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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 kids get hurt again by failing or do I want to build them up by helping their family suceed? 

I don't think you can learn to love these kids and not pick the 2nd option. And a big piece that I was missing was that Maria really was working hard, I just didn't know any better.  She had a lot to overcome. I know that now and I tell her how proud of her I am each time we see her.

This past weekend as she sat in the passenger seat of my mini-van, she excitedly shared news of the progress on her passport, immigration paperwork, and driver's license appointment. When I wrote that post in May 2012, there was no way you could have convinced me that a trip to the movies (or away for the weekend) would be in our future. Or that I would truly be pleased for her progress or side with her on parenting decisions. "You're Mom is right" often comes out of my mouth when the kids are telling me stories.

I really wish we could get to a similar place with Sheila.  A positive, supportive relationship would be so much better for the kids.  Right now in the case, she isn't ready to view us in a positive way.  And I totally understand the point of view.  I just wish it were different and my hope is that with time, this too will change.


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Minimum Parenting Standards - Monday's Post

I can't figure out Blogger's time zone and I may not have time to write Monday evening so here is Monday's post.

This week we are having another "team" meeting. This time to discuss the "minimum parenting standards" that the kid's Mom has to meet in order to be "good enough" to parent them.

Now I have all kids of issues with this entire exercise. The first being that these kids deserve better than the minimum. The second, that good enough isn't going to cut it with their issues. The hardest part though is being asked to write down a guide to being their parent FOR their parent. Putting my commitment to first reunify a family to the test. It is one thing to suggest ways in which she can be a better parent and to support the goal by not bad mouthing her and encouraging the kids to share their true feelings. It is an entirely different thing to sit down and write a guide for a woman who has yet to grasp the basics after two years.

It wa…

Reader Question: Did You change their names?

Yes we did. We actually started using their new names shortly after their good bye visit with Sheila last August. So the only name that really changed this week was their last name (kind of, one of them actually had our last name). We had started using them so we wouldn't have to try to do a name change mid-school year. Plus the kids had only been in the school the last 1/2 of the year so they didn't know everyone yet. The school was great about going with the new first names.
At some point Simon spontaneously asked his teacher if he could change his name tag on his desk to our last name. He was tired of waiting on the legal stuff. He started to write Simon Almost Last Name on his papers. So we asked all the kids and they asked for the same update. Their report cards and benchmarks still had their legal names. 
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It is a process

It's a physical ache. A pain in the middle of my chest.  And it causes hot tears, the kind that sting my eyes.  It settled over me today and I couldn't shake it.

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