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Mother May I?

I took a brief break from blogging. The beginning of this year has been busy with life and I didn't have the energy to word vomit all of my feelings. I'm still stuck in a space where I resent trauma and want to pretend we aren't impacted by foster care. But that of course, is not the truth.

I have a bunch of draft blog posts that I started but I'd start to write and just get frustrated. I focused on offering my advice to local support groups and new foster parents instead.  Writing here is often one-sided and I get a high from knowing I helped someone (don't we all?). But hanging out in those public forums, is exhausting as it's a glimpse into the general public and the stunning realization that all kinds of people become foster parents, including those that shouldn't. Do you ever think- Wow that person just wrote that in a public forum, what do they think in the privacy of their own head?

I shared that Sheila took off out of state around Christmas. Well  she is back. And she brought Big Brother to live with her here. And of course now that she is back she wants a visits with Solana and the kids.

I have all kinds of feelings. It ranges from - Oh Hell no, you took off for 3 months not my problem to It's great that my kids could possibly have a relationship with their older brother, that's fantastic. Then it swings back to, oh holy Hell, now we have to decide about a teenage boy with likely the same if not more trauma if/when The Department steps in.

I'm sorry, but this is not a great situation. The Mom who had 5 kids removed from her is all of a sudden healthy enough to parent a teenager who she has barely spent any time with and just moved cross country?

We agreed to a call. And for the first time she violated a boundary I had set and it really ticked me off. Each of the kids take turns speaking with her and Big Brother. We use video chat because it’s easier to keep the kids engaged. The calls are always on speaker and I am always nearby.  In speaking with Sarah, Sheila she said I can’t wait to see you guys! Maybe we can get together this weekend and if not this weekend, next weekend.

She hadn't asked me and we were very clear when the surrender happened that any and all visits were at our discretion. The kids are the ones making plans and me now saying no - make me look the unfair one. I told her very clearly after the call that what she did wasn't okay. And then she started with my favorite response.

"I know but you have to understand....I want.....Big Brother needs....."

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Fast forward to a week later and now she wants another call.  (Because cell phones don't work out of state? Like why all of a sudden? Radio silence for 3 months.) I say she can have a call with Solana because SD said it was fine and its up to him.  And she responded with, well are the other kids going to be there? I was honest. I told her we need to take things slow with Big Brother.  That I was still upset that she violated the boundary. We set up a time for her to call Solana, the same day, 8 hours later.

And then she blew right past the time she was supposed to call, by an hour. I had rearranged my schedule to be home for the call.  Solana was asleep.  And when I told her I wasn't going to re-schedule, that she would see the kids 3 days later at a school function, she told me I was unfair, mean, using her kids against her, judging, making up the rules as I went along, and uncaring.

I said none of those things.  And I've always been really clear that I will re-schedule a missed call if she tells me before the call that she can't make it. If you are a long time reader, you may remember posts on missed calls. Here. Here. Here. Here. She gave me the same story about how her anxiety is so bad that she loses track of time and even forgets to eat.  I reiterated that she needs to be on-time for calls and if she can't be, then she shouldn't schedule them.  I also reminded her that I don't have to supervise anything.  That I do it as a favor, as visitation is at SD's discretion with no set frequency, minimum amount of time, or required calls.

I did offer to meet with her therapist to discuss this incident. To explain how her inability to consistently show up and on-time affects the kids.  But let's be serious, while she says she's seeing a therapist and taking her medication, if she took off out of state for 3 months, she likely wasn't being treated during that time. (Its highly unlikely she arranged care out of state as she didn't even bring her ID with her.)

So of course she was late a nearly missed the beginning of the school function. But the visit went fine. It was awkward with Big Brother because he is a teenager and doesn't know these kids. But everyone survived. She was cool towards me, but that was okay also because I didn't particularly care.  I am worried she is on a downward spiral and what that means for Big Brother but I can't borrow trouble.

It will be interesting to see what happens this week as we have a birthday and Mother's Day.  We've already seen the write-up for bad behavior from school from Smiley and I'm trying to decide if I wan't to attempt breakfast on Sunday or find an excuse to leave the house by myself.


Comments

  1. Ours too, is in tune with what SHE wants or thinks is good for her other child, or our kids; never mind that we have been seeing counselors for years who advise the direct opposite of what she thinks.
    I feel your pain - so frustrating.

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