Here's where I totally keep it real...
I don't talk to Dude and Dolly's bio mom before or after visits other than to say "thank you" when she hands me the toy bag that I pack for the kids.
Here's where it gets even weirder -- it doesn't even feel awkward.
I'm ALL FOR co-parenting in foster care situations when it's helpful for the children. When reunification is even a remote possibility, communication between the foster family and the family of origin is incredibly important. But this case is so broken I don't know what to say to bio mom. So I say nothing. And for what it's worth, she says nothing to me either.
Bio Mom arrived with Great Grandma P and the pregnant cousin yesterday on time. Dude and Dolly had almost no reaction to Bio Mom walking into the room. Well, they did have a reaction, but it wasn't the one most people would expect.
I was standing over by the door that leads to the CPS offices. I saw the family pull in to the parking lot so I started calling every single extension I could just praying for someone to pick up. CPS doesn't have a receptionist at this office. When I show up for a visit I have to call back and have someone come to the door. Most of the time no one picks up until I call back around a dozen times. There just happens to be a counter under the phone on the wall. As Bio Mom walked into the waiting room, both Dude and Dolly crowded behind me under the counter. Their mom had to coax them out to say "hi".
Of course Great Grandma and I are hugging and saying hello to each other. Great Grandma is even hugging on my forever kids and telling them hi as well.
I don't know what to say to Bio Mom. It's not even really awkward though. It's not like she's lighting up with excitement to see her children. In fact, every week it's like she's barely going through the motions. I did tell Bio Mom that I packed some food for the kids to eat during the visit. But there's no eye contact or real conversation. It's just transfer of information.
After the visit I quickly touched base with the visit moderator. She confirmed that Dude was pretty whiny during the visit but that he didn't throw any temper tantrums.
Then Great Grandma walked us out to the truck. Bio Mom never comes over to the truck with the kids. She barely says goodbye even – though this time she did force a kiss and an "I love you" out of each kid. Dude didn't want to have anything to do with her but he complied.
Great Grandma and I stood and chatted for awhile out in the parking lot. She confirmed that Bio Mom is NOT working her case plan. (Minnie has already confirmed this with me many times but sometimes to hear that the family of origin knows how bad the situation is sets the tone for how bad things really are.) Great Grandma is horribly concerned about what things are like in Dallas. I'm sure part of her disdain for Dallas is the fact that it's the bio dad's family. But their two families are intertwined in both the area of the state where we live and up in Dallas. I wish there was solid information that CPS could use AND would use about what things are like up there. Great Grandma says (that according to family members in Dallas) the other family members living with Grandma N in Dallas both use and deal drugs. She also said this time that she's convinced that if the cherubs are placed with Grandma N that she won't keep them for long.
I told Great Grandma about the syringe and the neglect during the last weekend visit. She's as frustrated as I am.
I then ended things by telling Great Grandma that if Bio Mom told her lawyer she wants the kids to stay with us that would pull a lot of weight in court.
Much in the same way things are silent between Bio Mom and me, I think there isn't a lot of conversation between Great Grandma and Bio Mom. Even though Bio Mom and the pregnant cousin couch surf at Great Grandma's house, I don't think they talk much. Great Grandma is very mad at Bio Mom and is thoroughly disgusted with her life choices. I offered to steal Great Grandma away yesterday. I told her she needs to leave her town and come move in with me. She laughed and hugged me. Then Great Grandma told me she's heard rumors that Bio Mom is pregnant. Bio Mom won't say anything to her about it. I guess we'll just wait and see. But Great Grandma is mad!
And the visit aftermath...
Dude peed his pants sometime yesterday and never told me. It's just enough pee that his underwear is yellow and damp, but not enough pee that it shows through to his clothes. Yet his pants smell bad. And he won't tell me. And it's really frustrating. (For what it's worth this is happening almost daily.)
At bedtime Dude told me his missed his Mommy C***. Then, when I asked him if he liked seeing her at the visit, he very strongly announced, "NO!"
Dolly was more introspective. She's so conflicted. At bedtime she typically sits up on my lap and cuddles with me and Dude while I sing and then pray. Last night she couldn't decide what to do. I'm pretty sure she is overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. She loves her first mom. She honestly does miss her first mom. But she's bonded with me. After a visit though she's unsure how to respond to me. She doesn't want to disrespect the relationship she used to have with her mom. But...she's bonded with me. She wants and needs the daily love and attention. She seemed much too sad for a five year old last night as she climbed up on my lap to cuddle.
And, because these visits affect more than just Dude and Dolly – TT was up in the middle of the night multiple times. He woke me up twice and ended up taking a blanket and pillow and slept up next to the side of my bed. He can't even sleep on the mattress we have across the room. He needs to be right next to me. It breaks my heart. I often wonder if the good we are doing overall is at a detriment to him sometimes.
And this morning...
Dude did NOT want to go to school. He literally told me school was going to be scary. Now...he didn't "honestly" think that school was going to be scary. It was just very obvious to me that he didn't want to separate this morning.
And Dolly has told me 3-4 times already that she wants to stay here forever.
This fostering stuff isn't for the faint of heart!