Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A big welcome to Russell

TT and Bart are displaying all sorts of anxious nervous behaviors. The non-stop chatter and nonsense gibber-gabber is almost enough to make me scream. But we'll get through this like we always do. It's never easy when a new member joins our family.

Russell came Monday night right after supper. The transition went quickly and smoothly for life in Foster Care Land.

Russell is a teeny-tiny 20 month old little boy. Not only is he recovering from some rather significant injuries, he is also diagnosed with failure to thrive (FTT) and Down's Syndrome (DS). A lot of people have asked questions and made comments on my FB page in regards to his size. I'll address some of those issues right now.

He is 27 inches long and, as of this morning, he weighs 16 pounds. Less than two months ago, he weighed in at only NINE pounds. Let me remind you...he is 20 months old!! He is incredibly tiny. I can put him in some 3-6 month clothes. All the new things I'm buying him are size 9 month and he's got plenty of grow room.

Yes, he is Hispanic. So yes, that can affect his overall size. No, I don't know how tall his biological parents are.

Yes, the Down's Syndrome can affect his height and overall growth curve. I know that his entire development is going to be behind. I plotted him on a DS growth curve this morning though and he's significantly below that (as in entirely off the chart by quite a bit).

He's growing now though like he should be. Russell came into Care February 12 after a stay in the hospital. No foster homes were open and willing to care for him at that time. Russell was moved to a shelter in Central Texas. Once in the shelter he started gaining almost a pound a week. That's pretty significant!!

Russell also suffered a tremendous amount of physical abuse. The cast is off his arm and the doctor told me this morning that we have to wait a few months for the body to, hopefully, realign the bones the way they should be.

He doesn't have cardiac problems that have been diagnosed. Still, the judge ordered him to see a cardiologist so an appointment has been made. We also have an appointment with an endocrinologist for a follow up. The pediatrician I took him to this morning didn't seem too concerned about the FTT. I've been given permission to take him off the Pediasure shakes he was on in the shelter and switch him to toddler formula. I've also been encouraged to feed him solids as much as possible. We have a follow-up in one month to see how he's progressing on the growth chart.

Russell has an older sister, age 3, who is placed with a relative. Russell's mom is also pregnant with a little girl and due to give birth in about two weeks.

As is typical for foster care, I'm sure this case is going to be quite the adventurous roller coaster ride. Bio Mom is in her very early 20's and speaks no English. Her boyfriend (not Russell's father) is in his late 30's and I have reason to believe he's not the kind of guy I want to associate with at all! (Ricky informed me that the gang signs in all the pictures on Boyfriend's FB page indicate that he is a member of a violent prison gang.) I have no idea what's going to happen to the new baby when she's born. Yes, we have room. But I'm not sure I'd be able to meet the needs of an addicted newborn (if she is...I do not know the status of Bio Mom's drug habits) AND all of Russell's needs AND all of the needs of my forever cherubs. I don't know if CPS is going to even remove the baby when she's born nor do I know if they're planning a kinship placement or foster care. We weren't told about the new baby when we accepted Russell so accepting her or not accepting her, if they ask, shouldn't affect his placement.

We don't have court again until sometime in June because all of the initial hearings happened when Russell was in the shelter. So basically I get to just go about getting all his services lined up. Doctor. Dentist. Specialists. Private therapies (PT, OT and ST). Early Childhood Intervention (ECI / Easter Seals). And because I've done this a few times now, I'm not nearly as thrown by all the steps involved to make this happen.

Got any questions?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your updates. Knowing you, we are all going to be learning a great deal about DS and other FTT/sbuse realities for young babies. BACA may be something you will appreciate from the other side of the fence with this families' situation. But I know that no matter how the situation develops Russell will be a positive situation living with you and your forevers.

Rhonda said...

Has the evil culprit who injured Russell been identified? If so, what is their status in the judicial system?

Cherub Mamma said...

Good question, Rhonda.

There were at least three adults living in the house with Russell (along with approximately seven other children). In my personal opinion, EVERY adult in the house is responsible for Russell not being fed correctly. Everyone should have seen how emaciated he was.

CPS suspects the boyfriend for the physical abuse...I think. He's currently in jail for possession of cocaine - set to be released in about 10 days. (I researched him in the Texas criminal database and found his file. CPS didn't really tell me anything about the boyfriend.)

