Friday, June 3, 2011

Riding the foster parenting roller coaster

Got another call for kids this afternoon. (CPS must be really busy now that school is out.)

This time they wanted us to take a 10 year old girl. She has a 12 year old brother too. But since I nixed the 10 year old boy yesterday, our agency thought that meant I wasn't taking any older boys.

I know they don't understand what our true parameters are (other than "no middle school girls"). I have to assess why the kids are being removed, what their ages are and what their behaviors are reported to be in order to determine if the fit is good. Each case is different. My yes or no is dependent on not only the children that need a home - but how well my own three are handling life.

Yesterday I was told the boy had suffered a lot of physical abuse. I'm speculating...I know that...but I got the impression on the phone yesterday that he too was a little volatile. That is not a good mix with our son, TT, right now. He's still rather dysregulated from the last few weeks of (perfectly worthless) school. It's going to take him a little bit of time to transition to our summer schedule. Throwing a volatile 10 year old -- who my 7 year old would want to play with -- into the mix just didn't sound wise. Sounded more like pouring gasoline on a fire to me. I said no to the older boy yesterday. I agreed to take his little 2 year old sister because TT happens to LOVE babies so I knew it wouldn't be a problem.

So, when they called today they thought we'd only be interested in the girl. I got what information I could. Both kids seemed like a "basic" type of placement. My heart felt strongly that the kids shouldn't be split up. I told our agency I needed to talk to the rest of my family before we could decide.

TT said he would be OK with it. Herman and Bart were totally fine with getting both kids too. (Now, it's not like the children are always involved in our decisions on whether or not to get more kids...but I really felt led to talk it over with them first this time.)

About 15 minutes later I called back to our agency to tell them we'd take both kids. The director answered the phone and immediately let me know CPS found a home where the kids could stay together. I laughed and told her I was calling to take them both too.

We're on "standby" case the other placement falls through. Of course I know this means we're not getting this particular sibling group. But I'm sure the phone will continue to ring.

It's quite a roller coaster of emotions doing this foster care stuff. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to the adrenaline rush.
1. Get the call.
2. Try to remember all the questions I'm supposed to ask. (Do they speak English? Why were they removed? etc. etc.) (Today's call came while I was driving back from an appointment with Pumpkin. I didn't have my cheat sheet of questions to ask with me.)
3. Make a decision...yes or no.

If we decide "yes" I immediately start going over the logistics....
1. Where will they sleep?
2. When will I take them to the doctor? (they have to go within the first 72 hours)
3. Do I have clothes for them at home already? Will we be shopping tonight at midnight?
4. What's on the menu plan? Will we have enough food for more people?

Then they call back and I'm told that CPS found a different home.

At first when this would happen I would feel a huge letdown. Huge!

Tonight I'm just sad. Getting phone calls like this so regularly is a reminder of how many kids are out there that need a home. There aren't enough homes that want to ride this roller coaster.


Sunday Koffron said...

I don't blame you for the Middle school girl thing. I have one of those of my own.

Yes it is so sad. So many children suffering.

CherubMamma said...

The only reason we don't want middle school girls is 'cause we have a middle school boy. :) I just don't need those hormones mixing up in the house right now! Though, now that our oldest is "officially" a high schooler, we'll have to rephrase what ages we're not exactly looking to take.

jendoop said...

It is quite a ride. Hearing how much you are getting calls really burns me up about my county- so few children are being removed, not because they're not being abused, but because there's no money in the CPS budget.

Melanie said...

I've been a silent reader of your blog for a long time now. We too are foster parents in OZ. We are all approved, all training done and papers signed. We are just waiting for our first phone call now with placement. I was wondering if you would share a post one day on the questions you ask when you receive a call :-) sure would help many I am sure. Ive complied a list for 10 things myself but i would be really interested in what you ask sweetie