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Showing posts from March, 2014

Dios Mio!

Oh.my.goodness. We have had a night. I was all set to write this great post about how I totally avoided the danger zone and stayed calm and therapeutic recognizing that 1) it's spring break 2) tomorrow is a visit 3) it's raining. Right up until Smiley lied about going to the bathroom and washing her hands and then threw a screaming, kicking tantrum about going to bed. 
Yeah at that point I wasn't so calm. And when you are screaming so loudly that you don't want to go to bed and now you are going to do what I said because you are in trouble it really is time for bed. I don't care if you want to go or not. I want to go to bed. 
The therapists have told us that Smiley draws rain in all her pictures. It represents sadness for her. So when she had her second crying jag within in about of picking her up I was racking my brain. And the thought hit me so hard I actually gasped. Today we had the first rain storm since she's lived with us. (Because we live in Chicago and w…

Court

We had our first permanency hearing today. Sheila was 30 minutes late and walked in mid-hearing. The judge was not pleased and made the comment that this seems to be a theme. She also agreed with the GAL who observed that either she isn't capable of realizing the seriousness of the situation or she doesn't care and has given up. 
We knew that the case plan was going to be unsatisfactory. What we heard from the states attorney as evidence of no effort and no progress was pretty serious. No effort and no progress is grounds for termination in our state. There have to be findings of no effort and/or no progress for a consecutive 9 months (I believe. I could have some of the statutes mixed up.) DCFS likes to have two unsatisfactory case plans before the take it to legal screening to ensure the case is likely to be granted termination.
She's not done any of her parenting classes and the supervisor of that program actually sent in a report documenting all the ways they tried to wo…

Visit Anxiety

It's fitting that I just finished picking Gabby up to spend the weekend with us. It was supposed to be Gabby and LM but LM ran her mouth and got grounded. (Go Maria!) My chatterbox who suffered extreme anxiety is tucked safely in bed above my new chatterbox with extreme anxiety. Maybe some of what I learned will work for him.
Last night Simon broke down. I let him know at bedtime that I noticed he really needed me yesterday. I told him he seemed worried. He began crying and told me he wasn't worried. He was scared that "when I move to my Mom's, I won't live with you anymore." He was shaking while telling us this. We explained that he will know if he is going to move to his Mom's. We will talk about it and it will not be for a long time. We reminded him that we still see the Fab Four so we would still see him too. We got him calmed down but there is more under the surface. The incident was progress. It was us being therapeutic and really noticing the meanin…

Trauma Assessment

I'm a little weary today. We got the results of Simon and Smiley's trauma assessments yesterday. I'm not sure what I was expecting but my heart broke hearing that Simon is in a constant state of fear and is suffering from clinically diagnosed anxiety. His PTSD is in the 90th percentile. And if we don't get some hard work done now he will likely be diagnosed with RAD later on.
I began crying when they described picturing him at 2 or 3 listening to domestic violence in the next room. Unable to understand or put words or pictures to the sounds he was stuck in a fear state an has no idea how to stop worrying.
Smiley is always a little sad. Which probably means her smile is often phony. She spends a great deal of time in a dissociated state. Their biggest concern is that she won't be able to cope with another move. She has quite a few risk factors for an attachment diagnosis down the road as well. 
It just hurts my heart that these beautiful kids were not cared for. And th…

Gabby Turns 12

Today was a momentous day. It was Gabby's 12th birthday party. And we got to be there. I remember sitting across from Maria at JB's IEP meeting last year and her asking me to be at the kids' birthdays. And today we completed a years worth of birthdays.
It might make the other guests raise an eye brow or two at my broken Spanish. It might seem strange that their family members call me Mom but its our normal and I wouldn't change it. I never thought we would get here but here we are. Nearly a year later and still going strong.
The kids played together. MM asked if Simon could stay. They giggled. I got home made tamales and chile rellano. We watched as Gabby's face was smashed in her cake. LM was full of sarcastic comments and eye rolling and JB had a few meltdowns. But we helped her get over them.
After the birthday party, we left with the Quartet and headed to a St. Patrick's Day party. We spent time with family and friends of the family who have known me since I w…

A Very Nice Day

Foster Care is a roller coaster. You are up you are down. And often you are strapped in until the ride comes to a stop. In one day, we can have all of that. My goal, though, is always to get to typical or "normal". 
This morning, Simon and Sarah were picked up for a visit with Dad. Two hours early they came home. There was no visit with Dad. The driver drove them to the wrong house. Smiley struggled with the change in schedule.
We pulled out a gold standard in our tool kit.  We left the house. 
A pretty normal action, right? But for kids who live with me, it allows us to shake up the schedule of visits and appointments and the system.
So we went to lunch at a new chain restaurant. And I forgot until we arrived that the kids used to live in the state that the place was named after. A pitfall of foster care is sometimes you walk into a trigger without realizing.
It gave Stella an opportunity to talk about the past. She was happy to share. Simon, shut down. He mentioned missing his …

Still Grief

My brother and sister-in-law came over for dinner tonight. No special reason other than I thought I had made too much corned beef. (Turns out it was a perfect amount and was very delicious.) we spent the evening chatting and catching up on life.
The conversation turned to the kids.I was   talking about different they were and how well the all got along when all of a sudden it hit me that it's March 7th and they went home in April.
It had almost been a year since they lived with us. This time last year we were handling overnight visits, family meetings and talking about giving our notice.
And the sadness was overwhelming. I have no idea why, but the tears came. So I went back and read some of the posts from this time last year. I'm not sure the writing conveyed how awful I felt inside. And the band aid that was on the grief was ripped off.
At the end of it all, I still lost my kids. 
There is still a hole in my heart where they were. And while I am so glad that they have been succes…