However, this little boy was hurt more than once. (Multiple fractures in various stages of healing.) Again, the adults in the home had to have known he was being hurt and they did nothing about it. (Visible bruising as well as swelling.) Though, I guess, Mom did finally bring him in to the hospital when his arm swelled up so bad after a break.

NO ONE is saying anything about who abused Russell though. Bio Mom says she has NO IDEA how any of this happened. And on Bio Mom's FB page, she's all "we'll get through this...I love you forever" to her boyfriend.

I don't know if criminal charges have been filed against anyone. (And I might never know. CPS rarely shares this kind of information.)

kate said...

Every time I hear about adults who put their relationship with each other over the safety and well-being of their child, my mind is blown. I just don't understand it.

(Did you send big kudos to the shelter that started Russell's life book? I was really pleased he had that.)

Anonymous said...

Are you aware of any outrage or upset on the part of 'mom' or 'boyfriend' or 'dad' that Russell is in care? Or about elder sister being 'placed' by foster care or was it voluntarily by 'mom'?
Any sign Russell has used a sippy cup rather than bottle?
With one child in relative house and one in foster care is it automatic any new birth goes to foster care or does 'mom' get first priority to start with a new baby again until abuse/neglect happens to this one also?
How is sleep going now Russell has been with you a few more days? How are your forevers doing with their school work?
Thinking of you and sending good wishes and much appreciation.

Cherub Mamma said...

Answers to the questions above...

I have no idea how any of the adults really responded to the intervention of CPS in their lives. Mom won't say anything about Russell's bio dad. She gave a name but his whereabouts are unknown. The boyfriend (father to the baby girl about to be born) is currently in jail.

The older sister was originally placed with one relative. However, at the first Family Group Conference, this relative said she could not maintain the placement long-term so the little girl was moved to a different relative. Supposedly Bio Mom moved out of the house so big sister could live with the aunt.

I ASSUME that Bio Mom really didn't move out or that the aunt is probably allowing contact. I ASSUME that CPS is probably working hard to officially remove Big Sister and put her in formal foster care. (Please see and understand the word ASSUME there! CPS hasn't said much about Big Sister.)

As for the new baby...I ASSUME CPS is going to try and remove her at birth. I think that CPS is blaming the boyfriend for the physical abuse of Russell. And since he is the father of the newest baby (all three siblings in this group have a different bio dad), I believe that the State wants the newest sibling removed when she is born. But CPS hasn't said anything officially.

Russell slept better for two nights but then had a rough one again last night. It's hard to say for sure what the problem is. I just got his nebulizer today. I'm hoping that will help with congestion. I also just picked up an Rx for Zantac. That should help with upset tummy/reflux. It's pretty early in our relationship and he's so young...I don't have high expectations.

School work?! This week? Um...we've made it through math, spelling and some literature. That's about it. Hopefully next week is a little more in depth.

Cherub Mamma said...

I just realized I missed the question about the sippy cup...

To the best of my knowledge, Russell had ONLY been fed bottles by his bio mom his entire life. Once in the shelter they introduced solid foods. (Maybe Mom had already fed him some. But I don't think so.)
The shelter started him on a soft silicone nipple sippy cup. But Russell doesn't even really hold his own bottle yet so I'm not pushing a sippy cup. I'm working more on getting him to eat purees better. We'll get to a sippy cup later.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU. Clearly a long ahead for this baby. I do hope that the unborn babe being already on CPS radar will be protected prior to damage.
I never saw what Diva Ballerina's outcome was. If she recovered and left the hospital able to grow or simply went to peace. If it is within your scope can you update us please.
RE homeschooling,:Sounds like you actually got a lot done in a complex week. And if you look at the school year as a whole I bet you can see both boys have grown and learned a great deal about both real life and real life skills and also traditional text book stuff.
Thinking of you all the time!

Annie said...

Reading all of that, I guess I really can understand why workers burn out. Poor little children.

Just consider it all the upside of homeschooling - life comes first, as it should - and schooling is a part of it, not the drummer you have to march to.

Anonymous said...

If Russell's baby sister comes into your care I am certain you and your forevers will totally exceed the standards and hopes of care for each person in your household. You do an amazing job of caring for all the children who cross your doorway and set a loving example for the world.
Stacks of support and caring is sent from my home and from so many people around the world who learn so much from you.