Thursday, March 10, 2011

Respite for Pumpkin

Here's how it all shook out......

I prayed and prayed and prayed all day long. I prayed for my agency worker. I prayed for my CPS worker. I prayed for our agency regional director. (I forgot to pray for the CPS supervisor.)

About 2:45 I couldn't take it anymore so I called our agency to find out what the status was. Our SW (let's call her Sarah) took a deep breath and said that she was just going to call me.

"It doesn't sound good," I said.
She replied, "No."
I said, "Pumpkin has to go to respite doesn't she."
She muttered out a yes.

This is difficult to explain...bear with me. I asked what had happened and Sarah told me that she had talked to our CPS worker (let's call her Amy). Amy was OK with Pumpkin staying at my house. However, when she presented things to her supervisor it was knocked down. It seemed hopeless. Sarah told me that she was going to call and find a respite provider. I offered to do all of the necessary school and visit transportation if they could find a home close enough to where we live. I even said the Pumpkin could stay with me all day and I would just need a bed for her to sleep in. (We are on Spring Break next week so she won't have school. I really want Pumpkin to stay in our house as much time as possible.)

I hung up with Sarah and decided to call Amy.

Amy's version of the story was slightly different. She said that CPS doesn't have a problem with it per se. They default to our agency's minimum standards in this case. So I said, "You mean if our agency says it's OK, CPS will say it's OK?!" Amy indicated that this was true. Only she would have to get a supervisor to sign off on it.

So I called Sarah back. (Confusing as hell. I know. I guess I'm just spelling out all of this obnoxious conversation as a way to shed light on what "the system" can look and act like.) Sarah seemed slightly confused. So she said that she would call Amy again.


I could be wrong. But it seemed that we got caught in a circle and no one would bend. Our agency said we could "break the background check rule" if CPS would send them a letter saying it's OK. CPS said they could break the rule if our agency said it was OK. Neither organization would put it in writing giving approval for my parents to stay. Neither organization wanted to take responsibility. Both parties claimed they understand and it really isn't a problem. Neither organization sees my parents as a threat. But MINIMUM STANDARDS aren't being met so their hands are tied. So, Pumpkin can be at our house all day long. She just can't sleep in our house if my parents are here.

Sarah managed to find a respite home for Pumpkin about 20 minutes away from my house. I agreed to handle all the transportation for school and family visits. I take Pumpkin to this house and tuck her in to bed. Then, in the morning the respite provider gets Pumpkin dressed and I come pick her up and take her to school. (Good deal for the respite provider. She gets full compensation and we will not be receiving any per diam for the days Pumpkin is officially on respite. But it's important to me that Pumpkin's life stay as close to normal as possible. Proof I guess that I'm not in this for the money. And, according to some, that I'm certifiable. LOL)

I've been pleasantly surprised. This change in routine hasn't really phased Pumpkin at all. (Maybe her mom used to do things like this so she could "go out". I have no idea!!) Things are going so smooth in fact, Pumpkin smiled and played with me tonight as I was tucking her in. When I asked for a kiss goodnight -- I actually got one! This my friends is huge! Pumpkin is showing a wider range of emotions. It's awesome!

The respite mom is wonderful!! I've been very blessed. At no time did she make me feel bad for doing this. She has been quite reassuring. And none of Pumpkin's delays even phase her.

I'm still praying that the paperwork from the FBI will show up at our agency soon. If my parents are still here the day the day the paperwork comes in (IF it comes in) Pumpkin will not have to go to respite anymore. Until then, I have to obey THE SYSTEM. <<sigh>>


jendoop said...

You're great for working around Pumpkin when your parents are visiting, that takes away time you could be spending with them. So glad she is dealing with the change OK.

The politics between the agency and county can be ridiculous at times. My current issue is the weekend visit our guy is supposed to have with his Dad. They let him have an overnight visit 2 weeks ago, now they say he can't stay overnight and the visits must be supervised! Argh!

Meg0422 said...

Depending on the amount of paperword that is in transit, is it possible from some friendly person with the FBI to fax or email it? Or even overnight it?

In the meantime, may you have full nights of sleep!

MamaFoster said...

that is stupid. leave it to these people to not be willing to go ahead and give the ok, it is MUCH easier for them to have YOU doing this. btw, aren't you allowed to have her in respite for at least a few of these days and still get paid?

CherubMamma said...

I wish I could contact the FBI but I just don't think it's possible. The website only shows a mailing address. And it very plainly says to allow 12 weeks. (Pure crazy!)

As for me getting paid for respite, I got to choose. We earn two days of respite every month. I had built up four days. Or, I could take advantage of "emergency respite" and keep my four days. If I had used the four days I have coming to me, we would have gotten paid about $5 a day. The respite provider would get the other $20 (because Pumpkin is "moderate"). I figured it would make more sense for me to keep the respite I've got coming because that $5 a day wouldn't make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. And because the reason we have to take advantage of respite to begin with is my agency's fault, we quality for emergency.

It's a mess. The commute is annoying. But we'll get through it. Pumpkin isn't as messed up with the process as I thought she would be. And I get to see my parents all day and into the night. My dad gets to go to bed as soon as he's tired without having to wait for my mom to take him to a hotel. It's working out better than I thought it would. I wish it didn't have to be this way. But as a foster mom all you can do is live and breathe the way the system says you can.