I got the phone call from my agency while driving through downtown Fort Worth. Rainbow sounded happy on the phone so I didn't freak out immediately. I must say though, I'm very glad she was giving me good news. If she had told me bad news I probably would have wrecked the car!
Rainbow called me first – just like she had promised. There was almost as much relief in her voice as what I felt. She felt very bad explaining to me that whether the children come back to my home or not is now up to their CPS caseworkers. She hadn't talked to them about the verdict yet so I was going to have to wait longer to get the rest of the details. Rainbow did share with me that Dude and Dolly are back to the worker they had almost a year ago. This worker just happens to be the one that thinks we are all "too attached". I'm not holding my breath that I'll have the option of getting the babies back in my home again.
Not that I'm chomping at the bit to get them.
This is where I'm going to be totally honest...
When all is said and done, these children never were mine. Yes, I cared for them for a year. Yes, I'm madly in love with them. Yes, I would still adopt them in a heartbeat! But if we go ahead and have these two little ones move back in with us as foster children – I personally think it could be more trauma than what it's worth. They were ripped out of our home over 6 weeks ago. I have NO IDEA what coping tools they were given by the respite family. I have NO IDEA how they were cared for and what they were told about us and why they had to leave. It could be horrifically confusing to them to come back here. I say this largely because they are (unless things have changed) going to go to their grandma's house in Dallas in early September. Moving them out of their respite home and back in to ours for such a short time hardly seems healthy for anyone.
Rainbow knows that we aren't fully set on taking the little children back. She has to check with their worker and let me know how things are progressing in their case. Also, Dude and Dolly's dad is now out of prison. I was told on Friday that he was in our area with Grandma N (his mother, the g'ma from Dallas) for a visit. Those babies hadn't seen their birth father in well over a year...if not longer. I need to know more details about what is actually going on in their case and what the State is going to propose at the hearing September 10 before I'm going to make a decision on anything.
Mr. Amazing and I are in agreement over one thing though. If the babies can come back to our home, and if the current respite home will not keep them until court in September, the babies will come back here. We do NOT want them in yet a third home. None of these changes are their fault and they don't deserve to be confused even further. I know we could survive the behaviors that are sure to come as a result of this System induced trauma this summer. But if the current plan in their case is still placement with Grandma N, and the respite home they're in can keep them, we will have them stay there. They will just make it all "official" and our agency will finally get the children's belonging to them.
As for Pumpkin, I hope she's back soon.
I know. I sound nuts. This whole mess started because of Pumpkin. (That's simplifying things!!)
But all I've ever wanted to do is look out for the best interests of the children in my home! And right now, while I know Pumpkin is in a great respite home, she's not able to get any of her therapy services. And to me, that is a travesty!
My only reservations with Pumpkin coming back have to do with my own liabilities. I will NOT have contact with her bio mom. I will NOT transport to any unsupervised visits. In fact, I'm uncomfortable transporting to any visits. But I doubt they would make arrangements for me. I'll just have to get all the information I can about what they expect from me and make a decision based on that.
For example, Rainbow told me about a day recently when she came to pick up Pumpkin for a visit. Pumpkin screamed "no" at her and refused to comply. Pumpkin wouldn't get up off the couch to leave with Rainbow. Had Pumpkin been under my care, I would have simply picked Pumpkin up and I would have carried her to the car screaming. Pumpkin may be seven years old now but developmentally she's only around 18 months!!! Do you let an 18 month old toddler dictate what you do for them?!
Rainbow wasn't comfortable picking Pumpkin up and forcing her to comply though. I assume it's because she questioned her liability in the situation. She chose to call Pumpkin's CPS worker and ask her if she wanted her to force Pumpkin into the car for the visit or not.
I will NOT be able to care for Pumpkin at all if my actions will be under that level of scrutiny. Pumpkin needs to be kept safe and that means Pumpkin has to do things she doesn't want to do. Everyone involved in her case knows this is how I handle things. I describe how I carry Pumpkin to keep both of us safe. I describe how I have to hold her down during certain medical procedures. Pumpkin is not capable of making decisions for herself at all. But if my liability is such that Pumpkin's rights now mean she gets to determine whether or not she has to go places, well then, I can't care for her anymore.
There is also one more piece of the puzzle that will have to be addressed. The investigation did not turn up anything negative in my home. However, they raised concern about the sleeping arrangements of the children. All three of my foster children shared a very, very large bedroom. (The room itself is 12x15.) Little ones of opposite sex can share a room until they are six years old in the state of Texas. So really, this shouldn't be a problem at all!! Pumpkin didn't turn seven until after the investigation started and she was removed from my home. But still, the investigator(s) are concerned about Dude and Pumpkin being in the same room together.
For the 12 months both Pumpkin and Dude had been in my care this was never a concern to any of the professionals that came in to my home. I was originally told Pumpkin should be classified by her developmental age when it came to sleeping arrangements. It's also important that Pumpkin be close to us due to her medical conditions. So, my agency is fighting this new stipulation. However, they may not "win" and if we choose to take all three kids back, we might be forced to move sleeping arrangements around.
We have one empty guest bedroom downstairs. There are a lot of things that would have to be shifted in my home to move the children and separate Pumpkin from Dude for sleeping. And honestly, I'm not sure how many changes I'm willing to make at this point in time. But since there are already so many "ifs" in place, I'm not over-thinking this piece of the puzzle.
I'm hoping I hear something today. But...this is CPS we're dealing with. I'm not holding my breath.