Thursday, February 2, 2017

the first visit

In Texas, after children have been removed and placed in foster care, CPS usually holds something called a Family Group Conference shortly after the first adversary hearing. This meeting was held for the boys this week on Tuesday night. The visit schedule was discussed and transportation arrangements were made so that Mom would be able to get to her visits.

The first visit was supposed to be this morning from 10:00am to 12:00pm. It has to be in the CPS office because the staff is trying to help Mom choose to leave her very abusive situation. They file police reports when she shows up all bruised.

I'm rooting for Mom. I don't know the whole story, but I'm choosing to go into this case fully on her side.

I'll freely admit it - I was NOT on Daisy's mom's side or Russell's mom's, either. Those two babies had been violently physically abused. I was empathetic to their mothers as I firmly believe they are probably victims, too. But Daisy and Russell had been hurt so badly that I didn't have a lot of love for either mom from the get-go.

I wrote a letter to Whiz and Rex's Mom to tuck in the diaper bag. I also packed a second bag with toys to help occupy the time. Our CPS offices typically have horrible (HORRIBLE) visit rooms. Last, I got permission to provide lunch for both boys.

Sadly, at 8:01am this morning, I got a text message from the CPS worker telling me that Mom had called to cancel her visit.

I'm very sad for Mom. I wish there was a way I could (safely) contact her and tell her about her kids. (I've been told by several people that Dad is very volatile. I'm not going to be passing out my phone number to anyone in the family of origin just yet.)

This afternoon I got a call from the visit monitoring agency. (CPS in our area hires 3rd party companies to monitor the visits.) They wanted to know where I live so they can set up visits with Dad. He's employed so they have to be in the evening, on the weekends, or on his varying days off. I was confused when the monitoring agency told me what town they were going to put the visits in. It didn't make sense to me because there are no CPS offices in that town. She then said that the visits were going to most likely be in a Burger King or McDonald's.

A shock of exclamation came out of my mouth.
  1.  I don't think visits should ever be held in fast food restaurants. It implies that the family can afford fast food. It's not private by any stretch of the imagination. And no kid wants to hang out in a McDonald's for two to four hours. (Dad is going to take one 4-hour visit a week because he can't schedule two 2-hour visits.)
  2. Even though I don't think any kid should have visits in a fast food restaurant -- I especially don't think it's appropriate for an infant and a toddler! Dad wouldn't even be able to put Rex down on the floor to play. And for FOUR HOURS?! That is just setting Dad up to fail. And as much as I'm not a fan of him based on what I've been told...that's still wrong on so many levels to set him up to fail from the beginning.
The monitoring agency said that they've been instructed to set visits up with Dad in a different city from where he (and Mom) live and from where I live. The lady said she'd check with her supervisor to see if there was an office that could accommodate the visits instead of having them at a restaurant. I thanked her profusely.

I haven't heard anything back. Probably won't until tomorrow. And now it looks like my weekends are toast for awhile. I won't be able to leave or do anything. (I have to transport and then stay available in case Dad no-shows or wants to cut his visits short.)

Things are about to get messy, I'm sure. Visits are never easy. They will be starting soon.

Monday, January 30, 2017

What I know about Daisy

I know I put most of this up on Facebook. I've been a pretty lousy blogger lately. But a reader asked me about Daisy and her case so I figured I'd update here.

All I know is that Daisy is still in foster care. I don't know where she's at exactly. I don't know how many foster homes she's blown through. And I know that the State is trying to terminate rights on both of her parents.

I'm able to "follow along" with this case just a little because the county Dandelion's murder happened in puts their CPS cases up online. Since I know the names of the involved parties, I can look up the case and see when things are scheduled to happen. It's limited information. I can't help myself though. I check it regularly.

The TPR jury trial is currently scheduled for February 13.

On January 18th of this year, both Mom and Dad were finally indicted on a criminal level for the murder of their daughter, Dandelion.

