Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The other reason I'm going to Iowa

Ever since My Genius Mother called me and asked if I thought TT and Bart could handle Cousins Camp without me physically there, we have had a HUGE dose of Mr. Wonky in our house. Both of my youngest cherubs immediately answered with a resounding yes! They wanted to go to Iowa and they didn't care if I came or not.

Methinks they have reconsidered.

It has been bad!

Rages. Tantrums. Things being thrown. People being hit, kicked and otherwise assaulted.

Did I mention the fact it's been bad?!

It's soooooooo hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. In fact, I don't always do that. My kids know that when they are dysregulated they can choose. They can come and talk to me about it and really try to figure out WHY they are dysregulated. Or...I can deal directly with the behavior only - which usually means making their world very small. (In other words, they get grounded.)

There are a LOT of reasons why my kids struggle in the summer.
  1. Less routine than normal.
  2. More neighborhood drama with all the other kids.
  3. A desire to play video games and/or watch TV that does not match what is allowed in our house.
  4. Dude and Dolly came to us June 15, 2011.
  5. The Summer from Hell (investigation) happened July/August 2012.
  6. Dude and Dolly got to go to Cousins Camp summer 2013.
  7. Dude and Dolly aren't in our family anymore. (This grief is still raw as we cycle through seasons and holidays for the first time without them.)
  8. Daisy's weekend visits, in general, worry my kids.
  9. CPS restricting our family from traveling together and the general frustration that brings to all of us.
  10. And of course, the general theme in our home because it's a constant trigger...foster care sucks.
As it looked like it was going to be more and more difficult to bring Daisy along just to drop my boys off at the border of Texas, it became more and more apparent that maybe I needed to go with my boys all the way to Iowa.

The temper tantrum Mr. CW's supervisor threw kinda synched the deal last night.

My Genius Dad is happy. He did NOT want to drive all the way down to Oklahoma to pick my boys up. My Genius Sister is happy. She gets to see me! (Yippee!) And in a sad way, I am happy too. I get to see my entire family...even My Genius Brother!

I'm so sad that I don't get to bring Daisy. I'm going to miss her terribly. Bringing her along was the only way I could really enjoy this summer's vacation.

But it is only 12 days. I will get a chance to get some sleep. I will get a chance to really play with my kids. And I will come back home ready to advocate for Miss Daisy with all my strength. There's a chance I might get called to testify when we go to court just four days after my return. I will need all my wits about me for that! (Granted, I'll probably spend those four days with Miss Daisy attached to my hip. But it's all good.)

Thank y'all for your constant support and validation. Sometimes I wonder if I make a bigger deal out of this stuff than I should. Sometimes it's nice to know I'm not alone in my frustration with this crazy System!!

They lie in the training sessions

You're brand new to fostering. You sit in these training sessions and learn a whole new language. Reunification. Visitation. Unsupervised. Termination. Case worker. Supervisor. Licensing. Spot checks. You take it all in; eager to learn.

They tell you stories about teenaged girls making up lies about the men in the home because they want moved. They tell you to expect the unexpected. You learn how to stay safe and how best to protect the new cherubs you're going to be caring for.

And then you hear things like, "Make them a part of your family. Bring them on vacations. Include them. Let these cherubs have the experiences they're unlikely to get anywhere else. Just let us know and we'll approve it. It's easy."

Under the trainer's breath you might hear, "Unless it conflicts with a visit. Then we have to work around that. But it's easy to do. You can travel and visits will get scheduled to accommodate."

But the big and loud party line is, "Include them. It's easy."

And then there is reality....

(I'm still really pissed off so this might be longer and wordier than absolutely necessary.)

Every summer I take my kids to my parents' house and they go to Cousins Camp. All the cousins over age two attend and many camp memories are made. My Genius Mother works very hard to plan wonderful excursions and fun things to do at home. This year camp is approximately five days long (I think) and it is filled with all kinds of exciting adventures. The kids are going on a scenic train ride, attending the Iowa State Fair, going to Living History Farms, and going swimming at a water park. I will not take this experience away from my kids. It's a trip we make every year.

