Thursday, May 31, 2012

More on going home

Thank you for all the comments about me going home for a summer vacation. I think I've got my plan for how I'm going to ask in place.

However, I left off a pretty big detail when I listed out the situation for y'all to consider.

Respite.

Miss Supervisor has nothing to do with whether or not I get respite. She can tell me that the children cannot go and that's the end of her involvement. If I still plan on going, it falls to my agency and/or myself to secure respite. Literally, Miss Supervisor has no motivation to let the children go to Iowa. Ya know, other than the fact it would be in their best interests. It would be fun. They'd get to experience things they'll never get to do with their bio family. And it would be best to keep them with us instead of with strangers. But I seriously don't think Miss Supervisor gives a rip about the children's best interests.

I spoke with Bluebell last night (Pumpkin's CPS worker). She seems to think if I offer up a family visit with Grandma in Dallas that Miss Supervisor might be more inclined to say yes. She also thinks that I should go above Miss Supervisor's head if I am told no. I don't know who Miss Supervisor's supervisor is though. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. As for approaching the judge - that idea is really out of the question. No one in my circle knows who this judge is. And since he/she is just now taking over, I don't want to go that high up the food chain. Honestly, Miss Supervisor just needs to say yes.  :)

It's all a toss up really. Bluebell agreed that Miss Supervisor is a whack job and it could go either way. But there is a significant advantage to her if these kids get to see Grandma without the Department having to pay for it.

I'm OK with them having a visit too. Honest - I am. I look at it two ways.
1. If I am actually a part of the visit, I am showing Dude and Dolly that this situation is OK (whether or not it really is in the long run is completely irrelevant). It should be easier for them. (Much, much easier than flying all day with a stranger to go visit a virtual stranger in a strange place.) I can help them feel safer. This is a good thing. In the long run, I think it would make a permanent transition to Grandma's easier on the children too.
2. If (if if if if if if if) this case ever did move towards termination instead of placement with Grandma, all parties involved could see that I am in favor of open adoption.

I'm going to check with Rainbow and see if she can find out who Miss Supervisor's supervisor is. I'm going to make my request via email. That way Miss Supervisor will be able to read my entire question and have to think it over a little before I'm told no.

I'm not holding my breath. And I don't know if I'll go to Iowa if the answer I'm given is no. I can't imagine telling Dude and Dolly they don't get to see these people they know and love and that they have to stay with strangers instead. Again though, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Maybe Daphne will be around (instead of visiting her family in Florida). If that was the case the cherubs might not even need official respite. They could stay at Daphne's during the day and come back home at night. Mr. Amazing could probably handle things OK if Daphne helped out. (He works full time and I will NOT send Dude and Dolly to the horrible day care for two weeks.)

I tried to do this trip last year and was shot down by every single person involved (except Rainbow). Their lawyer wouldn't even entertain the thought so I'm not sure the judge got asked. A lot of the folks down here don't like the idea of foster kids leaving the state. Bluebell said it's largely up to the worker though. She's had cases of hers where she let the kids go all over the country.

So I'm going to ask Miss Supervisor. I'm going to pray she says yes. And I'll go from there.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Taking a trip home

My 15 year old son is gainfully employed for the summer. It's a full-time 8 week job in the field he wants to pursue upon graduation. Unfortunately, when they set the start and end dates for this job, it complicated our original summer travel plans. And now, because we still have all the little ones, it really complicates things because I do HAVE to be back for the first day of school. (My legal family is being homeschooled so all I have to have for them to start is a computer.)

I really want to go home this summer. Every year my amazing mom and dad hold Cousins' Camp. Every year all the potty trained cousins age two and older come to Granny and Papa's house for a week of camp. They have picnics, go swimming and do all sorts of amazing camp activities. They cook. They take field trips. They play games. It is sooooo much fun!

If we couldn't go north, my kids would miss out on camp.

So my mom and my genius sister started plotting. They decided if I couldn't go north, they would come south. All the cousins wouldn't be here – but it'd be better than nothing.

I sent a text to Mr. Amazing this morning to get his opinion on this idea. He resigned that no, we probably couldn't go north this summer. Then he said, "As soon as Herman got that job, I knew I would be staying here this summer. We'll just have to go home over Christmas."

So I started plotting. If he was OK with having to stay on the face of the sun all summer, maybe I could go north.

I sent Mr. Amazing another text asking how he felt about that.

He said as long as I had arrangements for all the little ones he's totally OK with it.

This is where I need your help. How do I go about getting permission to take Dude and Dolly out of state?

Sure, they tell us that we get to treat this kids like family. We're supposed to include them in our activities. But here, it doesn't work that way. Shoot – we have to have permission from a judge to take the kids out of the county overnight. It's a huge pain in the neck.

So...who do I ask first?

The chain of command means that technically I'm supposed to ask Miss Supervisor for permission. She is then supposed to ask the lawyer. Who is then supposed to ask the judge.

But Miss Supervisor doesn't like me so much. She thinks I'm too attached to the cherubs. And the cherubs no longer have a lawyer. And I can't exactly go to the judge myself – besides, there's a new judge effective Friday and I have no idea who it is.

My Genius Sister had the idea that I could tie in a visit to Grandma in Dallas on our way up to Iowa. Maybe Miss Supervisor would be more game with things if I offered that up.

But do I really want to do that?!

I welcome any thoughts on this subject. I'm starting with y'all before I ask anyone involved in this case. I haven't even said anything to my mom yet. (Hi Mom!! I'm seeing what I can figure out here.) I'd love to hear how y'all think I should work The System with this request. I would have to get respite for Pumpkin because she can't miss her weekly visits. I don't think that would end up being a problem. All I have to do is figure out how to get approval for Dude and Dolly to visit my family for a couple weeks. My parents have passed a full background check (including FBI fingerprints). This shouldn't be that big of a deal. But I know if I don't work it just right, Miss Supervisor will tell me "no" and I'll be forced to put Dude and Dolly in respite if I want to go.

Tell me what you think...

Weekend visit recap

Leading up to Pumpkin's weekend visit was a 12 hour EEG that Pumpkin's mom attended last Thursday. This was the first time Mom had "unsupervised" contact with Pumpkin. Granted, Pumpkin was on video surveillance the entire time so it wasn't exactly unsupervised. But I didn't have to be there. (whew!)

However, Pumpkin's mom was late to the appointment. The following is a text conversation that took place during the day on Thursday.

Me: Are you coming to the EEG?

Mom: didn't text me back but arrived about 15 minutes later.

At 7:41 she sent me a text.

Mom: Ya estoy en la clinica con Pumpkin
Me: ???
Mom: Estamos viendo cartoons

I decided to just not respond as it appeared she wasn't sure who she was talking with.

