrote this post about the photolistings we were stalking reading. And here we all are, nearly 26 months later, living a life of answered prayers with kids who pretty much found me. And as questioning and hopeless as my last post was, I feel a heck of a lot stronger than I did at the beginning of this journey.  And while our life looks nothing like I pictured, (Where are all the sundrops and rainbows?) I wouldn't change it for anything.

I didn't get here by myself. I have a whole cast of people to thank for helping me along the way.  The funny part is that I have not met a S.I.N.G.L.E. one of them in person.  I care deeply for their families. They have made me laugh and cry and hope. They have made me a better wife, woman, and most of all mother. But none of them exist in my "real" life. They o…