Archive for June, 2010

Quite possibly my last post for a while…

Posted by KK on Wednesday, 16 June, 2010

I have so much to do right now other than blog but in reality I am so totally over-prepared for what’s about to happen today I have decided to just relax a bit. Typically when you get a placement from DCS, you have absolutely no warning. They call, give you details on the child(ren) they are trying to place, and if you say “Yes, we’ll take them” they are literally on your doorstep with the child(ren) in 15 minutes or less. Of course those calls always come when you’re out of milk or groceries or diapers, etc., and the first thing you have to do (after you bring them in and bathe them & check their heads for lice, etc.) is load everybody up and go to Wal-Mart and spend way more money buying crap you don’t need than you ever dreamed. There is a huge adrenaline rush when someone new comes to your home that only other foster parents can relate to. This doesn’t help keep down the spending, either. You WILL go around buying useless stuff you think you might need all the while tossing in new baby dolls or trucks or pajamas or shoes other things to make your new little ones feel special and ease their grief. I have even bought dough nuts and cookies and other treats before that we never buy and my own children aren’t use to getting just because of the adrenaline. It’s amusing to me, not Jason. With our very first placement, a little 2 year old girl, I had nothing in her size in the way of clothes so we went out and in an hour I dropped $200 on clothes and shoes and a baby doll and sippy cups and all sorts of things. She left the next day and the government ended up paying us only $46.92 for the two days we had her. Oops. Well, it isn’t like we couldn’t reuse most of what we bought (except for the baby doll and new cup and outfit I sent her back in…I couldn’t help it.)

Today is different. Today we are getting two new children and I have known about it for a couple days now. Why? Well, one day I might even be able to admit that I have known for some time that these two were coming. It’s quite a neat story. I’ll start at the beginning.

On Wednesday, April 14th, I got a call from DCS about a little 15 month old boy who we now refer to on the internet and other public forums as “little J”. No sooner than I took the call, said yes, received the delivery, and gave him his “entry bath” (all which took place in under an hour) they called again asking if I wanted another one. It sounds horrible, I know, as if they’re baskets of fruit or something that you’re contemplating because you’re not sure if you’ll be able to eat it all before it spoils. I promise we do still call them by their names, though, and not by their child ID or social security numbers. This second call was for a 6 month old baby girl. Really? I mean…this is what we really wanted in the first place! I said yes (I didn’t even call Jason about this one) and began the process I do when I learn they’re bringing me a child: I run downstairs to my storage room in the basement and grab the tub with a label matching the gender, age & season for the child we’re taking and haul it upstairs and begin making a bed or setting up an appropriate bed and then getting a fitting car seat installed in my SUV. I don’t worry over placing clothes in drawers for the first few weeks because it is time often wasted because you never know how long they’ll be staying. So I did all this for the little girl and then got a call about 20 minutes later saying they decided to place her in another home (with a couple who actually live in my subdivision) because they feared I might be overwhelmed having just taken in little J an hour earlier. It was probably a good decision but it took me many weeks to admit that out loud. I really would have been fine. I love a challenge and can do almost anything but I may not have eaten anything or showered for a week. The aroma of the beef and cheese odor exuding from my armpits would have sustained me nutritionally until I was able to have a meal, though. So I went about undoing everything I had done in preparation for her and went about our evening with our new little man and we were very content.

That night, or rather Thursday morning, at about 2:30 am, I got a call. It was my RPSW (resource parent support worker) who was on call after hours this week. She had two more children ages 1 and 3 she was needing to place. After we talked a minute about their situation and I asked all my typical questions, I asked her to let me talk to Jason and call her back. I woke him up (this was a sight) and tried to get him coherent enough to understand my words by asking him his name and where he lives (the man works so hard that he sleeps like a ton of bricks…I fear the day a burglar pays us a visit). Jason and I talked a minute, weighed the pros and cons and made the decision. I called her back and asked her to do me a favor. I told her we would take the children, but that we were just a bit concerned because little J was in fact so new to us that we had really no idea what he had been through, what his demeanor was or how he was going to adjust, what he might need from us emotionally. I asked her to spend about 15 more minutes calling a couple other homes and if no one said yes then we would take them. She agreed and we ended the call. The time passes and I was laying wide awake and hadn’t heard from her. I sent her a text and she responded saying she had found them a home. I was relieved but also sad because I absolutely hate turning away a child. I had two open beds and I basically said no. I can be really dramatic if I let myself so I was really fighting hard against it. Jason woke me up early the next morning and asked “Honey, where did you put those kids?”. He had no idea what we had talked about or that they had been placed. I assume he fell right back asleep assuming I would have filled those beds by morning. I doubt he would have even woke up during the drop. I felt ok about it on Thursday and thought about those kids a lot and hoped they were doing well.

