Monday, September 30, 2013

The Day I Lost My Kids - Part 4

I realized over the weekend that I never gave the attendance list for this particular court hearing. Here goes. Can you see who's missing?
Minnie
Minnie's supervisor
lawyer for CPS
Ms. Colorado
(Ms. Colorado's assistant - tho she did not stand up with everyone else)
lawyer standing in for Bio Mom's lawyer (ie: knew nothing of the case)
lawyer for Bio Dad
Attorney Ad Litem for the cherubs (AAL)
Guardian Ad Litem for the cherubs (GAL)
Mr. Amazing & I
Dude & Dolly
Our case got called again. As before, Mr. Amazing and I sat in the "audience" with the cherubs.

The tennis match was pretty much more of the same. The AAL said that when alone, the cherubs pretty much said nothing. (I had never coached the cherubs other than to tell them to use their strong voices. Apparently they chickened out when alone.) The GAL said pretty much nothing. Again CPS tried to paint me as a manipulative person who tries to put words into the cherubs' mouths. Despite Dolly's announcement in the waiting room, they painted it that she was doing it all "for me".

Ms. Colorado tried as hard as she could. But no one would really listen to the seriousness behind the lack of supervision over the visits in Dallas.

When Ms. Colorado tried to explain again the level of emotional neglect from Grandma, the GAL pretty much threw her under the bus. Ms. Colorado said, "Dolly's birthday is tomorrow and the family in Dallas did nothing for her during the last visit!" The GAL literally said, "Well...the birthday is tomorrow." Ms. Colorado wanted the courts to understand that Grandma had never done anything for any birthday and the pattern was continuing but everyone blew her off!

Then...it was done. They started discussing the perimeters of the custody. Grandma was awarded Temporary Managing Conservatorship. Grandma was given permission to travel in the local area. The next court date was set. There was much discussion over allowing Mr. Amazing and I phone contact with the cherubs. The State was still Hell-bent on saying that I would be manipulative during conversation. We were allowed two half-hour phone calls per week. If I heard correctly, they are supposed to be monitored by someone. (For what it's worth, it's been seven days and we haven't gotten our phone calls yet. And  yes, I left a message with Ms. Colorado today.)

Almost in a state of shock, I walked up to CPS. I said, "Can you tell me when they will be leaving. We had planned on having Dolly's birthday party this weekend. Obviously we'll have to move it up. Can you tell me when?"

I don't remember if it was Minnie or the lawyer for CPS but they VERY smugly announced, "They're leaving today. The judge signed so they have to leave today."

That my friends is a BOLD FACED LIE. They gave Pumpkin 24 hours and she couldn't even talk! These cherubs, ones that are most definitely old enough to understand, were given no closure whatsoever!! But there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. They indicated that they would let me know after plane tickets were purchased when Minnie would be stopping by. I felt every bit of strength I had left drain from my body. I was a shell of a human being. It was perfectly awful. I took Dolly by the hand, bent down a little and started to say, "Oh my Dolly. Minnie says you have to leave today! You don't get to say goodbye!"

I was so angry. I was fuming. In fact, just writing this my heart rate has elevated to an unhealthy place. But there in the courtroom Mr. Amazing sort of pushed me and told me to stop. He didn't want me to "prove" anything to CPS.

The three of us walked to the first floor of the court building. I didn't know what to do. I desperately wanted to talk to my lawyer. I wanted more than anything for someone to fix this!! Mr. Amazing took the cherubs to the car. I stayed in the foyer of the building.

Minnie walked past me. She said nothing.

I sat down on the steps and started to cry.

Ms. Colorado's assistant came down. She consoled me. When it became apparent that Ms. Colorado was going to be awhile I said goodbye and walked outside.

Every part of me was crushed. The worst case scenario had happened. Not only had my children been ripped from me but now they couldn't even get a proper goodbye. They couldn't have closure at school. I couldn't help build this up on the positive side of things. I couldn't tell them that everything was going to be OK. (Even if it's a lie I would have done it!)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Boxes

Fifteen boxes total.

