I have to say Rebecca’s comment really stuck with me over the weekend. When you put yourself out there you take the risk that someone is going to judge you as wrong and that’s what happened here. I questioned why the comment stuck with me. Was it because I was being hard on Mom or was it because I felt misunderstood? The answer I landed on was a little bit of both. The questions in the comments that Rebecca left lead me to believe that she isn’t a regular reader of my blog or that she has only recently read some of my posts. And she had no information on her profile so I’m not sure how or if she fits into the triad of biological, foster, and adoptive parents. This is a point that NewishFosterMom raised when coming to my defense. I appreciate that someone cared enough about me (at 5:45 in the morning!) to take the time to point out that perhaps the comment pointing out I was being too hard on someone might also have been “being too hard on someone”. So ladies thank you for reading and caring that I’m doing my job right. I appreciate both points of view and I'm thankful I have readers!
This blog is a safe place for me to vent my frustration. We parent 4 traumatized kids. We work with 3 individual therapists for the kids, a psychologist, case worker, her supervisor, a family therapist, and we’ve had 2 clinical people overseeing the case as well. I also work full time. My girlfriends all have babies and I can only vent so much to my family due to confidentiality and not wanting to further strain already strained relationships. So I do say a lot of things here so I can let them go and not continue to carry them with me. Plus, I want others to know that they are not alone. That there are other people out there attempting to keep their sanity while on board the crazy train that is foster care. And this case is CRAZY. Seriously, have you ever heard of a trauma therapist having to participate in a family session with a Mom she’s only met in person twice because the Mom perceives that she’s been intimidating and mean? The word ridiculous has come out of my mouth more times in the last 18 months than it did in the previous twenty some years combined.
Sure it’s unreasonable to expect Mom to plan her visits around children being grounded – especially if she didn’t know they were grounded. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t irritate me. The rest of the family missed out on a movie because that child was grounded and here she goes to one anyway. It’s annoying. It’s like being divorced and sending the kids to Dad’s for the weekend where all rules are abandoned and the kids come home with gifts and sugar. I spend a gigantic amount of time each week trying to get this child going in a direction where she acts appropriately and does not disrupt everyone around her and then the message gets reinforced a few times each week that those rules don’t apply because my real Mom doesn’t follow them and the goal is return home.
Had I know that the plan was to take her to the movies I would have informed her Mom what she did that got her grounded and let her Mom make a choice. If she chose to take her to the movie anyway then this would be something we could discuss when we start our family therapy sessions on co-parenting. But the fact that a child was grounded and got to go to the movies wasn’t really the point I was trying to get across.
The commenter stated that a movie sounded safe. Yes. A movie is a safe activity on the surface. But when you dig in deeper and you learn that after 2 years Mom’s parenting skills are seriously lacking and that is exactly what she is supposed to be learning with these visits in order for the kids to have a safe environment to return home to, a movie is not a good choice. Mom did have visits in the home. She was up to 5 hours (supervised) with all 4 children weekly and 1 individual 2 hour (supervised) visit with each child a month. At these visits she would feed them, put on a movie, and paint nails. When we introduced homework it wasn’t accomplished and when the children began testing Mom’s ability to handle conflict we had an incident that led to visits being suspended and a court order separating the children into pairs with visits having to be out in the community because the (5th) home she is living in is not suitable for them. Mom is supposed to be working on having these four children full time, as a single parent. She is choosing a movie because it is the easy choice. The appealing choice. The choice that she is sure that she can handle because it requires no interaction. And making this choice is not safe in the long run. After 2 years we should be working on the long run.
This frustrates me for many reasons. The first is that it leaves these kids in limbo. We have no return home date in sight. Imagine for 3 years you weren’t sure who your parents were going to be or if you were going to get moved tomorrow or if your Mom was going to move to Mexico and never see you again. That is the reality of these kids’ life. We are headed into 3 years of foster care. ½ of Mr. Mohawk’s life. ¼ of Little Mama’s. This type of stress leaves lifelong marks on children and the more time they are left in flux the harder it will be for them to heal. The 2nd is that she has promised the kids that she is fighting to get them back. I see no fight and neither do they. I see some effort and I will give her that she has done more than a lot of biological Mom’s in her situation have done but I see no fighting. The only fighting she is doing is with the trauma therapist and since she has a tendency to file complaints everyone is afraid to push her or give it to her straight because they don’t want the hassle or give her the opportunity for an appeal.
