Letter to Resource Worker

I am being a bad blogger and would encourage you to follow me on Twitter @FosterAdoption if you want to keep up to date on the live happenings with our story. It’s so much easier to share in 160 character updates than to take the time to blog entire stories at a time, especially during times of stress. Anyway, today I tweeted about my email to the resource worker and promised to share it on the blog, so here it is:

Resource Worker,

 I will definitely chat with you about everything, but maybe some time to cool down would be better than doing it soon? I am extremely frustrated for the girls AND for my family.

 First of all, when I forwarded THERAPIST’s email to CASEWORKER, I very specifically asked that she contact me to DISCUSS it. She has not done so and clearly jumped to conclusions about how *I* felt about THERAPIST’s opinion and what should happen.

 As for the transition, I understand that the former foster mom sabotaged that by not allowing us time, but now that I see that lack of communication and lack of respect for foster parents opinions in general, I can also understand why she reacted the way she did. That said, I was very clear BEFORE the girls moved in about wanting respite set up immediately. I believe that Daffy may not have had as strong of a reaction to the girls had the after school program been implemented (we were not able to start until 2 days ago) and respite been in place, allowing us to have the one on one time with her that she needed as well as a break from the girls who argue, tattle and manipulate incessantly. In addition, its been 3 weeks and neither of the girls have been able to begin therapy themselves, which also could have been beneficial for their own wellbeing.

 Furthermore, I have yet to be asked MY opinion and that frustrates me beyond measure. I was under the impression that adopting Daffy meant that she was now legally my child and my responsibility, free of the state’s control, yet all decisions by the state seem to be as a result of their decisions for MY daughter’s best interest (not Daisy or April). While I certainly value their opinions and may even be persuaded to agree on many points, I resent that I have had no say in what happens pertaining to my family.

Bet that’s more than you were hoping for! 😉

-Minnie

Reading it now, I still feel good about what I had to say. I feel empowered at having been able to articulate what I am feeling about our situation as well as the general concern about the fact that foster parent’s have no voice in the system. This is definitely a battle that will wage on, but for today, I did my share.

More updates to come soon…

How is Daffy doing?

[Blogging out of order… full update on the past 11 days to follow…]

How is Daffy doing, you ask? Not well. 

Less than 72 hours from the time the girls moved in, Daffy lost it. The girls were in their room playing and suddenly we heard a blood curdling scream come from April. Mickey went running in to find that Daffy had kicked April. Completely unacceptable. Daffy knows better. Mickey carried Daffy kicking and screaming from the room. She sat in a chair just outside the girls bedroom wailing and sobbing hysterically while yelling things like “Just throw me on the street! Just kill me! I don’t deserve to live!” Once I got Daisy & April settled down, I went to tend to Daffy. I asked her to follow me to my bathroom (which has come to be known as my hiding spot and office for privacy). She continued sobbing while I tried desperately to understand her melt down. She said that she had only cried that hard two other times in her life- one being the day she was removed from her birth family and the other was the day that she learned one of the pre-adoptive families had changed their mind about moving forward to adopt her and Donald. I was crushed hearing that the choice I had made to move the girls into our home could possibly compare to the two most horrible moments in her life.

The week progressed with Daffy on edge. The progress she had made since being with us was definitely deteriorating. Thursday morning the girl’s noise woke us at 6am at which time I moved Daffy into our room and all the girls went back to sleep. I woke them at 7:15am to get ready for school. Little did I know at the time, the girls had not gone to sleep AT ALL until 6am when I moved Daffy. They slept for only an hour and fifteen minutes before heading off to school. You can just imagine how fun my afternoon was. Daffy came home and within minutes was in tears that lasted the next 3 hours.

Saturday was, by far, the worst explosion we have seen from Daffy yet. I had made plans for her to spend the day with a friend and then sleep over their house. I knew she needed a break from the girls and that seemed to be the perfect way to implement that. That morning she just couldn’t get out of her own way. I realized she hadn’t taken her meds yet so I asked her to come take them and to then take a shower. She started melting down, threw the meds, poured the bottle of water on the floor and began kicking and hitting at me. Those of you that have been following my blog know that this is NOT Daffy’s MO. Sure, she has her moments (after all, she IS a 10 year old pre-teen), but she is not generally agressive and especially not “out of the blue.” Long story short, I ended up restraining her. She kicked and pinched and bit at me for a while, but eventually calmed down enough that I could release her. I laid with her as she sobbed. Finally I held her face in my hands so I could look her directly in the eye and reminded her how much I love her. I told her that she will never be going anywhere because she is adopted now, that this is forever. I told her that I know how hard things have been for her but that we need to stick together.