Hopefully Minnie will email me labels and I won't have to see her in person.

I'm glad my cherubs will have their things. But it seems to final to send them on.

Foster care sucks.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Day I Lost My Kids - Part 3

Let's see....I left off with the cherubs being taken out of the courtroom by their Attorney Ad Litem (AAL) and their Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). These two people are supposed to be protecting the legal rights of my cherubs and fighting for their best interests. Up until this point in time, I'm not sure either one of them had ever spoken with the cherubs. Maybe the AAL did back in May. I KNOW the GAL had NEVER spoken with them though. He had spoken with me...but NEVER the cherubs!! So, the fate of my cherubs was held in the hands of total strangers that barely even know the case.

As the children walked out, Ms. Colorado motioned for Mr. Amazing and I to step out of the courtroom with her as well.

Outside the courtroom I looked at Ms. Colorado and said, "It's not looking good."

She shook her head back and said, "Oh. You could hear. No! It's not looking good."

We stood out in the hallway/waiting area and went over the details thus far. She knew Minnie was lying on the stand. She was frustrated with everything. As we stood there basically bitching about all the wrongs, we all knew that there wasn't much we could do about it. I mean, I would have loved to have been able to call out Minnie on her lies. And maybe Ms. Colorado should have. But so far the entire debate had been he said / she said and no one was agreeing on anything. The State was painting me out to be a manipulative person. Ms. Colorado was trying to express the opposite and get across the fact that Minnie wasn't supervising the visits. The State kept side swiping their answers and dancing around the truth when it came to that. Short of screaming, "That's a LIE!" I'm not sure what Ms. Colorado could have done.

Then all of the sudden Dude and Dolly rounded the corner. I wasn't even looking when I heard, "Mommy...I want to stay with you. I want to be an Eldridge!!"

I looked down to see Dolly's proud little face peering up for approval. Because yes, she wants me to be happy and she knows this is what I want. (I NEVER told her to say this though. I ALWAYS said she had to say what was in her heart. The only thing I ever said one way or the other was that she couldn't keep changing her mind.) I smiled but said nothing. Dolly's AAL looked at her kind of puzzled and Dolly said it again, "I want to be an Eldridge!"

Finally I looked at the AAL and said, "That's our last name."

This seemed to make the AAL very uncomfortable. She mumbled something and we all just made our way back in to the courtroom.

Mr. Amazing and I sat down in the audience portion of the room with the cherubs. All the professionals took their places in the front.

We waited for the case the judge was ruling on to finish.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Please pray for a foster mama friend

Awhile ago I asked y'all to pray for a very special friend of mine.

Things have gotten WORSE.

She needs to stay even more anonymous than I already had her.
(In fact, the prior post has been deleted out of necessity.)

But I'm still going to ask for prayers.
God knows who she is and she needs His help right now!

Please pray for my foster mama friend, her children and the situation at hand.

Thank you!!

It's still over...sort of

Ms. Colorado called. The first thing she did was ask how I was.

I like Ms. Colorado.

I'm still incredibly raw. I'm bouncing through all the stages of grief. I'm a mess!! I'm still not in the mood to talk to anyone about any of this. But I want to record things. It's probably wrong that I'm recording everything for the internet to read. But why stop now?!

----

Ms. Colorado talked to the judge. He doesn't think "this" is going to work. He said he predicts that the cherubs will be back in Care in less than 30 days.

Let that sink in...HE DOESN'T THINK IT'S GOING TO WORK!!

But he let it happen because he felt like he had to try.

----

The System SUCKS!!

----

I'm not dismissing the services of my lawyer. She's convinced CPS responded the way they did because of our Petition to Terminate Parental Rights. That's going to expose them and they freaked out.

But we're going to wait. She's going to make sure that CPS does everything that was court ordered on Monday. Granted, CPS is NOT going to all of the sudden self-report any problems in Dallas. This we all know to be true. So...really...this case is still very much O.V.E.R.!