"injury to a child with intentionally causing serious bodily injury"

It's a First Degree Felony. Both are still out on bond. But the criminal proceedings have finally begun.

I'll be following along with this as much as I can online as well. I'm curious as to how it will all turn out in the end.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Where are Russell and Star?

A reader asked me yesterday where Russell and Star are.

I sometimes forget that not everyone follows my drivel on Facebook.  :)

This is a super fast recap of how that case ended...

I went to court on the morning of August 1, 2016. Russell and Star had been excused so they stayed home with Mr. Amazing. I was pretty sure the case was going to take a major change. I just had no idea how major and how fast.

Mom was there. She made it clear to everyone that she wanted the kids to stay with us. She no longer was in favor of them going to stay with the grandparents. First she tried to tell her lawyer. He ignored her. Then she tried to tell me. I brought the babies' lawyer over to translate.

I honestly don't know how it all happened. It was rather fast and overwhelming.

Lawyers and CPS went into the judge's chambers. Then, as fast as it started, it was over. Everyone said they were in favor of the babies being moved to the grandparents' home. Even though the lawyer for the Russell and Star expressed concern, she ended up saying she was in favor. Mom's lawyer lied and said that Mom was in favor.

The hearing ended and CPS told me they'd be by in about four hours to pick the kids up.

The case had reached the legal end. If they had wanted to do the RIGHT THING and actually TRANSITION the kids to the grandparents - they would have had to extend the case. Everyone decided against this option.

No...that's not true. No one even discussed it. A transition was never an option.

Instead, they gave the grandparents Permanent Managing Conservatorship. They did not terminate rights. Mom was given a visit schedule so she could keep seeing her kids. And just like that, CPS was out of the case. There was to be zero oversight. Zero transition. It was just going to be done.

I went home and packed up as much as I possibly could. CPS showed up. The babies' things barely fit in her car. Bopper gave me the phone number and address for Grandma. She also gave me Mom's phone number. I cried a lot. It was so unfair for Russell and Star. They had barely seen the grandparents over the last several months. They had never been to their house. They had never had an unsupervised visit of any kind. The kids were just swooped up and moved.

As the week progressed I got super sick. I chalked it up to everything but what it was. I ended up being hospitalized on August 7 with Clostridium difficile (C. diff). I was in and out of the hospital three times over the course of the month. (I also developed pancreatitis and severe mouth ulcers that left me dehydrated. Oh...and they found a tumor on my liver during testing for C. difficile. I don't have cancer - the biopsy was negative.)

Because of the illness, I neglected updating the blog at all. The grief of losing the babies the way we did was pretty intense. I mean...I knew they weren't going to stay with us. I knew that even though Mom changed her mind, no one was going to listen to her. I just assumed that CPS would actually transition the children to the grandparents. I figured there would be visits and at least a little bit of communication. Instead, there was nothing.

I did manage to switch licensing agencies though. That process took a lot longer than I thought it would. We are now licensed through a new one and I'm hoping things work better than they did with our last agency. I'm not holding my breath though. Most of what's wrong with foster care is wrong on the State level. No licensing agency can change that.

Whiz and Rex moved in with us on January 18. I certainly didn't "plan" on taking two babies again. We're licensed for ages 0-17. I figured we'd take older kids. These two babies had been placed in a shelter though. I have no idea why we weren't called when they were removed initially. We would have said yes then. When I was told about them being in a shelter though, it just seemed like the right thing for them to move in with us. After all, I've got two cribs, two car seats, two high chairs, and two baby jails. Whiz is almost 19 months old and Rex just turned 8 months old on the 27th. I didn't have to rearrange anything in the house. I just had to get the baby toys out again.

As for Russell and Star - I hear tiny bits and pieces about them. Their mother accepted my friend request on Facebook. When she posts pictures of the kids, which isn't that often, I get to see them. The grandparents blocked me on FB and won't return any of my text messages. (I never tried to call because of the language differences. But I can text them in Spanish...and I did. And my texts were ignored or not received.)

