Sunday, December 29, 2013

We're still "in"

Texas has a rule that foster homes can have up to six children total - bio, adopted and foster combined. Any more than six, and the foster home has to be licensed as a "group home".

In my particular county, all group homes are required to have full in-home sprinkler systems. It is financially impossible for us to retro-fit our home with them! Therefore, we can only have six kids. They will NOT make an exception. Of this I am quite confident.

However, we have decided to remain "in" our intervention with Dude and Dolly's case. We're going to see things through the next court hearing in late January. From there, I'm sure the writing will be on the wall.

No, we haven't called since Thanksgiving.

And no, I didn't get Christmas presents to them.

Worse still, Dude's birthday present is sitting on my kitchen floor. (His birthday is tomorrow.)

I feel perfectly horrible about all of this! But there is only so much of me to go around and our world got rocked on December 17th. It just so happens that December 17th was the day I spent over $100 on fleece so I could make custom taggie blankets and pillows for both Dude and Dolly. I was going to make them on the 18th and mail them on the 19th. Instead, the fabric sits next to Dude's birthday present...mocking me.

I'm still going to make the blankets and pillows. I'm still going to mail Dude's birthday present. Even though everything will arrive late.

Hopefully I'll recover from the guilt I feel over all of this. I'm sure I'll never know how the kids feel about everything. But I want to try. I want to continue to make sure they know that I love them even when I can't see them. (A phrase we used A LOT when they lived with us - to prepare them for this exact situation.) I console myself with the fact that my mom got them cookies on time before Christmas. And "Granny cookies" are super special to Dude and Dolly! So at least there's been a little connection. Thanks Mom!!

Foster care doesn't make a lot of sense most of the time. We seriously felt called to intervene. Despite all we've been through, we believe we need to stay "in" through the next court hearing. And we all know that Ricky and Daisy are exactly where they are supposed to be now too.

When I get to heaven I'm not exactly sure I'm going to go straight to praise and worship. Right now I think I'd like to have a face to face sit down with the big guy and let Him know how I feel about all this crazy. His plans sure are complicated sometimes!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

More advocating

Cast of Characters:
Ricky = 16yo foster son
Lola = Ricky's bio mom
Michael = Ricky's younger brother
Rebecca = Ricky's former teacher and godmother
Angelica = CPS caseworker

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Today I'll introduce y'all to Ricky. Due to his age, and the nature of his case, I struggle a bit with how much to say. I really want to respect his privacy. But then again, this is an anonymous blog and I get A LOT of people that thank me via comments and private emails for my level of openness and honesty. I'm going to try and keep a balance here. Feel free to ask questions though if something I say needs clarification.

Ricky is child #6 out of 7 kids total. Two of the older siblings don't live in the US. The other older siblings are not viable options for taking him in (and away from CPS). Ricky's mom makes A LOT of poor choices. I think it's safe to say she's never been a stable parent. And for a time, Ricky himself dabbled on the dark side of things. He's got a past that is more than colorful.

However, about two years ago a teacher in Ricky's school saw through Ricky's facade and took him under her wing. As CPS was "watching" Ricky's family, she became quite involved in his life. I don't know all the details exactly, but instead of having a formal case opened against Lola, Rebecca had Ricky move in with her. Ricky's younger brother, Michael, moved in with a different family friend.

All was fine for a period of time. Ricky practically sling-shotted himself the other direction. He became a model student getting all A's and B's in school. He's active on the dive team. Making good choices is his top priority.

Despite losing her children from her home, Lola did not turn her life around. In fact, she got into a fight of sorts with the family that was caring for Michael. This time, CPS got formally involved. Michael was moved to an "official" foster family and kinship paperwork was drawn up so Ricky could stay with Rebecca.

Rebecca is good to Ricky. She met his every single need. With her, Ricky literally turned his life around. So, when Rebecca answered questions during the home study, she had no reason but to be honest. When asked, "Where should Ricky live?" Rebecca answered, "He should not go back to his bio mom."

That, combined with other events that I believe were most likely taken completely out of context, is what caused Ricky's life to blow up on December 17. CPS claimed that Rebecca didn't support the CPS goal of reunification. They also painted a picture of Rebecca not giving CPS adequate access to Ricky for home visits, therapy and things like that. The judge, seeing only a twisted picture, ruled that Ricky had to go to "official" foster care.

