I'm super tired and worn out but I'll word vomit this to try and capture all that happened today.
At 9:00am I got a text message from the company that will be supervising visits with Captain, Pirate, Tinkerbell and their bio parents. I didn't know anything was being scheduled for today so my afternoon had to get rearranged a bit. I started preparing myself for the emotions that come with the first visit. I'm not a robot. It's never easy for me. I have to trust that the kids I've been caring for are going to have their needs met by the very person (at least partially) responsible for their neglect and/or abuse.
At 12:00pm I got an unknown local phone call. I answered and heard a familiar voice. It was Emilia, Ricky's old caseworker from CPS. I knew she had transferred divisions at CPS and was in the department that handled the monitored returns. I even knew she was the worker over Daisy's case now that Daisy is back home with Kori. But I didn't make the connection until she asked me if we have room in our foster home.
Daisy...and her newborn baby sister...came back into foster care today.
Everything I knew about Kori and Bio Dad has been true all along. They have been in constant contact and Kori was letting Bio Dad see Daisy despite court orders against such contact. Also, Kori hasn't been cooperating fully with all the therapies that were court ordered to continue. Court was held today. And while most of the evidence was circumstantial, they had enough that the judge ordered immediate removal. They also decided there was enough concern to go to the home and remove baby Dandelion. (She's a cute little flower that popped up out of nowhere...LOL. And yes, both girls have the same daddy.)
I had to tell Emilia that our home is currently full. I cried.
She immediately apologized.
I told her not to apologize. I thanked her for calling me. Then I asked if I could have a few minutes before she moved on to calling anyone else. I said I wanted to call my husband. Immediately I thought that maybe we should disrupt our current placement so that we could take Daisy back.
Yes - disruption is bad. But here is my take. I have a longer bond with Daisy than I do with the new cherubs. I also believe that any "normal" foster home can provide adequate care for Captain, Pirate, and Tinkerbell. But Daisy needs a seriously special home that can effectively manage her special needs. There are more adequate homes than there are special homes.
So, I called my agency to see if a disruption would even be allowed. Rainbow put a call in to the director who was in a training up in Dallas.
Then I called Mr. Amazing.
I ruined his day.
Mr. Amazing still misses Miss Daisy with every fiber of his being. He misses her the way I miss Dude and Dolly. It's a full body ache.
And to know that she needs us now but we aren't likely going to get to be there for her?!
Then I just had to wait.
At around 1:30pm Rainbow called me back to let me know that the director was not in favor of a disruption. Everyone's hands were tied. There was nothing anyone would do to.
I called Emilia back. I told her that we wanted Daisy and Dandelion. I said if she could work a miracle I was all for it. I told her to talk to Kennedy, our current cherubs' worker. I said that Daisy needs a home equipped and ready to meet her special needs. I said we were that home. I said that if she could even get a waiver we'd keep our current three and take the two new ones.
At 2:15 I left to go pick up Captain early from school. I dealt with that crazy mess. I went to day care to get Pirate. (I had hoped to actually accomplish a lot of homeschool today. I miserably failed at that endeavor.) I took the Never Never Land Kids to Burger King to their visit.
Wendy (Bio Mom) showed up at 3:00pm. The transition to the visit went well. I warned the supervisor of the visit that Tinkerbell doesn't know Schmee (Bio Dad) and that there might be more difficulties during his visit. She took my number and I left.
I then killed the next two hours blowing up my Facebook Cherub Mamma page, calling my mom, calling my sister, texting people, and trying to process all of my day. For fun, I even answered the phone when Kori called me.
Yeah. Kori called me.
The summary on that?! I let her have it. I told her that my home is full and I can't take her girls. (Yes, she wanted her girls to come to me.) I then proceeded, because the conversation led this way by her direction, to tell her that she needs to leave Bio Dad! I told her that her child almost DIED and that's a pretty serious thing. I said many things that I had told her before but I didn't censor myself at all this time. I told her she could forgive the man as a Christian woman because that's the right thing to do. But he hurt Daisy more than once and he has no business being in her life.
She listened. She cried. She tried to defend him. She tried to defend her decisions to stay with him.
