Monday, January 24, 2011

First family visit (AKA grace when you need it)

Pumpkin Pie has been in our home for three weeks now. I'm sure it's been a very difficult and very long three weeks for her mother. I know that I personally have been swamped dealing with all the extreme medical and educational neglect that Pumpkin has suffered.

On the positive side of things though, Pumpkin has gotten a chance to really get to know us. To know our home. To know our routine. She has settled in quite well.

I was worried just a little (OK - who's kidding who here?! I was worried a ton!!) about her first visit with Mom tonight. My stomach was in horrible butterflies as I drove over to the CPS office. I was worried for Pumpkin. Would she understand what was going on?! I prayed over and over that God would give me the appropriate words to say. That I wouldn't be overwhelmed with anger towards her mom for all that she's put Pumpkin through. That I would be able to show the love of God in my response to everything.

But can I tell you, I really didn't think I was going to be able to do it!! I was nervous. And I've been so frustrated the past three weeks trying to figure out Pumpkin's story and trying to get her all the services that she needs.

Not to mention the fact - I've never had to do anything like this before. With our first foster placement (when we were licensed in the Midwest), visits worked differently. The SW showed up at our home, took our foster son to his visit and then brought him back to us when it was over. The only time I had to meet the parents was during a Family Group Conference. It was totally different! And our first placement down here in the South never had visits. So I'm a total newbie when it comes to how our particular CPS office runs things.

Pumpkin and I were the first ones at the office. We signed in. Then, after waiting just a bit, Mom and the three siblings showed up. Pumpkin leapt out of her chair and went quickly to her mommy. Appropriately so, no one paid attention to me. I passed off the diaper bag to the SW supervising the visit and said I'd be back at 7:00.

When I got back at 7:00 the building was locked down so I just waited in my car. When the time came for Pumpkin to come back to me, they simply unlocked the door and let her mom bring her out to me. I ended up standing outside talking with Pumpkin's mom for almost 20 minutes. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be!

I'm still frustrated that Pumpkin has suffered so much medical and educational neglect. But I was able to see how much her mom does love her. She is going to do whatever it takes to get her daughter back. She didn't seem angry with me. She understood that I have to follow my rules too. Things like getting Pumpkin in school. Getting her in therapy. Doing the things that she didn't do.

I promised her that I would take good care of Pumpkin. Then, with a knowing look and connection that only two mothers could have, she said, "Please do."

Pumpkin seemed a bit sad but not distraught as we pulled away. She fell perfectly into routine when we got home. I got her teeth brushed. We read books. We prayed and sang. I know that she's going to be sad. She's going to miss her mommy. But I'm pretty confident that I won't be lying when I tell her that she'll get to see her mommy again real soon.


Cheryl said...

Wow! So glad that it went well.

jendoop said...

Those visits can be really hard, even when things go well. It is hard to reconcile the neglect with the parent who isn't a monster. People aren't all good or all bad, that's what makes interacting with the parent so difficult. I'm glad it went well and hope that the after effects are minimal today.