Ricky joined our family that night.

Dressed in a three piece suit with a tie, this sharp young man politely came in to our home. Hiding all his brokenness, he decided to fully comply with the crazy. While in the courtroom he was filled with rage. The story is rather comical in retrospect but I believe he punched a bench and broke it. Rebecca cried tears of grief and was told to knock it off or she would be escorted out by a bailiff. By the time Ricky got to our house though, there was no sign of anything that happened in court. He looked much older than his 16 years and the maturity he exuded took me by surprise.

Ricky's story matched that of what Rebecca told me the next morning when I met her at Ricky's school. She came to help make sure the guardianship information was transferred correctly from her to me. Then, on the following Saturday, I spent an hour talking with Angelica, Ricky's CPS caseworker. Everything I've been told by every player in this case (but the judge) points to huge errors being made.

"On paper" the goal is reunification. But Angelica has been very up front that she's not pushing for it in reality. She completely sees that Rebecca has been the best thing that has ever happened to Ricky. She even admitted that she was surprised the judge ruled the way he did. She assumed that he would simply chew Rebecca out for not being cooperative enough and keep things status quo. Angelica says she was as surprised as Ricky and Rebecca were by the ruling.

There are three things that can happen now.
  1. Ricky will age out of Care. He turns 17 in less than a month. He's barely got a year left before he can be on his own anyway. And with the snail-speed of The System, I'm afraid this is what is going to end up happening.
  2. Lola can sign her rights away. She has openly agreed to this. CPS is complicating things though and not making it easy for Lola to do this. But I've heard Ricky, Rebecca and Angelica ALL tell me that Lola is ready, willing and able to sign TPR on Ricky.
  3. Ricky can "play the game". He can make sure he goes to every single family visit whether he wants to go or not. He can start going to therapy. And then, the next time we go to court (Lord willing), the therapist will turn in notes stating that Ricky belongs back with Rebecca. And then (Lord willing), the judge will rule accordingly.
Ricky wants to be adopted by Rebecca. I'm sure Rebecca wants to adopt Ricky. And if Lola is willing to sign away her rights, I would like to see that happen. I think the Rebecca and Lola could draw up paperwork outside of CPS and it could happen faster than anything CPS could do. Rebecca is going to hire a lawyer I believe. But with this all happening during the holiday season, law offices have been closed and difficult to get ahold of.

Until the adults can make their next move though, Ricky does have to play the game. He's gone to two family visits and amazingly enough, his mom has shown up to both. (It's my understanding that she's somewhat hot and cold on this part of her plan.) Ricky is also starting therapy in a little over a week.

Thankfully Ricky is allowed as much phone contact with Rebecca as they want. Unfortunately they only get to see each other for 30 minutes at the end of the family visit each Saturday. But it is very apparent that she is his mom and primary caregiver. They have a healthy bond and it breaks my heart to see it being broken apart by CPS for no good reason! I'm going to do everything in my power to help "fix" this.

And while we wait for things to get fixed, I get to be Ricky's mom too. I told him he just has to deal with it - he's got three of us now. He grinned and started to give me grief about something! Ricky is fitting into our family wonderfully.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Miss Daisy

Miss Daisy came in to Care in early November. Her dad called 911 after he "tripped over something and dropped the baby". Daisy was rushed to the hospital and CPS got involved. She has been diagnosed with shaken baby syndrome.

My licensing agency initially placed Daisy with a brand new foster family. In fact, Daisy was their very first placement. I've been given limited details. Bottom line though, they were unable to meet all of Daisy's needs. Due to her injuries, Miss Daisy has a lot of medical appointments. Both the mom and dad in her first foster family work outside of the home. Miss Daisy was in day care and they had been relying on social workers at our agency to transport and handle many of the medical appointments instead of handling them themselves.

I haven't met her yet, but I've been told that Miss Daisy's lawyer is quite hands-on. It was the lawyer that demanded that Daisy be moved to a different foster family. Even though we had said yes to this transfer a few weeks ago, the actual call was a surprise to Mr. Amazing and I. Rainbow had indicated that the first foster family was doing better and we weren't going to be needed. However, I guess there was some sort of a court hearing and Daisy's lawyer demanded that Daisy be moved to a new home. She joined our family that very night.