At 11:18 she sent me another text. This is how the conversation went:

Mom: Te necesito hablame
Me: This is Mamma L***'s number. Sorry, but I don't speak Spanish.
Mom: Hablame
Me: Are you meaning to text ME?
Mom: Si puedes hablar et tel. Estava ocupado hablame
Me: I don't speak Spanish.
Mom: Como estava ocupado ahorita
Me: I don't think you are texting the right person. This is Pumpkin's foster mom!
Mom: A culero a mi no me puedes hablar ?
Me: Lovely. Just lovely.

As you can tell, I don't speak Spanish. From what I figured out via Google Translator and some friends, Pumpkin's mom was trying to get someone to call her. The last line states, "To asshole, to you I do not speak."

Accckkk!!!

After much thought I decided that Pumpkin's mom seriously thought the entire time she was texting someone else. OR she honestly can't read English (even though I used my actual name in the conversation). OR...maybe she was drunk and didn't know anything she was doing.

At any rate -- and why this is part of the weekend visit post -- I decided I wasn't comfortable dropping Pumpkin off all by myself on Friday night. Rainbow met with me so I wouldn't have to do it alone. I did not want to be responsible for making sure Pumpkin's mom understood all the medications and expectations. Having Rainbow there helped ensure everything was on the up and up.

Pumpkin didn't understand where we were going. Her mom had moved since Pumpkin was last home so Pumpkin didn't recognize where we were at. When we got to the door and Mom answered, Pumpkin was genuinely surprised. She was happy though.

Mom listened to all I had to say. I'm not convinced she fully understood. Her teenaged daughter was close by though and heard everything as well.

The weekend seemed very strange to me. I enjoyed not having to deal with Pumpkin. I'll be honest. I was quite nice!! But it was all very strange. I'm not done caring for Pumpkin. In fact, if she ends up having a seizure at her mom's house her mom is instructed to call me first and then CPS. I'm still the medical consentor. I would have to go to the hospital to sign paperwork and all. (I'm not trapped at home though over the weekends. Our licensing agency is the back-up consentor so they could handle things if I wasn't around.)

Driving to pick Pumpkin up elevated my anxiety Sunday night. It's weird thinking about driving to someone else's house to pick up their kid. It's not like we're friends and all in agreement here. I was nervous!!!

The pick-up was uneventful though. There were a few questionable things but nothing any legal system is going to give a damn about. Still, I'm going to document everything and save my report for CPS to read.

Pumpkin took one look at me and screamed, "NO," as soon as she saw me in her house. Then she pointed at me, looked at her mom, then looked back at me and screamed, "GOODBYE"! I walked over to Pumpkin to take her hand and she crumpled to the floor much like a 2 year old would do. I picked her up and put her on my hip. She fussed and hollered but I carried her outside.

Pumpkin settled down once in my vehicle. She was so depressed though. You could see it all over her face. I didn't know if she had eaten dinner but she refused food when I offered her things once we were back to my house. She played for a bit and then I went about the bedtime routine.

Monday morning was uneventful as well. Again, Pumpkin seemed very sad. But she cooperated with the typical school routine and I dropped her off without issue.

Once at school though Pumpkin ramped up her behaviors. (School has always been horribly wishy washy and they've given in to Pumpkin's fits in the past.) While outside first thing in the morning Pumpkin literally laid down in the rocks at the playground and fell asleep. In the classroom she fell asleep standing up. Pumpkin was also very agitated and didn't want to cooperate with normal classroom activities. Because these can be seizure behaviors, the staff thought it necessary to take Pumpkin to the nurse. Pumpkin refused to cooperate. She screamed, yelled and threw a fit. She wouldn't walk to the nurse's room. She wouldn't cooperate with a basic vitals exam. So, the nurse called me.

I explained the situation to the nurse. There wasn't much to say though. It's up the school to make sure Pumpkin understands this behavior isn't acceptable. And since we only have one week of school left, I'm not going to worry about anything.

I checked in with the teacher later in the afternoon. She said that Pumpkin got a little better as the day progressed.

Our afternoon and evening routines went off without a hitch. I have never tolerated Pumpkin's fits. If she's out of control (which rarely happens) I will put her in the corner just like any other child of mine. I also tell her to, "knock it off," and then I completely ignore her fit. She figured out a long time ago she can't manipulate me with crying.

So, that is that. A whole lot of nothing to report. I must say though, I'm looking forward to Friday again. It's nice when every child in my home can wipe their own rear and speak up for themselves. Special needs parenting is not an easy task. I appreciate the break!! And I have decided that I'm going to keep on praying hard for Pumpkin's mom to succeed. While I seriously don't think anything has changed since Pumpkin originally came in to care, I have to pray for a miracle. I know that Pumpkin wants to be back home more than anything. And I don't think the State is going to make a case against Pumpkin's mom (unless she seriously screws up one of these weekends). So, I have to pray that Pumpkin's mom has learned a few things about how to care for Pumpkin appropriately. Prayer is all I've got. Foster parenting certainly keeps me on my knees!!

SIDENOTE:
When I picked Pumpkin up from her EEG Thursday night I did call her mom out on the text. Once outside by my car I said, "This is really awkward, but did you mean to call me an asshole or was that text meant for someone else?"

Pumpkin's mom looked mortified. She immediately said that she didn't have my number. I showed her the text on my phone. Then she tried to mumble something about someone else having her phone so I pointed out where she said she was at the clinic with Pumpkin and they were watching cartoons.

Pumpkin's mom never gave me much of an answer. She didn't know what to say at all! Which leads me back to my three theories. Either one would work but she didn't own up to anything. She just mumbled a lot and kept insisting that she didn't have my number.

I'm glad I said something. I'm sure she's not my biggest fan. But it's a lot easier if we can just pretend that we get along.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weekend visit

I dropped Pumpkin off an hour ago. It was rather uneventful. I told Pumpkin we were going to see Mommy but that didn't mean much to her. And since we went to a place that Pumpkin didn't recognize, she was unresponsive during the whole trip. When her mom opened the door Pumpkin perked up and said, "Mommy". She looked back at me and pointed. It was almost like, "Hey Mamma L***...there's my mom." I smiled and said, "I told you Pumpkin, we are going to see Mommy."

I went over the medicine with Pumpkin's mom. I had to explain things very carefully. I'm not sure she understood me. I showed her how to fill out the med logs. It will be interesting to see if she can actually do it or if she'll have her older kids do it for her. I won't know until Sunday when I pick Pumpkin up.

Now what do I do?

Do I pray that Pumpkin stays safe?

Because if that happens, Pumpkin will go back home in August for sure.

Do I pray that Pumpkin's mom screws up?

Wow. That doesn't seem quite right.

This feels so weird. I don't "miss" Pumpkin. I don't mean to sound harsh -- but I'm not exactly madly in love with Pumpkin. She's a difficult kid to love. She doesn't respond to most things I say to her. She refuses eye contact. She can't talk. And most of the time she tries as hard as she can to avoid me all together.

That means I've got a 42 pound infant that hates my guts. She doesn't throw a lot of fits or tantrums. (And Lord I'm praying these visits don't trigger any!) But she requires so much work on my end. I have to do every single personal care thing that she requires. And if there is something she can do on her own, she does it so painfully slow that it's challenging. (Eating a bowl of cereal can take her 45 minutes sometimes. Putting on a pair of pants can take 5 minutes.)

