Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Call

Me: "Hello...um...this is Cherub Mamma. Is Dolly there? Can I talk to Dolly?"

Random female adult: "Sure. Just a minute. Dolly, the phone is for you."

--- lots of background noise ---

Dolly: "It's noisy." Then said to someone in the background, "It's my mom. I'm on the phone with my mom."

We had a quick phone call. Dolly talked with both Mr. Amazing and me. She said she had corn and turkey today. All her cousins were over at her apartment. She seemed completely unphased by the call. Not surprised, not sad, not anything. More like this is her new normal.

We didn't ask to talk to Dude. He rarely comes to the phone and we didn't want to complicate things today.

I'm going to wait until next week before we try to call again. I want to see if this phone call brings with it any unnecessary drama from CPS. Grandma indicated in the court report that she was unhappy with our contact because it upsets Dolly. If she doesn't complain though, we'll call again.

We're not going to involve Herman, TT or Bart right now.
We'll just call every now and then to stay in touch.

We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What I told TT

The phone call that came yesterday was a surprise. I didn't know who it was when I answered. I stepped out of the room once Ms. Colorado started telling me her news. The emotion was powerful.

After I hung up I grabbed Mr. Amazing and I asked him to come outside. I told him what Ms. Colorado had said. Without any hesitation he agreed with me that we need to stay "in" the case. I cried. He held me. I practically screamed. He held me. Then he went back inside to finish what he was working on.

I had to process a bit more. My Genius Sister is here for a visit but she was out with her hubby at the store. I called another foster mom confidant and spilled my guts. I'm an extrovert. I had to just speak out loud what had happened. It helps me put things in their place.

After a quick conversation while I walked around the block I came back inside. I grabbed my mom and took her for a walk. I hate dragging all these people through this with me. By the time we got back to the house I had thoroughly messed her emotions up but mine were better in check. I laughed and told her this was all her fault. If she had been a crappy mom I wouldn't care about other people and I wouldn't be doing "this". Even she laughed.

Then my sister got back and I took her for the walk around the block.

By now TT was perfectly horrified. He knew SOMETHING had happened. Thankfully by now I had my wits about me and I was able to tell him truth in a way that does not cause him more pain.
TT, remember when we decided to intervene in this case? It wasn't an easy process. We had to meet with our lawyer, sign paperwork and go to court. Well...now that we want out, it still isn't easy. That phone call was our lawyer. She had some news for me that made me upset. And getting out isn't going to be a simple process. There are still some things that we have to do. I don't think it's necessary for you to know everything the lawyer said. Dude and Dolly are still fine and we are still in the process of getting out. But there are some details that still need to be worked out. I didn't mean to scare you.
TT was satisfied with this answer. It is all still truth. And no, he isn't going to know about our phone call tomorrow. That part of the roller coaster has to be over for my forever kids unless this (crazy) judge indicates that there are serious grounds for Dude and Dolly to come back to us.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You only thought it was a roller coaster

Bullet points.
Crappy writing.

I'm still processing the reality of what just happened.

-----

When Dude and Dolly left the pain was unbelievable. It was so much more than kids just "leaving". These cherubs had been with us for 27 months. The situation in Dallas was NEVER proven to be safe. And because the State did not do their job to prove anything, the uncertainty of their situation made me horribly upset. It just felt so wrong.

The judge had told us to intervene.
The GAL had told us to intervene.
The therapist was in favor of the cherubs staying with us.

But everything fell apart September 23.
It completely fell apart.

But we were still in the case.
The scab continually got ripped off.
With every phone call (or missed phone call), it hurt more.

And then the writing went on the wall.
The State self-reported.
Of course they didn't say anything bad.
Doesn't matter that Dude is spiraling down, down, down.
Doesn't matter that Dolly cried for us regularly.
The neglect is subtle.
The problems lie mostly with the company that Grandma keeps.
The problems will get worse as the cherubs get older.
But the paperwork says that there is no abuse or neglect.

We dropped out.
We said goodbye.

-----

The following day the State contacted my lawyer to check in.
My lawyer is a trip. She totally acted surprised...like she didn't know we were doing this.
She hadn't filed our paperwork yet.
She told the State she'd be in contact with us and would proceed accordingly.

-----

And then at some point in time Ms. Colorado spoke off the cuff with the judge.
She told him that we were dropping out of the case.

The judge's immediate response was, "They shouldn't drop out!"
Ms. Colorado: "But Judge, you sent the cherubs to Dallas."
Judge: "They need to stay in through the holidays. That's when people make mistakes. That's when the drinking and partying starts."
Ms. Colorado: "But Judge, the State is self-reporting. Did you read their report? The little boy is withdrawn and aggressive. And the phone calls weren't even happening as court ordered."
Judge: "Your client has permission to call the cherubs. They need to stay in the case."
Ms. Colorado: "But Judge, the State does not want to terminate parental rights."
Judge: "Doesn't your client want to adopt the cherubs? They need to stay in the case."