However, CPS could screw up. Something awful could happen in Dallas. And legally, we are still a part of this case. So we aren't dropping out officially just yet. We are going to keep our foster home open. (We will NOT be taking any new kids...not even for respite!) And Ms. Colorado is still very much our lawyer.

Speaking of, if you're still led...
I'm going to have a really big bill to pay very soon. If you'd like to continue to help with our legal fight, I'm going to leave the PayPal donation button up on my blog in the corner.

----

Why the Guardian Ad Litem and Miss Mary "turned" is still a mystery.

Do you know how many times the GAL spoke with my cherubs in their life?!
Once.
On Monday.
That was the FIRST time they had EVER spoken to him.

But suddenly he was looking out for them?!

Yuck!!!

Ms. Colorado saw him in passing yesterday and questioned him a bit. She told him she is disappointed. He was a bit of an aloof jerk. Not sure what to do about that.

----

Ms. Colorado wants me to document everything that happens. The cherubs ARE supposed to call me two times per week. If they don't...I'm to let her know immediately. I'm also supposed to document everything they say during the calls. Ms. Colorado also wants to know what Minnie said in my driveway as she was picking up the cherubs Monday afternoon. (That story to come in Part 3 or 4. It's a doozy!)

----

Basically...everything is still very much over. I'm going to pack up all the cherubs' things. I'm going to have Minnie mail them out. (Ms. Colorado is going to follow through and make sure Minnie actually does it!) I'm going to rearrange my house some. (Step stools will be put away. My boys' preschool toys will go to storage. Etc. Etc.)

But...things aren't over. The case is still open. And nobody thinks Grandma is going to be successful.

I certainly don't want my cherubs to suffer more trauma. I'm praying for Grandma to step up and do all the right things.

But I'll be here...ready...in case she doesn't.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Day I Lost My Kids - Part 2

The courtroom was filled with people. There were foster parents, bio parents and plenty of children. Looking up at the bench though, there was no judge.

We waited.

Shortly after 10:30AM the judge walked in with his assistant. Casual chit-chat was had between the judge, CPS workers and lawyers while he got ready to take the bench. It seems that perhaps there was some sort of major traffic jam between where we live and where court is. (The judge is from our town and travels to this county to handle the CPS cases there.) Mr. Amazing and I did notice some interesting activity on the side of the road on the way over. Several police officers and Border Patrol were involved. I guess that situation could have escalated. Whatever it was, the judge was late and there were several cases to be called ahead of ours.

We waited.

Ms. Colorado handed me a copy of the therapist's recommendations to read over. My heart sank when I saw that Miss Mary had totally changed her tune. SOMETHING happened when she had that single "family therapy session" in Dallas earlier this month. I do not know what it was. But now she recommended that the cherubs be placed with family in Dallas. The note literally said that Grandma understands what things she has to change. But she's willing to change so family is best.

Over two years these cherubs were in Care and Grandma still needs to change things.

Ms. Colorado still seemed confident though. I tried not to worry. I tried to pray.

The cherubs got antsy. We gave them our phones to play with. That will help for a short period of time. But really, neither kid knows anything about video games so they tire of electronics quickly. We listened to a few cases and then, finally, ours was called.

Ms. Colorado went forward with everyone else but did not call us up. I didn't know what to do. I really wanted to be close to the judge so I could hear things and speak if necessary. But the cherubs were so wonky that it was better for them to stay seated and not have to stand in front of the judge.

It is sooooo wrong to require small children to attend court. So many shades of wrong. (CPS had to shush the "crowd" several times before our case was called there was so much commotion in the courtroom. It's the weirdest thing ever.)

Ms. Colorado worked things as the judge was getting ready so that our Petition to Terminate Parental Rights was served before anything started. It was a chess move on her part. She wanted to make sure it was there and on the record immediately. She also submitted the notes I drew up about the last two trips to Dallas. They literally were EXHIBIT A. These notes covered my concerns with the fact that Grandma was taking the cherubs to a cousin's house instead of caring for them herself.