So I don't miss her.

But I don't exactly like the idea of these visits either. And I certainly don't trust that Mom can keep her safe long-term at all!!

This case is such a mess. I liked the idea of Pumpkin going to live with her aunt and uncle so much better than what is happening now. I guess all I can really do is simply pray God's will is done and wait until Sunday night.

No lawyers

Rainbow just left from a home visit. All is well and there was little to report. The youngest cherubs are still processing their incredibly confusing visit from Miss Supervisor last week. But we are all doing just fine.

We went over the details of Pumpkin's weekend visits. I've been in contact with Bluebell about this as well. I've never had a child with unsupervised weekend visits before and I don't know all the rules down here.

Bluebell said I'm not supposed to provide anything. I did have to make an exception and I told all parties involved that I will be bringing the diapers and wipes. Pumpkin gets those from Medicaid and she deserves to have ones that fit. It's senseless to ask Mom to buy any additional diapers when I have more than enough.

Rainbow is going to come with me for the drop off in about 1.5 hours. I don't want to be held responsible for making sure Mom understands all of Pumpkin's medications (she just got two new ones for a scalp infection). I'm glad I'm getting a little extra support this first time around. I'm a little "weirded out" by having to go to Pumpkin's house. (Which by the way, I don't think Pumpkin has ever been to as I'm pretty sure Mom moved since she was home last time.)

The biggest news from this home visit is about the legal system where we live. I had been told that the lawyer covering Dude & Dolly's case is no longer going to carry any cases from that county. I just assumed that a new lawyer or group of lawyers was going to be hired.

Well, it seems I was wrong. As of now, there are no lawyers in place for any of the cases in that particular county. And Rainbow said we could expect the lawyers in our home county to stop working with CPS as well.

Rainbow has NO IDEA what this really means. Who will be advocating for these children?! Will it simply be up to CPS and the judge to go back and forth?! Oh my. The thought of that scares me to death.

Rainbow said she'll keep me posted after they have court a few times next month - when I believe this whole transition will take place.

I can't wait to hear how it's going to work. Because not only will there be no lawyers, but there will be a new judge as well. I have a feeling it's going to be nothing short of a disaster.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Crying for Mommy

I'm a firm believer in -- if you know what your triggers are, they can be easier to manage.

To help hold myself accountable, I'm going to share a new trigger of mine.

You see, people say I must have tons of patience. I do have six children after all. And one of those kids has severe special needs. I must be some kind of saint.

That couldn't be further from the truth!!

I've struggled with a short temper my entire life. No, I don't go off and whack my kids around. But I am a yeller by nature. And no, I'm not hollering obscenities or cruel things toward my children. But I do raise my voice. It's NOT something I'm proud of. I've been working for years at changing my behavior. Thankfully, even Mr. Amazing will say I've made progress. My children, probably not so much. But then again, I am known as a mean mommy because I actually have expectations of my children.

When I'm on my game I will stop, center myself and then whisper. That one change can make all the difference in the world. When I stop and whisper I am making a conscious choice to not let my anger get the best of me.

Try it. When you're angry do the opposite of what you WANT to do. For me, that means I need to whisper. And when I'm quiet, my kids are much more likely to listen to what I have to say.

Anyway...back to my new trigger...

Dolly and Dude had to go to daycare yesterday. They detest daycare on a very deep level. Dolly doesn't freak out anymore. But she doesn't like it. Dude hates it tremendously. (Dude was outside this morning singing a song he made up, "no more daycare...no more daycare," because I told them they will be home the rest of the week with me.) He freaks out every single time I drop him off. Then, he'll freak out multiple times during his stay. Then...he is a little off kilter the next day or so.

I don't mean that he's crying all the time. The difference is subtle. But one of the key behaviors is the inability to get engaged with toys or activities.

So today Dude and Dolly are off kilter. It's been a stressful couple of weeks. I'm sure all of this is not because of daycare alone. They had court. The visit with Miss Supervisor was confusing. Pumpkin had court. etc. etc. Dude and Dolly are picking at each other. Dolly is being particularly bossy. Dude is whining and fussing back at Dolly. It's annoying to say the least!

I warned them once that if they didn't stop fighting they were going to be separated. One child would play upstairs and one would play on the main level. "OK Mommy," was the response.

Sure enough, they got along for about all of 15 minutes. Then the whining took over again.

I hollered for Dude to come downstairs.

All the way down the steps he screamed a pathetic cry. Then he started in with my new trigger. He just wailed, "Mommy," over and over and over.

It's a normal response. Lots of kids want their mommy when they are upset. And Dude wants me. Every now and then his "mommy" will be for his first mommy. But most of the time he wants me. I can tell the difference in the same way a mom can tell the difference between a gassy cry of an infant and a hungry cry.

I hate myself for this being a trigger. But it is what it is.

Deep down I want to scream back at him -- I don't GET to be your mommy. The stupid system won't let me. So you had better just cowboy up and stop your screaming. It's not going to get you anything but pain and heartache.

I don't say this. Honest I don't.

But I didn't have the most stellar of mommy moments a few minutes ago.

So I'm owning up to my trigger online. I'm going to work on it. Next time he starts screaming for mommy I'm going to do my best to stop - and even if he's being reprimanded for something he did wrong - I'm going to scoop him up and hold him. It breaks my heart when he cries for me and I can't punish him for it. I'm just going to have to trust that his grandma will hold him when he cries after he gets to Dallas. Hope is all I've got. But it is MY responsibility to hold him now. Even when it hurts or makes me angry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Get a plan people

I've sat in enough court hearings now to know that the CPS judge in our county wants the professionals involved to come to him with a PLAN. And yet, I sat in another hearing this morning where all the professionals were hardly prepared and no one had a "plan".

Pumpkin and I arrived just before the hearing. CPS sent me to the wrong building first so I wasn't particularly early. I still managed to get there before both lawyers for Pumpkin arrived. And no, neither one of them bothered to make contact prior to these few minutes before our case was called.

Pumpkin's lawyer was first. We had to go over again that Pumpkin is non-verbal. Because Pumpkin cannot speak about her own wants, this lawyer can do little in court other than argue specific legal issues. She takes a back seat to Pumpkin's guardian ad litem.

NOTE: Pumpkin's lawyer is/was also the lawyer for Dude & Dolly. She talked to me just a bit about Pumpkin and then switched things over to discussing her leaving the babies' case. I told her what Miss Supervisor did the other day. She was just as disgusted as I am! Unfortunately, there is nothing she can do about it. She offered to "talk to somebody" - but I knew it was an empty promise so I said it's not necessary. Bluebell (Pumpkin's CPS worker) thinks I should report Miss Supervisor. I'm not sure that's a good idea either. I think that would be a good way to get the babies pulled from my home sooner and placed with another foster family instead.

