ReMoved

If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth the time to watch….

Badassamys: Tales of the World's Most Badass Family

I woke up this morning to this lovely short film in my inbox. A sweet friend, who has devoted her professional life to therapeutic foster care issues, sent it along with the words, “Shelley: for those days you wonder ‘why’.”

I’m unsure of how the makers of this film so completely understand the path of a foster child, but I suspect at least one of them has shared the path of this little girl. This film is especially poignant for me, because my children came to me one at a time, which will resonate once you’ve seen the film. Please view and share. My heart is full of tears and love for these artists.

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Minnie Answers Your Questions

questionsAs I mentioned the other day, I’ve been planning to publicly answer some of the questions that have been asked in the comments on my blog. Daffy went to a friend’s house for the day, so no time like the present to get started! 🙂

Reader Danielle asked, Have you thought about an out of home placement for Daffy? Is she safe to live with?

So, I’ve been staring at this question for ten minutes now and I really don’t know how to answer. Do I think she is safe to live with? Well, no, not really. But has she done anything truly dangerous or taken a life at this point? No… and no one seems to care about safety issues until AFTER something major happens. Ultimately, we are playing the waiting game…. praying that she doesn’t truly hurt anyone, but at the same time, knowing that is a very real possibility. In many ways, we are just biding our time. Tink told one of our post-adoption social workers in November that if Daffy is the “reason for the death of anyone in my family, I will end up killing her.” Rather than see this statement as describing the level of Tink’s intense fear for our family, the worker forwarded it to the state post-adoption worker who, in turn, told us that Daffy is risking her son by making such threatening statements, in affect, silencing Tink. How can it be considered threatening when Tink is only reacting to the verbal and non-verbal threats from Daffy in the first place?? If you’ve been reading my blog lately, I’m sure you’ve seen this is an ongoing issue… the more I try to get the workers to see the reality of what is going on, what Daffy is capable of, and how we feel, the more her current therapist tells them that absolutely nothing is wrong with Daffy. Since she is the “professional”, our opinions are quickly dismissed (even when we have produced drawings and documented threats along the way). I am continuing to fight for an accurate diagnosis. I understand that the diagnosis won’t change Daffy, but it may, however, change the opinions of the workers thus allowing us (and Daffy) to finally get the supports we need.

Reader Kate asked, “Has Daffy ever been evaluated for FASD?

Not to my knowledge, but we are in the process of scheduling a full neuro psych evaluation. I’m hopefully that the doctor  will be familiar with many of the common disorders of adopted and foster children (especially those with extended time in group care) and will be on the lookout. According to Daffy’s Adoptive History, her birth mother did not report drinking during pregnancy, but of course there is really no way to know if that is true.

Reader Jackie asked, “Could you bypass the social worker and take her to a private therapist of your choosing who will take this situation seriously?

Yes, I could, and probably will in the not-so-distant future. I’m trying to give a fair shot to the program implemented by the state’s post-adoption unit. They signed us up for a 90 day in-home service plan and just approved continuing the case for another 90 days. Given that the post-adoption unit is paying for this service, I feel like I should definitely try to gain anything from it that I can. However, I don’t have very high expectations after how things have gone in the first 90 days. In addition, I am completely fed up with Daffy’s current therapist and her refusal to look at the reality of the situation and will definitely be making a change to another therapist in the future. I haven’t made any changes yet because I want to wait for the results of the neuro psych exam and see if the current social workers follow through on her suggestion that Daffy participate in TFCBT. I’ve learned that making too many changes at once means it’s not clear what is working (if things improve) or what isn’t working (if things go down hill.) I hate taking things so slowly, but I also want to be thorough.

Reader Cyn asked, “Have you considered calling your local police dept and ask what services they would make available to a family if she were old enough to be charged?