So far Miss Daisy has been relatively easy to care for I guess. She has her moments - just like any baby. She doesn't sleep through the night. But that's normal for babies.

Due to her injuries, Daisy has two shunts in her brain. They have healed nicely but the bumps on her scalp draw a lot of curiosity. Daisy regressed horribly following her injury. According to Bio Mom and Dad, Daisy was crawling and pulling herself up prior to the shaking. Now, she can barely hold her head up. Daisy is also blind due to detached retinas in both eyes. Thankfully Daisy breathes on her own and is able to take a bottle (and even solids) without problems.

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Now for the recent drama.

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Following her initial hospitalization, Daisy was referred to a retina specialist to have surgery on both eyes. The surgery was to remove pooled blood and a membrane that is like thin scar tissue that had formed over each eye.

Policy in Texas states that a judge has to formally give permission for any procedure that requires general anesthesia. I do not know who dropped the ball. CPS? My agency? The first foster family? But when permission was granted for the surgery, they only had the judge sign paperwork for one of the eyes. Daisy had surgery on her right eye about two weeks ago. I was told when she came that "they" were simply waiting for appropriate paperwork from the retina specialist so they could get the judge to sign off on surgery for the left eye.

Well, I managed to get a follow-up scheduled for Daisy to see the retina specialist so they could examine her eye that had been repaired. (For reasons that I do not know, this follow-up appointment was not communicated to me at the time of placement. I had to call and schedule it myself.) After waiting a couple hours I finally got to see a doctor. I had to grip my hands tight and do everything I could to remain seated while they examined Daisy. It was beyond grueling. The screaming from Miss Daisy cut me to the bone. It was explained to me that they had to use a speculum to hold her eye open and then (after numbing drops were applied) use a wire to help examine the eye. The sounds of fear and anguish coming from Daisy were nearly impossible to listen to. I sat there and cried myself.

Then the doctor that examined her told me that he was not the one that had performed her first surgery. He told me that the eye that had been operated on looked good. He then said that the other eye had been healing nicely and most likely no longer "qualified" for surgery. This is problematic though. One eye is now clear and the other eye is cloudy. There is a chance that her brain could now shut off (for lack of a better explanation) communication to the bad eye. The doctor said he wanted the surgeon that worked on Daisy to examine her as well to see if he came to the same conclusion.

After a few minutes a VERY ANGRY doctor walked into the examination room. In no uncertain terms did he make it clear that someone had dropped the ball. These two surgeries were to have been performed 1-3 days apart from each other.

Paperwork - nothing but paperwork - has now caused Daisy to potentially lose sight permanently.

Again, I sat in the corner and cried while Doctor #2 examined Daisy's eyes. He said the same thing as Doctor #1. The eye that had been repaired looked very good. The second eye no longer "qualified" (???) for surgery. It's healing well. But it's not as clear as it should be.

So many people should have caught this. The first foster family should have known that the surgeries were to be done one right after the other (only days apart). The first foster family should have FOUGHT to get the judge to sign the appropriate paperwork. No one should have simply assumed that anyone else was taking care of this. All the people responsible for keeping Daisy safe failed.

Doctor #2 said that they will monitor Daisy closely. She may need a different surgery in the future.

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So here's my note to new foster parents...
YOU HAVE TO ADVOCATE! You have to do things that don't seem like they are in your "job description". You cannot trust that CPS is doing it. You cannot trust that your licensing agency is doing it. You're going to have to beat down doors yourself. What happened to Daisy is inexcusable. Whoever it was that sat in the office when her first surgery was scheduled should have known that both surgeries needed to be scheduled right then and there. Then, if the paperwork from the judge wasn't right, that person needed to be calling anyone that breathes and knows about the case to get new paperwork signed.

Don't foster if you're not prepared to fight. Please. Just don't do it.

These kids need us in their corner ready to take on Goliath. And even though The System is supposed to be in that same corner, often times they aren't.

