Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Every other day

Dude got another hot heap of trauma piled on him today.

When I dropped him off at school this morning he quickly noticed that the room had been rearranged. Me, I noticed the sign on the door saying that today is a Spanish learning day and that everyone in the school will be speaking Spanish exclusively.

Dude doesn't speak Spanish anymore. In fact, he will look at Great Grandma P and ask her to speak English is she says something to him in Spanish.

Now not only is Dude scared to death to leave me, but he's going to be surrounded by an entire school of people not even speaking his language.

They only thought they were starting to see "behaviors". This is not going to bode well I'm sure.

1.  I'm going to call Rainbow. I'm going to ask her off the record what would happen if Dude only goes to school on the English speaking days.

2.  I'm going to be picking Dude up earlier every day. Yes, I need the time at home with my students. But I cannot subject him to more trauma. The System requires that I send him to school. They do not require that he eat lunch there or nap there.

3.  I'm going to call the new Guardian Ad Litem and see how he feels about this. Maybe, just maybe, he understands early childhood development. Maybe he'll see that subjecting Dude to this in this time of his life is not in his best interests.

4.  Then, if this is what it is, I'll survive. I'll tell myself that he might learn some Spanish. That would make it easier for him if/when he does go to Dallas. Dude is smart. And Dude's teacher isn't fully in favor of this change. She told me herself that her Spanish isn't that good. She isn't fluent herself...at least not enough to teach all day in Spanish. And as I walked out of the room this morning, she was talking to Dude in English. She said she's going to pass my concerns along to the board of directors. She also assured me that any individual instruction with the children will be done in their primary language. I have to pray that she's going to speak English to Dude today enough that he doesn't completely freak out.

He was sooooooooo scared when I left him. I told his teacher that we are starting all over. He's scared. He doesn't want to leave me. He's going to need a lot of reassurance. I also told her I'd be there before lunch to pick him up.


Mie said...

If I remember, Dude is in preschool. Why is it required? (I'm guessing he was evaluated and a service plan was created...). In Texas, children are not required to attend school until the year they are going to turn 6 by September 1st. Then they are required to go to 1st grade. Kindergarten is not required. I'm just curious why he HAS to go.

CherubMamma said...

Dude just turned four years old. So yes, he's only in PreK. He attends the local HeadStart. I was required to enroll Dolly in the local PreK program available through the public school.

I have been informed by ALL parties (licensing agency and CPS) that any foster children 3 and over are required to go to school. The only reason Dude and Dolly didn't go last year is because Head Start was full and Dolly was on the waiting list. That fulfilled the requirement the State had for her. Dude turned 3 on Dec. 30 and they didn't make me put him on the waiting list because they were SURE the kids would be going to Grandma's in Dallas last February.

Dude was evaluated by an Early Childhood Intervention team shortly after coming in to Care. And no, he did not qualify for any services at the time. Attending preschool is not part of any service plan. It is a requirement for all children in our area.

Foster Mom - R said...

It did my kids good to see me try to speak Spanish and to be around Spanish speakers who were not abusive. In essence we got them to understand that not all Spanish speaking people were going to hurt them. I know it will be triggering to him but maybe it will be a step towards healing. Do they have these days often?

CherubMamma said...

Well, in our part of the country, English speakers are actually the minority. Literally, the population is 99% Hispanic and most everyone speaks Spanish.

Thankfully, the cherubs don't associate Spanish with abuse. Thankfully, these cherubs were never physically abused. (At least not to the best of my knowledge based on CPS, talking with the bio family and their behaviors.) My biggest concern is simply how Dude will feel spending an entire day surrounded by people not speaking his language. He's already the youngest child in the class. That fact alone makes school difficult for him. Having language differences now is just going to exasperate the problem.

I'm trying very hard to frame this in a positive light though. I'm going about this like I do just about everything. First I freak out! Then I call my mom. Then I call Rainbow. Then I call my sister. Then I calm down.

My mom is a published expert on early childhood development. She always helps me understand how this is affecting his brain. She usually validates my concerns and makes me feel better about freaking out.

Rainbow grounds me a little with the realities of CPS. She reminds me again that these are not "my" kids. She's REALLY polite and INCREDIBLY supportive. She always validates my concerns but she reminds me how CPS/lawyers/the judge might view the situation. Their take is always different from mine and hers.

And then my sister -- an amazing mom and someone who used to be a social worker -- mixes it all together. She validates my concerns as a mother. She then reiterates the things that Rainbow said.

I've decided that for now I'm going to pick Dude up before lunch. I'm going to keep his time at school even shorter for 2-3 weeks...every day (English & Spanish). He will be there for all of the "instruction time" but I'll pull him before lunch. Then, hopefully he'll become used to the new expectations and I'll go back to having him stay there for lunch and nap. (I really do need a couple focused hours with my older kids if at all possible.)

I'm going to document ALL behaviors for Rainbow. She's going to keep them in her file and pass them along to the powers that be. I'll simply send her an email if he wets his pants multiple times in a day or if he throws huge temper tantrums or if he's up all night crying again because he's scared.

At some point in time I will contact the new Guardian and just tell him what is going on. I'm going to wait and see if Dude's negative behaviors do increase or not though before I call. My communication with the GAL will simply be informational though. I'm not going to push for any changes to be made.

I do have to be very careful right now. I complicated things for CPS yesterday and I have to play nice. They would see this Spanish introduction at school as a very, very good thing. They would say that he's going to be able to learn Spanish and that will help his transition to Grandma N's in Dallas (as she speaks very little English).

CPS rarely takes into account the trauma that Dude & Dolly have suffered. Really, no one does. All I ever hear is, "kids are resilient". And sure...they are. But I'm the one that had to drop Dude off this morning. I'm the one that had to try and reassure him everything will be OK and that I will return. I'm the one that had to leave him all alone and scared to death. I could only pray that his teacher did speak to him in English today to reassure him some and to make him feel better. To me, this feels like more System induced trauma. If he really was MY child he could be at home with me and get CONSTANT reassurance, in his native tongue, that he is OK, safe and loved.

Foster care sucks.

openarmsopenheart said...

It's so wrong that they make them go to school. It's like they know nothing! I'm thinking of sending my two for two days a week in daycare (one together and one apart so I've got a day with each) and I'm already second guessing myself as to if two days is too much for them!

sheldonanddenise said...

Again I'll say that you're a hero! You may never be fully rewarded here on earth, but in Heaven you're reward will be GREAT!!! Speaking as a former foster kid...I DON'T think kids are resilient. I think they have no other choice but to move on the best they can. The feelings of insecurity, lack of trust, emotional bottling, etc. may spring back up during a marriage or other relationships. I'm in my 40's now and I'm surprised at the residue from my childhood that I keep having to talk myself thru. Everyone I know thinks I have the perfect life and that I'm emotionally mature and secure...little do they know the thoughts that run thru my mind that I have to constantly combat as a result of being in the foster care system over 20 years ago. Thanks for sharing your life and for keeping it real. Blessings, Denise