The tennis match started. I don't remember everything that was said. It all moves so fast. And because we were back in the "audience" I couldn't hear absolutely everything. The cherubs were so anxious though that I didn't think standing up in front of the judge would be much better. It was perfectly awful.

I'll try to get this roughly in order....
  • Minnie said the kids are doing fine. She said that Dude has some behavior issues but they are related to his age. (Of course she didn't say they are related to the continued trauma of being in foster care and being forced to go on visits to see family where he is continually neglected.)
  • Ms. Colorado expressed her concerns about the video that Minnie shot of the cherubs back in August. She said that it violated the cherubs' rights. The video should not have been made. If something like that needed to be done, the cherubs' GAL should have been present or at least informed.
  • Minnie denied the existence of the video. Over and over she lied while under oath. She claimed that she only takes pictures of the cherubs but that she HAS to let them play with her phone or they won't behave. She said there was no video. (Remember....Miss Mary told me she saw the video! This was such a blatant lie I was dumbfounded.)
  • Ms. Colorado expressed a concern about the level of supervision over the visits in Dallas.
  • Minnie said that she supervises. This one she danced around more though. She never exactly said that she comes to Grandma's house to check in on them. Instead she said that Grandma calls her and tells her where they are at. (Um...that's not Minnie making sure anything is on the up and up. That's Grandma making a phone call from Lord really knows where.)
  • Ms. Colorado expressed a concern that the cherubs have contact with Tio E at every visit despite it being court ordered that he not have contact.
  • Minnie said that the cherubs see their cousins but that they aren't supposed to see Tio E. However, Minnie never answered the charge that the cherubs see him anyway. No one pressed that issue.
  • Then it went back and forth about what the children want. What they've said. When they've said it. Etc. Etc. The State tried to claim that I tried to manipulate the cherubs. They said that I've been telling them to say they want to stay with me. They painted me out to be awful. As Ms. Colorado pushed back, they said they wanted to do psychological analysis on Mr. Amazing and I. It went back and forth. Ms. Colorado said it's not safe in Dallas. The State said I'm making things up.
  • Finally they decided that it was up to the cherubs. THEY had to decide. Their attorney and their guardian took them outside of the courtroom to talk to them in private. Now was the time for them to use their strong voices.
The judge decided to put our case to the side while the lawyers talked to the cherubs. He called the next case. Ms. Colorado asked my husband and I to come outside of the courtroom so we could talk.

I looked right at her and said, "It's not looking good."

She shook her head back and said, "Oh. You could hear. No! It's not looking good."

The Day I Lost My Kids - Part 1 of ???

DISCLAIMER:
I am entirely too emotional to be writing anything about any of this. But...this is where I recorded our journey and if I don't write, I'll forget the details. I'm the type of person that literally can't remember bad stuff that happened to them earlier in their life. I have holes in my memory. I know bad things have happened but I cannot recall the details most of the time to save my life.

I don't know why I want to remember this, but I do. So I'm going to write.

But it's not going to be pretty writing. The editing will probably suck. I'm not going to try and make some kind of a point. I'm just going to tell the story. I have no idea how many posts it will take. This is all 100% for me. I don't really know why I'm sharing it with the internet. I'm not sure this story paints a very good picture of foster care. And I know this particular chapter isn't going to bring any new families to CPS saying, "Sign me up! I wanna do what Cherub Mamma did!" But it's my story. Through it all I know we did what God called us to do. I know we did a good thing. Foster care gets a lot of things wrong. This case is no exception. But foster care is necessary. Maybe my story can just help someone through their own Hell...so they know they're not alone.

-----

My alarm went off at 6:00AM. I rolled out of bed about 10 minutes later. I stepped over TT who was sleeping on the floor next to my bed. He was so nervous about court that he couldn't be far away from me. Sleep is so hard for TT when he is stressed.

