My vacation wraps up tomorrow. I'll spend the day doing what freelancing needs to be done, laundry and cleaning. Despite all that has hung over my head the past month, I really was able to enjoy myself on this vacation!
I had good days. I had some bad days. It's been so long since I've seen "my" kids that I've adjusted to the new normal as best as I can. I miss them horribly. But now the ache is more for them than anything else. I only sent nine outfits. A huge wardrobe of wonderful clothes sits in boxes up in their room at my house. They have toys I know they love that are also in boxes at my house. I ache for all they have lost in this situation. They deserve better than this!
The foster mom that has Pumpkin has been WONDERFUL! She messages me every few days to check on me and to tell me how Pumpkin is doing. It hasn't all be easy to hear. One Sunday she messaged me to tell me some symptoms Pumpkin was displaying. They were classic seizure symptoms. And, in typical Pumpkin fashion, no one had seen the seizures. I walked the foster mom through the things she needed to do. But it was so hard for me. This was a crisis and I wasn't there for Pumpkin. Granted, Pumpkin wasn't going to come on vacation with me anyway so this crisis would have played out without me there no matter what. But it was the principle of it all. I know that in the back of this foster mom's mind she had to weigh in how much she could trust my advice and compare it to the liability we have as foster parents overall. In the end she took all my advice as is, didn't overreact and take Pumpkin to the hospital, and Pumpkin recovered quickly without medical intervention. (For what it's worth though, that particular Sunday was a bad, bad day for me!)
Pumpkin's respite foster mom is just as upset about the whole investigation as I am. But she's clued me in to more things that are probably playing a factor in the delay. My licensing agency is under probation with the State of Texas. During a probation our agency cannot move any children or accept new placements. It's supposed to give the social workers time to get more training. I guess there have been a lot of investigations statewide that have resulted in citations. This comes on the heels of a corrective action that our agency faced a year ago. I was told that a probation is the last step before a licensing agency loses THEIR license.
If you factor that in with the fact that I was recently investigated due to an issue that was COMPLETELY out of my control earlier this year -- I'm sure CPS is taking a long hard look at my file. Granted, every single time I've had my family gone over with a fine tooth comb "they" have found nothing wrong. But there is the fact that there have been two investigations somewhat back to back. << sigh >>
Always remember... It is not "if" you're going to be investigated, it most definitely is "when"!
I'm looking forward to getting home again. We've got a few weeks of summer left, but I've got to start getting ready for school. I picked the curriculum I'm going to use for Bart. TT and Herman will go to online school. I'm actually looking forward to homeschooling. (It will definitely be better than the brick and mortar options available on the border of Mexico!! I am just not a fan of the Texas education system at all!!)
I'm trying to decide if we, as a family, should do "anything" else yet this summer. I was talking things over with my Genius Sister earlier today. I think instead of stopping at Sea World on the way home from Iowa, I should pocket that money and put it toward a family trip to Schlitterbaun on South Padre Island. Wouldn't that be fun?! At the exact same moment though we thought the same thing...about the time I actually put that on the calendar, I'll get a call about this damned investigation and my life will be turned all upside down again.
What to do? What to do?
So, in typical fosterhood fashion...I'm just going to wing it. If foster care has taught me anything, it's taught me to live in the moment. I cannot think even a week ahead most of the time. I can't make plans. I have to trust in God's provision for my forever family and the bonus cherubs I've been entrusted with. I won't make any promises to my kids. We might stop at Sea World on Friday. We might not. What will I be doing two months from now? I have no idea!!
Well, I do know one thing - I will continue to advocate for children in The System. I will NOT stop doing that no matter how all my battles shake out. I'm going to continue to do what I can personally and I'm going to continue to try and call others into caring as well. I do not mean that I'm going to go around recruiting foster parents. There are so many ways everyone can get involved. For instance, check out this blog that was just started by a former foster child:
When Princess was in Care she was only allowed white socks. For whatever reason that's all she had. Now that she's with her forever family she has been able to ban them from her life and wear the colors, patterns and characters she wanted so desperately when she was younger. She's advocating for foster kids in The System now and she wants to supply them with colorful socks. Check her out and then think about what you can do too. Send her some socks or start your own mission. I know that as soon as my sewing machine gets fixed I have visions of making fun pillow cases and blankets to donate to kids in Care.
But first I have to say goodbye and make the long drive home. I hate goodbyes!! But I'm anxious to get home to my biggest cherub and Mr. Amazing. It's been a good vacation.