Labels

ACR (1) acupuncture (1) adoption (30) Adoption; RAD; emotions; tantrum (1) adoptive families (4) Amazing people (2) anger (6) Anxiety (1) appointments (1) Attachment (4) Attachment therapy (1) babies (1) banging my head (8) Bed wetting (1) beds (3) bedwetting (3) behavior (25) bio families (2) bio parents (26) biological parents (5) Biological parents; adoption (3) Biological parents; adoption; co parenting (1) Bioparents (1) birth families (21) birth moms (1) birth parents (5) birthdays (3) blogging (5) Boundaries (4) CASA (1) caseworker (9) challenges (4) change (2) Changes (2) co-parenting (16) confessions (15) Consequences (2) Court (20) crafts (1) CW Visit (5) DCFS (9) decisions (3) diary (1) dicipline (1) drama queen (2) emotions (130) Fab Four (14) Fab Four: Post Reunification (2) faith (10) family (12) Family fun (9) family outings (7) family support (15) family therapy (4) feelings (7) fertility (2) flowers (1) food (1) foster care (25) foster parenting (83) Foster parenting; permanency (3) fun (1) Gabby (4) grief (9) healing (5) Holiday (8) Holidays (5) Homework (1) honesty (1) Hubby (2) husbands (3) If I'm being honest (5) illness (1) investigation (1) Jelly Bean (4) laughter (1) legal issues (4) licensing (2) Little Mama (2) loss (5) love (8) lying (1) marriage (1) meetings (1) meltdown (1) Mental Health (3) migraine (1) milestones (1) Mommy Humor (5) mother (1) motherhood (46) Movie review (1) Mr. Mohawk (7) music (2) names (2) Neglect (1) neurosarcoidosis (6) Nostalgia (1) nothing to do with foster care (8) Open adoption (2) organization (1) other people's reactions (7) Overnight visits (2) parenting (12) permanency (10) perspective (6) photolistings (1) photos (2) pictures (5) placement (1) Placements (23) Post Reunification (26) Post visit behavior (2) Post-reunification (5) PRIDE (1) progress (1) PTSD (5) puberty (1) Quartet (3) Questions (1) RAD (5) relationships (6) return home (1) reunification (11) safe haven (1) Sarah (3) sarcasm (1) school (10) Sexual abuse (4) shopping (2) sibling (1) siblings (5) Simon (6) sleep (1) Smiley (1) Social Media (2) Solana (5) Stella (1) stress (9) Suicide (1) support (5) tantrums (3) Team Work (1) Teamwork (5) Thank You (1) The Quartet (1) The System (2) Therapeutic parenting (2) therapy (19) TPR (7) training (1) Transition (10) transition plan (10) trauma (9) triggers (4) typical kids (1) Urine (1) verbal abuse (1) Visit behavior (3) visits (38) waiting (2) where to start (3)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Case Closed

Solona's last court Date was the first time I had ever walked into court and not felt anxiety. I used to have to take anti-anxiety mess to drive to court for The Fab Four and my Forever kids. I'd literally be on the verge of a panic attack the entire drive ( 1 1/2). I haven't had that happen for Solana's court days except for maybe the 1st one.

The case was called as I was parking. I walked I to the court room to find Sheila and Dad sitting in the gallery and Solana running laps around the benches, barefoot. The Judge and attorneys busy shuffling papers. Then the Judge made a comment that we should let her keep running around the courtroom because then she would nap later.

After about 10 minutes Caseworker #4 and the attorneys came back and said an agreement had been reached, the order was entered and the case was closed. The Judge had the court reporter record everyone present, asked that the record reflect Solana was running laps, and that she never had to come back.

Just like that it was over.

We went in the hallway and I told Dad how proud I was. I took a picture of them holding the order.

I had no sadness. No dissapointment. No tears. I was happy, excited, relieved that Solana was safe and that her Dad had gotten sole legal and physical custody with control over visits.

I tried to facilitate a goodbye between Solana and Sheila but when I told her to say Goodbye to Mommy while holding her, she looked at me like I was crazy and patted me while saying "Mama no goodbye. Mama here." It was probably the most awkward part of the day.

Dad and I made plans for pick up and drop off the rest of the week and then walked out together. He told Solana to say "goodbye to Mom" and handed her over to me for kisses.

About a year and a half ago he sat across from me and told me she was my baby too. He meant it this whole time and I cannot express how special that is. And he is part of the family too! This past weekend we spent a full 24 hours together with him staying the night at our place. Such an amazing gift for us to give our kids.

At the beginning I was certain we would adopt her. This is better. So much better.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Semaj Crosby

Illinois has been in the news recently for the death of a child who was seen by an investigator just hours before she was reported missing and then found dead underneath a couch in the home where she was living.  Semaj Crosby was just 17 months old. The house was condemned by the county the next day and a few days later is was burned to the ground. Investigative reports have shown severe failings by the agency and some pretty horrific details are emerging about how DCFS is operating. That includes this gem about a contest for investigators who closed the most cases in a month. There were also at least 10 abuse/neglect cases against the family and they were allegedly receiving what is referred to as "in-tact" services.  That is where DCFS is supposed to be supporting the family with services such as parenting classes, counseling, and social services without removing the children.

While I'm glad there is a spotlight on this major tragedy, I'm worried about the inevitable knee jerk that tends to come from these types of investigations.  In this situation it seems clear that a lot of people failed to take action.  The flip side is that there are kids taken into custody that maybe shouldn't be, and then they are kept there because the court system moves so slowly. After a tragedy like this the agency tends to be over-cautious and then we have this pendulum going.  This happened a few years ago when several toddlers died that had been in care.  And then the budget got severely cut and the agency had a revolving door of directors and it seems we have ended up back here again.

I don't want children to die but I also don't want them to linger in foster care unnecessarily.

I'm simply stunned by what happened.  Its very hard to reconcile this type of case in my area with the three I've actually been the foster parent in.  My forever kids had in-tact services.  When Sheila broke the safety plan, they entered care. Which kept them safe from the immediate danger but then exposed them to the trauma of foster care and multiple placements. Even their adoption lingered on.

The Fab Four had one physical abuse incident that brought them into care.  And while they needed the help, they probably could have benefited from in-tact services and not removal (remember those budget cuts?). Perhaps Jelly Bean could have been safe from the molestation of the foster parent and the other kids could have skipped all of their foster-care related trauma?

And in Solana's case, she probably could have been out of foster care a year ago.  Her Dad had been out of jail.  His "crime" was not against her. He was working his case plan and never missed a visit.  And yes, he was a young, new, single father and perhaps benefited from a gradual introduction to parenthood, she was not at risk of being harmed with him as her caretaker.  Sure she was with her siblings, and being with us helped her avoid a lot of foster care related trauma, but she still wasn't with her Dad as much as she should have or could have been.

And then we see the opposite where kids aren't taken into care when there is call after call. How can there be such inconsistency? I just can't wrap my head around it.