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Friday, January 31, 2014

Explanation

We've had a few great days with the Quartet. We seem to be a little more comfortable with each other and the lack of cohesiveness is a little less noticeable. The hardest part has been that they don't "feel" like "our" kids. And of course they don't. They've had 3 and 4 different families in the past year. It's just hard to remember we have to work at it too. But we spent some quality time talking and hanging out the last few days and its helping. The kids have some great personalities and its fun getting to know them.


Sarah asked us directly tonight if her former foster parents were coming to our party on Sunday. As a rule, we don't lie to kids in our home. We adjust answers to be age appropriate but we never mislead the children in our care. (This doesn't score you points. If the kids find out that you were not truthful it can sabotage what little trust you may have.) we told her that they weren't invited. Stella of course pushed and asked if we could invite them. (This child I always looking for an alternative.)

We explained that sometimes you meet people and they are nice but you just don't become friends with them. Other times you meet people and you have a lot in common and so you become friends. We assured them it was us adults that were not going to be friends and that they are lived by their former family.

Stella of course asked us to try "again" and to "try harder" to be friends with them. She wasn't accusatory.  And when we assured her we had tried as hard a we could she wanted to know if it was the other foster mom's fault. We explained it was nobody's fault and that sometimes you just don't become friends with people. She then told me you should never lose hope. (I really hope she challenges her Mom this way when given the opportunity. Stella is the kid in the family who will hold you accountable.) Sarah spent a few minutes crying but she managed to calm down. Stella then wanted to play "what if". What if they invite you to a party would you go? My answer was that I didn't think that would happen but if it did we would figure it out then. 

We didn't mention the no further contact part. We just reminded them how much they are loved by everyone and what an amazing gift their family gave them allowing them to move to be with their siblings.

I felt bad that the girls were hoping their former family would be at the party. I'll have to remember to be more clear about invite lists going forward. And it was hard to walk them through more hurt because of foster care. I hate the path these kids have to journey on.

Fab Four Update

I spoke with Maria today. We had invited her and the kids over for the Super Bowl. They aren't going to be able to make it but we caught up in what was going on. The kids are in a mentor program and seem to be doing ok.

The week with my Mom seemed to really help LM and JB's medication has been adjusted and seems to be working better. Maria asked if my Mom could take JB to an appointment next week. My Mom readily agreed. That's what grandma's do! I love that she still can support the kids and that Maria feel comfortable enough to ask.

I then spoke to Gabby for a few minutes. It made me really miss her. I actually got teary eyed. She stopped by day care and met the Quartet last week. She commented that they were really quiet. I asked her if it was weird or made her sad and she said no. She's a good egg, that one. I love her so much. 


Loss

This week brought another sad situation to the kids. The former foster mom of Sarah and Stella cancelled her visit with them and asked to no longer have contact with the kids.

I'm totally heart broken for them as when they figure it out, they will be devastated. We aren't going to tell them exactly what was said but the kids are perceptive and they are going to realize that the calls and visits aren't happening.

The day before she cancelled she was requesting an extended visit for the weekend they were schedule to see her. I'm not sure how you jump from "I want to have them two nights" to "I don't want to see or talk to them any further". 

I really believe this was more about her inability to put her emotions aside and her stance that she and I had a "personality conflict" than it was about her reasoning that the visit was going to be too hard on the kids. (Because even if it was hard on them, then you modify the visits or contact not cut it off entirely.) 

She couldn't handle the idea that we got to make decisions about what worked for the kids and our family. She couldn't forgive herself for saying no to having the children in her home. And I was not willing to continue being her emotional punching bag. She asked for two nights with the kids and we had plans so we said no. This response was like an adult sized tantrum! Foster Mom R is being mean to me. She's not my friend any more.

Now I get it is really, really, hard stuff when kids leave. But I know several foster moms who would give their left arm to be given the opportunity to have any kind of contact with their former kids even if it meant they had to put up with a foster mom they didn't care for. (And while I can be direct, I am not an ogre. How is it I managed to befriend the other foster mom in this case as well as the Fab Four's former foster family and Maria? Because I'm actually nice! Oh and they don't blame me for their situations...) I also get that maybe some more time or space was warranted to grieve. You have to speak up if that's the case.