Russell is still seeing the same occupational therapist as he did when he was in my home. She hasn't broken HIPPA...but she did tell me that every single concern I had about Russell going to live with the grandparents is true. He's dirty and sick all the time. The level of neglect is significant. But, there isn't anything serious enough that anyone can call the hotline.

Russell and Star's mom is pregnant again. She's still with Star's father (the man suspected to have broken all of Russell's bones). Star's dad has been arrested again though and is in federal custody. I'm sure he'll be deported again. But, due to where we live, I'm sure he'll be back on this side of the wall as soon as he can be. Hopefully Mom's new baby will be perfectly healthy and Dad will have no reason to abuse any children again.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Grey

Most kids in foster care are there because of grey reasons. It's simply NOT cut and dry. Most kids are in foster care because of the ambiguous term "neglect".

I found this data to be interesting and it definitely backs my claim. It says that 81% of all confirmed cases of maltreatment in Texas were neglect-based. Eighty-one percent. Let that number sink in just a bit.

Foster care is necessary. I'm not saying it isn't. But out of those 81% of children that were neglected, how many were taken from their families of origin and placed with strangers? And how many of those times was it REALLY necessary?

Sadly, I've had quite a few "black and white" cases come to my home.
  1. MissArguePants and her sister, TurtleTurtle, had been sexually abused (and physically abused and horribly neglected).
  2. Pumpkin had been medically neglected and physically abused and neglected to the point of being totally alone where she wandered the streets. (Pumpkin is non-verbal and functions on the level of a toddler. This was really serious neglect.)
  3. Daisy had been shaken almost to death.
  4. The Neverland Kids watched their infant brother be killed right in front of them. They needed a safe environment. I'm not 100% convinced they NEEDED to be taken from their mother permanently. She wasn't the abuser. But the death of a child is incredibly serious and the situation was very significant. I stand behind CPS removing the children so they could assess the full level of danger in the home. I'm not sure I stand behind how CPS handled things after the kids were forced to leave my home. CPS terminated rights on Mom and Dad and the children are in need of an adoptive home. Odds are, the siblings are being split up. At least that's the last information I heard.
  5. Russell had 15 broken bones, a lacerated liver, and he had been starved almost to death.

All of these children NEEDED to be taken from their families and placed into a safe home. Foster care really is a necessity.

However...
  1. Dude and Dolly were being neglected. There was never any evidence of physical abuse. They were being fed and clothed. Their needs were being met for the most part. Granted, their mother just walked away when they were taken. And then she spent quite a bit of time in jail. But could the case have gone totally different if she had been given better services? What would have happened if she got help and her kids stayed WITH her?
  2. Ricky NEVER needed foster care. Yes, he needed to be out of the home with his mother. But he had already moved to a good place. Rebecca took excellent care of him. She had already been caring for him for years. CPS did not need to get involved the way they did with Ricky.
And that brings me to our newest kids: Whiz and Rex.

Their case is grey. Oh so very grey.

It doesn't look that way on the surface. After all, Whiz has been in foster care before. Domestic violence and alcohol abuse are damaging to families. I do not know what happened for real during the first year of Whiz's life. I don't even really know the whole story of how he got to me. I know that Rex was born and the State did not remove him. He stayed at home with Mom and Dad. I know that Rex is fat and happy. I know that someone took good care of him. And for the last couple months, when Whiz was at home with his Mom and Dad, I think they cared for him OK enough as well.

Maybe they didn't. Maybe there's more to this than I know.

But it's not my job to go down that path. It's my job to help this family get back together.

Really. That's part of my job as a foster parent.

I'm not "allowed" to do much with the family of origin. I'm not allowed to supervise visits. I can't provide transportation or do anything outside of our contact before and after visits in the CPS office. But I can smile at Mom. I can use respectful language and not look down on her. I can ask her about bedtime rituals, favorite meals, skincare products, and more. I need to show her that I value her as their mother.

