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Showing posts from September, 2014

Fun With Microscopes

As a foster family we have been living under a microscope for the past 4 years.  Today the inevitable happened and a "concerned caller" reported an incident.  I don't want to put the full details out there yet (if at all).  But we did manage to find out (after the 2nd call from the department) that it was indeed Bio Mom that raised the issue.


It wasn't a hotline call, but the insinuation was that something inappropriate happened. There will be no investigation (at this point in time) and we volunteered a safety plan of sorts to ensure no future confusion. I could see how the phrasing of a beloved family bonding activity could have caused someone to raise an eyebrow if taken out of context. I actually said I'm glad someone cares enough about the kids to double check and I stayed relatively calm about the pseudo accusation.


Then I found out it was Bio Mom and I got really irritated. I get that she's angry. I also get we are the obvious target.  But if you were…

Gabby

Gabby is now on Facebook. She randomly sends me messages. Last night she said she made something for "dad" in art and she could wait to give it to him. So sweet. Such a relief.

Anatomy of a Permanency Hearing

If you haven't spent much time in court, you probably have no point of reference or what to expect at foster care related court dates. Our foster parent training came with a break down of what is supposed to happen at certain types of court hearings but I'm never really sure what to expect.  (Each state and county handle things differently and this case is a different county than the Fab Four.)
First off, Sheila was 30 minutes late again. And since court didn't start on time, she made it by the skin of her teeth. We walked in the court room and were seated. Foster Parents sit in the gallery with the caseworker and CASA worker. 
The judge references the case and names everyone in the room. We had the CASA attorney (GAL and kids' attorney), the Assistant States Attorney (ASA) for the county, the DCFS attorney, the caseworker supervisor, the CASA worker, us, and Sheila.
The ASA began by brining up some administrative stuff for bio Dad (who didn't show).  They were unable…

Permanency Hearing Eve

It's no wonder I'm blogging at midnight. We have the permanency hearing in 9 hours that might change our lives forever. I've been through 6 or 7 of these things but tomorrow (today) is the first time I'm walking into court  and expecting the goal to change toward termination of parental rights. 
It wasn't until this afternoon that I was sure the Department was going to be asking for a goal change as not all of their legal paperwork was done. The minute I got the email, I instantly felt nervous. The thought that I could be adopting 4 kids became very real. It's not some idea in my head anymore.
The kids don't know we have court so I tried to act normal and we ran some errands after work. I took the kids to look for a Halloween costume and Sarah had the daylight scared out of her when she peaked around a corner and saw a very realistic zombie (seriously, who puts that stuff next to the kids section? I would have preferred the Batman panties over the PTSD meltdo…

And So It Goes

I often listen to Pandora internet radio during my work day.  I read contracts all day and I do better when I can block out the other office noise around me. (And as I type, I realize some of that may be because I have no peace to myself outside the office!)


Anyway, a few weeks ago the song "And So It Goes" by Billy Joel came on.


I literally cried at my desk. Silent tears streamed down my face while I imagined this being sung by a Foster Mom and a Foster Child.  (Click on the video link to hear it sung.)


Foster Mom:
In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from loversMothers past
Until a new one comes along


Foster Child:
I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense
And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose
But if my silence made you leave



Foster Mom:
Then that would …

Progress

We made huge progress tonight with Sarah. I had noticed today that she seemed more sad than she's been. It could have been a number of things: visit today with bio dad, lots of time in the car, apple picking with lots of crowds and noises. 
At bedtime she came to give me a hug and I asked her what was wrong (again). I asked if she wanted me to guess and she nodded. I guessed she was missing someone and she broke down. Poor thing was holding it in all day. When she told me she was missing her former foster parents (the ones who decided no contact) I guessed that it was the Halloween costumes that brought up the loss. She nodded.
Poor kid got hit by the grief out of nowhere.
We talked through it. She felt better and went to bed with no issues. She still doesn't feel like she can come to us to talk about her negative feelings but today she at least shared them. That was a big step forward! 