Clothes had been picked out for the Dude and Dolly the night before. I woke them up just before 7:00AM and everyone started getting ready. Dude and Dolly had cereal for breakfast. They had cereal every morning for breakfast. I still smile when I remember how incredibly excited they were their first morning here when I offered them milk on their cereal. It was almost like they had never had milk before coming to our house and the utter delight was almost painful to watch. Dolly would sit in her chair every morning and say, "Leche Dude...we get leche!!!!" She was just thrilled to be getting milk ON her cereal. It was like I was giving them the best treat ever.

At about 7:45 I walked Herman to a neighbor's house. Our family actually suffered a rather significant stress on Sunday the 22nd concerning some decisions Herman has been making lately. I'm not going to share his story on here right now but it was serious and Herman could not be trusted to stay home alone all day Monday. My neighbor had agreed to watch Herman and help with some of the repairs that needed to be made.

We got to another foster family's home at about 8:10AM. My support system has somewhat disappeared and I don't have anyone close that can babysit TT and Bart. Court is too far away for them to stay home alone. They fight like crazy with Herman. I needed someone else to watch them. I didn't want them in court. (Praise God the family agreed. I cannot imagine the fallout if they had been in the courtroom to hear the news first hand.) Anyway, I dropped off TT and Bart, made small talk for just a bit and then we headed off for court.

Amazingly enough, there was almost no traffic as we drove west. We hit the town we needed to be in early. We stopped at WalMart to kill a few minutes. I bought Dude a bunch of new underwear. Exciting stuff to pick out Spiderman for your butt.  :)  I also let each child pick out a pair of new shoes.

Then it was off to court.

You cannot imagine what it's like. I can't even bring a purse in. No handbags of any kind are allowed. I had a binder with a notepad in it. I had a couple pieces of documentation in case anyone needed it. I had a couple ink pens for Dude and Dolly to use if they wanted to draw. I even brought Dolly's spelling words for her to write so she wouldn't be behind on homework this week.

We walked through the metal detectors and upstairs to where CPS court is held. There wasn't a chair available in the waiting area outside the courtroom so we sat against the wall on the floor. It's humiliating. It's degrading. The room was full of parents, foster parents and children waiting for their cases to be called.

We sat there for about half an hour. Ms. Colorado came in and filed the petition to terminate parental rights. I saw her pass a check across the counter and to the county. I know I'm responsible for the amount of money on that check. I wasn't nervous though. Everything was as it should be. Just shy of 10:30AM we went in to the courtroom to wait.

-----

I'll write more later. These are going to be long posts. It was a long, long day.

Happy 6th Birthday Dolly

I will forever live with the guilt of not celebrating it with you.

I was so confident in the court system that I just assumed you'd be with me this coming weekend. I was looking forward to decorating your Little Mermaid birthday cake. Your brothers were planning amazing decorations just in your honor. Your presents are hidden away. I still needed to put together the baby bed from Granny and Papa. I know how much you would have loved your new scooter from Daddy and me. I'm going to take that back though and exchange it for something more appropriate for your new home. I'll mail it to you with the rest of your toys and birthday presents.

I hope your family in Dallas celebrates. I know they haven't done anything for your last two birthdays. But maybe they will do the right thing now.

I miss you so much.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It is over

Things that make no sense this side of Heaven happened this morning.

Minnie will be to my house sometime within the next several hours to pick up the cherubs and take them to Dallas to live.

Of course she hasn't given me a flight time yet....  :)

We've been granted two 1/2 hour monitored phone calls a week with the cherubs to help them transfer. But we weren't even given a chance to have a proper goodbye. They can't say goodbye to their friends. They can't say goodbye to their teachers. They're being placed today.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mrs. Beach answered my note

Dolly's kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Beach, answered my note.