This year I started by asking if I could bring Daisy with me. She's too young to really participate of course. But I believe she would be best cared for by me and I wanted to bring her along. However, it would involve missing one weekend visit (47 hours) with her biological mother, Kori.

CPS immediately told me no.

Then, after I pushed a little, they told me I could ask Kori. If she said yes, maybe the trip could be considered.

Kori prayed about it but didn't have a peace with it. She too said no.

So I altered my plans. I didn't want to put Daisy in respite care. I just don't feel comfortable placing her with a stranger for 12 days. I know it's probably not a big deal to some people. But to me, it is. So I changed my plans. I would drive my boys to the TX/OK border and drop them off with my mom. Daisy would ride along with me so that I could continue to meet all her needs and she would be with people she knows and are comfortable with. Then after I dropped TT and Bart off, we would turn around and head back home. Mr. CW didn't think this would be a problem at all. I even mentioned something about this short trip (less than 48 hours and within the state of Texas) to Daisy's lawyer. She seemed unphased.

But then reality hit.

Mr. CW asked his supervisor yesterday about the travel. Despite Texas minimum standards stating that "technically" I don't even have to ask permission for travel less than 48 hours long and within the state, I still have to ask. And then Mr. CW has to get an OK from his supervisor. Then a travel log goes to the lawyers to get signed. Then a judge has to sign his OK.

All for a two-day trip within the state.

Mr. CW's supervisor said NO.

Mr. CW pushed him a little. Supervisor still said NO. He said that Daisy's medical needs would be best met if she stayed here in respite care.

Mr. CW even went so far as to remind Supervisor that Daisy is only a "moderate" and that Supervisor already made a big deal about Daisy's medical needs not being that concerning. Surely this two day travel could be approved.

Mr. CW reported to me that things got very intense and his supervisor actually got hot under the collar. It was a NO!! No travel allowed. Supervisor would rather Daisy go to respite care.

I cried. (Mr. CW felt so bad for me.)

I just want to take care of this baby in the manner that is best for her. But I can't do that at the expense of my forever kids. They get to go to Iowa.

They can't fly. Too expensive.
My parents can't drive all the way down here to get them. It takes too long.
And the idea of respite so I can drive for 10+ hours and then drive 10+ hours back home seemed ridiculous.

I have decided to do the thing I hate most. I'm putting Daisy in respite and I'm going to drive my boys all the way to Iowa myself, stay for vacation, and then drive back. Daisy will be out of my care for 12 days/11 nights.

I know it's only 12 days. But I'm sick, just a little, thinking about it. Would you put your baby in care with a stranger like that if you didn't have to?

I contacted a foster mom licensed through my agency that I know OK enough down here. Karen recently just opened her home again after being closed for awhile following a recent adoption. Our agency pays horribly for respite and Daisy has special needs. Karen agreed to take Daisy though for the time I am gone. She doesn't do this for the money and I take solace in that. Daisy definitely won't get the same level of personal care she gets while in my home. She will go to a strange day care. But I have to let go and be OK with that too. It's less than two weeks.

Thankfully my new licensing agency worker ('cause yeah...I've got a new one again), has no problem with Daisy going to Karen's house for respite. All I have to do is send her the dates and she'll take care of the necessary paperwork.

It just kills me this is how it worked out though.

It's not necessary.

Even the minimum standards don't make it sound that difficult to travel.

Foster care sucks!!


-----

For those of you wondering why Mr. Amazing can't just watch her...
  1. Daisy would have to go to a strange day care during the day anyway.
  2. We would have to pay for this strange day care out of our own pockets and it would be expensive.
  3. She will be horribly "messed up" in the evenings and probably won't settle down for Mr. Amazing because she will still wonder where I am and where her brothers are.
  4. Being messed up like this will cause her sleep to become horribly disruptive.
  5. Mr. Amazing needs his sleep so he can stay safe on his job (which is getting increasingly more dangerous by the day).
  6. In the long run, respite care costs us less and will disrupt Daisy less than bouncing back and forth between a new day care and an empty home with just Mr. Amazing.
Foster care still sucks!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Still no news to report

I've had some people comment that what I've experienced as a foster parent is almost too much to believe.

