So, with that, I think it's VERY important that everyone understand some key points.
I do not have some kind of savior complex. I don't foster so I can "save kids" from a life of poverty or convert them to Christianity.
I foster because it's the right thing to do.
I just happen to be a Christian. And I do tell the children in my home why I believe what I do.
But that's not my main focus.
I've always said I wanted to help families stay together. I never intended on fostering with the goal of permanently adding to our family. In fact, when we got the call about TT many years ago, they had to fix our paperwork and mark the "adoption" box on our home study after he was placed.
That said, I don't fault people for fostering and adopting. I just think it's really important for everyone to understand that CPS is not an adoption agency. The goal of CPS should always be to keep families together.
And even though families should often stay together, goodbyes suck.
I think one of the biggest reasons my anxiety gets all out of whack is because of the incredible amount of UNKNOWN as things move forward.
- Is the State going to seriously consider Russell's grandparents?
- Are the grandparents going to take both kids?
- What will happen to Star if they don't take both kids?
- Is the State going to do unsupervised visits before the move?
- How long is this going to drag out?
- Is anyone going to explain to the grandparents what it means to parent a child with Down syndrome? Is anyone going to explain Russell's special needs?
- Do I need to start tidying up all the laundry? I mean, laundry is always clean in my house. But it's not always sorted and put away. Do I need to have the kids packed and ready to go on February 16?
- Should I go out and buy boxes for all the toys that I'll be sending?
- What if they take only Russell? Oh shit. I've got to separate out the toys...some for Russell and some for Star.
- I don't want to buy boxes if they aren't going anywhere. But I don't want to scramble last minute either.
- What if the lawyer says they need to stay with me until after we get the results from the geneticist? Is it really necessary to drag the case out like that? I mean...if the kids are going to move, what's the point of keeping them here. Move them now and let them get settled.
And I'm really a shit or get off the pot kind of person. I've seen this in too many of the cases I've had down here. NOTHING changes. CPS just keeps the kids with me and pushes paperwork around. Different services aren't offered to the bio families. They certainly don't do anything to support kinship placements. So the kids hang out with me for basically no reason. If they're going move the kids...just move them already.
I used to get really angry about this in Dude and Dolly's case. Absolutely NOTHING changed at Grandma N's house in Dallas from the VERY first day the kids were placed with me until they were moved to Grandma's house 27 months later. And yes, the kids were safe with me. They were loved. They got to do things that a lot of kids in their situation would never have gotten to do. But did it really make sense to drag the case out for 27 months when NOTHING ever changed?! Grandma wasn't offered any kind of services to prepare for them. Grandma wasn't offered a stipend to care for them. Nobody wanted the kids to go to Grandma's except Minnie (the caseworker) so things got drug out. I'm not 100% convinced that keeping them here with me did any favors for the children. Foster care, even in the most stable and loving homes, is traumatic. When their mom walked away, the State should have done something. Either Grandma N was a good placement or she wasn't.
Obviously...she wasn't the best of placements.
Again, I don't fault her for getting sick. That is not her fault nor could it have been predicted. But the fact that she just dumped the kids back into the hands of CPS tells me that she didn't have a support system and that she probably wasn't equipped to parent those kids ever.
But that was my opinion all along. Those kids didn't belong with that grandma.
So you can imagine that I've got some stress now that they want to take a child that was VIOLENTLY abused and move him to grandparents that have never known him.
I've been down this exact same road before.
Grandma N hadn't seen Dude and Dolly in years when they came in to Care. They didn't know her at all. She just felt obligated to "keep them out of foster care and adoption".
Russell's grandparents don't know him. He turns 2.5 this Thursday. They didn't see him but one time the first 17 months of his life. They evaded calls from CPS and lied about their son when they found out Russell was in Care. But now they want him?
I question that.
I'm not going to go into all the details here why I question this placement with the Russell's grandparents. In general, I've been told they are nice people with good intentions. But they failed their first home study. Not with a giant red flag that screamed Russell would get abused again...but with quite a few little red flags that point to the fact the placement of Russell in their home might not be a good thing. Especially long term.
And Russell needs someone that is going to commit to him for a lifetime.
Not just age 18. A full lifetime.
So I'm scared shitless. Some of it is about me and my own emotions and selfishness. Some of it is about Russell and his safety and worries I have for him long-term.
I'm going to practice self-care as much as I possibly can. I allowed myself to wallow yesterday. The babies were both sick and they wanted to be held. I held them and I cried a lot.
Yes. Some of this is about me. I love these kids. I love them like they're my own.
But they aren't mine. And I do know that. I do not cry because I believe they should stay with me. I cry because foster care isn't fair to anyone involved. Not the family of origin. Not the foster parents. And certainly not the children.
Foster care just plain sucks.
So I will take care of myself. And because I've got a good relationship with Bopper and Ms. Remus, I will probably try to get as many of my questions answered. I'm going to pray like crazy. I want the decision makers in this case to do their jobs well.
And I'll pick myself up. And we will move forward.
The babies might be here a few more weeks...a few more months...or forever. I've got to be OK with any of those outcomes. And somehow, I know I will be. Because ultimately it's not about me. It IS about these kids and doing what's best for them. I hope CPS can truly figure that out this time around.