I will struggle a little bit more offering this level of respect to their father. If the criminal charges against him are true, he needs more help than CPS is probably going to provide. But...it's not MY job to judge him. It's my job to care for his children and to support the goals of the State. And despite his mistakes, I can still be a decent human being. I don't have to vilify him. I can encourage a positive relationship with his kids.

I'm not 100% convinced that the children needed to come into my home in order for Mom and Dad to get the help that they need though. I do NOT have any answers. But I do know that foster care, no matter how wonderful the home, is damaging to families. Whiz was plucked from everything he knows and placed with strangers. It's been weeks and he's seen his parents 1 or 2 times...tops. Nothing about my house looks or smells or sounds right. And there's nothing I can do to fix this. All I can do is meet his needs and help him see that he is safe and loved.

I pray that all the services CPS offered to Whiz and Rex's parents are good. I pray that they get the help they need. I honestly do. Because these awesome little boys deserve to grow up with their family. Every kid does. I hope this case is a short one.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

thoughts from a court room

My Genius Sister, in Iowa, wasn't the only one in court today.

I went to court with a B.A.C.A. child here in Texas.

Five B.A.C.A. members (well...technically I'm only a "supporter" as I haven't been able to attend enough events to get my patch) went to be with a little girl so that she wouldn't have to be alone when she testified against her abuser.

We started out the morning in the DA's office. The little girl, Dizzy, had some family support. Her mother was there along with four paternal aunts. We were placed in a conference room. It wasn't exactly kid friendly. I had stuck a couple games in my giant purse though. That helped pass the time.

We had to wait all morning long because we didn't know when Dizzy might get called to testify. Just after noon we were told that the court was breaking for lunch. Everyone left. We had one hour to get some food and convene back in the conference room. We all went out to eat at a pizza buffet, came back, and waited some more.

Just before 2:00pm - after waiting since 8:30am - Dizzy was finally called for her testimony. We were escorted across the street from the DA's office to the criminal courthouse. We passed through security and blocked Dizzy all the way there. Once up to the actual courtroom, we literally formed a wall of bodies around Dizzy. You see, many members of the maternal side of Dizzy's family don't believe that she was assaulted. They, in turn, were in the hallway to support the man that hurt Dizzy. We shielded them from having any contact with Dizzy or even being able to see her.

I then watched a very brave 8 year old little girl speak her truth in a court of law. She had to say, out loud, all the horrible things that were done to her by her relative. I kept a straight face. Our role in the courtroom is to give the child(ren) someone familiar to look at. After all, they're alone. Their family has almost always been subpoenaed to testify so they can't be in the courtroom when the child is testifying. They have to face the DA that they know plus the defense attorney and the defendant.

And don't give that defense attorney any slack. They are there for their client only. The defense attorney today did his best to try and scare Dizzy and to try and confuse her. It was maddening!

Here's one of my take-aways from it all...
Please, please, please teach your kids about sex on an age appropriate level. Teach them the right names for all their body parts. Do this from birth. Girls have vaginas. Boys have penises. Teach them to not be ashamed of their bodies or the names of their body parts. When you get a new foster placement, assess how much they really know about this subject and start teaching right away. So many foster kids have been sexually abused. They were taken from their homes for other reasons though. This is a big deal and we have to teach kids the right ways to talk about their bodies.
Dizzy did great today. She was strong. She was brave. But the best she could muster was that her private parts are her chest, her middle part, and her back part. That was all she could say. And she was scared to death to say any of that. Believe me, the defense took advantage of her fear.

I'm not saying that using the right words would have changed any of this. The court experience is traumatic and any kid would be scared to have to tell a room of strangers when they've been abused. But it might have helped.

Say a prayer for Dizzy. It's 6:00pm and we don't know if Dizzy is going to have to testify again tomorrow or not. If she does, B.A.C.A. will be with her through it all. But Dizzy and her big brother, Sorcerer, need this case to be done. They need the relative that hurt Dizzy to be punished under the full extend of the law. Their family needs support and healing.

