I wasn't able to secure respite care until last night at 9:15PM. A wonderful family that is also licensed with our agency is taking Pumpkin for the weekend since we do not have permission to take her with us. They are going above and beyond to help us out as they are already very booked this weekend themselves. But, they've cared for Pumpkin briefly while we attended a training session so they know what it's like to have her around. And since she's unable to go with us, we ended up picking a destination that would be beyond Pumpkin's comfort zone anyway. (With temps in the upper 90s and potential rain, camping was nixed.) We're going to an amusement park! (Cheap tickets available through May 29th! Gotta love a bargain!)
I'm still quite upset with CPS over this whole mess. Again I say -- if the trip we want to take keeps us within our state's boundaries, lasts fewer than 72 hours and does not interfere with a family visit or doctor appointment, we shouldn't have to jump through hoops to be able to go. Pumpkin should be included. That's only fair to her. She's a part of our family right now and needs to be treated as such. She should not get dumped off every time we want to go somewhere.
I sent an email to CPS this morning giving them the details of respite care of Pumpkin. It went a little something like this:
This issue is something that I'm going to need to address before we get too far into summer vacation. It was my understanding that there weren't as many hoops to jump through if a trip was to be within the state of Texas for under 72 hours (making sure the trip doesn't conflict with scheduled family visits or doctor's appointments). Finding respite care for this weekend with such short notice was incredibly difficult. Especially since I tried to get permission for a family outing starting two weeks ago. It doesn't seem right to punish Pumpkin by making her stay with "strangers" when we want to include her in our family's activities. Isn't that one of the goals of successful fostering? To give the children as close to a normal life as possible with lots of positive experiences?
I haven't heard back. Don't think I will. I'm going to up the ante next week when we get back. CASA will be getting a phone call from me. I'm betting they'd like to know what reason CPS has to involve the bio mom in decisions like this one. I'm sure they'd much rather that Pumpkin stay in our home rather than go to respite. I hate turning into a nagging foster parent but I refuse to be held captive in my own home.
To clarify, I have no problem with using respite care.... when I truly need a break. Honestly, that's why I pushed so hard for it this week when CPS dug their heels in. It will be nice to get away and not have to consume myself with all the little rules that we have to follow all the time. I know that Pumpkin is safe and I'll get to reconnect with just my immediate family. (No diaper changes - yippee!!)
But for the most part, I want the simple freedom of being able to decide that we want to go somewhere without having to get permission from every Tom, Dick and Harry. Especially since giving mom the say in this trip is not part of our state's "minimum standards". (Notifying the State that we're leaving makes sense to me. Pumpkin is in the care of the State and that makes sense. But there is a difference between notifying the State where we will be and getting permission to take a short trip like this.)
My cherubs will be home from school in about 1/2 an hour. Mr. Amazing will be here around 4:30. We're taking off as soon as we can and I can't wait!
Have a great weekend y'all!!