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I covet your prayers for Daisy (and our family). She has a lot of healing to do and lots of specialists to see. I'm going to be busy spending a lot of time in waiting rooms over the next few months. Her retina doctor did say that the potential for permanent damage is now there because both eyes weren't operated on in a timely fashion. But he also said that there are too many variables at play and Daisy IS healing well. I pray that miracles happen for Miss Daisy. Thank you for your continued prayer.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

How this has affected my kids - Part 3

A long time ago, a reader posed this question to me:
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. 
I found it easy to write about Cherubs 1 and 3. Simply put though, I have avoided writing about TT's response to our fostering. This will be the most challenging post I've written in awhile. I can't seem to capture the complexity of it all in my mind - let alone on paper. But, I don't break promises and I've found already that I'm simply avoiding blogging because I feel like I should answer this question first. And now that we've got two new cherubs in the house...there is a TON of blogging material to write about! So, I'll try to explain how our fostering adventure has affected Cherub 2.

First, I'll give a refresher on TT. He was adopted through the foster care system when we did this back in Iowa many years ago. His story is VERY unique though!! He was not the subject of substance abuse, physical abuse or neglect. Instead, his biological mom AND dad made a unique adoption plan of sorts.

We don't have all the details. I was too young and naive to push for more. In retrospect, I wish I had asked (demanded) for an open adoption. What I'm stuck with now are bits and pieces that the social worker told me.

We believe that TT's first mom kept her pregnancy a secret. That in and of itself is traumatic for a growing baby. It is incredibly stressful to a person when they keep a secret of that magnitude. You can almost imagine that while TT was being formed inside his mom, he was swimming in a pool of cortisol - the stress hormone. That helped to shape his personality!

TT's first parents drove together across the border from Minnesota in to Iowa to give birth. I don't know how long they actually stayed in the hospital but I believe they were gone by the time I met TT less than 24 hours after he was born. While in the hospital though, they made it immediately clear that they were not going to parent this child. After discussing their options with the social worker, they decided to not take advantage of Iowa's Safe Haven law but to formally relinquish their rights. It was to be better for TT to do it this way.

ALL adoption starts with unfathomable loss. It is important to understand that TT sees everything we're doing through that lens. He identifies with the children that come in to our home in a way that the others simply cannot. However, because he didn't suffer abuse or neglect, his story is radically different. In a way, that makes it even more difficult for him. He's too young to fully understand why he feels the connection the way he does.

TT has a profound level of compassion. I'll take just a moment here to brag on my kids.  :)  Herman and Bart are very, very bright children. But TT, well...he is gifted. His moral compass is higher. The way he thinks is different. So many of our schools do not understand what a truly gifted child is. Google it if you want. It's not being smart. It's not doing well on tests. It is a different way of thinking. And TT is very gifted!!

When bio parents don't make their visits TT is personally crushed. He's angry on a different level from the others because he relates. He revisits his own feelings of loss and abandonment each and every time.

When children are in danger (ie: drug needles coming in to our house after a visit or just thinking about what brought Daisy into our home), TT wants to fight and protect in a deeper, stronger way than the others.

And every time a foster child in our home feels sad, TT relates. Emotionally it is crushing to me to watch a foster child struggle with what is happening to them. For TT though, it is even more profound. I know that I personally feel physical pain in my heart. (Literally. I ache sometimes.) I can only imagine that TT's reaction is bigger.

So fostering is VERY difficult for TT.

But then, there is the flip side.

TT wanted to watch the movie The Blind Side after the Super Bowl last year. The story of Michael Orr captivated him. TT is always intrigued to learn about adults that were adopted. And with two prominent men in the Super Bowl last year having their stories spilled out in the news, TT wanted to know more.

We discussed with him that the movie would be triggering. We told him it might not be easy to watch. He wanted to do it anyway. I made sure to stay by his side through it all. I held him when it got difficult and he cried. As the movie was ending, through his tears TT said, "There are more people that feel like me. I want to help more."

When Dude and Dolly left TT and I reacted the strongest. I encourage TT to let it out whenever possible. If he doesn't feel his big feelings, they always end up spilling out in an angry rage. When I can get him to feel AND express his sadness (or jealousy, or fatigue, or frustration, etc.) he seems to handle life much better. We do A LOT of discussion about feelings in our house. (Boys in general tend to funnel all their feelings into either happiness or anger. I've worked with ALL my kids since they could talk about the variety of feelings, their names, and healthy ways to manage them.)