The next day (this is Friday now…ya’ll keepin’ up?), I got another call. It was the placement guy at our local DCS office calling me about the same two kids. Apparently, the foster home that took them in on Wednesday night bit off more than they could chew and had taken the day off work on Thursday to try and find day care and things for the kids and got in trouble with their employers. They wanted the kids to go to another home. If there is one thing that really hit home to me in our training classes, it’s that moving a child from one foster home to another is almost as traumatic as them being removed from their parents in the first place. It could have life long disadvantages for children who never find stability and love and security in a home. I think about this every time I get a call. I am not saying I won’t ever do it because who knows what might happen in our future and I know that sometimes it has to happen and there is no avoiding it, but it is absolutely the last thing I ever want to have to do. Luckily, these children had really only been in this home a day and a half so they had not even begun to stabilize there. By this time we had had little J for two days and he had proven to be a bit of a handful. He was immensely clingy and wanted to be held all day and cried a lot. He wouldn’t eat and it wasn’t until later that I realized he hadn’t been given much at all in the way of solid foods so I was introducing him to some stage two baby foods. I remember saying a prayer and thanking God for intervening with the baby girl, the one that we now refer to as “the one we almost had”. I was upset at the time but I never know what’s best for me like He knows. Little J had a couple of bruises and a small injury on his hand that resembled a burn that we were unsure about and in any case assume the worst even though little things like that are common on a little one his age…(the bruise on his eye, not really the burn). So without even calling Jason at work, I decided to tell the placement official the same thing I told my RPSW on Wednesday night; That we will take them, but because we are unsure of how demanding little J might be, could he please try a couple more homes first but calling us back if they weren’t placed in a half an hour or so. I didn’t hear back from him that day so I had to assume he found a home for them. Again, I felt horrible turning them away for now the second time. I truly felt it was the right decision but it still broke my heart. Days went by and we were very busy with little J trying to get him comfortable and content. I remember driving home from the grocery one day the following week or so and began thinking about the two little ones again as I had been often since the last call and decided to call the placement guy at DCS to check on them. I told him I had not stopped thinking about them and that I assumed they were placed because he never called back but that I just needed to hear from him that they were in fact in a home and where and that all was well with them. He conveyed everything I wanted to hear and that was perhaps the last day I thought about them.

Fast forward two months. It is now exactly two months since the first time they called me about the two. It is June 14th. My RSPW came over for a visit and as we were talking I told her that since at this time little J’s mom is not doing well and therefore not getting even supervised visits with him that we have an excellent time to receive a new placement since there are no visitations, court dates or other appointments for little J for quite a while. I don’t really feel the brunt of having four kids like most people might. Having had six boys for four months I believe prepared me for nearly anything so being down to four was a walk in the park. She and I talked for a while and I mentioned I hadn’t had a call for any kids for a couple months since we got little J. She said they may have some inaccurate information down on their spreadsheet perhaps showing we have more kids in our home than we actually do (there is a child limit of six including your biological children). She said she was going back to the office when she left my house and that she would look at it as soon as she got there. Moments after she left, I sent her a text about something else irrelevant and she responded and said that the placement guy was about to call us about possibly taking two kids in the following day on Tuesday. That was odd. Never are kids “scheduled” to be removed from a home or placed in foster care. It is always a surprise and they remove them when the parents least expect it. I asked her if she had any info and she said all she knew was that it was two kids, ages 1 and 3, and that the 3 year old was a girl. It immediately dawned on me these were the exact ages of the two from a couple months ago. I replied and mentioned that I hoped it was the same two that she had called me about in the middle of the night two months ago that had already been moved once and she replied “Yes. It is.”. I was flabbergasted, Why on earth are these poor children being moved for the second time in two months? I called a friend and she helped me sort through it. We determined it was either 1. that they were just absolutely meant to be in our home or 2. that they are little devils who try and burn down every house they live in therefore no one wants them. Well, in the case of the latter, they would then be going to a special home more suitable for children with needs such as those and we are not one of those homes. I had to know, though. It was burning a hole in my heart not knowing and I thought I wasn’t going to get any more information until the following day. Minutes later, the placement guy called. Low and behold, nothing was wrong with the children that isn’t age appropriate (i.e. the little boy likes to throw temper tantrums and the little girl is very emotional, cries a lot, and is potty trained but sometimes has an accident. Ok, what 15 month old DOESN’T throw temper tantrums and I am amazed that given what this little 3 year old girl has been through in her short life that she is even potty trained to begin with so an occasional accident is expected.) He said it is merely a clash with the foster parents, they have a lot going on in their lives right now, and they can’t handle the extra children right. He elaborated a little more on things of the same nature but ultimately resulting in that it’s all the adults involved with these children not allowing the placement to work, not the actual children. I told him I would have to talk to Jason but that I felt like these children belonged here and that I knew Jason would agree and told him we would most definitely take them this time. I couldn’t say no a third time. This all felt so supernatural to me that I feared saying no a third time.