-----

So Ms. Colorado called me. She told me what the judge said. She wanted to know how we wanted to proceed.

-----

Per my lawyer we are to call Dude and Dolly on Thanksgiving. We don't have to go through CPS, we can call Grandma N directly. If she lets me talk to the kids, I can ask them whatever I want. I'm supposed to talk to them to get a feel of the situation in Dallas and determine if we really do want to stay in or if we really do want to drop out.

-----

We're still in.
I'll know more on Thursday.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

We said "yes"

Rainbow called me on Thursday. Rainbow is not the intake worker at my agency so I thought nothing of it. About 30 seconds into the phone call though I realized that Rainbow was not calling about the usual kind of business. Instead, she had a big question for us.

Would we be willing to take a placement? Given the special circumstances, she said that we were the first family that came to mind to fix the problem at hand.

About 2 weeks ago a six month old little girl came in to Care. My agency, in all their "wisdom", placed this cherub with a brand new foster family as their very first placement.

This precious little girl, Daisy, is a victim of severe shaken baby syndrome. As Rainbow listed off all the medical problems as a result, I ached. The evil in this world can still surprise me despite how calloused I feel sometimes.

The foster family she's with right now has been unable to make all of the medical appointments that Daisy requires. My agency has been having to pick up the slack. And while this may be acceptable in other agencies, it absolutely is NOT where we are at. In fact, when we sign the paperwork for our license, we specifically have to agree to transport to all visits, medical appointments, counseling and therapies. Our agency will assist if we get into a jam, but they simply cannot do it all the time.

Rainbow told me today that the foster family, despite being quite vocal about having difficulties with this case, and not being able to do all the transport, hasn't asked for a move yet. Rainbow was simply laying the groundwork should a move be necessary.

After much prayer, we have decided that we would take Daisy into our home. Rainbow said she has to get the specific case information from CPS next week. From there she will have to give the current foster family an ultimatum about the transportation issues. I don't know if my agency would force the move or not -- but if Daisy needs a new home, we have agreed for it to be ours.

I'll know more next week.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Anxiety in my house

I've had all three of my kids evaluated by a psychologist within the last 6 weeks.
Bart very definitely has ADHD (combined type).
TT very definitely has anxiety.
Herman very definitely has ADHD (inattentive type) and depression.
For TT, after much discussion with professionals, we have decided to go the route of supplements. We started with just niacin in doses of 500mg three times a day. I didn't do a long ramp up process. Perhaps that's why he's sick today. I don't know. But prior to today TT was doing "better". When he would start to get dysregulated, he could still listen to me and calm down without completely losing it. (We're going to add Magnesium to the mix when the meds come in the mail. I couldn't find the recommended dosage level of 150mg in the store.)

TT has had so much going on.
profound grief
his own birthday
Halloween
more profound grief
my birthday (tomorrow)
family coming in from out of town
Thanksgiving
He woke up today on the floor of my bedroom. When he wakes at night he's allowed to come in and sleep on the floor next to my bed. We keep a pillow and blanket in there for him at all times. Sleep is so hard for him when he's stressed. Sometimes he's completely unaware of why he's coming in our room. I think he comes out of habit. But sometimes he comes in due to extremely vivid and very scary nightmares (that always involve some sort of loss or abandonment).

We cuddled this morning for about half an hour. It was playful and he seemed just "fine".

At about 8:00AM we came downstairs and I made myself breakfast. He told me he wanted an egg and a piece of toast. He was going to cook his egg by himself when I was done cooking mine. However, he went into the living room to lie down first.

Within just a few minutes he went from calm and OK to very sick. He has spent the entire morning now curled up on the couch doing nothing but watching Netflix documentaries. (I can't "do school" when he's sick but I don't want to skip learning entirely.)

He has vomited at least half a dozen times and he's eaten nothing.

He could be sick for "real" (as in a virus...because whatever he has is very real...I just don't know if it's contagious or not). But this is what it looks like when TT gets anxious.

He doesn't seem to worry obsessively. But he gets sick. Stomach aches. Fevers. Vomiting.

It's been happening since he was about 3-4 years old.

I wish I could take his pain away.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Day I Lost My Kids - Part 7

Minnie arrived at our home just after 5:00PM. I hadn't even fed the children much of a snack. I seriously did not know what to do. I was in a state of numbness. I was scared to face Minnie I was so angry. But she came and I went outside with a bag of belongings for each cherub. I had packed about 1-2 weeks worth of clothes, a sweatshirt, pajamas, socks and underwear. That's all I had room for. The cherubs each put a few toys in their backpacks that they carried.