But no. She bailed. Walked out of their life because it was too hard for her. I can't wrap my head around a foster parent stating that they love the children and want what's in their best interest and their conclusion is to disappear from their lives without another word. Not even a goodbye.

There is no love lost on my end because she made my life difficult and brought tons of drama. If I had met this person outside of Foster Care Land I would not have had a second conversation with her. I was willing and attempted to make it work for the kids' sake. So what if she aggravated me or hurt my feelings! I am the adult. I shoulder that for the kids because that is my job.

 We will now add her name to a long list of people who promised the kids that they would be different and broke that promise. And that sucks. Foster care sucks.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Confession

People ask me all the time how I can work full time with four foster kids.

My usual answer is: a) we have a wonderful support in my Mom who loves being Grandma and we couldn't do it without her  or b) all I know is four kids.

But there are days like today where my answer would be: c) I don't.

This morning was one of those mornings where I wasn't my best. Wasn't a great Mom and a less than stellar employee. And because of that I'll probably be a nagging wife later.

Lets review, shall we?

1:30 AM- Finally fall asleep. 
6:00 AM- Alarm goes off
6:55 AM- Realize I hit the snooze more than once and now need to bring kids with me to oil change appointment instead of dropping off at day care beforehand.
7:30 AM- Leave house for oil change appointment at time appointment is supposed to start.
7:40 AM- Arrive at dealership. Traipse children into play room.
9:00 AM- Hassle service desk because the kids have officially missed breakfast at day care and now I need to feed them.
9:15 AM- Leave dealership.
9:17 AM- Stop at gas station. Buy donuts and chocolate milk for kids. Make them eat in the car.
9:25 AM- Arrive at day care.
9:30 AM- Stop for Diet Coke
9:55 AM- Arrive at my desk. An hour and twenty minutes late.

So why so important that I got my oil changed? Well beyond the fact that we are having a "Polar Vortex" here in Chicagoland, my car was hit last week and will be in the shop for a week at least and I won't have time to get my oil changed before I hea to my girls spa weekend. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, self care. I know but seems a little like my priorities are out of order when I'm shoving gas station donuts at my kids in the car.

It's only Tuesday. 

On the plus side though, Hubby handled pickup and dinner tonight and even managed to get some very calm therapeutic parenting of Sarah in. I was so proud of him! (He will now not be nagged.)



Denial

I sent intake forms for Simon and Smiley to their visit this week. The forms are their  family history to help asses their trauma. 

I don't for one minute believe what Mom wrote on the forms, except for maybe, their weight at birth.

Q: Was there any stress on Mom during her pregnancy?
A: No

No? Really? You had one child already removed from your care. The other two were in foster car. There was no stress?

Q:Was there any drug use? Alcohol use during the pregnancy?
A: No

Yeah, we won't count the arrest for DUI and possession of an illegal substance. That's inconsequential.

I might as well have not sent the form at all. She even got the number of homes wrong. Totally in denial. And no idea that this stuff affects her kids. I want to yell and scream- GROW UP and understand what your kids need!

My heart is sad. These beautiful kids deserve better.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Simon

Simon turned six this week. Sheila (Bio Mom) is allowed a weekly call. It happened to fall on his birthday. Sheila didn't call. 

We had changed the day of calls to accommodate her* schedule, choosing a day she didn't work so that the timing of the call wouldn't be an issue as she had said the previous missed calls were because she didn't get her break at work. We discussed that if she knew ahead of time her schedule was going to change she could contact me to move the call. (*Never mind that I am working full time, commuting 40 minutes each way, and caring for four children.) 

Luckily, the kids are not aware that Sheila has a standing call. Sadly, Simon didn't seem to miss or think of his Mom on his birthday. He grinned the entire time we sang Happy Birthday at 6 AM. He was excited to bring treats to school and he really enjoyed the frosting that turned his mouth so blue it looked like he ate a Smurf.

Happy Birthday Simon. I'm so glad you have brought your energy to our lives. I know we will be forever changed, and my hope is so are you.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Cart

This week has been tougher. We still have not yet had a full week of school since before winter break due to weather related school closings, teaching institute day, and holidays. I would love it, if we could get a routine down. While these kids do not have the behavioral issues that the Fab Four did, they do have a listening problem, as in they don't listen. They completely tune me out. It doesn't matter if I'm using a calm voice, a frustrated voice, or a yelling voice. It is as if they just can't hear my voice at all.