I told her that now, because of her decisions, her innocent newborn baby is gone. And because Daisy can't come to me where she would at least have some continuity of care, she is at risk for mental illness...attachment disorders. I said that little kids can't have that many primary care givers. I said it's really, really bad for them!
She listened. She cried some more.
I actually told a white lie and said I had to go. I couldn't stay on the phone with her any longer. It was too hard for me. Kori needs a friend right now but I'm not in a place to be that friend. I listened and talked with her for at least 20 minutes. I'm not going to buddy up with Kori now though. I can't help her with her children. And I'm not going to listen to her defend that man without telling her how wrong it all is.
The whole situation made me so sick.
I ache for those girls who need their mommy. Why can't that mommy recognize what Bio Dad did to Daisy?! Why is she in such denial?!!
Mr. Amazing came home at 5:00pm. We went out to dinner with TT and Bart.
Big feelings were everywhere!
During dinner Kori called again. Out of curiosity I answered. She wanted to know if I knew anything about an emergency foster home...group home...or something. She was hard to hear over the din of the music in the restaurant. I deduced that the girls had been placed in a shelter. Kori hadn't been told where and I told her I knew nothing about it. She cried. I was pissed. I messaged Emilia to see where in this state the shelter was. I can't do anything about it but I was curious.
At 6:45pm we were headed down the road to pick up Captain, Pirate and Tinkerbell. I got a phone call from the visit supervisor. She said that Schmee wanted to end the visit early. Tinkerbell was crying. I laughed a little as I told the supervisor that the visit is over in 15 minutes and it's going to take me that long to get there.
I really hope Schmee flakes out soon if he's going to flake out.
The kids transitioned to me better than I thought they would. Tinkerbell even stayed awake in the car on the ride home. The boys showed off their new toys that Wendy had bought them. However, when I asked if they liked the visit, both boys said, "No."
Everyone handled the bedtime routine well. I was honestly incredibly surprised!!! I showered Pirate and Captain, read a story and tucked them in. Captain even used his strong words (something we're seriously working on now) to ask for Mr. Amazing to come up and tuck him in to bed too.
Oddly, both boys started calling me "Mom" or "Mommy" tonight. It was strange. I've always been Mamma L*** to them. I've also made it clear that they can just call me by my name. But after the visit I was Mommy.
There were hugs and kisses and no tears as we tucked them in and said goodnight.
Tinkerbell was exhausted. She took a bottle (something we dropped about a 7-10 days ago). I could tell she needed something and I wasn't sure if she had eaten or not. Since she can't talk, I thought offering her a bottle would be a good thing. She drained it and then fell asleep on my shoulder. I put her in bed without a fuss.
Late tonight Emilia texted me back. She said there is a new shelter in our local area. Both girls are there tonight and will remain there until a suitable home can be found. She tried to make me feel better by telling me the director of the shelter is an RN.
I said, "That's good to hear. I guess. But they need a FAMILY."
She responded, "Of course they do. But babies are difficult to place. Especially babies with special needs."
"I know!" I responded. "Which is why my heart aches right now. My family can do it."
Her hands are just as tied. She agrees that it would be in Daisy's best interests to be with us but "systems are systems" (her words).
I told her to let me know if anything changes...or if she finds any miracles up her sleeves.
Emilia said she's going to take a picture for me tomorrow when she visits the girls and brings them their medication. (Daisy has bad eczema again and is crawling with lice.)
And that was my day.
I think I got all the highlights.
Now to answer the questions that are sure to come up:
No. We can't have more than six children. The State of Texas only allows six total children in a home. Any more than that and you have to be licensed as a group home. And in my county, group homes have to have in-home sprinkler systems.
No. They won't make any exceptions to this rule.
Daisy's case still has the goal of reunification. Visits are going to take place in the CPS office two times a week. Kori gets another chance.
No. I won't be allowed to disrupt on my current cherubs. There is no way that I can see for Daisy to come back to me right now.
Yes. God is in control. Miracles can happen.
Emilia has assured me that she will give my contact information to the foster family that gets Daisy. Hopefully I'll be able to help them fully understand her needs.
And now I have to go. It's been a long day. I'm up way past my bedtime. This is probably full of typos. But Tinkerbell is crying and it's probably going to be a long night.