Love and Loss

We got to the bottom of the crying fits at bedtime. Smiley told her therapist that she's had dreams of the dog dying and of us dying and getting lost. At 5 her concept of time isn't good and so this seems recent and continuous to her.
Poor kiddo. 
The Good Dreams spray has been important for her. Every day she asks me, well in advance, if I will spray her pillow. Like I'm waking her up for school and she's talking about bedtime. We've had a few nights of no crying so maybe talking about it helped.
This weekend brought a lot of foster care type experiences. We had an event at school that we included Sheila in. It took place during her visit and I supervised for the two hours we were at the school.  I think it went well.
It seemed hard for Sheila to speak to me. Perhaps it was awkward for her. I'm sure it's the first time she heard her kids refer to someone else as Mom. I'm sure she felt that I was taking away from "her time". There were also a few …

And of the Wednesdays

I think this is the part where we start to unravel. Perhaps the honeymoon phase is over. Perhaps they are attaching and therefore have big emotions. Perhaps it's just Wednesday....
I received an email about Sarah. She is having trouble turning in assignments (that she did) and her hand writing has turned "angry". Did I have any insight as to why?
God Bless her teacher. This woman had Gabby, Jelly Bean, Stella and now Sarah. 
I don't have to explain to her the trauma. She understands it. And my answer was: upcoming birthday, bad storms, inconsistent bio parents, and beginning to understand her Mom's issues with the therapists.
Received an email about Smiley yesterday. She seemed sad and tired. (Smiley's teacher had Mr. Mohawk. She is also amazing.) Was there anything going on? Umm well she started this thing where she throws a crying fit at bedtime. Nightly. Even after she's been calm and tucked in. She is complaining of bad dreams but hasn't woken me up o…

A Case of the Mondays

We had a day. A really exhausting day. Sarah was crying when I picked her up from daycare because the girl she fights with ripped her paper and then told the teacher it was an accident. I'm over the drama that these two bring to an afternoon so I can only imagine how the teacher feels. 
Then Smiley decided she couldn't handle Monday evening. She dig a stale French fry out of the seat in the car and tried to eat it, prompting her siblings to yell in disgust. Then the tears started. Any hint of disapproval and this kid looses her composure. 
Then it was time for homework. More tears. Then it was I need help in the bathroom. Tears. Then it was full on tantrum. Yelling, screaming, stomping, pounding limbs on the floor. We walked up and down the stairs several times until we could do it without sounding like an elephant. Then she screamed at me for another 30 minutes. 
I threw a dance party in the kitchen while making dinner. I tried to be as silly as possible. Even the dog got in on …

Emotions

The therapists looked at us tonight and said "you don't seem phased" in response to the recounting of the illness, post visit behavior, and big feelings that appeared this week at our house.
Sadly, we've had much worse. And maybe that's where the anxiety that I've been feeling all week is coming from. That and we are nearing closer to the permanency hearing and all the decision makers are saying goal change. Which inevitably means more behaviors, more big feelings, more fear and more grief. 
Grief. Such a tiny word for an enormous concept. And such a heavy burden for little kids. Adults struggle with losing loved ones. Now my kids are going to be losing an entire family, again. I know a little of what that feels like. And to be quite honest- I'm really scared about what that is going to look like for us.
Are they going to accept us one day? Will they love us like they love their biological family? And how often will our status as their family be challenged? …

Strep Throat

1/2 of my kids are on antibiotics for strep throat. Mine is a bit scratchy and that has me concerned because I don't have time to be sick.  I don't have time for the kids to be sick either but there isn't much I can do about that. 
Thank goodness my Mom was able to pitch in today and tomorrow. (Seriously, she's the one with the super hero cape!) 3/4 of them had a dentist appointment this morning so she ran them back to school for me.
The one who threw the tantrum yesterday had a much better day. Part of her consequences from the tantrum was to write sentences: I will use my words. She escalated it to 40 sentences during the tantrum, then lost dessert for the week. We will give her a chance to earn dessert back but I must say she wrote those sentences lightning fast when she had the opportunity to be watching the Frozen special on ABC tonight. Funny how that works.
Smiley was totally into the show. Gasping at the original renderings of the characters and singing along to t…

Fun Times

Everyone went to bed 40 minutes early tonight. We had several time outs and a full on tantrum that lasted over 30 minutes. 
Fun times. Even more fun when it's post visit. 
The kids had really strong reactions to visits this weekend. I can't figure out why. I don't know if it's because the therapy team has started to prepare them for news that the goal is probably changing or if it's school or if it's a birthday month. Or if it's because Dad missed his visit. But we had lots of not keeping our hands to ourself and lots of disrespectful attitude, even from our normally super sweet kid. 
Is it bad that I thought it was funny? Their little face all scrunched up with anger! The defiance right out in front. So serious from the kid with the mega-watt smile.
We also saw the Fab Four this weekend when they stopped by on a spur of the moment visit. School is off to a good start and they seemed well. My soul was lifted after hugging each of them. I was at a real peace ins…