Anyway -- back to Pumpkin and court...

Pumpkin's guardian came to talk to me second. I told her things are still the same as always. Then, because I've had the conversation in my head about a million times and I know what I say has to be short and to the point, I told the guardian this: "If the removal in September was valid because Pumpkin's mom abused her again...what has changed since then?!" The guardian agreed and went to go talk to the other professionals. Court was called quickly.

The first thing the judge did was ask why we were all there. The person speaking for CPS was someone I didn't recognize. Bluebell was there but she didn't speak to the judge directly. It was not a smooth, coordinated effort for sure.

CPS stated that they wanted the State to maintain guardianship of Pumpkin. But, they wanted Pumpkin to go home. They said they would "help with the transition".

Pumpkins attorney had to defer to the guardian because Pumpkin is non-verbal so it's up to the guardian to handle things. Pumpkin's guardian expressed concern about Pumpkin going home.

And the tennis match began.

Back and forth with no one saying much of anything.

Pumpkin's mom's lawyer said that Mom had learned the error of her ways and knows now that Pumpkin needs to see the doctor regularly and needs to take her medicine.

CPS just said they would help with the transition.

The judge was NOT impressed. He went off on CPS and asked what their plan was. Exactly what were they going to do to help with this transition??!!

CPS had no answer. Literally - no answer. They pretty much just stood there and mumbled. Granted, the woman speaking for CPS knows nothing of this case. She couldn't speak off the cuff as to what kind of help Mom might need. But honestly, they didn't have a plan. They were just going to send her home.

The guardian stood up and said something along the lines of, "Judge, this child went home in September and then came back in to care just 11 days later. It takes a lot to care for Pumpkin and I don't think Mom has the ability to do it."

(Wow! My words!!)

A little more tennis match took place.

Then the guardian addressed the judge and, using words from the letter I had prepared beforehand that I guess she ended up getting a copy from CPS of -- that I really wanted to go over with her in person but she never scheduled the meeting -- told the judge that she's concerned about the level of neglect that happened to Pumpkin in the 5.5 years before Pumpkin actually came in to care.

(Wow. My words again. I guess I'm part lawyer in this case now too.)

The judge actually heard what the guardian said and rephrased, "So what you're saying is, yes...Mom has completed all the things CPS told her to do. But Mom still doesn't know which way the wind blows and you don't think Mom can take care of Pumpkin."

I practically had to bite my tongue from screaming out, "YES! That's it precisely!!"

Eventually everyone agreed that Pumpkin would go home for extended, unsupervised weekend visits. No one had a plan and this was at least something they all decided to agree on. The judge wouldn't even entertain the idea of Pumpkin being placed with her aunt and uncle in El Paso. And since there was no plan in place to begin with, this was better than nothing.

I'm not sure how I feel about things. Yes, it's better than Pumpkin just plain going home. The judge was right when he said that CPS really wouldn't DO anything to help during the transition. I think it's sad there is family willing to adopt this child and they aren't being considered. I don't think reunification is the safest thing for Pumpkin at all.

But it is what it is. I will drop Pumpkin off at her mom's on Friday night and pick her up on Sunday night. I'm to keep a detailed log of what I see at the home and how Pumpkin responds. CPS has assured me they will be making random unannounced visits while Pumpkin is there.

More than anything I'm glad to be done with court for awhile. Life can go back to the usual amount of crazy. We'll adjust to the new normal of having Pumpkin gone over the weekend. I personally don't think it will be too hard on Pumpkin. Dude and Dolly will be more confused than anyone. But we'll get through.

I think it's time to actually plan our next trip to Sea World!! I need a break!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I suck at waiting

Maybe the babies staying in Care is a good thing. So many people are happy when I tell them, "they didn't go to Dallas...again". People say, "Oh good, now you have more time with the children". Maybe there is a good reason they are still in Care. Maybe.

It sounds nice on paper. But it just isn't sitting right with me.

Yes. Wonderful things have happened to these children as a result of coming in to care.
• Dolly got all her teeth fixed. And oh were they bad before she came to me.
• Both kids got all their vaccinations. They are healthy.
• Dolly got in speech therapy. Granted, she had to learn a new language because we don't speak Spanish. But she's done wonderfully. In fact, just last week her therapist said she only wants to work on a couple more skills and then it will be time to discharge her completely. Dolly not only learned a new language - but she made up for a year of developmental delay in the process!!
• Dude has learned how to love. He had been so ignored before he just didn't talk. All of his bio family keeps commenting on how much he talks now and how good he's doing.
Really, I could go on and on. The kids have made progress.

But the time table of it all is getting complicated now. They haven't seen their bio mom in over six months. They've never seen their bio dad. (At least not for well over a year anyway. Neither child understands they have a "first dad" as they didn't know what a daddy was until they came in to Care.) They've only seen their paternal grandma three times in the past year. They've only seen their maternal great-grandma a few more times than that. (I would love to do more with their great-grandma but I'm limited to what CPS will allow and they don't see value in this relationship because great-grandma can't take them and raise them.)

These children have integrated into our family. They've seen my parents (who live over 1200 miles away) three different times. My parents also talk to them on the phone and also send cards and gifts for holidays and special events. They've seen my sister only once but are madly in love with her and her children. When Miss Supervisor tried to tell Dude & Dolly they have cousins this past Thursday Dude responded, "I know. I've got Max and Emmet. And Josh and Julie and Jacob." He's never met three of these kids but he knows they are part of HIS family. Miss Supervisor was surprised he knew his cousins' names and then irritated when I explained they are members of my family.

I'm frustrated. I feel so torn. I want to grab on to these next few months and live them up. In the same breath, I want to separate myself from the children on an intimate level. (I've got to stop day dreaming about the future!!) I know part of my feelings are stemming from the fact that I'm hurt. Deep down I know that adoption isn't going to be an option and it's going to hurt like Hell when these kids get ripped from my family. But I know most of anger towards things is because I know what it's going to do to the children and I hate being a part of this kind of hurt.

Miss Supervisor indicated (very, very subtlety) that maybe the kids shouldn't stay with us. I informed her that a broken attachment is better than no attachment at all. I also offered to provide her with scientific proof that children NEED attachment in order to prevent mental illness (RAD). I told her that I'm going to be just fine and this is the best place for the kids.

I believe that will all my heart.

But this is still so hard!!

How do I handle conversations now? The children WANT to stay with us. Do I continue to encourage them to tell the lawyers, therapists, and social workers what they want? Or, has the time come that I need to remove this as an option again and talk up all the wonders of Dallas? Their lawyer will only "fight" for the kids to stay here if the children express this desire. But I'm worried that letting that be an option is only setting them up for a bigger hurt.

I can't make any promises about Dallas. I don't know if their grandma is going to love them the way we do. I don't know who they will see and spend time with there. But I can talk about it in a positive way in simple generalities.

We're not going to intervene. I don't have that kind of money laying around ($10-20K). I also wouldn't feel right explaining it to the kids when they got older. I can't be a part of "stealing" them from their family.

