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Friday, June 27, 2014

Final Four?

Last weekend marks the 4 year anniversary of our foster care journey. We still aren't close to adopting but we are at least participating in a case where it's likely to end that way. My Mom dubbed the Quartet, "The Final Four" last week but I can't be that optimistic. I feel like the moment I do, the rug will be pulled from underneath me.

Our system is so broken. I want to believe in it. But even with the Quartet, their family has been in and out of foster care for 11 years. How does that happen? And even now, we are still talking hypothetically about a goal change to termination in three more months. Stella will be almost 10 then. Sarah will be 8. And they switched DCFS offices and we've been out of the new office for 2 months and we are already on a 2nd case worker. Who I, of course, have not yet met or been given information to. All I know is she is bi-lingual and fresh off her internship. 

4 years of learning about this and I'm pretty skeptical that a fresh-faced caseworker is going to work to our benefit. Sheila is going to walk all over her. And a newbie means things may not be done the way they need to, which in my experience, means more delay. 

Once again, the kids in my home are stuck waiting around for the adults to get their act together. All I can do is forge ahead and hope that everyone else falls in line. Sadly, hope is not a strategy.

I put my foot down about Sheila trying to change the visit time without asking for our input. The next day she totally missed her standing call with the kids. She texted some story about her phone, which might be true. Who knows. I do know that the week before she told me she wasn't going to miss them anymore as she learned in her parenting class how important consistency is. 

I'm over trying to play along with the game.  I just want to end the standing calls. They stress me out. They are painful to listen to. They stress out the kids. She doesn't show up for 1/2 of them. It seems almost wrong to keep telling this woman she has a shot at getting her kids back if she works really hard. No one in their right mind would give this lady back her kids given the facts of this case. Except, they have. And they could. And that part drives me bonkers too!

I'm growing inpatient with the length of time the courts and laws says is acceptable and required for kids in care. I read statistic after statistic this week about the issues kids in care face. About teens who age out. It's really hard to watch other foster families in pain all the time. If not from trying to navigate the ridiculous requirements imposed seemingly on a whim, they are in pain as children the love are moved from their care or hurt further by the system.

I stepped back to assess how far we've come. I didn't freak out about the sparkler accident or the kid covered in blood from a tumble down the stairs at the visit. I instructed we were going out of town and didn't worry if they approved or not. The caseworker basically gave me 1 day she could meet this month (well she gave me a 5 day window but 2 of the days were a weekend and the other 2 the kids had a visit and therapy) and the CASA worker asked to come too. I told them they could come the same day. These are all things I would have gotten worked up about in the past. I'm saving the fight in me for the kids. 

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