I have not contacted my local police about Daffy yet, mostly because of our experience with the police when Donald lived here. The police were absolutely useless and Donald was more actively violent and volatile at that time than Daffy is now. Donald had far crazier outbursts than Daffy, but at least you knew how he felt (angry) and what to expect (violence). Daffy is far smarter and much more deceptive, manipulative and vengeful (just as we were told by the group home staff before she transitioned here.) She is less likely to directly attack, but far more likely to plot something or hide it. For example, Donald attacked the dog right in front of us, whereas was caught Daffy punching the cat in the head only because of the video monitor we were using at the time (she has since broken it, of course). Living with Donald was terrifying because of how often he attacked, but living with Daffy has it’s own set of challenges because we never know what (or when) to expect something. Does that make sense? Anyway, if someone is seriously injured here, I will definitely push for her to be charged. I think that would be one of very few ways for us to be protected from her in the future and for her to finally get help. We’re already a living example that warning signs are ignored by professionals. It’s no wonder we see such violent crimes being committed by teenagers… no one wants to help until it’s too late. 😦

I’ll be answering more questions soon! If you have a burning question for me, please leave it in the comments and I’ll try to get to it in a future post. :)

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Family Therapy Cancelled

The new in-home social worker just called and said she had a family emergency and was on her way to the hospital so she needed to cancel our first official-every-one-in-attendance family meeting for today. As nervous as I had been all day, I’m kind of disappointed because I was hoping to see some real honesty happen at today’s meeting. It’s unlikely that we will be able to get everyone together again until next Tuesday. In any case, since I have an opening in my schedule today and really need to get some things off my chest…. well, you are stuck listening to my vent!

I never know where to begin. Too much time passes in between posts because every day is simply too draining to tell the stories. Many of the stories would probably seem like nothing by themselves anyway. It’s the constant ongoing drip-drop… like Chinese water torture… that has taken its toll. I’m at the end of my rope. I think the difference between earlier in the year when this breakdown began and now is the toll it’s taken on the rest of my family. It’s no longer just about me & Daffy. My bio kids BEG me to get things back to the way they used to be before Daffy came here. My marriage is hanging on by a single thread. I think OFTEN about just getting in my car and driving as far as my minimal money for gas will take me. My bio kids are what keep me hanging on. I know it wouldn’t be fair to them to leave them with the mess I (and Mickey) created by adopting Daffy. Tears are shed every single day. We just can’t take it.

So, to give this post some purpose, let me go back to Friday. Daffy came home from school and gave me her report card. I was heading out the door to take Goofy to work so I tucked it in my purse and left. Once I was in the parking lot, I opened it and was STUNNED to see she had 2 D’s on her report card as well as several negative comments from her teachers. Her progress report had been glowing and of course, she has been telling us she has completed all her homework, blah blah blah. I was FURIOUS that this was the first I was hearing about these obvious issues at school (at Daffy, at Daffy’s teachers and guidance counselor and at myself for not keeping a closer eye). I came home and got onto the online grade system and printed out her grades from those two D classes. I wasn’t surprised when I saw that she had not completed many of her homework assignments. I highlighted the missing assignments and attached it to the report card to leave it for Mickey. At this point in our relationship, I know better than to say ANYTHING to Daffy that she could construe as negative because she simply shuts down and makes our lives miserable. Giving it to Mickey means it isn’t likely to be discussed at all, but at least I can feel like I did my part to gather the information for him.

The next day I was out of town with a friend and when I returned, Daffy was whining about how she forgot her book at school. I asked “Why? were you planning to actually DO your homework this weekend”?  She looked down and made her typical “hmmph” noise. I went on to say “Yeah, I know about that. In fact, I printed out your quarter grades and gave them to your Dad so he can know all about your lies too!” (Admittedly not the best choice of words, but FAAAAAAR better than what I really wanted to say.) She was silent. Like she always is. She simply doesn’t answer any questions that she doesn’t like.