I didn't say anything. Not really.

Mr. Amazing however...he lost it! He came outside and started screaming at Minnie. As we joke now, his inner ghetto Mexican came out. Some strange accent took over and he hollered and hollered.
How can you sleep at night? Do you feel good? You lied. You lied on the stand.
He was more angry than I've seen him in a long, long time. In fact, he was so irrational that I put my hand on him gently and told him to go inside.

Minnie seemed almost proud of herself. It was sickening. You see, in court just a few hours earlier Minnie said, "There was no video of the cherubs. I did not take a video. The kids play with my phone. Sometimes we take pictures. I have to let them otherwise they get out of control. But there was no video." (Info on the video in question is here, and here.)

In my driveway Minnie said, "The video wasn't made during therapy."

In my driveway Minnie admitted that the video, the one that shouldn't have ever been made, really did exist. We knew it did all along. The cherubs' therapist, Miss Mary, told me she saw it! Minnie simply tried to claim in court that it didn't exist at all because she decided that we were claiming in court that the video had been made in therapy. NEVER did we say the video was made IN therapy. We simply said it was made at the therapy office. Minnie lied on the stand about the existence of the video at all.

The reason this bothers me is because Minnie has lied on the stand about so many things. And if she lies on the stand, I'm quite confident her court reports about the goings-on in Dallas are fabricated as well. And that seriously scares me!!

-----

The progress report that was just submitted to the court immediately started off by Minnie giving her version of the above story. Her version is MUCH MORE dramatic than reality. She said she was "fearful of Mr. Amazing's action due to his intimidating manor". She was also "fearful of the impact this incident would have on the children".

More lies.

Loving parents that are concerned about the safety and well being of their children get upset when their children are taken from them incredibly abruptly without good reason.

It seems a father worried about the character of the person in charge is more dangerous than a used drug needle tucked into a suitcase following an unsupervised visit.

-----

That, along with a ton of other BS in the court report is why we knew we had to be done with the intervention.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

We said goodbye

The call came about 40 minutes late. Only Dolly was on the line. She said that Dude wasn't even there.

I passed the phone around to everyone. We kept things short. Each member of our family told her that we love her. That we miss her. That we love her even when we can't see her.

When the phone got back to me I said, "Dolly, do you remember me telling you that when you move to Dallas you won't get to see us again?"

Dolly said yes, she remembered.

I then told her that we weren't going to talk anymore now either. The judge said she's to live in Dallas and it's time for us to say goodbye forever.

Dead silence. All I got was dead silence.

I must have said I love you a million ways before I finally said goodbye. Then I asked for Minnie.

I told her, "Paperwork will be coming sometime soon letting you know we are dropping out of this case. You win. What happened is not in the best interests of the children but...you win. Goodbye."

Then I hung up.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Officially Over

I met with Ms. Colorado this morning.

After reading the status report the State submitted to the courts it is incredibly apparent that continuing to stay "in" this case is futile. After discussing things with Mr. Amazing we decided to drop out.

We are going to get our court ordered phone call tomorrow. I will do whatever it takes to talk to the kids tomorrow even if that means I have to send Minnie a text every five minutes.

We will tell the cherubs goodbye forever.

Sometime within the next week or so Ms. Colorado will submit our withdrawal to the court officially. It won't require a hearing – the judge will simply sign the paperwork and we will be done.

The phone calls will stop. We will only have legal standing, should the children come back into Care, until March 23. Up to that time we could be considered Fictive Kin. After six months go by we will be nothing more than glorified babysitters in our cherubs' past.

Sometime in the near future the State will grant PMC to Grandma N in Dallas.  They might try to do it right away. They might wait until the next court hearing in January. They are not going to terminate parental rights on either bio parent.

-----

The grief is really bad again.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Phone Calls

Last Wednesday I had a perfectly craptastic day at home. Bart and I fought all day long. We ended up in the middle of an epic power struggle and neither one of us would back down. By afternoon I had shed so many tears my eyes were so swollen and puffy red that I could barely see. Topping all the adventure off, Bart had a football game right at 7:00PM...exactly when Dude and Dolly were supposed to call me.

At about 5:00PM or so I sent a text to Minnie. I told her that something had come up and I couldn't talk to the cherubs at 7:00PM. They could call me early or I'd have to cancel. I knew Minnie wouldn't coordinate an early call and I was spot on right.

Minnie did, however, reschedule the call for Friday when she would physically be in Dallas with the cherubs. We got to speak to both cherubs via FaceTime last Friday. It was nice.

No phone call was scheduled for Saturday. Back to back phone calls do not work.
(The 2x a week calls that are spread out barely work.)