It's been a long day. The criminal justice system sucks.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sparkler has court this week

Cast of Characters:

My Genius Sister = MGS...really my sister...really a genius...totally radical
Sparkler = a really awesome 7yo little girl who has endured a lot of trauma in her young life
JW = Sparkler's mom
Cardinal = Sparkler's paternal grandmother
Roonie = My Genius Sister's middle son

A couple years ago, when Roonie was in kindergarten, it came to MGS's attention that Sparkler, also in kindergarten, was having some issues. Some kids in Sparkler's class were telling Sparkler that she couldn't play with them anymore. They said that Sparkler's mom was a bad person. It was mean and cruel. MGS saw it as an opportunity to have a play date. Sparkler could come over and play with Roonie. It was a win-win for everyone.

That's when an amazing story of love and friendship started.

JW had been involved in a positively horrific accident. The courts decided that JW needed to pay for her role in the accident and she was sent to prison. MGS didn't know JW yet but, after some play dates, she got to know Sparkler quite well.

MGS didn't want to become Sparkler's mom or anything like that. She just started weaving their families together. MGS helped Sparkler's dad (JW's husband) and Cardinal take care of Sparkler. There was some neglect involved and MGS supported the family. She didn't take over. But Sparkler became a frequent visitor at my sister's house. MGS became friends with Sparkler's dad and Cardinal. She also became a very, very good friend of JW. They messaged regularly and MGS helped Sparkler maintain a relationship with her mother. The children were friends and much healing happened. It was a beautiful thing.

Then, just a few weeks ago, the unthinkable happened. Sparkler's father was murdered. In an instant, Sparkler was left without a legal guardian. JW was in prison and her dad was gone forever. My sister flew to the family's side so she could be there to support everyone. In the moment, everyone (and I do mean everyone) decided that Sparkler needed to move in with my sister and her family immediately. They would deal with the intensity of what just happened and then evaluate what needed to happen next.

JW was informed of what happened. Knowing the full situation well, she decided immediately that MGS needed to be given official (legal) custody of Sparkler. Sparkler needs more than what Cardinal is able to provide. But because of JW's current legal status, her wishes weren't made known to everyone involved right away. And when they were, Cardinal got upset and retaliated.

And that brings us to this week.

Sparkler is not a foster child. She is not a ward of the State. In fact, as of right now, the State says there isn't enough proof of abuse and/or neglect to remove Sparkler from Cardinal's care. A judge wasn't as scrupulous as he should have been though when he granted Cardinal's request for custody - completely overriding the rights and wishes of JW. So the whole family is now involved in a custody battle. The hearing is Wednesday.

It's not foster care - but it looks a lot like foster care. There is a bio parent whose rights are being trampled all over. There is a kid caught in the middle. There are multiple lawyers. Sparkler even has a guardian ad litem.

I'm asking for prayers for the entire family. Cardinal has further traumatized Sparkler through all this. MGS and her family have been on a whirlwind of a roller coaster that looks JUST like foster care. And JW needs to have her wishes made known in a court of law. And more than anything, said court of law needs to see ALL of this and rule in the best interests of Sparkler.

If Sparkler stays with Cardinal, it is likely that Sparkler will lose her relationship with her mother. Cardinal has made it clear that maintaining that relationship isn't a priority to her. That alone should be reason enough for Sparkler to be moved to my sister's house. Sparkler deserves to have a relationship with her mother. Sparkler needs to be in a place where she will get to go home to with her mother when JW has paid her debt. There are many other reasons why Sparkler would be best off living with MGS temporarily vs. living with Cardinal. But you'll just have to trust me on those.

