They tell you stories about teenaged girls making up lies about the men in the home because they want moved. They tell you to expect the unexpected. You learn how to stay safe and how best to protect the new cherubs you're going to be caring for.
And then you hear things like, "Make them a part of your family. Bring them on vacations. Include them. Let these cherubs have the experiences they're unlikely to get anywhere else. Just let us know and we'll approve it. It's easy."
Under the trainer's breath you might hear, "Unless it conflicts with a visit. Then we have to work around that. But it's easy to do. You can travel and visits will get scheduled to accommodate."
But the big and loud party line is, "Include them. It's easy."
And then there is reality....
(I'm still really pissed off so this might be longer and wordier than absolutely necessary.)
Every summer I take my kids to my parents' house and they go to Cousins Camp. All the cousins over age two attend and many camp memories are made. My Genius Mother works very hard to plan wonderful excursions and fun things to do at home. This year camp is approximately five days long (I think) and it is filled with all kinds of exciting adventures. The kids are going on a scenic train ride, attending the Iowa State Fair, going to Living History Farms, and going swimming at a water park. I will not take this experience away from my kids. It's a trip we make every year.
This year I started by asking if I could bring Daisy with me. She's too young to really participate of course. But I believe she would be best cared for by me and I wanted to bring her along. However, it would involve missing one weekend visit (47 hours) with her biological mother, Kori.
CPS immediately told me no.
Then, after I pushed a little, they told me I could ask Kori. If she said yes, maybe the trip could be considered.
Kori prayed about it but didn't have a peace with it. She too said no.
So I altered my plans. I didn't want to put Daisy in respite care. I just don't feel comfortable placing her with a stranger for 12 days. I know it's probably not a big deal to some people. But to me, it is. So I changed my plans. I would drive my boys to the TX/OK border and drop them off with my mom. Daisy would ride along with me so that I could continue to meet all her needs and she would be with people she knows and are comfortable with. Then after I dropped TT and Bart off, we would turn around and head back home. Mr. CW didn't think this would be a problem at all. I even mentioned something about this short trip (less than 48 hours and within the state of Texas) to Daisy's lawyer. She seemed unphased.
But then reality hit.
Mr. CW asked his supervisor yesterday about the travel. Despite Texas minimum standards stating that "technically" I don't even have to ask permission for travel less than 48 hours long and within the state, I still have to ask. And then Mr. CW has to get an OK from his supervisor. Then a travel log goes to the lawyers to get signed. Then a judge has to sign his OK.
All for a two-day trip within the state.
Mr. CW's supervisor said NO.
Mr. CW pushed him a little. Supervisor still said NO. He said that Daisy's medical needs would be best met if she stayed here in respite care.
Mr. CW even went so far as to remind Supervisor that Daisy is only a "moderate" and that Supervisor already made a big deal about Daisy's medical needs not being that concerning. Surely this two day travel could be approved.
Mr. CW reported to me that things got very intense and his supervisor actually got hot under the collar. It was a NO!! No travel allowed. Supervisor would rather Daisy go to respite care.
I cried. (Mr. CW felt so bad for me.)
I just want to take care of this baby in the manner that is best for her. But I can't do that at the expense of my forever kids. They get to go to Iowa.
They can't fly. Too expensive.
My parents can't drive all the way down here to get them. It takes too long.
And the idea of respite so I can drive for 10+ hours and then drive 10+ hours back home seemed ridiculous.
I have decided to do the thing I hate most. I'm putting Daisy in respite and I'm going to drive my boys all the way to Iowa myself, stay for vacation, and then drive back. Daisy will be out of my care for 12 days/11 nights.
I know it's only 12 days. But I'm sick, just a little, thinking about it. Would you put your baby in care with a stranger like that if you didn't have to?
I contacted a foster mom licensed through my agency that I know OK enough down here. Karen recently just opened her home again after being closed for awhile following a recent adoption. Our agency pays horribly for respite and Daisy has special needs. Karen agreed to take Daisy though for the time I am gone. She doesn't do this for the money and I take solace in that. Daisy definitely won't get the same level of personal care she gets while in my home. She will go to a strange day care. But I have to let go and be OK with that too. It's less than two weeks.
Thankfully my new licensing agency worker ('cause yeah...I've got a new one again), has no problem with Daisy going to Karen's house for respite. All I have to do is send her the dates and she'll take care of the necessary paperwork.
It just kills me this is how it worked out though.
It's not necessary.
Even the minimum standards don't make it sound that difficult to travel.
Foster care sucks!!
For those of you wondering why Mr. Amazing can't just watch her...
- Daisy would have to go to a strange day care during the day anyway.
- We would have to pay for this strange day care out of our own pockets and it would be expensive.
- She will be horribly "messed up" in the evenings and probably won't settle down for Mr. Amazing because she will still wonder where I am and where her brothers are.
- Being messed up like this will cause her sleep to become horribly disruptive.
- Mr. Amazing needs his sleep so he can stay safe on his job (which is getting increasingly more dangerous by the day).
- In the long run, respite care costs us less and will disrupt Daisy less than bouncing back and forth between a new day care and an empty home with just Mr. Amazing.