Friday, March 28, 2014

Visit drama

I made this post on FB last night:
I don't know if it's leftover trauma from being in the hospital, frustration from the visits, or just because...but Miss Daisy is having a rough time at bedtime every night. The inconsolable crying breaks my heart. Nothing seems to sooth her once the jammies go on. And it's so unlike her. Miss Daisy is usually so happy. I hope she snaps out of this soon.

Someone that reads FB but prefers to comment on the blog made this comment.
Hi grkanga!  :-)
Re Daisy acting out post visits and hospitalization. Talk to caseworker and see if her crying during visits is documented for court and ask how to document for caseworker the change in Daisy's behavior. MAYBE court will take it into consideration in what is ordered re visitation ... MAYBE the agency/caseworker can help reduce the stress on Daisy if it is shown to be harmful to the baby.
Although general what I saw was that since the baby is pre verbal the system assumes the child is unable to communicate at all. Might be worth a shot..... or not. 
Here's what I know so far about that...

I did talk to Mr. CW shortly after Daisy was released from the hospital. He made it clear that there is nothing they can really do about Daisy crying during visits. They need to see how Mom handles things - even things like Daisy crying.


Yesterday I got to the visit before Bio Mom did. The visit monitor came over to talk to me while we waited. She asked about the cuts on Daisy's head. I explained the surgeries that Daisy had and why she had been hospitalized.

The visit monitor then just started sharing. She seemed to be thinking out loud and said something along the lines of, "Oh yeah. This is the baby that cries during her visits." (Not that it applies directly to this story but I will point out that Daisy does not have the same visit monitor at every visit. It changes almost every single time.)

I told the visit monitor that I was aware of Daisy crying during a visit back in February. And I know Daisy cried at one in the hospital. But I had been told that Daisy had been doing really well lately.

She said, "No. No. It this week. Did Daisy have a visit on Tuesday?"

I said yes, she had a visit that day.

"Yes. That's right. I supervised it. I remember Daisy crying. Boy Mom doesn't know how to calm her down at all. I remember Tuesday, when she was crying, Mom grabbed some of those puff things and stuffed them in Daisy's mouth. Daisy choked a little."

I nearly choked myself. No child should have solid food shoved in their mouth when they are crying - let alone a brain damaged, visually impaired, globally delayed infant!!

I honestly did not know what to say.

I managed to stammer out a question though. "Do you document this?! Does CPS know how Daisy has been acting in the visits and how Mom is responding?!"

The visit monitor assured me that she documents everything.

I handed Daisy over to her bio mom when she arrived. I walked out the door and immediately called My Genius Sister. It's not like I really needed her input or anything. But, I think of her as my therapist. (Thank goodness she doesn't have a $25 co-pay!) I needed to word vomit before I called Mr. CW.

Then I called Mr. CW. I simply told him that I needed to express a new concern I've got about Daisy's visits. I told him what the monitor had told me. (Adding to all this was just the day before that I found out Bio Mom was feeding Daisy solids at all. I had called Mr. CW just 24 hours earlier to express a minor concern over solids in general.)

Thank God Mr. CW has a clue! He said he would drop what he was doing immediately and drive across town to the visit. He would look at the recent visit notes and talk to the monitor.

He did just that.

Butterflies attacked me as I drove back to CPS to pick Daisy up last night. I knew Mr. CW was going to address things but I didn't know HOW he was going to do it. Was he going to tell Bio Mom that *I* have a problem with things? Or was he going to tell Bio Mom the concerns more generally?

Bio Mom came out with Daisy and together we walked outside. She told me that again Daisy refused the bottle but that she did take a jar of baby food and some baby puff cereal. I didn't say much of anything. (I really hate confrontation. Plus, I know that Daisy ultimately is safe at these visits. They are closely monitored.)

But then Bio Mom started telling me that she was confused about my concerns toward solid food. I explained to her that I work with a speech pathologist almost two hours every week. The goals we are working on with Daisy include eating solids. Due to her developmental delay, you can't just shove food in her mouth. I explained that there are aspiration concerns and overall safety issues.

Bio Mom got incredibly nervous. I could tell this by the huge, fake smile on her face. I know what I was saying probably didn't make a lick of sense to her. Daisy looks adorable. And most of the time Daisy appears to be doing just fine eating solids. But there are a lot of subtleties to it that are lost on Mom. For example, Daisy just recently started actively taking the food off the spoon herself. And Daisy JUST learned how to move the puff cereal from the front of her mouth to the back all on her own. Chewing skills are emerging but are not there yet!!

Bio Mom made a nervous comment telling me that if I have any questions or concerns I can ask her directly.