It is sooo frustrating. We stopped at the grocery store tonight. Now I realize four kids is a lot to traipse through the grocery store. So when the kids are with me I try to only get a few essentials and get the heck out. I don't know if its sensory or attention issues or lack of attachment but these kids would not stop walking right in front of the cart. You know, as in: the cart is moving forward so I'm going to pick now to walk in front of it. I assigned two kids to one side, one to the other (Smiley was in the cart). Then the two kids were fighting and so I separated them. And then they walked in front of the cart. We turned down an aisle, walk in front of the cart. I seriously considered letting the cart run them over. I reached my boing point as we were leaving. They raced to the automatic doors and you guessed it, cut right in front of the cart.


So I stopped. And I said, "Go ahead. Get it out of your system before we get in the parking lot. Cross in front of the cart. Ok now do it again." Which of course meant that now I had their attention and they didn't want to do what I was asking. So I stood there and waited. Sarah seemed to think this was funny. I think she has a nervous laugh. I assured her the face I was wearing was not one of humor.


This is frustrating because in addition to feeling like my directions are being ignored. I don't get a response from the kids and they aren't connecting to me on a deeper level. I know this will take time given their caregivers have constantly changed. The "I'm going to tune you out" kept on going once we arrived home. But I stayed calm. I tried to re-direct. And then after explaining my expectations, I moved on. I literally said, "I'm disappointed but I'm moving on. These issues are over."


These kids are hyper-vigilant due to their neglect. They are terrified of giving the wrong answer. I know part of what we are struggling with as the adults is that the kids don't feel connected to us. We have to work to overcome that. We have to provide safe places for that bonding to take place and we aren't going to get there if we spend an entire evening going over poor choices.


The attention seeking behavior was out in full force at bedtime. Sarah produced a blown up photocopy of a tooth x-ray (seriously, its scary how much stuff there is in my house that I have no clue about) and wanted to know where to put it 10 minutes after she was to be in bed. Stella has a pajama day at school and despite me telling her 5 different ways she needed to bring me the matching pajamas that she wanted to wear so I could wash them, she handed me mismatched pajamas that didn't fit her. So I'm left with the decision: let the natural consequence of kids looking at her for what she was wearing happen or finding the pajamas for her so that she could get into bed and not become ostracized. I'm not sure she is capable of talking responsibility for her actions at this point so I took care of the PJs.


I need to read up on neglect. Anyone have suggestions or sources they would like to share?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

3 years

It's been three years since we first met Willow. She was at my house today for her monthly visit with the kids. I'm not sure where the time went. I seemingly blinked and I'm knee deep in foster parenting, I've since changed jobs twice, and I've lived through some of the hardest moments of my adult life.

We talked a lot today about the attachment issues we are seeing with the kids. They are very much keeping us at arms length and so we have to work harder to overcome that. We also got some more background on the case and are a little closer to getting all the providers in place. She shared some info that makes me feel like they are really looking to hold Mom responsible for her actions this go-round. That made me feel a bit better. (Although, I still feel like this is going to be a long road.) 

If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it would be the same advice I've given my LM and Smiley: it's going to be ok. 

 Three years ago, I didn't even know these children. Now I'm caring for eight kids in some form or fashion. 

The night ended with a text from Maria that Gabby was in the ER. (Sounds like a virus or infection.) We have come pretty far in the last three years. I'm excited to see where we go.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Heartache

I just spent the last half hour on Pintrest pinning baby shower ideas. My sister-in-law announced she was expecting on Christmas and our best friends are expecting this summer. June and July babies.

I had to stop pinning. I was getting sad. And I don't want to be sad about new babies in our family. I'm so excited for our loved ones and I'm a pretty terrific Aunt. But their joy reminds me of my pain and I'm struggling with that today. 

We had court this week. It was a status update. And while we learned some new information about what Mom is going to be required to do, there was nothing that indicated that she will have to work harder since this is her 2nd go round with this judge. I've already been told she will work her case plan. All I gathered from court is that this will be a long road to return home.

We are committed to helping these kids gain stability and healing. We are already witnessing progress in our home. But my heart literally aches to be a Mom. And I'm totally frustrated by the fact that I have to depend on other woman to be a Mom. And they have to fail in order for me to be a Mom. And that just totally sucks. That thought makes me feel like a really crappy person. I don't want these women to fail. I want them to get better for their kids. 

