Skip to main content

Like a fix to an addict...

Information. Information is to a foster parent like a fix is to an addict.  They need it. they crave it. its never enough. You always want more. It makes you do crazy things.

  • Stalk stranger's Facebook, My Space, Instagram, Twitter.
  • You learn the circuit clerk on-line records search, checking it multiple times a month.
  • Comb through stacks of papers hoping something was missed in the sweep for confidentiality.
  • Read the caseworker's notes upside down.
  • Scribble down everything the judge says in court as if you were the court reporter.

At the most recent ACR, I was handed the kids' current case plan. I usually have to beg for these and it's usually several months after the ACR that I receive it. Normally the case plan is redacted and pages of information are missing as it deals with the "family history".  I think that kind of makes it hard to take a team approach and generally creates more issues. Personally, I don't think that everyone should get to hide behind "confidentiality" because really why is it confidential? Certainly nothing in my home.  If it happened to the kids, I should get to know about it even if it was witnessing Mom get beaten up. (See point 2 above. I already know about the charges and case outcome.  My life would be way easier if you just coughed up the details, thank you very much. And certainly, the records belong to the kids.  Shouldn't they have access to their own history?)

Caseworker #3 handed the packets to me with a smile and said "there is more information on here". (CW #3 appreciated my addiction resourcefulness. She understood.) Since the goal is now adoption I got to see more. I also got the benefit of having an office close to our home so I was able to attend my first ACR in person in 5 years.

Early on, the therapists told me we probably won't know all that happened to the kids.  They also said it didn't really matter.  We would treat the symptoms and assist with healing the unspecified trauma and focus on how they were progressing.  As a Mom, that is very, very hard for me.  They are my kids.  I'm supposed to know.  I'm the keeper of their lives.  How can I help them if I don't know what happened to them? How can I absorb the awfulness if I don't know what it is? I'm the adult, I need to carry the heavy stuff for them and let them be kids.

I didn't read the Case Plan until I got home. The information Caseworker #3 was referring to was a new summary of all of the indicated events that brought the kids into care. There wasn't just one. There were more than 4 at different periods of time. I learned the names of different boyfriends that abused her. I learned the last name of one of the other siblings. Failure to protect or prevent harm. Over and over again. I cried.  Just this little piece of information and I couldn't understand why it took so long for them to be protected from harm. Clearly these kids needed help.  It was like reading the newspaper articles about the department when a kid in care dies. 

I'm going to need a stiff drink when we get their subsidy packet back.  I have a feeling there is a lot worse in the files. 

Comments

  1. hahaha, I do the same stuff. I know things before they are divulged to us, because I look, and listen. I am amazed at how many gaps the system has when the info is all there.
    I will take you out for that drink sister.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

She Never Cried

Sheila called to wish Sarah Happy Birthday and she shared a story with her that as a baby she never cried. Not when she was hungry, not when she was tired, never. She never cried.
A little later Sarah said to me:
"Mom, my Mom said I never cried. I don't really believe that. That can't be true can it? Don't all babies cry sometimes?"
Oh my sweet girl. The red flag went up for her too. As I listened to Sheila share this story fondly, I felt sad. That was a sign of her RAD. That was because she couldn't count on adults. That was because she cried and no one came so she learned not to cry.
"It doesn't sound right to you, does it?"
"No."
"I know your Mom shared that story because she thinks it's cute you never cried. It made me sad. You are right babies cry so adults take care of them. You know how you had a lot of different adults that were supposed to take care of you as a baby?"
"Yeah, like 10 foster parents."
"Well …

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. 
The name change was a bit cumbersome at first. We sounded like owls because someone would ask for a person by their birth name and we would all answer "Who?". W…

FAQs

I had some questions asked of me recently that I thought I would answer here:

1) How do you keep doing this after so much crap?
I actually had two different foster moms ask me this. One dealing with a false allegation and one in a kinship case with a pregnant, unstable bio mom.

I'm not sure I have an eloquent answer to this question. I think I've reached a point where I see the bigger picture - the kids.  That's not to say this stuff doesn't drive me nuts or make me emotional. I would be spitting fire if we had to deal with a false allegation. I'm really upset about the potential of having to make a decision about another baby. But if not me, who? We are good at this. There are kids that need me. And I probably need them. I am a caretaker by nature.  What would I be doing with myself if I didn't have 15 different obligations all at once? I have no idea because I've always been this way. And right now all of the current drama is related to my children. I s…

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.

It started with news that more people in our lives are expecting and today, I just couldn't muster the happiness.  I heard complaints of not feeling well and my ability to plaster the smile on my face just vanished from my body. I left the house to "run an errand" but really I just needed an escape.

All week I've been able to communicate and tell people about Solana leaving without any trouble.  I probably sounded like a PSA for "How to be the role model foster parent".

People were asking:

So will you get to adopt the little one? Is she staying?

Well no, actually.  She is going home in a few weeks. That's the goal of foster care. We are really happy for her dad. He really gets it. We've built a relationship. I'm so glad she doesn't have to go through the pain of adoption or …