< shock >
"Thank you, I saw your note; however she has much potential to do well.
She's progressing"
I'm sending another note:
"I agree – Dolly has amazing potential! You cannot even begin to know the progress she's made since coming to our home. She spoke no English 2 years ago and her Spanish was at least a year behind as well. (She was in speech therapy.) Dolly is a wonderful kid with tons of potential. However, she still gets confused easily.   :)   All is good though.
~ Cherub Mamma"
Dolly got a smiley face today. She really does seem to enjoy school and for that I'm grateful. I hope she continues to stay positive toward things. The brick & mortar schools where I live are so rigorous. Texas in general has so many issues because of how they interpret No Child Left Behind. They don't encourage true learning at all. Everything is "teach to the test". Preschoolers bring home homework! Kindergarteners have spelling words to write and take weekly spelling tests. They skill and drill the Hell out of the kids. They have little time with manipulatives. The quantity of worksheets Dolly does daily is mind boggling.

My home is filled with high-quality toys that allow Dude and Dolly (and the rest of my kids) to explore real learning though. It'll all come out in the wash eventually....providing Dolly isn't stuck in Care forever.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kindergarten woes

The signing of the planner has started.
Daily I get to see how Dolly "did" at school for the day.

Last week:
Monday - excessive talking
Tuesday - excessive talking keeping her from completing work
Wednesday - didn't finish homework (I type up her spelling words on separate paper for Dolly to copy as it is unrealistic to expect Dolly to be able to write on the lines of a spiral notebook. Her teacher must have lost the papers as she didn't say anything when I told her the homework WAS done!)
Thursday - "smiley face" sticker
Friday - no report (they don't send home the planner over the weekend)

This week:
Monday - "smiley face" sticker
Tuesday - she had been doing well, but talks too much, needs to stay focused

This teacher has yet to answer a single note that I've sent her. It's incredibly frustrating. But I'm going to try again. I don't expect her to answer me but I'm going to make her think.
Dolly struggles with processing delay due to 3.5 years of severe neglect and the continued trauma of foster care. Being excessively talkative isn't in her nature at home. I'm guessing that it's happening more frequently when she's confused about what is going on?? Maybe?
-- Thank you for keeping me informed.
-- Cherub Mamma
I'm tired of this kind of advocating.
I can't wait until I don't have to play with the public schools anymore!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

One week 'til court

Quick catch up on my cherubs...

Dude is testing out the teachers at school. He's acting out and telling them "NO" when given a direction. Thankfully his teacher is sharing this with me and I'm strongly encouraging her to NOT give him any slack. Dude doesn't act out at home much and I've found that when he does swift reaction on my part nips things in the bud! His teacher seems to be listening to me and the problem doesn't seem to be getting worse.

Dolly is struggling a bit in kindergarten. I know it's because much of the curriculum is over her head and the expectations are too high. There isn't a damn thing I can do about it though. I will be modifying her homework whenever I can. But the schools in Texas are what they are. It's not just the teacher...it's the statewide curriculum requirements. If Dolly is forced to stay in public brick & mortar school she will end up diagnosed with ADHD (she talks to much when she doesn't understand things). From there she'll slip through the cracks and end up in all sorts of trouble. --- I know I'm probably out of line making predictions like this. But I know the schools and I know my kid.  I also know the long-term effects of continued trauma and I don't see Dolly bouncing back academically all on her own.

Bart has had a lot of issues since school started!! He saw a psychiatrist this week for the first time. He's got some letters now...a diagnosis...and we started him on medication. The jury is still out though as to whether or not this first attempt at meds is a good fit for his struggles. The rage I had to try and contain yesterday nearly involved the police and/or the ER.

TT's anxiety is also OFF THE CHARTS! Thankfully he's keeping his over-the-top rages under control. But it's so challenging when something as simple as learning to play the recorder sends him into a panic attack. I've decided that he too will be visiting a psychiatrist. But I've got to get through the initial stuff with Bart first. I've only got so much time in the week and our initial appointment at the psych took over 2 hours. (Face time was about 20 minutes. Our appointment was at noon. We arrived at 11:40. He wasn't seen until 2:00. This is NORMAL where I live at every doctor.) In the meantime TT will keep taking GABA. It seems to help a lot. We also do a lot of therapeutic processing at home. We've made a ton of progress since he was moved out of brick & mortar school. But I know anxiety meds will help him and are necessary now.