I want to be the one pinning baby book ideas and first birthday party outfits. I want to be planning a kids room not calculating the square footage in order to be in compliance with liscensing standards. I want to know a birthday off the top of my head because I was there, not look at my cheat sheet.

Today sucks because motherhood seems further away than ever despite the fact that I fed, bathed, and tucked in four kids with an impressive efficiency tonight.

And I don't want to be jealous of these woman I love. How do you put this deep, deep hurt to the side? Today is one of those days where I feel like the world is spinning around me and I'm trapped in quick sand. I am incredibly blessed and really have no business complaining but I don't know how to stop the heartache today.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Anger and Honesty

So this week brought Sarah's therapist to have her last session with her. She had only seen her six or seven times and they hadn't gotten very far. 

She brought up the foster mom who struggled with the transition and mentioned that she's been touching base with her to help her figure out her role. I truly wish her peace but I've pretty well reached the point where I'm tired of hearing about it. 

This woman took every bit of her grief and pain out on me. I'm sorry. I'm a person with feelings too. She made it so much harder on us and the kids then it had to be. And I just am struggling with forgiving for that. Seriously, this was the hardest part of transitioning four kids into my home the week of Christmas: dealing with another foster parent. That shouldn't be the case.

I really hate having to take the high road sometimes. I really hate that I'm the one who often acquiesces in order to do the right thing and be the better person and keep things from exploding. For once I'd like to tell the person I'm trying to kill with kindness to go fly a kite. 

I spent a year in therapy talking about this very topic. I discovered I was really angry about being so easy going that no one bothered to ask me as "they knew I wouldn't mind" or "I didn't care about that kind of thing". Which deep down I really did mind and very much cared. But I was nice, helpful, thoughtful Foster Mom R so no one gave it a second thought to see if I'd want my own bridal shower or asked me if I'd mind postponing my college graduation celebration, even if I was the first to graduate from college in my family. Foster Mom R doesn't need birthday cake!

So when the therapist asked how this could be resolved amicably I decided I no longer was going to be empathetic or understanding. I was going to be honest with myself. I told her this woman hurt my feelings deeply and I was not really interested in trying to be her friend. I'm happy to continue allowing her contact with the kids but until she could recognize that she behaved badly towards me and could guarantee that it wouldn't happen again, I was done trying to accomplish an impossible task. 

I ignored the passive aggressive text I got about the kids calling this week. But I stewed about it. I hate that this person has taken up so much of my time. I'm trying so hard not to give her that power. 

But I am a good foster parent so I know the kids should keep contact with positive influences in their lives and should get to have a network of trusted adults. I have to to support that. It's in their best interest. Because even though she has made me the enemy, she is not mine. She is one of my kids' moms. That's an important role. No matter if I like the mom or not.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I Believe

I firmly believe in car dancing. I may drive a minivan but my sound system rocks and you are likely to find us belting out tunes and wiggling in out seats. If we make you chuckle at a stop light, even better.

I believe it's perfectly acceptable to have cereal for dinner. It is also acceptable to force your kids to listen to the music you did in high school. One day they will have fond memories of you singing to Getting Jiggy With It. 

I believe in working hard and playing hard. I work my tail off so that at the end of the year people write things like:

Foster Mom R is dedicated. She is organized and efficient. Even on the craziest days she has a cheerful and helpful attitude.

This also means that if we have a chance to go watch a hockey game as a family I will chose that over staying home to take down Christmas decorations. I will care less about putting away laundry (ok I really don't  care about perfectly stored laundry. I want clean laundry but if its in a basket and its not wrinkled it doesn't matter to me that it didn't come out of a drawer. But since its a life skill I have to at least appear to care.) and more about an opportunity to spend quality time with my Mom. It means I believe letting kids miss four days of 1st grade isn't a game changer if they are going on a lifetime of memories filled trip to Disney World.

I believe that parents should be held accountable. That means if you are supposed to call by 7:00 PM to confirm a visit with your children, your visit should be cancelled* if you call at 7:20 PM. I don't care if your phone fell in a toilet. (*This is not standard. This is a requirement because of inconsistency and missed visits.)

I believe foster parenting is not for everyone. I also believe that is ok and should not be judged.

I believe in the golden rule.

