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Monday, May 7, 2012

Minimum Parenting Standards - Monday's Post

I can't figure out Blogger's time zone and I may not have time to write Monday evening so here is Monday's post.

This week we are having another "team" meeting. This time to discuss the "minimum parenting standards" that the kid's Mom has to meet in order to be "good enough" to parent them.

Now I have all kids of issues with this entire exercise. The first being that these kids deserve better than the minimum. The second, that good enough isn't going to cut it with their issues. The hardest part though is being asked to write down a guide to being their parent FOR their parent. Putting my commitment to first reunify a family to the test. It is one thing to suggest ways in which she can be a better parent and to support the goal by not bad mouthing her and encouraging the kids to share their true feelings. It is an entirely different thing to sit down and write a guide for a woman who has yet to grasp the basics after two years.

It was really hard to keep the list positive. It's as neutral as I could make it but the reality is that the kids were harmed by their Mom and are still fearful of her.

Adding to the challenge: I don't really want to help her anymore.

At the beginning I did. I wanted to help her family. I understood she herself is a victim. But as I've watched for 15 months and seen little real progress and heard excuse after excuse as to why she did what she did I just have a tough time believing that she will learn how to be a mother who can care for them. Even one who is just good enough. Especially knowing how scared her children are and how much trauma they have had. I'm worried I won't be able to heal their trauma. How is a woman who hasn't learned about her own trauma going to help her children through theirs? And then the idea that I'm writing for the purpose of moving the children from my home pops in my head and I freak out. It goes against my desire to protect them which a lot of the time is in conflict with my primary purpose in foster care - to reunite them.

But since I'm not the "good enough, minimal" Mom I will write what was asked of me. Because it isn't about me. It's about them. And even though my gut says "get over yourself you aren't going to write anything so important that it will unlock the secret for her, you know she doesn't have the capacity to do this." I still have to do what's right and that means writing all of this down. It means that someday when the kids ask me how I tried to help their family I can answer honestly. That I can look them in the eyes and make them feel my heart when I say I did everything asked of me and then some. Because if I can't put my own feelings aside I'm doing exactly what I wrote she needs to do- put her own issues aside in order to advocate for her kids.

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