Please keep all these people in your thoughts and prayers. Court is on Wednesday. It's going to be stressful for all involved and a little girl's future hangs in the balance. I'm praying that she is offered the safety and stability of my sister's home and the assurance that she will get to see and connect with her mother regularly. I covet your prayers for the same.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

transportation concerns

Wednesday is the day the babies are supposed to visit the grandparents. Many, many visits were missed in April, May, and the start of June. It wasn't until last week, when I assume Bopper got a little more involved, that Grandma did something different. Instead of no-showing (like what had happened at several other recent visits), Grandma cancelled...but asked to make up the visit.

Grandma had NEVER asked to make up a visit ever before in the history of this case.
Maybe she didn't know she could. 

So, we made up the visit last Friday. I didn't know what to expect today. But I loaded those babies up in our car and drove to the CPS office.

Grandma was there already. She was also there with all five of her children.

This shouldn't be that big of a deal. But Grandma only drives a five passenger vehicle. That means her own children did not travel to said visit safely.

Normally this is something that I stay out of. I have called the police when I see kids visibly walking around in a moving vehicle. But most of the time, there's nothing I can really do if someone else is transporting their children in an unsafe manner.

But THIS - to me anyway - is a big deal.

This is also where it gets VERY complicated.

Children should never be removed from their biological parents simply due to poverty. This is something I believe pretty strongly in. It is better for a family for services to be provided that enable the family to stay together than it is to separate children from their parent(s), put them in a very punitive System, and then make impoverished parents have to work some plan just to get their kids back. Foster care rarely works the way its supposed to. Let's keep as many kids OUT of foster care as we possibly can! m'kay?

That said, I struggle with this when it comes to relative placements. I'm still trying to decide exactly how I feel about it. Because while I believe that requiring a bio parent to have a vehicle is ludicrous – I somehow want to hold relatives to a higher standard if they are being considered for placement. And I'll be honest...I'm not sure that's right on my part.

So, before I go any further, let me vaguely mention that I have many more concerns than just poverty when it comes to placing Russell and Star with these grandparents. I'm only discussing the poverty in this post though. (Poverty in the fact that they don't have the means to purchase a new vehicle that could safely transport their family now...and they certainly don't have the means to purchase a vehicle that could transport their entire family should they get custody of Russell and Star.)

I handed Russell and Star over to the family. They left the waiting room and went back to a visitation room. There were no tears - thank God!!

I then asked if I could come back to the receptionist's office (vs. having to talk through a tiny window) to discuss something with her. She buzzed me through.

I explained that I wasn't trying to meddle but I wanted to bring something, that in my opinion is very serious, to the attention of decision makers at CPS. I told her that Grandma came to the visit and that she did so illegally because her vehicle isn't large enough to accommodate all of her children plus herself. I asked that the receptionist get ahold of the caseworker and/or supervisor. In my naivety, I hoped that someone would discuss this with Grandma before the end of the visit. I never thought that CPS would call the police or prevent her from driving away when it was over. But I hoped it would be discussed.

Think about it - a hospital won't let you leave with your newborn until they've examined your car seat. Shouldn't CPS (Child Protective Services) care just as much about the safety of children? Isn't that their job.

And NO! I don't think that Grandma should have had her children taken from her today. I'm not going there with this post. I just think the safety of her children needed to be addressed with her. This isn't some random, minor thing. She was breaking the law in Texas transporting her children without car seats.
Texas Law:
A person commits an offense if the person operates a passenger vehicle, transports a child who is younger than eight years of age, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inches, and does not keep the child secured during the operation of the vehicle in a child passenger safety seat system according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the safety seat system.
Grandma had four children under the age of 8 with her. None of them were buckled correctly. I believe she had one car seat but I think it was a booster. And if that's where she put her 1yo baby...that was illegal as well.

I spent the two hour visit trying to not be too upset. Russell and Star were safe. I have to compartmentalize everything else. It was HER children that were going to be in transported in a manner that isn't safe and that needs to be on HER.

