The babies have been here for almost four months. We've finally settled into a pretty decent routine on most days. They each sleep through the night more often than not. They turn to us for comfort. It's exhausting. But it's working.
The babies' parents still don't have a visit schedule. I have NO idea why CPS is allowing the nonsense. I guess it's probably because I accommodate it whenever possible.
For example, they had a visit last Saturday, May 6. Mom looked me in the eye and said she was going to go home and look at Dad's work schedule. She told me she'd call the monitoring company to set up the next visit either yet that afternoon or first thing on Monday. They are court ordered to get four hours each week. They can have two 2-hour visits or one 4-hour visit.
She waited until Thursday the 11th to ask for a visit on Saturday the 13th.
I was mad. But I said yes.
Visits with their parents are roughly weekly. They've been doing them on the weekends for four hours at a time. They meet at a Burger King. When it's over, the boys are always incredibly tired and overstimulated. They handle the transition to and from the visits well, though. It's frustrating to me that Mom & Dad insist on always scheduling afternoon visits. But...I'm just the foster parent. It's not my place to do anything more than inform people that the time is difficult for the kids. I have informed. But I'm not going to do anything else. When the visits run until 5:00pm, the boys often cry from the time they get home until bedtime. Not having a nap just wears them out. I do what I can to fill that time and bedtime often comes early. The boys are usually a little out of sorts the next day. By the day after that, they're generally back to "normal". Visits are hard. They just are. They're necessary, though. Which is why I refuse to complain or try to do anything else. It simply isn't my place. Because let's be honest - even if the visits were at a different time, four hours in a Burger King would still be hard. The visit venue isn't going to change. So I might as well just suck it up and deal with it.
The boys are video chatting with their family in California about two times a week. Nothing is official yet in the case. I've been told that it's likely the goal will change on the 23rd, when we go to court next, to "relative conservatorship". Rights won't be terminated. The paternal aunt and uncle will be given permanent custody...eventually.
I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like Auntie Carla!! I can't imagine how disappointing this is for their family. She shows an amazing balance between supporting the babies' parents and not making ANY excuses for their behavior. The family is going to be an awesome resource for the babies!!
ICPC takes forever, though. We all know it could easily be six months to a year before the babies are moved to California. And that's providing the judge allows the goal change. He should. But...this IS foster care and absolutely anything could happen! They will have to go through an official home study. It will have to be approved by Texas. Things will go back and forth between the two states for awhile. Then, and only then, will the babies move.
Whiz is really starting to show an increased amount of anxiety in strange situations. When the babies first came, I took them almost nowhere...just to visits and occasionally out shopping with me. We didn't go out to dinner and we never got together with anyone else. It's obvious Whiz is aware when people (i.e. social workers) are talking about him. He's very aware of his surroundings! I kept his world small.
Yesterday I took them to get their pictures taken. We were the ONLY people in the studio. He had been fed. He wasn't tired. And still - Whiz freaked out by the end. I had him in the new (and quite comfortable) double stroller. He started screaming. This is very uncharacteristic for him. I tried to shush him. I tried to hold him. He didn't calm down though. He got more and more dysregulated. Then, right after I buckled him into his carseat, he vomited all over himself.
Anxiety barf is nasty!!
I said something about Whiz's ability to barf on command to Mom, yesterday. She laughed and said he's been that way his whole life.
I called ECI for Whiz this week. His language delays are becoming more and more concerning to me.
He knows that language has meaning. And my gut tells me that he's developmentally advanced when it comes to his receptive language.
But his expressive language is VERY far behind.
Granted, he's using sign language. So he does have spontaneous speech. That is good! But he simply can't repeat basic sounds back to form words. For example, we read a book called The Belly Button Book. It's hilarious and says that hippos call their bellybutton a Bee Bo. Try as Whiz might, he can't repeat the sounds "bee bo". He turns two years old on July 2. He should be able to repeat basic sounds like that.
So as much as I DO NOT want to fill my schedule up with therapists, I think it's time to have an evaluation done and get a professional involved. I'm not really thinking that they're going to make that huge of a difference. But if I'm missing something important here, or if having a Dx helps Auntie Carla get a stipend when the boys move...I need a professional involved.
I'm also thinking both boys need to see a doctor to be evaluated for FASD. I'm not convinced that either boy has the physical markers. But I'm not a professional. Both boys are tiny. According to my calculations, Whiz is in the 3rd percentile for height. I was told by CPS that Whiz has a heart murmur...or at least that he was born with one. Neither boy has language they way they should. Granted, Rex is only two weeks away from turning one. I was told by at least one speech therapist that "normal" development is one word at one. Rex does not have anything close to speech. He barely babbles. He isn't picking up sign. And he almost never uses anything but crying to get our attention. (Which, by the way, is very exhausting some days!) I do know that Rex was born five weeks early. So maybe that's playing into some of his developmental issues. Either way...I'd like it ruled out.
Mom also told me that two of her other children (Whiz and Rex have three half-siblings that live elsewhere) have an autism diagnosis. I double checked with My Genius Brother. He agreed with me, FASD and autism have many symptoms that cross-over. A doctor that doesn't do a thorough exam could easily diagnose a kid with autism when it's really trauma and FASD.
The next court hearing is May 23rd. Like always, I will have to bring the kids with me. Even if they are excused, I will probably go to court. I want to know what's really going on. I want to hear what the lawyers actually have to say in this case. I want to know exactly what the judge has to say about the ICPC. I don't trust CPS to tell me much. Their current worker is an odd one. I can't quite put my finger on her. She seems good enough...but distracted.
We survived Mother's Day. On Saturday, I had Whiz carry the bag in for his Mom with the photos that I had taken of the boys. I framed a 10x13 of the two babies together for Mom. Part of the Portraits Innovations package included some greeting cards. I printed those up with the "package photo" along with an individual shot of each kid. The front of the cards read "Happy Father's Day. Love, Whiz & Rex." I framed one of the cards for Dad and included it in the gift bag. That seemed to confuse Dad. He seemed disappointed that the extra greeting cards said "Father's Day" on them. I tried to explain it was part of the package and I included all the other sizes of the package photo in an envelope for them so they could give those to family members. I'm not sure he understood. Either way, I'm done with Mother's Day and Father's Day for the babies' parents. I'm having the 16x20 canvas photo that was part of the package deal sent to Auntie Carla, in California.
And that about sums things up with what's going on with the babies. I'll try to write something about my forevers later this week.