Every phone call ripped TT to pieces. It was like pulling a scab off and revealing a raw wound every single time. It was difficult to heal; in no way could we console TT with the idea that Dude and Dolly were now happy and safe. (I will not lie to my children.) When Pumpkin left TT was happy for her. In fact, he often said, "It is good. She is with her family." That statement has a lot of weight for a kid that is adopted. TT tried to convince himself the same with with Dude and Dolly - but since that conflicted with reality, he never felt comforted.

Big feelings have abounded since Ricky and Daisy joined our family. Out of all of us, TT was the most reluctant to foster again. We sort of forced his hand and talked him into being "ok" with the idea of Daisy about a month ago when we first heard about her. When we got the call for Ricky he was all for it. That was an easy "yes" for him. I'm not sure why. Maybe because he wasn't as worried about competing with a teenager. However, because of the wrongs in each case, fostering is still VERY difficult for TT.

TT is right in the middle of things though, and he generally has a positive attitude. I wish I could share with y'all the pictures I've taken of TT holding Daisy. Every time she cries he's right there by her side. And as far as he's concerned, Ricky is simply to be worshiped.

I worry A LOT that we might be making TT's life more difficult for him than we should be. I worry A LOT that fostering is too hard on him. I worry A LOT!

I wish there was a better way. Simply put though, we are in a fallen world and until the end, children will be hurt and they will need families like ours. If we hadn't answered the call, we wouldn't be TT's family. He needed us then (and now) just like Ricky and Daisy do.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wow!

I seriously do not know what to say. My mind has been racing a million miles an hour since Tuesday and my home has been turned upside-down.

Eventually I'll write about my two new kids. For now though, I'm a 42 year old woman that just got a 7 month old baby and I'm just a wee bit tired.

But if there's any question as to whether or not we should be doing this...

Mr. Amazing is a biologist. His goal every day is to help undo Man's damage to this planet and to help restore what God has given us. We live in a rather dangerous part of the country. One would think that a biologist would be a safe job. However, due to our location, Mr. Amazing has been around more gunfire here than when he served in the Armed Forces and fought in the Gulf War. As he was listening to another gun battle on Tuesday afternoon, he had a good "talk" with God. In fact, he demanded to know what his (our) purpose was down here. He told God he needed to understand. Why are we here? What are we supposed to be doing? (With Dude and Dolly gone it's been difficult on so many levels.)

Less than 45 minutes after Mr. Amazing pleaded for an immediate answer to his prayer, I got the call for Ricky. About an hour after that phone call, another person in my agency called me about Daisy.

Our purpose is very clear.

God is so good!

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As upside-down as our house is right now, we all have a peace about things that transcends mortal understanding. He is revealing Himself to us and we know we made the right decision to bring these two kids into our Crazy House.

Daisy needs a family that is going to advocate for her special needs. We are that family. I spent most of the day yesterday trying to track down records, make medical appointments and start putting her paperwork in order.

Ricky needs a family that is going to advocate for his best interests. Take every positive adjective you can think of and you've got my Ricky. He's smart, mature, responsible, respectful, strong, and oh so much more. He's also confused, devastated, and wounded by the recent decisions of CPS in his life. If we had said "no", he was going to be placed out of our area -- miles away from his friends, his school and the dive team he's a member of. There wasn't a single other foster family willing to take a teen boy the week before Christmas. With us, he's able to stay in the same high school. If he had been moved elsewhere, it's likely he would have not survived this tragedy still using those same positive adjectives above to describe him. With us, he has hope. (His words - not mine.)

God is so good!

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I thank you all for your prayers. Please keep them coming. This is a pretty huge adjustment. My schedule is packed again. Daisy alone is going to keep me hopping with all her medical appointments.

And eventually I'm going to grieve Dude and Dolly all over again. We're technically still in their case. And in some small way, I feel like I'm betraying them by fostering again. I know I'm not. But I still hurt quite deeply.

Never in a million years did I honestly believe that we'd foster in Texas again. But God kept our home open for a reason. Maybe, just maybe, that's why the judge said the things he did. Because if we had lost all hope on Dude and Dolly and had closed our home, we wouldn't have gotten the calls for Daisy and Ricky. And right now, Daisy and Ricky are exactly where they need to be.

