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Showing posts from January, 2015

Foster Care Cliche

I'm not even sure where to begin this post. My head is swimming from today's events. It started with a secretary at the new school telling me Stella was classified as "homeless with the district" while she was standing next to me. The day ended with us finding out Sheila (Bio Mom) is pregnant. 
The information came from the loose lipped investigator who was clearly on a power trip. She asked all sorts of questions that had nothing to do with Sheila's Domestic Violence incident and everything to do with the stability of the children's placement with us. It was totally wacky. I've since learned this investigator has a reputation for being especially demanding of foster parents and totally out of touch. Lovely.
I guess the actual interview was fine as Hubby was allowed to sit in. Our therapists tried hard to get this nonsense stopped but the meeting happened anyway. Like me, they felt it was unnecessary for the kids to get dragged into this event. We still don…

I Get Knocked Down

The range of emotions I experienced today was ridiculous. I have felt overwhelmed, excited, happy, annoyed, disappointed, overwhelmed and then devastated. At 7:00 pm when I arrived home, I wasn't sure how much more I could take. 
The answer is: apparently some more because then I received a message from DCFS that they were sitting in front of my house at 4:30 needing to see my children. 
This is not a phone call anyone wants to get but it's almost guaranteed as a foster parent. The investigation because of a spiteful bio parent or a comment a child made that wasn't clear and the next thing you know, your kids are removed and you license is up for grabs.
This was the last thing I needed in the middle of a move. In the middle of Grad School. In the middle of running a 1/2 marathon in 21 days. In the middle of transitioning 4 kids to yet another school.
Of course this particular investigator was very hard to understand. After a few minutes though, I figured out we were not under …

Surrender

Its been a hectic and interesting week.  I'm busy with the move, grad school, and a lice infestation. (Seriously the grossest thing I've had to do as a mother.  I'll take stomach flu over lice any day.)  And of course this is the week that Caseworker #3 reaches out about Bio Dad possibly relinquishing his rights.  He wants to know if he did sign a surrender, would we still involve him in his children's lives and allow him to maintain a relationship with him.

My head may spin off.  For real.

Not because of the question but because of the timing. 

PEOPLE LISTEN UP! I can't handle one more thing that requires concentration. Or thought. Or empathy.  My brain is mush and I have a Strengths Assessment from the folks over at Gallup that says empathy is not one of my strengths. Seriously out of 35 strengths, empathy doesn't make the top 30.

Something as important as the discussion of openness in adoption requires careful consideration.

Not seeing his Bio Dad again wo…

Shared Children

As a foster/adoptive parent I have to share my children with others.  Others have loved them. Others have known them as well as I do. Others have made decisions about their lives.  As we head into our adoption (legally the case is pending TPR which still has not been scheduled) our therapy team has begun to talk a lot about claiming as part of attachment.  The kids need to claim us as their family and we have to claim them. (They/Us are not objects.  We are talking in an emotional sense.) I spent the past 48 hours "claiming my family as my own".  We took a break together in the midst of all the crazy that will happen in the next month. It was amazing and I feel re-charged and ready to claim our next chapter as we move as a family.

But I'm struggling with something that happened this week and it occurred to me that those reading might have to endure or have endured a similar situation.  I know sometimes just knowing you aren't the only one is helpful. So I decided to…

Individualized Education Plan or IEP

I went looking for the previous post I wrote about IEPs but it turns out I never published it because it was the week before the Fab Four went home.  It doesn't really talk about the IEP process itself but here it is:

4/3/2013 - Unpublished Post - Fake It Till You Make It
So we had Jelly Bean's IEP meeting today. Caseworker and Mom were there. I tried to stay upbeat an happy. Directing all questions to Mom. Making sure she understood exactly how behind JB is and how much she'll need her to fight to get the assistance in place.

Afterwards we met and discussed the post unification visits. We scheduled the first few including the kid's birthdays. I tried to let her lead and overall it was positive. She was ok with our plan for next week and gave me their address.