But I could call their lawyer now – the one that helped keep them in my house three different times. I could call their new lawyer (if I'm ever told who it is). I could press things with the therapist. I could encourage the children to tell everyone they want to stay with us.

Or I can sit back and let it fall in the hands of God. And just love on the kids.

I'm a do-er. I hate sitting back and waiting. I really suck at it.

But now that I've rambled on for a whole blog post that I wrote as I went along – I'm pretty sure that's what I'm supposed to do.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Miss Supervisor

Well well well...

Abby is NOT going to be the worker handling Dude & Dolly's case. Instead, Miss Supervisor is going to continue to run the show.

The Miss Supervisor that showed up to my house this afternoon was not the same person that showed up April 30. Oh...it was the same human body. But her intentions were radically different.

She literally told the children they are moving to Dallas. (Screw the D*** anymore. If I get busted writing this blog 'cause someone important figures me out I get busted.) She held Dolly on her lap and said that when she moves in with Grandma N she will get to see her (and I quote) "real, REAL mommy".

Oh my. I'm fake. I'm a fake mommy.

Dolly probably told Miss Supervisor she wants to stay with Mamma at least half a dozen times. (She didn't even call me Mamma L***. She just kept saying "stay with Mamma".) Miss Supervisor's response, "You're going to go to Dallas with Grandma N."

Dude is not impressed! He wouldn't get off my lap. And when Miss Supervisor started explaining the day visits they are going to take to Dallas, Dude was even less impressed. He flat out told her he doesn't want to fly on an airplane.

Dolly kept focusing on the part when Miss Supervisor told them, "they'll come back here". Dolly made sure they would be coming back to Mamma. That's all she cared about.

____


I'm not surprised. I'm not surprised at all. My heart is broken in a million pieces. But I'm not surprised. And to clarify, yes...I'm personally hurt by all this. But mostly, I'm hurt for the children. They need permanency. I even told Miss Supervisor that they should have been moved in November. If the State was so Hell bent on moving them, they should have just gone!

I pointed out that my disappointment in Grandma is her lack of involvement. That she is not initiating ANYTHING. I think it's perfectly stupid that the State is now going to initiate and pay for day trips up to Dallas. Forcing a relationship like this isn't going to change anything. Sure, the kids might even have fun. It's a day trip. And yes...it will help them have a better understanding of where they are going to go. But I don't think the State wants to recognize that it's not helping develop a "relationship". It's just an expensive game they are playing and the kids are hanging out in foster care while they play it.

They should have moved to Grandma's house in November when they started this whole mess the first time.

___


When we go to court next (which might be sooner than September if they do indeed call a special hearing like Miss Supervisor wants to) we will be in front of a new judge. The children will also have a new lawyer. This will probably be the biggest game changer of all. It is because of their current lawyer that they have stayed in Care. Their lawyer right now does not think it's in the childrens' best interests to go to Dallas at all. She made that very clear in court on Monday. I probably shouldn't speculate as to how the new lawyer will feel about things. But I'm betting once they have a visit or two in Dallas, the new lawyer will send them to live there permanently and just be done with the case.

 ___


I'm not surprised. I don't like it at all. But I'm not surprised!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I've got court again next week

Pumpkin has court next week. It's a contested hearing. The State would like to place Pumpkin with her aunt and uncle. Mom is not in favor, so...it's contested.

Originally I thought that the lawyer(s) were going to meet with me in regards to building a case against Mom. I was told they wanted to discuss Pumpkin's level of neglect prior to coming in to care. They also wanted my input about Mom's behaviors since Pumpkin has been with us. I had hope that maybe someone was going to do their job and find out for sure if Pumpkin would be safe with Mom or if she really should go with the aunt and uncle.

Pumpkin's GAL (guardian ad litem) even called me. She said she wanted to schedule a meeting. This was weeks ago. We are now five days away from court and nothing has been scheduled yet! I'm not holding my breath. And since the GAL told me repeatedly that Pumpkin would probably go home, that's what I've been preparing for.

However, it looks like the problems that landed Pumpkin into Care in the first place might be surfacing again.

Pumpkin had a family visit on Monday while I was in court with the littlest cherubs. Rainbow (our agency worker) picked Pumpkin up from school and took her to CPS for the visit. Pumpkin's mom was late. This is not typical for Pumpkin's mom. On paper she really looks like she is committed to Pumpkin. She comes to all the visits and is always on time. But on Monday, she was late.

When she did arrive, she was driving someone else's car. They stopped in front of the CPS office and Mom got out. The owner (?) of the car then got in the front seat of the vehicle -- carrying an open can of beer.

Pumpkin's mom should know better than to be a part of behavior like this. But to do it in front of the CPS office?! aye yi yi!

Thankfully Rainbow was there to witness things. This calls in to question Pumpkin's Mom's ability to keep Pumpkin safe. It's not clear cut of course. You and I wouldn't do things like this. And it's hard to prove much since Rainbow didn't get the license plate of the driver. Legally CPS can probably do very little with the information. But still...it is questionable behavior!

As luck would have it, Pumpkin's GAL was at the CPS office at that very moment taking care of some other business. Rainbow was able to tell the GAL immediately what she had witnessed. It was more credible coming from Rainbow than it would have been coming from me.

I'm still not holding my breath that anyone is actually doing their jobs in preparing for court next week. But I do think that this event could change the game a bit.

_____

I CANNOT stop thinking about the comment the lawyer made saying we are "too attached" to Dude and Dolly. Out of everything that happened on Monday that is what is just eating me alive. Since it completely blew over in court -- should I do anything about it? Part of me wants to contact CPS/the lawyer and ask where this statement came from. Someone had to have told the lawyer this. She has never (ever) spoken to me!! Who on earth needs to be educated about attachment disorders and how to prevent them?!
Or, should I chalk this up to spiritual warfare and let it rest?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A couple clarifications

I love getting comments. I mean...I really love getting comments! So, thank you to all y'all that respond to what I have to say.

Sometimes when I get comments I'll open up the blog post I wrote and I'll read it again. I find it very interesting to go over my own post after seeing what people had to say about it.

Well, I did that last night and decided there are a couple things I need to clarify.

One:
I do not regret a single thing I said to Abby. Not one thing. The ONLY reason I wanted Rainbow and Miss Supervisor to help smooth things over is because I'm not a fan of making poor first impressions. And since she interpreted my intentions as being angry and argumentative, I did want a little support in explaining why I might have responded that way. And now that it looks like I'll be "working with" this person for four more months, I'm glad I handled things the way I did. I will not let the professionals demean what I do day in and day out as a foster mom. I will always bend over backwards to meet the incredibly unrealistic scheduling expectations. But the least they can do is acknowledge that their expectations are unrealistic and that I am in fact doing them a favor by bending over backwards.