The 3rd reason is that it leaves me in limbo. My life is tied to her choices and I have NO say in it. She goes against the advice of the team and it is me picking up the pieces that she leaves her children in. It is me scraping the stool sample into the vials to prove to her Mom’s attorney that her diarrhea is from anxiety surrounding her Mom and not some misdiagnosed virus. It is me listening to hour long tantrums from an 8 year old every day for 3 weeks because she feels unsafe. It is me making the trip to the emergency room to stop the allergic reaction to the make-up, and me answering questions on why birthdays were ignored. I’m not complaining that I am doing these things for the kids but rather I’m doing them because of someone else’s choices.
Yes. I am being hard on her here because everywhere else I have to tread carefully and rise above. And that exhausts me at times. I have to listen to a team of people who have never met these kids that I love so deeply suggest that they should have a mother that is “good enough”. And then sit silently as they explain to her that her children “care” for me but will always love her. I have to watch as she alienates her children in a span of 1 hour but put a smile on my face and act as if this was just a peachy afternoon despite the fact that the fallout from it will last the better part of a week. I have to find a way to nicely respond when she tells me she wants to do it again next weekend when all I want to say is “You are out of your ever loving mind if you think today is going to happen any time soon lady.” Because despite my frustration and anger at the situation I really do want a good relationship with her. It’s important to me. It’s important to the kids. I want her to find happiness in life and I would love her to prove me wrong in my assessments of her choices and the motivation for them. But two years in that’s not a likely scenario and my preference would be for us to all be able to move forward and heal before more damage is done that isn’t fixable.
This post is probably coming across as defensive. I mean it as more explanatory. It's good for me to be reminded that sometimes my standards are above what she is capable of but that doesn't always mean that my feelings change because of it. But perhaps someone else read the post and felt the same way and so thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain further. And for giving me the opportunity to see a reader come to my defense and feel as if someone else really gets it!
ACR (1) acupuncture (1) adoption (30) Adoption; RAD; emotions; tantrum (1) adoptive families (4) Amazing people (2) anger (6) Anxiety (1) appointments (1) Attachment (4) Attachment therapy (1) babies (1) banging my head (8) Bed wetting (1) beds (3) bedwetting (3) behavior (25) bio families (2) bio parents (26) biological parents (5) Biological parents; adoption (3) Biological parents; adoption; co parenting (1) Bioparents (1) birth families (21) birth moms (1) birth parents (5) birthdays (3) blogging (5) Boundaries (4) CASA (1) caseworker (9) challenges (4) change (2) Changes (2) co-parenting (16) confessions (15) Consequences (2) Court (20) crafts (1) CW Visit (5) DCFS (9) decisions (3) diary (1) dicipline (1) drama queen (2) emotions (130) Fab Four (14) Fab Four: Post Reunification (2) faith (10) family (12) Family fun (9) family outings (7) family support (15) family therapy (4) feelings (7) fertility (2) flowers (1) food (1) foster care (25) foster parenting (83) Foster parenting; permanency (3) fun (1) Gabby (4) grief (9) healing (5) Holiday (8) Holidays (5) Homework (1) honesty (1) Hubby (2) husbands (3) If I'm being honest (5) illness (1) investigation (1) Jelly Bean (4) laughter (1) legal issues (4) licensing (2) Little Mama (2) loss (5) love (8) lying (1) marriage (1) meetings (1) meltdown (1) Mental Health (3) migraine (1) milestones (1) Mommy Humor (5) mother (1) motherhood (46) Movie review (1) Mr. Mohawk (7) music (2) names (2) Neglect (1) neurosarcoidosis (6) Nostalgia (1) nothing to do with foster care (8) Open adoption (2) organization (1) other people's reactions (7) Overnight visits (2) parenting (12) permanency (10) perspective (6) photolistings (1) photos (2) pictures (5) placement (1) Placements (23) Post Reunification (26) Post visit behavior (2) Post-reunification (5) PRIDE (1) progress (1) PTSD (5) puberty (1) Quartet (3) Questions (1) RAD (5) relationships (6) return home (1) reunification (11) safe haven (1) Sarah (3) sarcasm (1) school (10) Sexual abuse (4) shopping (2) sibling (1) siblings (5) Simon (6) sleep (1) Smiley (1) Social Media (2) Solana (5) Stella (1) stress (9) Suicide (1) support (5) tantrums (3) Team Work (1) Teamwork (5) Thank You (1) The Quartet (1) The System (2) Therapeutic parenting (2) therapy (19) TPR (7) training (1) Transition (10) transition plan (10) trauma (9) triggers (4) typical kids (1) Urine (1) verbal abuse (1) Visit behavior (3) visits (38) waiting (2) where to start (3)