I hope all this makes more sense on the other side of heaven. I still question God and why He called us to THIS ministry. It's not easy! But it is good.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

We said yes.

Two children joined The Crazy House tonight. And no...they aren't Dude and Dolly.

Things were busy in court earlier. It seems that Daisy really did need us. 

And so does a 16 year old boy named "Ricky". 

I'm running on fumes and emotionally I'm spent. But God has got us covered. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Why I do THIS

This is NOT a post where I'm trying to make myself or my family look all "saintly and wonderful". The purpose of this post though is to encourage any reader that has been only thinking about foster care. I'm going to share what happened in our house the last four days.

Early last week I got a phone call from my agency asking if we would be willing to do respite for two teen boys. The timing was OK and we knew one of the boys so we agreed. I always fly this stuff by Herman as he's tasked with helping entertain our guest(s) when we have teen boys over. He always says yes.

On Thursday, the day the boys were supposed to come, I called in to my agency to find out for sure what time they would be arriving. Unfortunately, one of the teens ran away the night prior; only one boy would be coming.  It just happened to be a boy that came a few months prior, Drake. I knew his stay would be easy and uneventful.

Drake arrived Thursday night. We pretty much just went about the usual routine.

Friday morning, we had to wake early so that he could get picked up for school. Drake lives over an hour away and someone from our agency was picking him up to do the transport. Typically foster parents (and respite parents) are supposed to do all transport. However, in cases like this, when they know transportation may make or break whether a family will help with respite or not, my agency will offer to drive. Drake's agency worker brought him back Friday night right before supper.

Drake is a bit of a quirky child. He's chronologically 15 years old. However, if I had to guess on his emotional development I'd say he's probably around 10 or 11. He spent a lot of the weekend by my side. Herman was so awesome though. He filled our house with all his friends and everyone accepted Drake as one of the gang. Herman hangs with a pretty good group of boys. On Friday night everyone ate over and then we watched movies and popped popcorn. Even though Drake didn't have the attention span to sit through a movie, he kept saying how much fun he was having.

Saturday was pretty much more of the same. Herman had some school to do so he was off by himself for a bit. But Herman's friends came over and hung out with Drake. Through the course of the day, Drake heard a lot of conversation about the pending paintball gathering that was to happen on Sunday. Casually, Drake said to me, "I'd really like to go paintballing tomorrow too."

I felt a bit stuck. Financially I was already in the hole with this placement. Drake accidentally forgot to pack any shirts so we had gone shopping for some new ones for him. (We only get $10-20 per day to do respite and the kids are supposed to come with all they need.) Also, letting Drake go would mean that Herman would have to teach Drake how to do it and make sure that Drake was fully included. Herman just grinned and said he didn't mind. He promptly went to work finding shoes and clothes that Drake could wear.

The part that stunk for me was supervision of the event. When Herman goes, I simply drop him off and leave. But, due to the rules required by the State of Texas, Drake isn't allowed unsupervised time. Someone approved by our agency literally has to be with him all of the time. That meant I was going to have to hang out at the paintball field all day. Reluctantly, I agreed.

It was the best decision I've made in a long, long time.

I had a ball hanging out with all "my" kids. (All Herman's friends call me Mamma L***. In fact, one of his friends just introduced me to kids I don't know as his mom.) I tried to find a balance between watching the boys play and sitting in my vehicle playing on my phone. I didn't want to intrude too much but I had to be on the property if I was going to be following all the rules.

You could tell Drake had never had an experience like this one before. He was super shy and timid but the kids all included him and let him use their guns (which were better than the rental he got). I got a little worried because Herman is VERY social and he kept going all over talking to everyone. Drake kept to himself a lot.

But as the afternoon went on, Drake just grinned more and more. He must have thanked me a hundred times. The one that got me though was, "Thank you so much Mrs. Eldridge. Today has been the best day of my entire life."

Thirty dollars and about 7 hours of my time and Drake got to have the best day of his entire life.

This fostering stuff doesn't have to be difficult. Anyone can make a difference. If you're not in a place where you can care for a child all the time, sign up to do respite care. Help another foster family out. Not only do you get to bless another family, but you can change a child's life just by showing you care too.