Two:
I said that maternal great grandma was the cherubs' primary care giver before they came in to care. When I went back and read my words it almost sounded like I was saying she was responsible for their neglect. That is not the case. From what I can put together, she was the person the cherubs' bio mom dumped the babies on when she wasn't going to care for the kids. In all honesty, I think the cherubs made the rounds through lots of different family members in their home town. Great Grandma just took care of them a lot. I believe it was when Great Grandma finally took a tough-love approach with the childrens' bio mom that things fell apart and they came in to care. Deep down this woman wants her granddaughter to get better, step up and get her kids back. (And I don't fault her one bit for having those feelings!) But in the meantime, she thinks they are better off with us than they would be with their paternal grandma. I wish more than anything that we could get CPS out of the way and the kids and I could spend more time with Great Grandma. She dearly loves them and just wants to be their grandma.

I'm still in shock about all that took place yesterday. I'm tired. No...I'm exhausted. I got up this morning and showered and then put on a pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt. I threw my hair up in a do-rag and I'm going to stay at home all day.

It's been kind of fun to talk to the kids since everything happened. I get to say for sure, "You'll be here this summer. Yes, we'll go to the beach. Mamma & Poppy will take you to Sea World again." It's so nice to know that we've got all summer together and I can say YES to so many things.

The cherubs don't seem too shook up from yesterday. They are tired. They have told me they love me about a million times. Dolly keeps saying, "You happy I stay here Mamma. You happy." When I reassure her that, yes, I am very happy she got to stay here she answers, "I happy too Mamma." But neither cherub seems to care about not going north. Neither cherub has much to say about their Grandma. In fact, all they can talk about is getting to see their great grandma yesterday.

I wish I knew what the State was going to do next. It feels so wrong to wish anything against the bio parents. But, if want to keep these kids, the next part of the adventure needs to involve termination and then adoption. Otherwise, this will just go on and on and on.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Betcha want to know what happened today...

I don't really have time to be writing this post right now so it probably won't be too eloquent.  But I figured I'd let y'all know what happened today.

It has been A. DAY.

Things started out with the babies' new CPS case worker - the one I haven't met yet - calling me to remind me about court today. (Internal dialogue, "duh...really...there's court today?") She then went on to tell me that I needed to be in the town where court was being held at 10:30 this morning because lo and behold, Grandma was down from across the state and they decided to schedule a visit.

This did not sit well with me. I decided to stand up for myself. I expressed displeasure about not being told sooner. I explained that I had a home visit scheduled this morning with my agency worker and that it would have been nice to have been told this last week. I was stern but tried to focus on the fact that I was not being treated with respect.

The new worker (let's call her Abby) got her panties in a bunch. She proceeded to try and throw around her weight. She told me that I'm just the foster parent and I should know that on a court day I am supposed to block off the whole day. From there it got quite ugly. She told me that Grandma is the parent and she's supposed to see the children.

I had to correct Abby! (Obviously this woman hadn't even opened up her files on this case yet. She kept whining to me that she had only had this case for 20 days. Personally, I don't give a rip. She still has an obligation to read up on the players in the story. Especially on a court day!) My response was, "No. Grandma is NOT a parent in this situation. Grandma is a relative who passed a home study. But Grandma has had nothing to do with these children. Grandma has only seen them twice in the last year. She flaked out at the last court hearing and didn't show. The children don't even know her!! How on earth was I to just assume she would come down today when no one told me to plan for a visit."

I went on to tell Abby that I fully understood what was going to happen in court today. I told her that I knew the State was going to ask for the grandma to get PMC (permanent managing conservatorship). I told her that I knew the children would leave my home and I was prepared for that. I then tried to swing things back to the issue that bothered me most – the fact that she didn't treat me with respect. That I should have been given more than 45 minutes notice of when I need to leave for what was now going to be an all day adventure.

Abby was quite uncomfortable with the idea of me standing up for myself. She abruptly ended the conversation and told me we'd talk in person. I made sure she knew that no matter how frustrated I was with her I was most certainly going to get the children to their appointment on time because that's the kind of foster parent I am.

So...we loaded up in the truck and we headed one hour west so the children could have their visit.

Before I left I called Rainbow and vented to her. I asked Rainbow to call Abby and let her know I'm not a bitch. Rainbow felt so bad for me. She kept saying that Abby wouldn't have said what she did if she knew me or if she had read the case files. She said that she didn't know Abby's number but she would send her an email.

I also called Abby's supervisor. I knew that at very moment in time this supervisor was picking Grandma up at the bus station. I left her a voice mail saying that I had just made a poor first impression with Abby. I was hoping she could smooth things over for me a bit.

I got to the CPS office at 10:20AM. The cherubs and I went back to the visitation room and waited for Grandma to arrive. Abby came around the corner and introduced herself. It didn't get much better. She tried to bait me into an argument just so she could tell me she didn't want to argue about things. I literally told her, "I don't want to fight with you either. Maybe we just shouldn't discuss this." Abby was trying to tell me how committed Grandma has been to the children. Really. She thinks Grandma has been invested in these children?! Oh my. She REALLY hasn't read the case files yet!!

This is a long post...sorry for all the rambling. But this is also how I personally keep track of the history of things. (Seeing how CPS can't bother to do their homework or keep their stories straight...I want a record.) I also do want to paint a realistic picture of what foster care looks like. And most of the time it isn't very pretty.

Grandma arrived. Pleasantries were made. I looked a Miss Supervisor and said, "What do you want to do about lunch?"

I got a deer in the headlight response. It never ceases to amaze me that all these professionals can't seem to wrap their brains around the idea that children need to eat lunch every day.

Finally it was decided that I would go purchase lunch for the cherubs and bring it back to the office.

I left.

I drove around for a bit. (It wasn't 11:00 yet and I wanted to bring the cherubs lunch...not breakfast.)

I tried really hard to not freak out.

I bought to McNugget Happy Meals and I drove back to CPS.

As I handed Dolly her meal she looked up at me with the biggest, happiest smile and said, "My grandma going to buy me swings!"

I left CPS with a pit in my stomach the size of a boulder. I met Mr. Amazing for lunch and tried to stay calm until just before 1:00 when I went back to CPS to pick the children up and drive them over to the courthouse.

COURT...

The cherubs' maternal great grandma was there for court. The children simply adore her and I think she's pretty terrific too. From what I understand, she was their primary care giver prior to the cherubs coming in to Care. She just happens to be 73 years old and recognizes that she can't raise these babies to adulthood. Great Grandma likes the idea of the cherubs staying with us as opposed to going north with their paternal grandma. (She's not fond of Grandma at all!!!)

We sat down in the courtroom at about 1:15 and waited for things to start. The judge rolled into the room right around 2:15 or so. (Can you imagine how the cherubs were by then?!!)

The lawyer for the cherubs asked us to go out in the hall just seconds after the judge came in the courtroom. I think we got about 41.8 seconds of face time with her before they whispered out into the hallway that the judge was starting things. We were out there long enough for the lawyer to ask Dolly where she wanted to go and for Dolly to answer, "stay with Mommy".

