Monday, June 6, 2011

Mother guilt

I got to spend the morning in a tiny waiting room of a neurologist with Pumpkin, Pumpkin's Mom, Pumpkin's sister, and the CPS worker. It was awkward to say the least.

First, Mom had forgotten about the appointment. CPS called her this morning and I guess she claimed that no one had let her know. This is a lie. But...oh well. She managed to get to the doctor's office relatively close to on time.

Of course Pumpkin left my side to go sit with her mom. This is normal. This is good. However, Pumpkin also decided to reach into her bag of tricks and throw a big fit for Mom. This is not normal (while in my care). This was not good. I believe it is fits like this that became the reason Mom stopped taking care of Pumpkin's medical needs. I don't believe that Mom possesses the ability to tell Pumpkin "no".

Pumpkin wanted to watch a movie. The TV in the office only plays a medical infomercial loop over and over (and over and over and over and over). Pumpkin's mom had not brought anything to entertain Pumpkin with. And, if I understand my role in situations like this, it is up to Mom to parent Pumpkin...not me.

Now, I had brought things for Pumpkin. A snack, a drink and some books. Generally though, when Pumpkin is waiting anywhere with me, she just sits there (even when we wait for hours). She usually has no desire to do anything other than sit. But, due to how we all situated ourselves in the waiting room, it would have been difficult for me to assist in helping Pumpkin calm down. I offered the drink. I also made sure that Mom knew I had books. But if I had done anything myself, it would have seemed too obvious that I thought Mom couldn't handle it.

So I just sat there while Pumpkin hollered and squirmed and cried. I did make Pumpkin take off her glasses because she gets them all out of alignment when she tugs at them while crying. Other than that though, I just sat there.

It sucked.

When we finally made it back to the doctor's office (after a 3 hour wait) it got weirder. Of course I'm the only one capable of describing Pumpkin's current health status. So, I had to do all the talking to the doctor. Mom asked for a hand out so she could "learn" more. But, I don't think the doctor understood what she wanted to know. And let's be honest, Mom didn't know why she was there. CPS had to explain it to her while we were waiting.

CPS explained to Mom that this meeting with the doctor is so that Mom will understand how to care for Pumpkin and how to manage her seizures. Then she added it's basically to satisfy the if Mom screws up again on the medical neglect issues (that contributed to why Pumpkin is in care) she won't be able to claim that she "didn't know what to do".

I don't think Mom still knows what to do though. I'm not confident that Mom can manage the seizures in a way that will keep Pumpkin out of the hospital all the time. I'm not sure Mom knows how to recognize the different kinds of seizures that Pumpkin has. I know I have a hard enough time determining what is "normal" for Pumpkin and what is a seizure. Mom said this morning that Pumpkin's only seizures have her shake on one side of her body. I'm pretty sure Pumpkin has absence seizures (zoning out) and I don't think she always shakes when she's having one of her bigger ones.

And here is where my guilt settles in...

I want to make things as good for Pumpkin as they can be. As I look around, I question how much anyone else cares. Her doctor says very little about Pumpkin's quality of life. Apparently many of my concerns just aren't a big deal to him. If she's only seizing a few times a month that's all he cares about. I have worries about her overall delays and how she behaves. They don't seem to phase him.

CPS just wants her home so they can be done with this case. It doesn't look like they care if Mom really knows about and accepts her level of delay. I don't think they are dealing with what kind of parenting Pumpkin is going to require long-term.

I believe that her private therapists care. But not enough to actually work WITH me on her care. That collaborative effort isn't important to them. And the school....they stink! I don't think they bring anything to the table.

So...I feel like out of all the people involved...I care the most. (Damn that sounds egotistical. Honest, that's not where I'm going with this.) I'm worried about what kind of a home environment Pumpkin will be going back to. However -- I have no desire to parent Pumpkin long term. It's not like I want to keep her forever and "fix" things. That's where the guilt kicks in.

I know I need to do my best while Pumpkin is in my care and then trust God with the rest. That's easier said than done though. I wish I could sort out my own feelings with this whole mess. Somehow I think I'd feel better if I just had a long-term plan in my brain that I think would be best for Pumpkin. Unfortunately, I don't think there is one. I don't fully trust her mom to parent her. There is no other relative able to take on the task. Adoption would be difficult at best. And I don't want to.

Foster care sucks!


MamaFoster said...

ick. i feel like i LIVE in the land of "I love you, I want what's best for you SO badly...but I don't want to adopt you."

nobody told me about THAT part.

jendoop said...

Mama Foster I understand that too.

As I read your post I realized that what most people are probably thinking is, "This is not my problem." They all see Pumpkin as her mother's problem, if she isn't now, they look forward to the day that she will be.

In this situation it is difficult, because if mom won't take care of Pumpkin what is the likelihood that someone will adopt her? Not great. That's why you've got to put all the effort into Mom you can. Not that it is your responsibility, but it is one of the biggest ways you can make a long term difference to Pumpkin.