Saturday, August 22, 2015

Leo left // court is coming for Russell & Star

Leo came and went in less than 24 hours. It was a bit of a whirlwind. I'm glad he didn't have to experience another move. He's been through enough in his very short life. But...I am going to have a chat with Rainbow tomorrow. I'm hoping she can show me his full file. If his current foster family doesn't step up and commit to adopting Leo, we are going to at least consider it.

There are a few aspects of older child adoption that we have to factor in. One of the biggest is how it will affect TT and Bart. Bart absolutely ADORES having babies and toddlers in the house. Bart honestly doesn't want to be the youngest child. I think if we had a placement here for several months/years that ended up in a place where adoption was an option, Bart and TT would be OK. But the idea of springing an older child into our home with the notion of "forever" there from the beginning...I'm sure we'd have a heaping load of behaviors from all three of the children.

And no. My forever kids aren't more "important" than a foster child. But I will factor in the dynamics of an addition to our family before I commit to it permanently.

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Bopper (our CPS worker) came to the house on Friday for her monthly home visit. She's a sweet young thing. Lord only knows why she chose social work as a profession though. She is a self-proclaimed scaredy-cat.

She told me she had to have some very difficult conversations with Sylvia (bio mom). Bopper didn't have this case from the beginning. And I guess she didn't realize fully that the goal has ALWAYS been family reunification with a secondary goal of relative conservatorship. Not sure why she didn't know this. But she didn't. And after reading through the whole file, Bopper had to staff the case with her supervisor again. After this staffing, she was able to officially change the goal in the case with Russell and Star. The goals are simply reversed now with the primary goal being relative conservatorship and the secondary goal being family reunification. Bopper said it was very hard to explain all this to Sylvia. (And no, it was not a language barrier thing. Bopper is fully bilingual.) She said that Sylvia simply doesn't understand why her kids are in Care. Sylvia cannot explain how ANY of the abuse happened to Russell. And let's be honest...this mother had to have known who was abusing Russell. A child can't have 15 fractures and nobody knows. Not to mention the fact that he was starving so badly and was covered in a layer of filth that CPS literally speculated meant he hadn't been bathed in months...if ever. (I'm sure he had been bathed. He had been hospitalized more than once for FTT over the course of the 17 months of his life before coming in to Care. But the pics of the filth caked on his body when he was removed do point to a serious amount of neglect.)
Russell is 1 here - taken from a relative's FB page 
What is going to make this very complicated is that there are NO relatives willing or able to care for Russell. And now that Russell and Star are in the same case, they work strongly against splitting the siblings up. So even though there is someone that wants to take Star, they're not being considered because they won't (or can't) take Russell.

So I pressed Bopper a little. It is very clear that CPS is not in favor of Russell (or Star) being reunified with Sylvia. And there are no relatives that can step in. I asked, "So what happens next? How long will you look for a relative?" In Russell's case, it would NOT be safe to send him to ANY relatives that he's known in the area since he was born. In my opinion, they are responsible for the neglect he suffered as well. You could physically see that he was wasting away before he came into foster care. Any relative in his life should have stepped in to protect him if they truly cared.

And I'm going to put this out there. I'm not in favor of relatives getting to just pop up out of nowhere after a case has been going on for some time. Yes...family staying with family can be a VERY good thing. But I don't think CPS should have to DIG for family just because they are distantly related. Not for Russell. Not for any kid. I totally understand that ICPC takes a long time. I totally understand that even moving kids across the state might take awhile. But Russell has been in Care since February. If he's got family that wants him, they should be stepping forward NOW. At least put their names in the hat. And there is no one.

I don't know what's going to happen. Bopper answered my question. She became guarded (as she should - case workers aren't supposed to speculate, I know that). But she answered that she doesn't want to "look" for relatives for very long.

I was blunt. I asked her, "So what if you don't find any relatives? The secondary goal is still family reunification. Will the kids just go back to Mom?"

