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Showing posts from September, 2012

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…

Hear my Heart

Lord, please help me? Please give me the strength to keep going. To  remain patient. To stop yelling. To be calm. Help me figure out how not to be frustrated by homework and projects and socks on the floor.  To ignore the bickering.

I would love to have this knot in my neck go away. And the fear in my stomach to disappear. Because as tired and sad as I sometimes am, the thought of not having those feelings is worse. Way worse. How long can we hold out? How long can we all carry on like this? In limbo. In wait and see. In permission and appointments and visits. And behaviors after visits and cancelled appointments. In between court dates and case reviews and updates.In asking others if, how, when we can live our life.

When CAN we live our life? When CAN we know if they can plan for next year? If we can plan for next year, next time. Someday.  Have we made a difference? Can we make a difference. Is it enough? Should there be more?

I am enough. I have to be.

Lice

I was telling someone the other day about all the things you hear about as foster parents that you think you will not have to deal with. Until you do, and then you realize you should have paid closer attention.

So there I was at 10:30pm last night frantically looking for lice advice on the adoption.com forum while sitting outside the drugstore. The 24 hour one 15 minutes away because the one on my corner closes at 10pm.

We had gotten the note from daycare. I didn't think much of it. Then as I was helping Mr. Mohawk dry off in the shower I noticed some stuff in his hair. I'm not 100% sure but I wasn't taking any chances.

Poor thing was up until almost midnight while we deloused his head. Then he had to get up and go to his visit. He had a bad dream- he was left alone outside.

I will never let that happen my sweet boy. Never.