Trust me. I know. I've lived it.

The drama is exhausting!

Thank y'all for your prayers this past weekend! It seems the concerns that CPS had were not valid *this weekend*. They did surprise Kori at home to check on their concerns. But Kori was not in violation of anything and Daisy remained with her for the rest of the visit. (Well...I'll pick her up from the visit in about 6.5 hours.)

The drama is still quite high. I've got some minor things I'll have to report after I pick Daisy up tonight. (She has flea bites ALL over her!) And who knows, these visits might still get cancelled by the lawyers. I honestly don't now everything that is going on legally.

But for now I'm confident in saying that Daisy is safe. And to me, that's the most important detail.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prayer Request

I have to be vague. MAJOR things are happening in Daisy's case. I am asking for all of Daisy's prayer warriors to send up mighty requests from now until the weekend visit is over next Monday. Please pray for safety for Daisy and that the adults in this case face justice.

I promise I'll keep y'all posted. For now I do have to be vague. But things...they are a changin'.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The visit is still on

Nothing happened today. Daisy will still leave tomorrow night to spend 47 hours with her mom. I believe Mr. CW is popping in this weekend. But for the most part, these visits are unsupervised. 

So, for now, nothing is changing. We will see what happens next week. Court is only a month away and I'm sure it is going to be very interesting. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Vague booking

OK...it seems my vague booking has sparked a lot of interest.

I feel like I need to be VERY careful with what I post. That's why I MIGHT go private. I still haven't decided yet. I'm a creature of habit and I don't really want to mess with my blog and FB settings. I want to keep on blabbering like I have been for years.

I promise, if I go private I'll invite y'all along.

It seems everyone wants to know what happened today.
I'm not private yet so I guess I'll spill a little.

Last week Kori, Daisy's mom, had some difficulties describing Daisy's condition to the doctor when we were there for a follow-up. I passed along this information to both Mr. CW and Daisy's lawyer. These difficulties describing Daisy's condition point to Kori's level of denial.

Kori also felt the need to defend Bio Dad to the doctor.
And to Mr. CW for the hundred millionth time.

Denial...more than just a river in Egypt.

Daisy's lawyer wants to stop the weekend visits immediately.

Also, CPS is under the authority of a new head-head-honcho (HHH). The last HHH left to explore new employment opportunities with all the undocumented children crossing the border daily where I live. The last HHH is the one that changed the concurrent goal in Daisy's case to family reunification. Neither Mr. CW or his supervisor were in favor of this concurrent goal change but they couldn't do anything about it. The HHH made the switch back in March.

Well...Daisy's case just got staffed with the new HHH this week. The new HHH is VERY upset with all the things that have gone "wrong" in Daisy's case so far. She insists that the primary goal in this case remain relative conservatorship. She is not in favor of reunification at all. In fact, if the judge won't let them play with that primary goal, she wants to change the goal in the case to termination.

Keep in mind there are NO relatives stepping forward or approved to take Daisy permanently. Relative conservatorship (in Texas) means that a family member assumes full guardianship of the child but parental rights are not terminated. However, the guardianship is permanent unless the bio parent hires a lawyer to fight to get their kid back at a later date. It's also called PMC (permanent managing conservatorship).

I was officially asked today if we would consider being an adoptive resource for Miss Daisy.

I answered that we lean more toward "yes" than toward "no" when it comes to adoption.

Internet safety

Daisy is the first cherub I've had with a bio parent that actively uses the internet.

Due to some recent events that have happened and are brewing, I think I need to bring this blog down.

I'm incredibly concerned that Kori will stumble across things and I could get in foster care trouble. I use fake names but I am just a wee bit of a blabbermouth.

I don't want to be done blogging. I enjoy the community and support. And I get a lot of private messages from people considering becoming foster parents thanking me for my brutal honesty.

But I'm a bit afraid that brutal honesty could get me in trouble.

If I disappear, please know that everything is OK. I'm only doing this to protect Daisy and my family from potential problems.