I tried to keep a positive, light attitude. I tried to seem happy. But I'm sad. And scared. And overwhelmed. And I don't think I've ever been this afraid of quiet in my life. I know I'm coming…

Monday

Today was definitely Monday. It was one of those days where I did NOT have my act together and never recovered. Hence, I'm sitting on my couch watching crap TV in my pajamas waiting for the washing machine to finish so I can go to bed. I really should be packing. Or homework. Or checking homework. 
And it wasn't even a bad day because of the kids. The kids were great. It was all my own misses. Topped off with setting my GPS to the wrong destination and then getting stuck at a freight train crossing. I ended up being in the car for 2 additional hours tonight.
But it's fine we got the CASA and Caseworker #3 visit out of the way for the month. 
We were given the task of getting the kids fingerprinted. (I've been a foster mom for 4 years and never heard of this.) I understand why this should be done but shouldn't this be part of the intake? I haven't looked at the paperwork but I suspect I will have to prove their identity and I'm not sure how I will do that with …

Not a Miss

So it turns out that the missed visit wasn't really a miss. The transportation/supervision group messed up and actually did hear from Bio Dad that he intended to have his visit. 
We got an email.
Hubby called: Hey did you see the email? Me: No. What email? Hubby: Bio Dad did confirm, they should have had a visit. Me: Oh that's real nice. That doesn't help me kid with sky high anxiety now does it? Hubby: Just reply back that this Sunday is fine. But don't be bitchy about it. Me: You don't want me to reply how I want to reply then maybe you should reply. Hubby: Ok
Light years people, light years from 4 years ago when it would have sent me into a fuming rant about incompetence  and further hurt to my children. I would have sent a terse email and called to complain.
Only a few more months....

PHD in Google

I've long felt that I should be given an honorary PHD in Googling. I'm nosey, I'll admit it. And I'm always trying to understand and know things and the ease of the Internet search engine is really spectacular for someone like.  
Given that I live a large part of my life in the dark, because no one tells the foster parents anything, I've had to become resourceful at getting information.
You'd be surprised how much stuff you can find on-line.  Most counties have their court records on-line to some degree. Some just have charges and dates others have summaries of what happened in a particular hearing and if fees have been paid in full.
I stumbled across Sheila's profile on a social media website this week. From there I found siblings and cousins and pictures. Pictures of my kids when they were little. You have no idea how excited I was.
I saved picture after picture. I looked at their adorable 2-5 year old faces. I have no idea who the adults were in some of the …

Missed Visit

Simon had a rough weekend.  He was waiting for confirmation that he was going to have his visit Sunday with his (and Sarah's) Dad. He was sad and worried and basically chewed his fingers raw. At 6:30 pm Saturday, I finally got word that his Dad did not confirm, and therefore,there would be no visit this month. 
DCFS has been very clear. He misses 2 consecutive months and the visits will stop altogether. 
Simon came to me at bedtime and told me that he was ready to tell me why he looked sad earlier when I asked him what was wrong.  He said he was worried about his visit with his Dad, that it wouldn't take place.  I of course had to tell him that there would not be a visit.
His big brown eyes welled up with fat tears that rolled down his cherub-like cheeks. He tried so hard to hold it in. I scooped him up into my lap and rocked him for a long while. In the end, I was able to get him to giggle and give him extra hugs.
When I told Sarah she just kind of blinked at me and shrugged. 
Fou…

Minimum Parenting Standards- An Update

It looks like this post got some love this week in the Blog-o-sphere. I love when my old posts become new (to you) because it gives me a chance to go back and see how far we've come.

I write this blog with an honest voice: how I'm feeling at the time and what I've learned through this process. I often bristle at my own honesty and the post about Minimum Parenting Standards is no exception.  I was angry then. Angry that we had to participate in the excercise. Angry that the circus of 7 professionals made it our responsibility, and angry that the case was moving so slowly.
That post was written a year before the kids went home. And even the week they did go home, I was still unsure that Maria was going to be able to meet her kids' needs. The greatest lesson I learned was that I had to trust a broken system.
I like to think we helped in the end. In the post, I wrote I didn't want to help Maria. And I didn't then. But then it came down to: do I want to watch my ki…