Herman is in 11th grade. It seems that maybe he's turned a corner. He's getting up in the morning without needing multiple reminders. He's working without having to be told to. And he's only missed doing a couple assignments on time so far. I know that many, many parents would think that this is unacceptable. But for Herman, this is progress. I'm proud of him.

Court is in one week. I've spoken with my lawyer a couple different times. I've sent her a multi-page document outlining the highlights of the last two years. She's going to need that information to build a case against placing with Grandma and for TPR. I'm still praying that the State will move toward TPR on their own and not fight it. They have FULL GROUNDS. Neither bio parent has worked ANY of their case plan. The bio parents don't want their kids back. It's time to terminate rights. As my lawyer said to the CPS supervisor, "Come on now...it's time to terminate. Just terminate and we'll work with you. We can deal with WHO adopts the kids after TPR." (She's confident that our case is strong against Grandma.)

I also sent a document to Ms. Colorado outlining my concerns with the last two visits in Dallas. I don't know all the legal terms, but she's going to be filing things with the court outlining the inappropriateness of the cherubs NOT staying with Grandma during these weekend visits. As Ms. Colorado put it, "I'm glad Minnie is having fun in Dallas once a month. Good for her. But she's not doing her job. The State has dropped the ball. No one is checking in on the cherubs during their visit and that's not right." I like Ms. Colorado. Her sarcasm toward Minnie made me smile. --- I will admit though I'm a little scared of the fall-out I'm sure will happen after court. Ms. Colorado is going to make Minnie look bad AGAIN and I'm sure Minnie won't like that. I hope the judge rips her a new one too though. Then it won't just be coming from my camp.

I ask for your prayers. This is our first placement hearing since we intervened.

Also, my friend Mimi at I Must Be Trippin' is matching any puzzle donations right now up to $100. She's such an amazing person to have taken on this project to benefit my family. I'm so thankful for the wonderful support I've received from all my friends IRL and on the net!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Things I learned about Dallas this time

So much...yet so little.

The cherubs went to Dallas on Friday afternoon. Of course as y'all know, I got exactly 24 hours notice that the visit was going to take place. Golly...I just loooovvee Minnie so gosh darn much. (insert sarcastic evil laugh)

Dude had a craptastic day at school on Friday. (Gee...I wonder how he feels about these visits.) He told his teacher he wasn't going to do his work. And for fun, he dropped his toothbrush in the urinal. (Dude loves to express his big feelings with his toothbrush I guess.)

Minnie was late picking up the cherubs. (Go figure. She is NEVER on time.) All was well though because when they came home from school on Friday, I plopped them all in front of the TV and let them rot their brains until Minnie got there. Waiting for Minnie to come sucks!

Minnie swooped in, they left and our weekend started.

The weekend wasn't too terrific. TT reacted strongly to Dude and Dolly leaving. Couple that with the fact that Mr. Amazing and I went on a date Friday night and TT felt super abandoned! We paid for it strongly most of the day Saturday.

The cherubs arrived back at the airport at 1:15PM on Sunday. Minnie had been gracious enough to give me flight numbers this time around so I could monitor their coming and going. However, in true foster-care fashion, my cherubs didn't get to my house until 3:15PM. The airport is only 45 minutes away. I do not know what happened to make it take so long for my cherubs to get home. And of course, Minnie shared nothing except the fact that the cherubs acted up in the airport for her. (Dude and Dolly don't hold back anymore. They know Minnie is spineless and they do more than keep her on her toes each month as they fly to and from Dallas!)

