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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Picking Battles

Next time I decide to: 1)Run a 1/2 marathon 2) throw a baby shower 3) start grad school all in the same three week period, someone, anyone, please stop me. It's going to be a miracle if I make it to June 16th without a major breakdown.   Well ok, June 19th because we have a status hearing that week.

I'm trying really hard to pick my battles. I did pick one this week with the new(bie) caseworker. Simon came home totally unable to cope with life after his visit with his Dad. Dad no-showed the visit on Mother's Day, so the kids drove an hour waited at McDonalds for a half hour and then drove the hour back all without breakfast. 

Yeah. Not a good thing for kids of neglect, PTSD and anxiety. 

So at this visit Dad announced next week he's bringing the new baby brother for them to meet. And for the next five hours Simon lost his sh*t. I have no other way to explain it. Any slight correction or potential look of disappointment and the kids was crying for 20 minutes. Then he'd start a task and something would happen and he'd be back to the crying. At the point where I yelled because he decided to use his brand new shoes as the brakes to his bike, the day was over. He ate dinner, took a bath and went to bed. Thanks Dad! 

So I send an email to the case worker (seperate from the Bio Mom's medical bills are coming to my address email) asking her to please call me to discuss this new sibling. She emailed to say she got my message and would call the next day. Then of course, she didn't call. When she did call I laid out my issues.

Dad had not participated in any information meetings about the children. He has not been to an ACR. He has not been to a family meeting. He has not been to court. I have been the foster mom for only 5 months and I've been to court 4 times. He has no understanding of the emotional challenges these kids are facing. His inconsistency is already hard enough for the child. Adding an additional sibling, a brother no less, is not going to help this kid with his losses. He already lost two brothers in Texas, why would we add a third BEFORE paternity is established. We don't even know this man is Simon's father and since no one has actually done anything about the paternity test, we don't know this baby is Simon's brother. And if he isn't the father, do we have any idea how replaced a child who already believes no one can remember him, will feel? 

And while I'm on the subject, why is this man even getting visitation? He has not done anything to get a case plan in place, let alone work one. He missed more than 1/2 of his last 10 visits. You're telling me there isn't enough documentation yet? My parting words were, I have been patient but we are now at the point where this child is being harmed by the system and we are causing more trauma and since I am the one who is going to have to help heal trauma, I think enough, is enough.

I of course got promises to address this but never heard back. 

Yes, I understand if this man is Simon's father that Simon has a right to visits with his sibling. Although, it's unlikely this person is going to follow through with any kind of visitation once the state is no longer involved (the kids had not seen this man for years prior to coming back into foster care). And yes, Sarah is likely his child and this is definitely her sibling. But why should they have to lose more siblings? Why introduce that loss into their lives? And if we have to, then at least let them prepare with their therapists and let me send a camera with them. 

I did get to the bottom of the medical bills. The hospital looked up one of the kids' Medicaid cards and saw the address had been updated and decided to use that one. I reamed them out for the safety issue they are creating for DCFS foster families since they violated that kid's privacy and also made our address part of her medical record. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

We are Here

We are fine. We are in the midst of end of school chaos, beginning of school for me, and of course Stanley Cup Playoffs.

We said goodbye to the former foster parents. Trauma assessments are done. And tomorrow I get to figure out how my address ended up on Bio Mom's Medical Bills......

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there. My prayer is that you get to enjoy some piece of today. Even a small piece, I hope you feel loved.

We will be keeping it low key since kids from hard places tend to struggle with this day. We also had Smiley's Birthday this week and this was also a move week last year for the kids so this week is a land mine of trauma. 

My sweet Simon especially struggled on his sister's birthday. He really felt forgotten. Sheila did not help as she celebrated the heck out of Smiley's Birthday and didn't do the same for Stella or Simon when they had their birthdays. 

I plan on getting up and running first thing in the AM. I'm still training for the 1/2 marathon in June and I've discovered I actually like exercise and running. It gives me a chance to de-stress and clear my head. I am much better prepared to handle work, kids, Hubby, and school when I get gym time in. I really wish I would have discovered this last year. I think I would have handled the grief better.




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Foster Care Sucks

Today, foster care sucks. It started with a call from the new case worker who also happens to be new to the profession. I seriously think we are her first case. She said something to the effect of "I need to get the visit information from you" which I heard as: "you're responsible for this information". And I did not react the best. I was in the middle of a fire drill at work and I really shouldn't have picked up the phone. I was all "that's not my responsibility and I won't let it become my responsibility" and she was all "was it something I said?".

Really I'm happy to give her my version of the facts. That's in my best interest. So I backed off, ate crow, and offered up a detailed summary this week. 

Then Sheila texted that she would be calling tonight. She also mentioned that she's taking kids to the arcade pizza place for their visit this week for Smiley's birthday and that she has a dress for her. 

Insert eye roll here.

Is there a book bio parents get that says they need to provide other clothes, shove junk food down the kids throats, and let them puke on the way home into their bag of crappy toys? 

Ok. That's not really fair. Especially because I will consider it a personal achievement if I never step foot in the video game pizza place. I get the limited resources. I get you want to take them some place fun (and the way visits at the mall are going another venue is a blessing) but I hate the hero worship that follows.

Yes while you are off getting to be "the Real Mom" once a week, I spent the last 3 1/2 hours (after my full day of work) answering nonsense questions, cooking dinner, battling homework, supervising consequences for the third night of forgotten homework, helping the clearly anxious six year old "wash his hair", soothing the kid sitting alone in her room reading goodbye letters from her last school, and calming down the disregulated/dissociating child during her shower.

Oh, and waiting for your phone call at 7pm that you informed me about at 4:30pm that didn't occur at 7. Or 7:30 or 8:00 or even 8:30. Yes that errand that you "didn't realize would take that long" was much more important that your once weekly phone call. 

Maybe it was a court mandated meeting as I also found out her court hearing last week resulted in a plea for a 2 day jail sentence, a substantial amount of community service, a fine and court supervision. Oh and no drugs or alcohol without a prescription for a year. I think this also means a probation officer but I'm not sure.

She couldn't find time for parenting classes. How the heck is she going to do community service? 

And how the heck do you not want to fight for these kids? I will never understand that part. 

Some days, foster care sucks. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Vacation

We survived our first weekend trip. In fact, we more than survived. We enjoyed our trip. We had fun. And the tears were kept to a minimum. And despite the amount of noises, smells, wide open spaces, and people, everyone kept it together.

We were able to carve out some really good bonding. Activities like playing "gotcha" in the pool help us teach the kids we are safe. It teaches them we are paying attention to them and trying to keep them safe. There was lots of hand holding and "good" touch. And lots and lots of giggles. 

We had a Disney dance party last night. Watched the Blackhawks win two games this weekend and celebrated a birthday.