The Quartet's Mom, Sheila, is struggling. She's missed 1/2 of her weekly phone calls and last week and this week she missed her visits. Her excuse was a new job that she started.
Yes, yes, it's great that she is working. But she switched her work schedule to when her kids were visiting. I don't know if this was a choice in a new job or if she was fired from the last. I realize she has bills to pay but I'm getting inpatient with the fact that she doesn't seem to be taking responsibility for her actions.
Last week they actually confirmed her visit and then two hours later they called to cancel because "she has a new job". Huh? So over a week ago she knew her visits as scheduled weren't going to work but it wasn't until Wednesday that she tried to resolve. Of course there was no supervisor available and now they are waiting to try and find a new schedule for her.
This annoys me. I get that visits are crucial. I understand I am not the priority and no one cares about my weekends or my schedule. But Saturday morning visits mean the kids miss out on so much! Add to that, Dad's visits Sunday and I'm pretty much tied to my house all weekend with kids who have no extra curricular activities and visit behavior. Lovely.
So in an attempt to support Sheila, when she asked if she could call today I said sure. She was supposed to call at 6:00. She called at 7:30. She was at a party and it was hard to hear her. Her battery was going to die. And the conversation she had was, shall we say, painful.
In the middle of Sarah crying she asked her why she was crying. After Sarah told her it was because she wasn't going to see her, Sheila asked again what was wrong. Then she asked her about school and if she was being good. She then picked that moment to ask her about biting her sister last week. Then came the promises of a surprise and a call tomorrow. I'm not so confident that she will call and so I'd rather her not tell them. But that's her choice and I can't save her from herself.
We talked for a few minutes. She expressed that she was sorry and asked why Sarah was upset. I told her I was a poor sustitute for her. That I can be the best foster mom in the world but she's always going to want her mom. Sheila told me she's overwhelmed by all her appointments and that she wasn't able to make any of them. She complained that she had all this stuff to do and "then I have to get the visits in too". There was no responsibility taken for her actions or choices. It was all the systems fault. I gently reminded her that these are services that are supposed to help her and that she needed to remember the goal is to complete these things so that she can have her kids back. I empathized that she is stressed and that I can't imagine what it's like to have all those requirements. I reiterated that we will support her kids while she focuses on getting the help she needs.
I took all of my patience to keep the iciness out of my voice. To not say to her: "Well how the hell are you going to work and raise 4 kids if you can't make it to three appointments a week?" Or "Please just let me adopt them. Well put a visitation agreement in place."
She's not equipped. I understand that. But she has to be willing to do the work to become equipped. Two open DCFS cases in two different states, previous custody lost, and the second time in foster care for two of the ones with me doesn't leave me very confident. And that breaks my heart. These kids pay the consequences of her actions.