The cherubs spend their time away from me in their "trauma brains". They have a difficult enough time recalling details of normal days.
-- For example --
Dolly was telling me about school the other day. This is all I got, "We went to the gym. Everybody was my friend. And, we...um...we did something."
A child that is almost six should be able to give more details than that but Dolly simply could not. I didn't interrupt her. I didn't press her for more details. She sat at the table next to me struggling to come up with more. Finally, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "We did something," again. I've all but given up asking her about school. I don't want to make her feel bad because she can't tell me anything.

So, if they can't tell me much about "normal" days, you can imagine how well they do at recalling details of a weekend visit where they are shuffled about, plunked into an environment where no one speaks their primary language, deprived of any sense of rules or boundaries, kept up 'til all hours of the night and fed tons and tons of junk food.

Dolly did share with me that they didn't sleep at Grandma's one of the nights. Nope. Grandma picked them up at the airport and took them to a cousin's house where they stayed Friday and (most likely) much of Saturday. I have no idea if the individual(s) at this cousin's house have been through any kind of a background check. And I must say, my tax dollars are paying for each of these weekend adventures to the tune of roughly $2000 each visit. As a tax payer I'm more than a little bit pissed off that the purpose of the visits is for Grandma to get to know the children yet Grandma isn't even caring for the kids anymore. (At the last visit the cherubs spent most of the entire weekend at the cousin's house while Grandma worked.)

Also, Miss Mary was flown to Dallas this weekend to meet Grandma. This is most likely a good thing - but I don't know for sure. Miss Mary didn't tell me ahead of time she was going and you can bet your britches Minnie didn't tell me. No...it was the cherubs that said they saw Miss Mary at Grandma's house. But that's all they could tell me. I don't know what manipulating Minnie tried to pull but I'm sure there was plenty. I'm not exactly worried, but I'm not exactly thrilled either.

I called Rainbow today and reported the fact that the children stayed at a different house during their visit. She literally said there's nothing she can do about it. My licensing agency is really only there to make sure I (emphasis on I) follow about a zillion-and-one rules. She'll run interference for me if I need her to. But if CPS wants to break rules, well...I'm on my own.

I also called Ms. Colorado today. She was in court but I did leave a detailed message with her secretary. I trust that Ms. Colorado got the message. I'm not sure if she'll call me about it to discuss anything prior to court. But she knows and can bring it up to the judge when we are there.

Court is in two weeks. I'm going to try and not freak out over the next 13 days. It won't be easy but I'm praying for and believing in a miracle.

God loves these cherubs more than I do. His will is great and I trust Him.

I'm certainly not relying on The System to protect my cherubs. Praise heaven that God has my back!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

No Notice

Minnie sent me an email stating that my cherubs will be leaving for Dallas Friday. She will be by my house to pick them up at 3:45PM.
  1. Why in the Hell can't this woman give me a little bit of notice?! We were planning on possibly going to the beach this weekend. What if I had promised the cherubs the outing? She has no regard for any kind of a schedule my family might keep. (It's looking like rain now though so no one is missing anything.)
  2. Thankfully the time they are flying out is such that my cherubs won't have to miss school. Now that Dolly is in kindergarten I really do need to play nice with attendance rules. (Last year they simply missed school on visit days.)
  3. Praise God they are going this weekend instead of the weekend immediately prior to our court hearing on the 23rd. The cherubs need to be as regulated as possible at court and trips to Dallas mess them up bad!
  4. And last...I'm thinking Minnie must be reading at least some of the writing on the wall. If she truly thought she had a chance at sending these kids to Dallas on the 23rd, she'd probably "save" the visit until after court and simply make it when they transition there.
Please pray for my cherubs. Please pray for Minnie too. Unfortunately she has a lot of pull and I need God to work through her. (Praying for Minnie is incredibly difficult for me.)

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Please continue to keep Mama P in your prayers as well. The transition of her boys was made this week and Satan is continuing to spew his lies. Things are not going well. Evil accusations are being made and Mama P and her husband are going to have to fight hard to protect themselves and their other two children.