I believe in Angels.

I believe everyone should have a guilty pleasure. Mine is watching ABC Family dramas. 

I believe it takes a village.

I believe you are part of my village and I am honored you stopped by and thank you for your prayers and support.

Exhausted

We are in the thick of the hardest part of being a foster parent. Dealing with the system. Make up visits, missed calls from Mom, finding therapists and doctors.

I actually forgot we had a rescheduled appointment tonight until one of the kids reminded me. (I'm not back in the habit of carting my MomAgenda everywhere yet.) and while talking to the therapist who came to our home tonight the kids let the dog out of his crate and he helped himself to my hamburger on the table.

I'm daunted by the task at hand today. I know how much good we can do. I know how much the kids need us to do this good. I just want to call a time out.

I hopped over to an online retail store tonight to look for inspiration. A search of books and foster care, left me even more depressed about how much overhaul the system needs. It should be this hard to get what the kids need, what our family needs. I actually had to point the transportation company contracted by the state to the state safety belt laws today. 

Banging my head against the wall.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Goal:?

In response to my post on the Quartet: AnonymousJanuary 9, 2014:

Oh! Didnt know you were open to foster care as well....Thought just adoption.


Well we are kind of open to foster care. If a legally free set of kids had come our way we would have likely said yes. However, in the eight months our license was open for new placements only one sibling group came close that termination was happening on. They ended up going to an out of state relative and it would also have been a transracial adoption which isn't necessarily our preference.

It wasn't like we didn't get calls. I guess we said no to at least 50 kids. At first it was too soon and then we were waiting for a more likely termination scenario.

Interestingly, the same week Simon an Smiley moved in, an email was circulating looking for a family to take a sibling group of four under an identified surrender. This means the biological parents would be signing their rights over to an adoptive family. That particular case would also have been outside of foster care and DCFS (meaning no financial perks of the medical card or adoption subsidy or adoption fee assistance). I don't know that we would have been able to afford adopting four kids with no financial help or costs deferred.

Since these kids still needed to be together and we felt termination was likely, we decided to agree to foster. They don't have as many therapuetic needs as the Fab Four and their ages were right where we wanted. Further in, with more details, and I'm not so convinced that everyone with power believes that this Mom should not have parental rights. 

So what's different? Well for starters we are much wiser. We have an idea where we need to push. For example, we need to find therapists and we have to switch transport providers. I am willing to back off insisting on the same therapists (although I love them) in order to take up the cause to keep the visit day as is. 

Willow also ordered a trauma assesment which will also assess attachment. This will provide documentation and may give evidence for a psychological evaluation of Mom. All of this tells me they are trying to get enough to terminate rights but it also means a very long road.

Since we know that reunification can work and we've now had a really positive experience with it, it's hard to know how to feel about this case. Mom's had several chances to figure it out but she also hasn't beaten her children. She's sick. She can't really help that. And since I know these kids could be going home, I'm finding it hard to embrace them as "mine" like I did with the Fab Four. It's not a feeling I'm totally comfortable with and I think a lot has to do with me feeling like a foster mom vs a potential forever mom. (I could also just be trying to protect my heart.)

Conversation at dinner tonight did turn to "real" Mom. Smiley asked if I was now her "Real Mom". I explained I am real. I am "The Mom" in this house. Their Bio Mom "Mommy" is also real. And sometimes people refer to Mommy as a Biological Mom since they were born to her. The previous foster family has bio, adopted, and foster children and so the concepts were familiar to the kids. Smiley wanted to know where my baby was (again) and Stella wanted to know if I ever wanted a baby and if I ever had any. Sarah was concerned that if she called me Mom (as Stella has started to) and wanted to talk about Mommy, I would be confused. I assured her she can call me what she's comfortable with but if she did go with Mom, I would probably be able to figure out which Mom she was talking about. She has not witnessed the rapid fire "Mom, Mom, Mom" that is being with Maria and the Fab Four. Four kids, two Moms makes for a lot of "Mom!" 

So we are embracing the fostering because these kids need us. We probably need them too. And I've been praying that my kids will find me so when the 2nd request for us To be the foster parents came at us I felt like it was a sign. I do want off the foster care roller coaster. But I feel like this is where we need to be.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Quartet

So I will begin referring to the current placement as The Quartet. (And if I'm crazy enough to take a 3rd set in the future you all will have to help me brainstorm!)