So of course there is a ton of crap going through my head right now, all of which Jason says could be circumstantial and he is right but I do not necessarily believe in circumstances like this. I believe it is the will of God and that he is slapping me in the face right now saying “You better listen to me this time”. There are so many things leading me to believe this. Never have we gone two months without even a call from placement but had we received a call and taken in even one child anytime in that two month period we wouldn’t even be considered for these two because it would bring us over our six kid limit. I could go on and on with the little things but I am out of time. At six o’clock this evening I am meeting the foster mom to pick up these two little ones who I have never met before but who have already had a place in my heart for more than two months now. How cool is it that I have somewhat known them and am now getting to meet them and bring them home. Of course, Jason’s perspective is much more simpler than mine but I think it’s a gender thing. He also wants to check me in to an insane asylum when I talk about this “adrenaline rush”. It isn’t just me, I assure him. I’ve read about many other foster moms who get the same feeling. The dads just come home from work to a wife who is glowing, noticing another place at the table set out and realize the family has grown by one or two again and move on to see what that good smell is coming from the crock pot.


Posted by KK on Friday, 4 June, 2010

I know. Just a week or so ago I was griping about how bad Fridays stink for us because we have had to let our little guy go with his mom for the weekend. Well, as it turns out, his (and our) luck has changed. J’s mother decided to skip out on her hair follicle drug screening that the judge ordered her to do a few weeks ago. She took off leaving J with a friend when the caseworker was due to pick them both up for the screening before she was to bring him back to us following their weekend visit. Apparently, J’s mom knew some things would show up that she wasn’t thrilled about. Not only did she flee the drug test, she showed up for her court date on Thursday complaining and placing blame on the system saying they had failed her and that it was the system’s fault she didn’t make her appointment. Wrong again. The caseworker made every effort to get her there and continued trying to reach her all week before court. The judge wasn’t happy at all. He asked her if she had nothing to hide would she be willing to take a urine test right there at the courthouse and she agreed. Moments later, she tested positive for marijuana and meth. So sad. The test showed she had taken meth within the last 72 hours of the urine test, meaning she had likely done it while J was with her over the weekend and also knowing she had court in a few days and that it would show up. Needless to say, this didn’t bode well for her and the judge no longer took pity on her showing her favor as he has in the past. He had given her a large amount of rope and she ultimately hung herself with it. The judge yanked the rug out from under her and pulled every visitation from her. She cannot even see her son while supervised until hse has been clean for 30 days. I heard she was devastated. I would be, too. This will be hard for her. She has known what was at stake with him already being in custody and she couldn’t stay clean for him then. Either this will be a huge wake-up call for her, or it will drive her to dive deeper into her addiction. I pray it doesn’t. She has apparently found herself with an addiction serious enough that she cannot abstain even for a short amount of time for the sake of her son. I have met her and I believe she has good intentions. I can’t imagine how broken she feels right now. I pray someone will meet her and help her through this time.

As I heard the news and began feeling all the emotions of sadness for her, relief for us, frustration for him and thankfulness that he has remained safe each weekend with a drug addicted mother attempting to care for him, I was reminded by a good friend why things happen and how there is a reason for every thing. Had J’s mother never received weekend visitations like she had, this may have never happened. Yes, she may have still had a hard time providing a clean drug screening but we would have never seen this type of reluctance on her part as she has shown while she had him half of each week. We may have never seen how much depth there was to her addiction, how she was unable to abstain even given the amount of grace she had been given. It has been hard, very hard, parenting a child living with such confusion in his life at such a young age. It has been hard having to detox him every single week and trying to get him into a routine again only for him to go back just as soon as he adjusts. Now that I understand and am shown the reasoning behind it all, I can toss it all to the side and wipe the sweat off my brow. If only everything in this world were explained this well.

So today I will begin praying for her. I have prayed for little J a lot these last couple of months. Now that I know he is safe for a while, I can’t help but be sad for his mom. I know I haven’t prayed for her as much as I should have. Addictions are heart breaking. She is broken and needs a Saviour. I put myself in her shoes and nearly have a panic attack thinking about my son(s) being taken from me without even the hope of seeing them for a few months. As hard as it sounds, please remember her in your prayers.