Yesterday we were supposed to get our call at 7:00PM. Again, I was at a football game. Mentally I was prepared though and I kept my phone out ready for the call.

When it came in at 7:40PM though, I did not pick up.
When Minnie called back immediately, I did not pick up.

These phone calls aren't doing anybody any good. (They are more just part of the legal chess game that we are sorely losing.) I decided to put my foot down on Minnie and not let her get away with this. I sent her a text and explained that I had waited for 30 minutes for our call and when it didn't come I left and was now in a place where things were too loud for me to talk on the phone. I then asked Minnie who was responsible for the late call. Minnie passed the buck on to Grandma and said that Grandma's phone had been on silent.

Crappy excuse! These phone calls are court ordered and they are on an official schedule. Grandma doesn't have a land line. It is plausible that her phone could have been on silent. But it's still just an excuse! And a bad one at that.

Minnie rescheduled for this evening. First it was going to be at 5:00-5:15. Then she sent me a text rescheduling to 5:30PM. This was to allow Grandma enough time to get off of work, pick the cherubs up at day care, and get back home.

I agreed to the time but explained that if the call came in late I would not be available to pick up. (Football...again.)

5:30PM came and went.

I sent a text to Minnie at 6:00PM that read:
In the court reports...who is being held responsible for the absolute inability of maintaining the COURT ORDERED phone contact?
After a few minutes Minnie sent me a message saying tonight's lack of a call was her fault. She had been held up with another case.

I didn't respond.

------

Ms. Colorado contacted me today. It seems she has a court report from the State documenting how the cherubs are doing in Dallas. She needs me to come to her office so we can go over the details and make a decision on how we will proceed.

I asked Ms. Colorado for her gut response to the report.
She said, "I don't believe some of the things that are in it."

The State is still lying!!
And lying.
And lying.

I cannot fight against all the lies much longer. I'm pretty sure we will be done with Ms. Colorado's services tomorrow. I'll take the phone call from the cherubs Saturday morning (per our schedule) and I'll tell them goodbye forever.

-----

I have no idea what will happen next. But I'm pretty sure this chapter has ended.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm still here

Life has been crazy busy.

I still have to write:
"The Day I Lost My Kids - Part 7"
and
 "How This Has Affected My Kids - Part 3"

I'm going to get those done eventually. In the meantime, my computer has been all wonky because without thinking I upgraded to Mac OS X Mavericks and it's not playing nice with the computer software I use for my freelancing business. I've spent a lot of my computer time trying to fix that and keep up with the freelancing that I can do.

And...
I couldn't say no to Rainbow when she asked me if we could do respite. Three extra cherubs joined up with us yesterday. TT and Bart had fun entertaining a 7mo baby boy in our rather un-baby-proofed house today. His two foster siblings (a separate case) are here as well. The baby only stayed one night but the girls don't leave until tomorrow.

And...
Mr. Wonky has taken up residence in our house BIG and BAD lately. I'm up to my eyeballs in tantrums and almost constant dysregulation. I've taken kids to the psychiatrist, psychologist, and therapist more times than I care to count. So far nothing has changed. I'm holding out hope. But at least 1-2 hours every single day are spent trying to get one kid or another back off the ledge. All THREE kids are struggling with their issues. Herman is depressed. TT's anxiety is off the charts. And Bart's ADHD is challenging. He's even thrown in a few violent tantrums that I'm afraid might be as a result of the meds he's on. It hasn't been pretty. I'm exhausted!!

We're still in contact with Dude and Dolly. We got a scheduled FaceTime call this evening. Dude eventually even came over to the phone this time. The kids look good. Though, if I had to guess, the reality that they aren't coming back hasn't fully hit Dolly yet. And Dude is still really, really mad! He smiled and giggled some though as we made silly faces at each other. Most importantly, both kids got to see and hear me say, "I love you! Forever and for always! No matter what! Even if I can't see you!"

I drilled that in to them over and over the past year. I was glad to be able to say it and know that both Dude and Dolly could hear me. And tonight, the phone call didn't send TT into a fit of inconsolable tears.

We're slowly healing.

I have no idea what's going to happen next. I haven't spoken with Ms. Colorado since the emergency hearing a couple weeks ago. I know that the cherubs have all their things from us finally. I don't know if they're in therapy though or if the worker in Dallas is checking in on them or not.

Mr. Amazing and I have dabbled with the idea of fostering again with the intent of adopting. We both feel very strongly that God has told us we aren't done. It's not that we want to "save" kids for Jesus or stuff like that. But in the words of Mr. Amazing (or something close to this), "You know, none of our kids are easy. We've got tons of experience and ability. Why shouldn't we do this again? We could provide a home for kids that others can't."

Mr. Amazing is nuts!