Friday, December 6, 2013

When I get mad, I yell at God

We decorated the house for Christmas tonight. Bart put on the pink Santa hat so he could remember Dolly. Emotion was high when the ornament with our family picture on it from last year was pulled from the box. It was hard for me to be happy when it felt like two members of my family were missing. I didn't handle things well. I'm not a huge fan of decorating on the best of years. But I was more bratty tonight than normal.

My God is amazing though. He loves me no matter what – even if I'm a brat while decorating for His holiday.

And that's a good thing. Because tonight, as soon as we were done decorating, I had it out with Him again.

I simply do not understand what I'm supposed to be "doing".
And I'm not much for sitting around waiting.

God was very clear when it came time to intervene in the case with Dude & Dolly. We obeyed and hired a lawyer. Despite the chaos, I had a peace about things.

He was very clear a miracle was going to be worked on September 23. I do not know what that miracle was. My children were taken from me abruptly. And honestly, I'm OK not knowing what the miracle was. But it sure would be nice if I could see the full picture. Maybe God put someone in place in Dallas. Maybe God built Grandma up to a place where she wants the cherubs. I do not know. But I was told a miracle would happen and I have to trust that it did.

When the time came to decide whether we were going to stay "in" or drop "out" of the case, I didn't get much of an answer from God. In fact, He seemed quite distant. But at no time did I feel I was going against anything when we decided to be done.

Then we got the call for Daisy. Both my husband and I knew we were supposed to say yes. After we did, we both were told that He was pleased. In fact, almost immediately we each sensed that Daisy would not be coming to us but the whole point of getting the call was to see if we would obey and say yes.

But now...now what are we supposed to do?
  • Do we keep making the phone calls?
  • Do we stay in the case?
  • Should still be trying to advocate for Dude & Dolly? If so, what does that look like? I feel so helpless and so far away.
  • Are we supposed to be taking new kids?
  • Is it OK to close our home and stop fostering?
  • Or are we supposed to find a cherub or two that is waiting for adoption?
So I had it out with God. I wish He would just send me a fax or something. Drop me a line. Give me a clue. Because I'm tired of hurting. I want my kids back and I just don't think it's going to happen. I just want to do what He wants me to do. And right now, I've got no idea what that is. And waiting around simply sucks.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Conversations at my agency tonight

Because our house is still "open" - we still have to take training classes. The State of Texas requires that we take the exact same trainings year after year (over and over and over and over). I was due for my Behavior Intervention 3 & 4 classes. Needless to say, there were a LOT of "big feelings" as I drove my car an hour away to go take trainings so I can keep my house open for kids that are no longer with me.

Once there I saw Rainbow. We chatted for a bit. It seems the foster family that currently has Daisy understands the seriousness of the matter and has made arrangements to take time off of work for her necessary surgeries. (As of now, both eyes need surgery - separately. There will also be follow up appointments and possible other complications that will involve medical appointments as Daisy ages.) Anyway...Rainbow knows that we will take Daisy but she has faith in the current family. Odds are Daisy won't be joining the Crazy House Clan.

Then I sat through the training.

--- snooze ---

After we wrapped up I sat and chatted with the training instructor - who just happens to be the placing coordinator at my agency. She's a young thing (I'm guessing around mid-20s). She is not a parent. In my opinion, I think that makes it a little difficult for her to lead parenting classes. But that's a rant for another day.

She doesn't have as much confidence in Daisy's current foster family as Rainbow does.
So maybe Daisy will be coming????

The placing coordinator also begged me to open our house back up. She said Rainbow has gone on and on about how wonderful we are. She says they've been getting a lot of placement calls lately, especially for teens.

I may or may not have ended the conversation like this, "We'd be open to taking a 'basic' teen boy. Not a 'moderate' or a 'specialized'...but maybe a 'basic'."

The look of excitement on the placement coordinator's face was sweet. She said, "Really?!"

Then I said, "No!! We're closed." Then I laughed that laugh. You know the one...the laugh where it's obvious I'm crazy when I say our house is going to be closed forever.

She said she'll talk to Rainbow and then she'll be in touch.