As I started my answer, Mr. CW came out the door. He let me answer and just nodded along in agreement.
"I know it seems strange. But I have to take my concerns to Mr. CW first. Everything has to be documented properly. There is protocol to follow. If I simply tell you, and something bad happens, I can be held liable for not keeping CPS in the loop. It's also up to Mr. CW to decide what to tell you, and how to tell you, about any concerns I might have."
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate confrontation?

Thankfully Mr. CW backed me up completely and Bio Mom just sort of walked away.

Mr. CW and I walked toward our vehicles on the other side of the parking lot. He confirmed that the visit notes are there and that the monitor told him the same thing she told me. Daisy choked a little when Mom gave her the puffs because she was crying inconsolably.

There was NO mention of anything in the visits changing. Bio Mom is still going to be allowed to feed Daisy whatever she wants. But Mr. CW did say he would be addressing the safety issue at a later date. The only thing he told her yesterday was about my general concerns when it comes to feeding Daisy solids.


Visits are so tricky.

I honestly don't know what is going to happen next. Daisy choking on food isn't enough to change anything immediately.

I want to think that I'm overreacting here. That I'm being too dramatic. Maybe I am.

But Bio Mom is in denial about her daughter and it just becomes more and more apparent.

We have court on Tuesday. I'm glad the new courtroom has everyone on microphone. I'm not going to want to miss a word of what is covered.


Foster Mom - R said...

You are reacting like her Mom which is what she needs. Does the system think you are over reacting? Sure. In the grand scheme it won't change. But the documentation is what they need and that's what Bio Mom is giving them. Does it suck for Daisy, absolutely. And you have every right to react about that. Great answer to mom. Sounds like she's trying to duck the system which means she may be starting to realize she's in deep.

grkanga said...

I am a grandmother, old, and ex-foster mother. You are not over-reacting. The SYSTEM is running a game with Daisy as pawn documenting the parental errors. The system is assuming Daisy can and will recover from each and every parental error ... though the evidence doesn't support this assumption. This is common to the system and the lasting damage to children and their life coping skills or/and ability to trust anyone or anything is not part of the equation.
I think you and the other foster mothers who's blogs I read are doing a wonderful job. The fact that you share what is happening and make the children involved seen as human people is critical to creating change and improvement. I also think there are lots of good people trying to do the right thing for children in the system. Mr.CW is not alone, but neither is ms Minnie who ought to change professions. Our judges are also constrained by their human and legal limits. REALLY our laws and practices need to change.
It would be nice if the lawyers for children were able to be more pro-active and aware of their clients (the children), but they also face complications.
Share the truth everyone please. AND, Cherub Mom, THANK YOU for all you do and for fighting for a better world.

Meg0422 said...

Grkanga said it well. It sucks though when a child is removed from a home and is still subjected to danger in visits. Someone in there needs to know what's going on with the developmental stage and what's appropriate and safe for that particular child.

grkanga said...

Cannot post on FBk as not anonymous/safe. But the video feed is the sound of terror crying in my opinion.
Is she afraid of not being in a safe known place when she wakens? Is it worries of being moved to a strange place (hospital) that she cannot see where scary things happen that she cannot understand but causes nightmares? Can you tape your voice and play it so she keeps hearing it? Can you wrap her in a t-shirt of yours so it smells safe?
I bet she knows the smell of biomom and knows that is not safe which is why she cries at those visits. DO NOT do the wrap in your scent for bio visits.
She knows the pattern of your home and thus when the nighttime happens.
Hope you are able to get some rest. Concerned.

Emily Winner said...

I read on fb too and was just thinking... what about trying regular clothes for bed, that aren't pj's? Or maybe an "after dinner" change so she doesn't see the routine and freak out?

grkanga said...

MIGHT Daisy prefer going to sleep in a brightly lit room/space?
Counter to what works for most babies...but with such limited vision I am wondering. And, she is of the age where many children begin to fear darkness... You will know if that might help her.

Annie said...

It's all so sad. Solid foods ARE tricky (and especially with Daisy's special issues.) It does sound like mom is in denial - or, maybe just not able to take in individual needs. On the other hand, in some ways my heart goes out to her. I don't think I could behave wisely or normally or not do knee-jerk stupid things if someone was observing and taking notes when I interacted with my children. Yipes.

And, I wouldn't doubt for a bit that the visits cause Daisy deep-seated upset. Separation anxiety that could come out in fear of falling asleep. Poor little baby.

Also, just wondering if you think she could have been aware of her father, or heard his voice when you had that visit last week?

kate said...

The SYSTEM is running a game with Daisy as pawn documenting the parental errors. The system is assuming Daisy can and will recover from each and every parental error …

This was so concisely put. It is a game with Daisy getting pitched in there like a baseball over and over until biomom's strike count is high enough.

Except, she's not a baseball. Did they forget to tell the system that?