Bopper bristled at that. I know she does NOT want Russell back with Mom. But the possibility of that happening is very much a reality. Her only answer is that any other goal changes (to TPR) would have to be made in court.

I have a feeling that Wednesday is going to be a very interesting day. I wish I didn't have to drag both babies with me to the courthouse. I'm going to want to be able to hear everything and I probably won't get to. For now though, I've been told that CPS is not recommending reunification and I can expect that both children will be staying with me this time around.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Taking two children to court: I wish you had a girl friend who could go with to help with the babies so you could hear. That would really make a huge difference. Could someone from BACA go with for that purpose?

I think there is a HUGE reason to consider all the preexisting people in a household before committing to any adoption. This is not about importance it is about ensuring you are not creating problems that don't need to exist. Additionally, in the next 5 years, you may also be asked to adopt the two foster children currently living with you. They will have particular needs as well if this comes to pass. There is a great deal to be considered with any adoption decision. I am glad you are being very thoughtful and you communicate exceptionally well in your blogs about why such decisions are not purely emotion driven. SO IMPORTANT and so educational! Part of what makes you so terrific.

What will happen when Ms Sylvia gets pregnant again? Will that child automatically be removed at birth or does it also have to experience neglect? I do know some parents do well with subsequent children but the failure on her part to understand why the babies were removed and the failure to acknowledge/understand that Russell was severely neglected and abused seems to indicate a possible major deficit regarding other human beings, and especially babies, being as real as she is. This is not a normative cultural teaching taught in her ancestral heritage. Sylvia's apparent disconnect on this might be part of what happened to her so far in her life but also does not bode well for the additional children she will conceive. And, the probability of more children is clearly quite high. If there are more children and if they are removed are you the first in line to be asked to care for such children assuming the child is born locally?
I really hope every person who reads your blog talks to their local and state and federal elected officials and raises questions about that is happening to the most vulnerable people in our country. How we act for babies and children and old people says so much about who we are as a nation. Something to consider when it is time to vote. And part of the tremendous good your blog does... raising awareness of the truth and reality.
Cheers and hugs and humongous good wishes!

Pam H. said...

Can I ask a question here? After reading the above comment from Anonymous, it raises a question that I've had for a long time. What I'm about to suggest is of course, not legal, so I'm not proposing that it be done outside the law, but what I'm asking is this question ethical or morally a possibility? (Am I totally wrong to think this way?)

When multiple children are removed from a home wouldn't it be possible for the mother and/or father to "voluntarily" have a tubal ligation/vasectomy until such a time when they are at a point in life where they can become productive mom's and/or dad's and have the surgery reversed?

Am I really wrong for wanting something like this to take place?

I'm not trying to say that all the dear foster children should not have been born - I'm not saying that at all -(I am prolife/antiabortion) I'm just saying that perhaps these mom's and dad's should have some serious birth control counseling so that they can be working harder to get the kids back they have already lost, rather than having more that they can't keep.

I know - I'm naive aren't I??? (smile)

Foster Mom - R said...

Oh how I wish a "common sense" rule could be applied... And such a scary sign that she doesn't understand why her kids are in care. Is a psych evaluation being done on her? What does it take to get one done there?

Reminds me of Sheila and her result was "she has no protective instincts where her children are concerned. She doesn't wish them harm but she does not feel a need to protect them."

Especially with his disability- they should JUMP at the chance to have him in an adoptive home without it taking years.... It's heart breaking.

And of course you need to consider the impact on your family. You have to make sure it's something you can manage without drowning in the effects of trauma and attachment!

Busy week for you! Prayers and positive thoughts as I know how hard court gets!

MamaFoster said...

From the adoptive mother of children who were born to a mom who just keeps having more and getting them taken away....I wish something could be done. BUT if she ever gets her life together I would want her to be able to have a child if she wanted. Slippery slope...just wish they could make her stop having sex some how.