Oh yeah yeah yeah -- back up to waiting in the courtroom -- Great Grandma was getting quite exasperated by waiting. She looked at me and asked, "What do you think is going to happen today?" I answered that I had no idea but if the cherubs told the lawyer they wanted to go to Dallas that is probably what would happen. Great Grandma grabbed Dude and Dolly and looked them square in the eye and said, "You tell that lawyer you want to stay with Mamma L***!" I fully believe if she hadn't done that the cherubs would have said they wanted to go north with Grandma. (All that talk of the things Grandma would buy them is quite enticing after all.) It was not my place to sway the cherubs but I certainly didn't stop Great Grandma from weighing in her opinion!

COURT ACTUALLY STARTED...

The State said they wanted the cherubs to go to Grandma and for Grandma to be granted PMC.

Mom's lawyer said that she couldn't "officially" weigh in on anything as she had not been in contact with her client. Mom is in prison right now. Not sure why the lawyer couldn't have talked to her prior to court. I find these court proceedings to be very disorganized!!

The childrens' lawyer / GAL (guardian ad litem) first addressed legal things. She accused the State of not providing her with several legal documents they were supposed to. Then she switched gears and, speaking as their guardian, said she was not in favor of the cherubs going to live with Grandma.

The back and forth that ensued was something else! I'll spare you the tennis match that I observed. When all was said and done, the State decided to take PMC of the children. The judge pretty much told them this was the only option and it would give them lots of time to push paperwork around until everyone could agree on a solution.

Visits were granted to the biological parents - after they get out of prison. Child support was established. The State asked if they could establish visits with the paternal grandma too. Because...they still want to drive the train to Grandma's house in the long run. The attorney/GAL nixed this though. Despite the fact they entered into court records that Dolly's therapist recommends extended pre-placement visits where Grandma lives...the GAL said no. She doesn't want them going up there. That idea just fizzled out.

The next court hearing is September 10. The cherubs are staying with us until then.

WOW!!

I seriously did not think it would turn out this way! Even though every party involved seems to think moving the cherubs to Grandma's is a bad idea, there was no legal reason that I could see - or that anyone could present - that would keep them from going. But somehow, they managed to stay this case again. This is how children end up languishing in foster care for years. It is all shades of wrong.

But I guess I'm grateful. As long as they keep running in circles there is a chance these cherubs could stay with us. I'm coming down off the stresses of court today. It's hard for me to say I'm happy. Because in my opinion any time a child spends in foster care without progress moving towards an ending seems quite wrong to me. But I'm not in control of this situation. So I'm going to sit back and try to enjoy the next four months.

SIDENOTE:
One perfectly horrible thing was said in court today... The lawyer for CPS thought it necessary to tell the judge she thinks the foster parents are too attached to Dude and Dolly. This lawyer has never made eye contact with me. This lawyer doesn't know me from Adam. I was flabbergasted that a professional would even think that way knowing what I know about attachment disorders. I'm doing everything in my power to give these kids a loving home full of experiences so that they WON'T have attachment issues. But...I'm too attached?!

Thankfully that comment floated away in the wind and no one paid a lick of attention to it.

AFTERMATH...
I'm going to let the dust settle. I'm not going to call the lawyer. I'm not going to call the worker. I'm just going to wait for them to come to me. Nothing is going to happen until September anyway. I might as well try to enjoy myself until then.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ugly

The ugly picture of reunification.

Eww. I don't like how that sounds.

But it's how I feel. And I'm not going to candy-coat this process. Today I'm going to tell you how I've been feeling. The ugly of it all.

Monday is going to be a really big day. We have court for Dude and Dolly. CPS is going to recommend that they be moved across the state to live with their paternal grandma. On paper there is no reason to not send them. This woman is related to them and family is important. Age-ism isn't allowed so no one is bringing up the fact that this woman is going to be challenged raising a 3yo and a 4yo to adulthood. She's done the few things that the State has asked of her. So...it looks like they will go. The children don't know her or anyone else in this part of the state. And Grandma has done absolutely nothing to start a relationship (or even make contact) with the children since they came in to care. (Yes...there have been two visits in the CPS office. But honestly, they hardly count in my book. But they count in the eyes of the courts so I guess it's been enough.)

I made it until Monday this week before the weight of this transition really got to me.

Did you know that anger is easier to deal with than pain and fear?

I'm having to force myself to not go to those dark places. I'm swinging on a horrible pendulum back and forth across an entire range of emotions. There are times when I don't even want the children in the same room as me. Their little behaviors (you know...the NORMAL behaviors of any 3 and 4 year old) are driving me nuts. I feel this black, black emptiness and it's easier when they aren't in the same room as me.

Then as quickly as I start to get enveloped in that ugliness, Dude will say something to me and I'll scoop him up in my arms. I don't like the ugly and I want it to go away. I fight the urge to push the cherubs away from me because I know I can handle the pain. I really can. So I scoop Dude up and I gaze into his eyes. I study his chubby little cheeks. The dimples. The adorable little nose. The tiny freckle on his right eyelid. I study him as closely as I can because I don't want to forget a single feature about him. I even grab hold of that awful rat-tail on the back of his head and give the hair a twirl. My eyes will start to well up and Dude will tell me that he loves me. He'll say he wants me to be his mommy forever.

"I love you Mommy. You be my mommy. I like you being my mommy."

Dolly is even a bit harder for me to deal with sometimes. I've wanted a little girl to help balance out the testosterone in my home for a long time. In fact, I've kept myself distanced from her more than I have from Dude (not physically...mentally). I wouldn't allow myself to think of what it would be like to have a little girl forever. I didn't want to feel the pain as badly when she left so I haven't allowed myself to daydream as much about her. It's a complex relationship. Dude had been horribly ignored by his first family. He was so little when he came in to care. He latched on to me so quickly and I fell head over heels super fast. Dolly has memories of her first mommy. She kept me at a distance too.

That distance isn't there anymore though. Dolly wraps her chubby arms around me and says, "Myyyyyyy mooommmmmyyyyyy." And I answer back, "Myyyyyyy Doooolllllyyyyyy".

Dolly knows things are going to happen in court soon. She may not understand when Monday really is or what's going to happen. But she knows that workers keep coming to the house and everyone keeps talking about court with me. Even though I'd like to shield them from these conversations, I can't. They hear me talk about it over their heads. And we have lots of conversations at their level.

Every day I tell them that I'm going to love them forever. Every day I try to make sure they know I'm not abandoning them. The decision maker is this figure head they don't understand. But they know the judge is the one doing the deciding.

"It's not up to Mamma. It's not up to you. It's not up to the social workers. It's not even up to the lawyer. Who will decide where you're going to live Dude & Dolly? -- That's right. The judge decides."

He's going to have to be the bad guy. Not me.

Dolly always follows these conversations up with, "I tell the lawyer I wanna stay with Mommy and Poppy."

And it loops through again. I tell Dolly that she needs to tell the social workers and the lawyer. But it's not up to any of us. It's all up to the judge.