The Quartet consists of the following:

Girl- Smiley (4) 
Boy- Simon (5)
Girl- Sarah (7)
Girl- Stella (9)

The goal is return home. A reader asked if there was a concurrent goal. This means that in addition to the case goal of return home there is a goal for another form of permanency for the case such a adoption. In our state, there is almost always a concurrent goal of adoption. Although, in my experience its not often focused on until much later in the case. 

The kids have not lived with Mom (27) for 11 months. They have been in Foster Care for nine months. The details are fuzzy. I've asked several times how the system became aware of them and I've not been given a straight answer. I am going to leave that to the therapists to piece together and ask them later.

We are the concurrent plan. Willow (case worker) and her supervisor were looking for an adoptive resource that would be willing to adopt all four kids together. In August, when they contacted me the 1st time, they were discussing expedited termination. This did not pass legal screening. So unless Mom surrenders, this looks like a long term placement.

Now given the family history of domestic violence, past dealings with DCFS (Stella and Sarah were in foster care for a year  prior to Simon being born) and Mom's mental health it's quite possible that parental rights could be terminated if Mom doesn't start working hard. However, since the reason for removal was neglect (Mom was hospitalized and did not enact the safety plan in place) and not physical abuse it is possible that these kids will return home should Mom stabilize. Since the neglect wasn't too severe (from what I understand) (and can we take a second to recognize that I'm now rating neglect on a scale and that makes me feel dirty and jaded all at once), it may not be that hard for her.

Visits are once a week, supervised in Mom's home. Simon and Sarah also visit their Dad for 2 hours supervised in the community. He's not complying with services although this month he has shown up consistently for his visits. (This was not happening before.) 

There are also two other boys (10 & 2) living with a relative in another state.  I don't have much information other than the oldest Mom lost custody to. 

9 months in and only at 4 hours supervised visitation does not make me feel like anyone has a sense of urgency. 

We are in the process of trauma assessments on the kids. There have been reports of some molestation happening to Sarah and Stella but nothing they have disclosed themselves to therapists.

We knew that this placement could be traditional foster care and we took it anyway. Maybe this is our calling. Maybe these kids are meant to be ours. Only time will tell. (Smiley's eyes bugged out when I told her the Fab Four lived with us for 2 years. I so wish I could have taken a picture especially since she was wearing this ridiculous headband with bright pink wings on either side of her head!)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

1 Week

We have officially made it a week as a family of six. We even survived having LM as a house guest for two nights (she spent the week at my Mom's house). And by survived I mean there were 7 people in our house and everyone was fine. Mostly.

Sarah is struggling with her emotions. From what I've been told she doesn't "connect" with them. I think she connects but doesn't know how to verbalize. And I would put her emotional age at 4/5 instead of the 7 she actually is. I've had to tell her to use her words pretty often during her meltdowns. Rationalization isn't there. And she imagines she's in trouble even when she isn't. She does seem to be able to draw and journal her feelings. She drew a picture of a heart with a happy face and a sad face on the other side. When asked about it she started crying.

The speed with which these children start to cry is like nothing I've ever seen. We are going to have to choose words even more carefully. The perception of the tiniest disappointment sends them into meltdown mode. Of course Mom did this in the meeting and I'm pretty sure she was crying while they were on the phone the other day. So this may also be a learned behavior.

Smiley had some tears last night about her visit today which of course was cancelled this morning. She said she wasn't missing her Mom but she was sad about her visit. She couldn't tell me what about or why. Her little bottom lip quivers and her big brown eyes get even wider. It's heart breaking. We'll see if Mom contacts me about speaking to the kids today. She needs to seek them out.

And the Dad might still get his visit if the roads are clear. Last time though, he cancelled due to his pregnant girlfriend being in the hospital. I suspect this may be why he is showing up at all. She may be encouraging contact. Which is silly since before they came into care he had shown no interest in these kids and had gone to jail for assaulting their Mom. (Hey System- stop digging parents up!) He didn't work his case plan the first time the kids were in care. He has yet to show up for court this time around. I'm sorry, the inconsistency isn't fair to the kids. I don't think if you can't bother to show up for court or send an attorney that you should be given services.

As a group the kids are great. They get along pretty well. They are fairly calm. It's almost too good to be true.