Mr. Amazing said he would call the cops. He said he knew I wouldn't though and that if he were in my shoes, I'd talk him out of it. My Genius Sister let me vent too. She agreed as well about not calling the police. I couldn't do anything more than tell CPS what I observed and leave everything up to them. If I were to try and involve the police, it would do nothing but damage any kind of a relationship I have with the grandparents and would send a message to CPS that I'm meddling in the case. (I currently have NO relationship with the grandparents. I haven't seen Grandpa since March, at the last visit held in my home. There were 10 cancelled visits. And Grandma is the only one coming to visits now and she speaks no English. She never shows any sort of interest in talking to me about the children - even when a translator is available.)

I got back to the CPS office just before the visit let out. I asked the receptionist if she had contacted the worker and/or the supervisor. (I called Bopper twice during the visit time, but she didn't answer.)

The receptionist said she hadn't talked to anyone.

< insert primal yell that I wanted to - but didn't - scream >

Then the receptionist said something about talking to the visit supervisor. I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes. The third party company that supervises visits in the CPS office has NOTHING to do with the case. They certainly wouldn't care whether or not Grandma transported her own children to and from the visit legally. Their only job is to take notes on the interactions during the visits. They don't redirect anything – they simply take notes.

When Russell and Star came out from the visit, I smiled, took them from Grandma and her kids, and we left to our vehicle. Bart was with me. (I love summertime. Having that extra set of hands after a visit makes things so much easier.) Then I saw two caseworkers coming out of the building. I got an idea. I told Bart to finish buckling the babies and I'd be right back.

One of the things that I've run in to with this case is that I've seen things with my eyes. But because I'm the foster mom - that means NOTHING in the case. For example, back in January, I saw Star's dad in the parking lot after a doctor appointment picking Mom up. Star's dad was deported to Mexico back in September last year. He dropped off the radar for CPS. He's never met his daughter and he has no contact with his CPS lawyer. Mom continues to say over and over (and over and over) that she broke up with him. She says she doesn't know where he's at. She says they have no contact with each other. It's not true. Social media and my own eyes say otherwise. But here, social media isn't used at all in CPS to build a case and my word means very little.

Of course I told Bopper right away when I saw him. But my word alone means nothing. The court would immediately twist it that I was saying things for my own personal gain. That I was meddling.

So me telling Bopper that Grandma drove to the visit with five kids unsafely ultimately means nothing. So I went across the parking lot to the caseworkers.

I was more emotional than I wanted to be. I apologized for that. But I asked if they were caseworkers. When they said yes, I asked them to simply observe Grandma buckling her five children in to a five passenger vehicle. I explained that I was trying to do Bopper a favor so that the information this happened wouldn't be coming from just me. They asked my name and of course I told them. It was awkward. I apologized and made sure they knew I wasn't trying to meddle - I was simply reporting something that happened. I didn't expect anything from them. They thanked me and I thanked them.

I sent Bopper a text message when I got home.

Bopper really needs to grow a set of balls.

Her only response is that she'd "talk to Grandma". Now, granted, that's all that I really wanted to have happen today. But I would have preferred that it be dealt with immediately. It would have been nice if Bopper's supervisor could have been involved today as well. This is a very good reminder that what I want is irrelevant and I have to be OK with that. I am the foster parent. I'm not "part" of the case. My job is to take care of the children and advocate for them within the boundaries of The System. If you're not OK with letting CPS drive the case, so to speak, foster care probably isn't for you.

I told Bopper that two other caseworkers saw it. She thanked me for speaking to them. Because ultimately...Bopper doesn't want to place with the grandparents. She just doesn't have the balls to do anything about it. She's entirely too wishy-washy.

Bopper did tell me that she started to staff this case with her supervisor yesterday. They didn't get to officially go over everything - but she did tell her supervisor that she's not recommending placement right now.

I have to assume there will be another extension in August when we go to court. In the meantime, I will continue to support whatever the State says should happen. That is the biggest reason why all I did today was report facts to CPS. If they determine that the grandparents should have custody, it will be up to me to make the transition to their home a pleasant one. Calling the cops on someone would not have facilitated anything good between the grandparents and me. I cannot damage that potential relationship.