I can't control when these conversations happen. They happen all day long. Anything can be a trigger. Any conversation about the future – because none of us know what the future holds. The kids can be talking about wanting to see Granny and Papa and we'll go through the circle of telling them needing to tell lawyer but that it's up to the judge. The kids can talk about wanting to see their grandma in their home town. Or they will say something about next Christmas. Or starting school. Or any number of events that take place further out than a week from now. It sucks to tell these kids that if the judge chooses their paternal grandma they will have to say goodbye to everyone else.

So I ride a roller coaster. Part of the time I'm in control of my emotions. I've got a handle on things and I'm not too worried or hurt. I'm praying for their Grandma in D***. I'm praying that the children will have a peace about the transition. And then someone will say something and I'll get triggered. I'll race into a deep depression. I mean really – this is going to happen the day after Mother's Day. I can barely wrap my brain around the idea of my children leaving me the day after a day to celebrate who I am. I'll call my genius sister and word vomit. I can't spill it to my husband. He's hurting as bad as I am and he would just want to "fix" me and/or the situation. I certainly can't spill it to the children. So I spill it to her. But the weight of it all is so heavy.

Worse yet is when I don't feel depressed but when the anger takes over. That is the ugliest of all. I hate myself when I feel the anger. Anger toward the judge. Anger toward The System in general. And then, even anger toward the children. It's easier to feel anger than it is depression sometimes.

Thankfully I recognize this for what it is. I'm swinging back and forth through the range of all emotional extremes. But I'll be OK. Like I've said before, the hurt I'll feel is far less than what the children went through before coming to my home. And if I do my job correctly, they will transfer to their grandma's just fine. Yes they will cry. Yes it will be difficult for them. And I won't be a part of the relationship to help them through the transition. But I did give them 11 months of family living. I taught them they were loved. I instilled in them a sense of value and self-worth. Hopefully they will draw from these positive experiences and meld into their new family OK.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

At least I know

The new worker over my littlest cherubs hasn't made contact with me. However, she did communicate with Rainbow from our licensing agency.

She let Rainbow know that CPS is recommending that the babies' paternal grandma be given PMC (permanent managing conservatorship). This is because the paternity test has finally been done and this woman actually is their grandmother. The grandmother has also done everything else that the court has asked of her. (Everything except start a relationship with the cherubs – but I guess that part isn't important enough for anyone to care about.) She has picked out a day care for the littles to attend while she works 10 hour days 4-5 days a week. She has listed other relatives/friends that will be her back-up support system. And she's said she wants them.

Please don't get me wrong. I fully believe that FAMILY belongs together. It pains me that these kids have been kept in foster care for so long and that they've melded in to our family so tightly. If the State had done their jobs a year ago the kids could have been moved to Grandma's house back in November. Yes, that would have hurt like crazy. But I believe it would have been easier on the cherubs in the long run.

Now though... now they are a part of our family. They want to stay with us forever. Just ask them! This desire to stay in our family is not an idea I planted in their heads either. It's what they want. And they don't know their grandma at all. She is a total stranger to them. The part that pains me the most is that this grandma hasn't WANTED to even start a relationship with the babies. I can't wrap my brain around that. And the thing is, if they stay with us, they will get to continue to be a part of their first family. I would see to that. It would be incredibly important to me.

But at least I know what the State is going to propose come Monday. It's not a surprise. I don't have my hopes up. I'm praying. But not even for me really. I'm praying that the babies will make it through whatever the judge decides.

Speaking of the judge...
I just found out that he is stepping down at the end of the month. I'm not sure why or under what circumstances. I have no idea what will happen. Rainbow told me to expect a giant upheaval of the CPS system. She seems to think that many workers will quit in the midst of the change. At any rate, they will be expected to actually know their cases as they go before a brand new judge. It'll be interesting to say the least. I'm hoping the new official will involve the foster parents more in the legal process. I know that happens in some places down here. It would be nice to see things change for the better!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Quick catch up in bullet points

• I had a marvelous time at my business meeting. I ended up staying in a lovely old hotel in downtown San Antonio. I spent all my time either in my hotel or at the business venue just four blocks away. Room service was amazing and I reveled in the peace and quiet. I think the sales end of things went well. I'm hoping that maybe I landed a new client or two for my business.

• The cherubs missed me horribly while I was away and there were lots of talks about "mommy". Dude and Dolly each latched on to the few items they have from their first mommy. Having me gone made them confused them like crazy. It triggered all their feelings of abandonment. They were quite happy when I came back! There have been lots and lots of conversations about how much they love me. They are also telling me regularly that they are going to tell the lawyer they want to stay here.

• Court is in a mere 7 days. The fate of Dude and Dolly will be decided at that time. I know that Grandma hasn't made any contact with CPS since she came down to see the cherubs right before Easter. No phone calls. No letters. No contact. I have such a hard, hard time believing this grandma really wants these children!!

• Mr. Wonky has been staying away from our home. It's been quite nice. TT hasn't been meeting with the therapist either. I decided I wasn't too thrilled with her approach. (Perhaps it's another blog post. But to put it simply her approach was, "Hey TT, quit throwing fits". I can do better than that myself.) Either way, he's been able to self-regulate. He handled me leaving much better than I thought he would and we didn't have any fall-out when I returned. Whew!

• Nothing has changed with Pumpkin other than I keep being told that she's probably going to go home. Her GAL called me and we talked for awhile but we have yet to have the "meeting" she said we would have after court in April. Court is coming up for Pumpkin in just 16 days. I really have no idea what is going to happen. I worry for Pumpkin and her future. She needs such specialized care and I don't think anyone wants to recognize how serious of a subject this is.

• The countdown for the end of the school year is here! TT is even handling the craziness of spring OK. School is all a disaster due to standardized testing, extra parties and celebrations, and field trips. Even though he's in second grade he suffers horribly during the standardized testing. His teacher is taken from him to test the upper grades. He even has to leave his classroom so it can be used by the upper grades for testing. They end up shuffling the lower grades around to the gym, the computer lab, outside, and in the cafeteria. They watch way too many movies and the learning pretty much stops. It sucks!! But TT has been doing better this spring that in years past!

• I have decided to officially home school all my kids next year. I even picked the curriculum. Herman and TT will both attend an online school. Because Bart is only going in to second grade he can't attend the online school. He's going to use A Beka. He wants me to order the materials right away. Part of him thinks he can start school this summer and finish 2nd grade before the fall. He likes the idea of being allowed to work at his own pace. And both the younger cherubs assure me I won't have the same problems I have with Herman and getting school done in a timely fashion. (I'm not holding my breath. But I do think both boys realize the amount of freedom they will have if they get the schooling done efficiently.)

I think that about covers everything. I'm probably going to be scarce on here for awhile. I'm trying to not get worked up about court. It's not easy but I have a peace about it. At least I do today. I think I'll be able to say good-bye and not completely lose myself in depression. I'm praying for a miracle though.