Ultimately, I decided that she should still go with her friend. It was clear that she needed space, needed a break, a distraction. She went and had a great time. She seemed quite refreshed when she came back on Sunday. Tomorrow, my cousin will be taking her for the day and overnight. She will bring her back on Thanksgiving. I am hoping to set something up for her later in the weekend as well.

Daffy met with her therapist today and one of the things that struck me most is that Daffy  told the therapist she no longer feels safe inside. She told @abuggleslife this weekend “I don’t want my life to be Maybe Days anymore and it is again“…

Am I sacrificing the well being of one for the others?

Under Investigation

[Blogging out of order… full update on the past 11 days to follow…]

Today I received a call from a special investigator for the state. She was calling to follow up on the report that I filed on Friday. She said that our local police declined to pursue the case, but that she still needed to make face to face contact with every child under 18 in our home. Amazingly, with less than 2 hours notice, we were able to pull off a visit between her and all 5 kids.

She was an interesting woman to say the least! She is very well educated with a sharp sense of intuition. I was enthralled talking to her over the course of the 3 hours she was at our home. She has seen it all, especially in her current position. I asked what percent of her cases were founded and she said she has had only 1 case per year on average that is pursued legally! That is one heck of a lot of false allegations!

In any case, she was very confident in our safety plan and in our abilities as parents and foster parents. She said that the 3 girls (and the boys, too!) are obviously well cared for and happy to be placed here.

The only thing of note, when she interviewed April and was discussing appropriate touch and safe boundaries, she asked April if she knew why she was here. April replied “Yes, because of what happened at [group home name] with Daffy & Daisy!” Ummmmm, what??? What happened at the group home between you three girls?? I am trying to keep my mind in check and not let my fears get the best of me, but I am FURIOUS at the idea something may have already happened between these girls and no one would bother to mention that to us while we not only accepted placement but also discussed the 3 girls sharing a room!!!

The investigator is going to follow up with the group home and get back to me. Until then, I wait. What else is new? *sigh*

They’re heeeeeeere!

Daffy, Kibee, April, Daisy and LilBug

Daisy & April moved in on Friday as planned. I was a bundle of nerves even as I saw the worker’s car pull up. The girls were cautiously friendly and definitely remembered us, Daisy even commented that I got my hair cut. The worker left the kids pre-adoptive histories with us. (I was glad to get a chance to review them before the disclosure meeting on Tuesday so that I can ask a few questions.)

Goofy had stayed home to help me get the rooms switched around, so he and I took the girls to a local pizza place to grab some lunch before heading to their new school for a tour. The school had not yet determined who their teachers would be (despite my very specific requests) but the girls were able to see the school and their potential classrooms.

We dismissed Daffy while we were at the school and she was ELATED to see the girls! We came to get settled in and @abuggleslife stopped by for an hour so she and her girls could meet my girls. We watched Toy Story 3 and the girls went to bed around 10pm. I fell fast asleep and stayed that way until 4:45am when the girls woke Mickey up with their noise. They hadn’t yet gone to sleep! We quickly moved Daffy into our room and layed down the law about the need for sleep. The girls finally crashed and got a few hours of sleep before Daffy got up at 9am and Daisy & April got up at 11am!

Yesterday we made a pilgrimage to Walmart to pick up a few things we needed. That went amazingly well other than letting Goofy drive the cart of which he used twice to run over ankles! LOL

We watched Shrek The Third last night and had our first “chat time” before bed. I read the book “Maybe Days” and we talked about Thanksgiving memories. Lights were out at 8:30pm and the girls went right to sleep! Ahhhhhh, life is good!

This morning the former foster family drove down the rest of the girl’s stuff…. while they have almost no clothing, they sure have lots of toys and such! Its going to be quite a project to get everything put away!

I am eager to see what the week will bring as we are able implement more routine into the girl’s schedules.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow!

And just like that, the decision has been made to place Daisy and April here TOMORROW!

Rather than chance that the foster mom changes her mind (yet again) and having to punt at the last minute next week, the caseworker will be officially moving the girls in mid-day tomorrow! The plan is that a parent aide will take the girls to their current school on Tuesday so they have a chance to say goodbye to their teachers and friends and they will begin school in our town next Wednesday! The caseworker is coordinating school registration as I type (or she had best be, LOL). I have been in contact with the school and made my teacher requests as well. I think its going to be a tough year academically for the girls. From what I understand Daisy already has an IEP and has a number of limitations. The foster mom reports that April is slipping through the cracks while all energy is focused on her older sister. I am grateful we have a good school system and hope that they will be open to working with me for the best outcome for both girls.

I called and scheduled eye exams for the girls and left a message with our dentist to get those appointments scheduled for December as well. I have set up appointments for April’s therapy intake and first appointment and have a call in for Daisy’s therapist. I have outlined the services we would like in place once we attend the disclosure meeting on Tuesday. Busy work, mostly, but they give me a sense of accomplishment in a very chaotic time.

