Monday, October 28, 2013

They've been gone for a month

We went to court last week to see about getting a schedule for our phone calls. So far, the "schedule" has been about worthless.

On Wednesday the phone rang in on time - 7:00PM. However, there was some sort of problem with Grandma's phone. The call dropped twice. I spoke with Dolly long enough to find out that Grandma was making them eggs and potatoes for supper and that Dolly doesn't know if she gets to do Halloween or not. If she gets to, she wants to be Ariel, the Little Mermaid.

After we got disconnected the second time Minnie got all quiet. She acted like she didn't know what to do. I told her that my boys really want to talk to Dude. She said something about trying to call to Grandma again but I guess it never happened. I spoke to Dolly for less than 7 minutes. Minnie never contacted me again that day.

On Saturday Minnie sent me a text at 10:09AM telling me she was having problems connecting with Grandma again. I'm quite sure that Grandma isn't putting forward any effort toward this phone calls. She might not have even been home. But missing these calls will never be enough to change anything in this case.

I responded via text to Minnie saying, "Do what you can. Just keep me posted. If we don't talk that's OK. I just don't want it reflected poorly on us – that we didn't want to talk or something." Minnie never responded to me.

At 10:47AM I got a phone call. Of course by then the family had all gone their separate ways – I only had TT with me. We were in a place where I could barely hear anything. It's not like I can just sit around all Saturday morning waiting to see if Minnie is going to connect us or not. It's so frustrating!!

Dolly and I spoke for about 7 minutes. She didn't have much to say. It's starting to get very awkward. I feel like I have to be very careful about what I ask and Dolly volunteers nothing. Basically Dolly tells me she colors at school and she's fine. I try asking open ended questions like, "What did you eat for breakfast?" I tell her what things we're eating and doing. But really...those are stupid questions. The conversations are short and painful. Dude won't come to the phone at all now! He won't even talk to his brothers. I'm betting he likes having that control. I can't even speculate if he's angry or not. I mean...I'm sure he is. But I know nothing anymore.

They've been gone over a month now. My home is no longer in compliance with many of the safety rules my agency requires. I moved my dishwasher detergent back under the sink. I've pulled all the plug covers off. Nothing is locked and my kids can easily get to the cleaning supplies. It's nice having my house back to "normal".

We're not taking any more kids. My husband is going to actively start looking for a promotion which will mean a move for our family. I know there is no way we could see another case all the way through and I'm not going to bring a child into our home without being able to assure them that we wouldn't move them out to another foster home.

My grief is still incredibly intense. It's very hard to explain though. I've moved through my grief over the children themselves...I think. I'm sure it will still come in hard to deal with waves. But I'm pretty sure the worst of that grief is over. Now I grieve for The System that fails so many children everywhere. I'm having a hard time reconciling the fact that I'm taught "God can work all things for His good" AND the fact that children get hurt daily. I want to help. I want to make a difference. And yet I feel perfectly helpless and worthless. I'm still so very angry. And anger is a hard emotion to hang on to. It does some pretty devastating things to the body. I've got to figure out how to let go.

6 comments:

grkanga said...

Yes. There are lots of ex-foster parents. This is part of why.
My children were adults when I fostered so I didn't have children of my own impacted by the legal chaos like yours have been. I would be very interested in you posting about how your children have been affected by the entire process... from start to this horrific end. I know SOME foster situations work well. I believe in the concept of supporting biological parents being able to care appropriately for their children..... but the system has some HUGE flaws when it is common for children to not have permanency for 5-10 years. Please share...as you are able without increasing the pain to you and yours.

Mitzy said...

Please know I'm thinking about you and praying for your family and Dude and Dolly.

Mitzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Foster Mom - R said...

I was thinking about you and your family today. Praying that the grief gets easier and that in the end you see how much of a difference you have made. Not only to your children but also to those out there like me who need to know they aren't alone- in their struggle in their pain and in the fight to make a very bad system even a little better.

r. said...

It sounds like there's a problem with cell phone reception. Maybe it has to do with the reception in Grandma's apartment, or maybe it has to do with doing "party line" calls via cell phone. Didn't this happen before, where the calls kept dropping when the call was made on the cell phone, but it worked when the caseworker called from a land line?

When you have good cell phone reception, it can be hard to remember that dead zones and poor reception areas still exist. I know I was pretty surprised to realize that I could barely make calls in my apartment--they kept cutting in and out and dropping, just like you describe. This despite the cell phone company's map saying it was a strong signal area. I eventually got my cell phone company to send me a device that routes all my calls over my high speed internet connection.

Sorry to write all this, but in both this and another post you seem genuinely perplexed by how calls can keep cutting in and out. I just wanted to reassure you that in my experience, it does happen, including (especially?) in high-density urban areas.

Cherub Mamma said...

@r. -- I think you're exactly right...it has to do with cell reception. I get that.

My frustration is so layered. I'm frustrated that the calls have to be monitored. I'm frustrated by Minnie's inability to manage this. (Not just the dropped calls side of things but how she makes the calls in general.) I'm just frustrated with everything.

Granted, I'm glad to have a little contact I guess. But I question whether or not it's doing any good for the children at this point in time. I can't stop the calls because that would look poorly on us. And I do want to stay in the case for at least a little while to ensure that Gma can hold up her end of the bargain. So that means I'm stuck with these horribly sporadic calls.

I'm sure you're right though. It's either Minnie's phone or it's Grandma's phone -- and there's nothing I can do about it so I must continue to muddle through.