The only major thing left to do at this point is pick up a twin mattress from a friend and get the rooms switched around. Tink moved out a couple of weeks ago (a story for another post) and Daffy was planning to take over her room because its larger and has 2 closets. We stalled the switch because we have had the respite teen here this week and thought she might enjoy the privacy. The plan is that Daffy and April will room together and Daisy will have her own room (Daffy’s former room). The idea behind this is that the 2 bio siblings cant shouldn’t room together because of their incessant conflict. I dont want to put Daffy and Daisy together (although they would LOVE it) because I fear they will “gang up” on April. Daffy understands their conflict and this is her chance to shine! She has never been a big sister and she is VERY eagerly looking forward to this.

Of course I know the novelty will wear off, but I am hopefully that we will have a few weeks of excitement and little girl giggles under our belt by that time. Having positive memories will make things easier during the challenging times!

I am very excited to begin the next portion of our journey… t minus 22 hours…

Whirlwind

Ooooooooh boy, things have been a whirlwind of activity around here! Here is a quick run down (which I am sure will change after the office opens this morning)…

Friday afternoon I got a call from our resource worker. She had finally connected with Daisy and April’s cw. The girls foster mom had just given her “two weeks notice” that the girls needed to be moved. The resource worker let me know that 2 families were being considered as a match and she set up a disclosure meeting for 11/13 and gave me the foster mom’s phone number to connect with her to discuss the girls and get a better idea of what is going on with them right now.

Over the weekend, I spoke several times with the foster mom. She shared both the bad and the good. I was relieved to hear her say that she fully supported the girls coming to live with us. (If I find any extra time in the day, I will post details about these calls.)

On Monday, I received a text from the foster mom saying that she had told the cw that she wanted the girls out by the end of the week! Whaaaaaat? Panic set in. I emailed our resource worker twice and then called her on Tuesday morning and left a voicemail. Her supervisor called me back later in the day and we discussed the urgent nature of the case. This worker authorized us to offer respite to the foster family for THIS weekend hoping this would buy us time with the foster mom.

Yesterday morning I heard directly from the cw for the first time. We discussed how best to transition the girls. I said in a perfect world we would have a month, but that the current situation is clearly not ideal and things need to happen more quickly. The cw considered whether or not to move the girls to a group home briefly to properly transition them, but the down side would be ANOTHER placement and ANOTHER school before coming here. As it is, we will be the girls 3rd home  and 3rd school THIS SCHOOL YEAR! I find that unacceptable. Ultimately, we hashed out a plan for respite this weekend with the girls returning Monday afternoon and then MOVING IN next Friday! YIKES! She gave me some tasks to complete including giving our school a heads up, scheduling therapy, dentist appointments and an eye appointment for Daisy. I don’t think I could fully accept what I was hearing. Does one family really get two happily ever afters?

As a side note, at this point, I referred back to my blog to find out the specific date that we met Donald and Daffy last year for the very first time. 11/6/11. The MOVE IN date for Daisy and Daffy was set for 11/16/12. Coincidence? Naaaaaa…. just another sign that this is the right match. I am sure of that. 😉

Yesterday afternoon the cw called again and shared that the whole plan was “falling apart” [insert glass crashing noise here]. She said that the foster mom had now reported that her husband may be having surgery next week and that the girls could not stay until the 16th. The cw said she and the agency would be looking for a respite home in the girl’s area to take them Mon-Thurs nights so we could keep the plan as is, but if they were not able to locate one, there would be a need to officially place the girls Friday. THIS Friday. As in, TOMORROW. Are you freakin kidding me???? We talked about what would need to be done to make that happen and are ready to act today depending on whether or not the agency has located a respite home.

Honestly, I feel torn about this respite idea for the girls. Sure, it gives us the extra days we need to plan, transfer their school records, implement services, move rooms around, etc. BUT… this means the girls would understand they were leaving their current foster family and yet not going to their permanent placement. The state can call it respite all they want, but its no different than an emergency placement. Another home, another family, another move. Enough is enough.

I am feeling incredibly stressed at the moment. There are so many unknowns, so many variables, so much to discuss and no time to make it all happen. Goofy is particularly worried about the fast transition and what that will mean for the girls. His fears don’t ease my own. I am terrified to fail. I thought a lot about it yesterday. If this were one child, I think I would be less nervous. It’s two children… just like last time…. when I failed. *sigh* I know, I know, I didn’t fail. I “saved” Daffy from a broken system. I advocated for the best interest of both kids and while Donald doesn’t have his happily ever after yet, we are still hopeful it will come. Blah, blah, blah. I know these things on a conscious level, but in my heart, I feel like a failed. And I am terrified to fail again. 😦

Anyway, now I sit and wait for the call to determine whether the girls are coming for respite tomorrow or if that is their move in date! Eeeeeks!