She went to bed early that night, without saying good night of course. The next day she lurked around and wouldn’t speak to anyone (mind you, Mickey was at work…. she won’t let him see how she truly is!). I can’t describe how incredibly creepy it is when she lurks around muttering to herself. (In fact, I can hear Tink saying this very same thing to her pregnancy social worker downstairs right now as I type this.) She left several times and wandered  around outside the house. She would stop and stare through the windows and glare at Tink. She wouldn’t even break eye contact when Tink looked back. Tink was really spooked by it. A friend of mine was over at the time for a training (we work in the same industry) and commented about how bizarre the behavior was and could tell that it was affecting Tink and me so she offered to take her for the night. God bless her soul. Everyone needs a friend like her. She can’t understand what we are living, but she also doesn’t judge. She simply supports anyone who needs it.

She returned Daffy home past bedtime last night. I was so grateful that I was doing laundry when Daffy arrived so Mickey put her to bed. I didn’t see her this morning. It’s now been almost 48 hours without a single word of communication. This is our normal. BUT THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

The bottom line is, we can’t stand each other. I don’t know how we got here. I can still remember loving her last year. I thought she was the most beautiful thing in the world. And now, I dread interacting with her. I dread the fights. I dread saying anything at all. Hell, I dread waking up in the morning. Why? What’s the purpose? My life is hell. My family is falling apart. My marriage is crumbling. My bio kids are begging to go back to the way things used to be. And no one seems to understand.

I could buy the theory that this was MY fault and MY perception, hell, even MY own adoption issues playing out…. if not for the fact that my bio kids witness all of this too. They tell their dad. They tell the workers. NO ONE LISTENS. Or no one cares. I just don’t get it. Are we beyond hope? Can we not be helped? And if so, why won’t anyone just admit that to us?

As things stand right now, Mickey is in charge of scheduling the nuero psych exam. I imagine that will likely take several months before we have any answers there. And who knows, maybe that won’t answer any questions anyway…. clearly Daffy has become quite the good manipulator since she left the group home. The therapists and workers at the group home were all very clear about her reactive attachment disorder diagnosis, but no one seems to want to hear that now. WHY? Could she have just suddenly been CURED of RAD???? I don’t think so. Her behavior says no.

We are continuing with 3-4 weekly meetings with the new in-home service. We are still at the beginning stages so I am trying to give it a chance, but it’s hard. Mickey is rarely there for the meetings. My bio kids are grumpy to give up any more time to the misery known as our family. And I am EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTED that my entire life revolves around a child who hates me. It leaves no time for my marriage, no time for my bio kids and their needs and no time for my friends (ok, ok, I do still spend some time with them, its my ONLY sanity).

Oh, and have I mentioned Tink’s baby is due in 32 FREAKIN days??????  Mickey is currently installing doors on our former living room (the room Tink will share with her baby… now to be “blog named” Andy from Toy Story)! This is the first real safety item we have implemented. She did get one baby monitor at her baby shower, but we are on the hunt for a video monitor for an added level of security. At the suggestion of a couple of the workers, we bought Daffy her own baby doll so she could have practice before Andy comes. She doesn’t play with it. In fact, it would surprise me to find it in a  noose in her room. The more we follow suggestions, the more resistant Daffy becomes.

Things are still in a holding pattern with the birth mom. Birth Mom and Donald mailed letters to Daffy recently. Birth Mom was very forceful in requesting that Daffy just “say what she wants” and that “no one will be hurt”. It was the first time BMom referenced Mickey and I by our first names rather than Mom & Dad, which took me back a little bit. I decided that we should run the letters by Daffy’s therapist before passing them on (something we have not done since the first letter well over a year ago). Therapist said the letters should ABSOLUTELY NOT be given to her and that Birth Mom was out of line to put so much pressure on Daffy. First of all, it’s not Daffy’s decision to determine whether or not visits are appropriate and what the frequency should be. Second, I’m not convinced Daffy even has a real opinion. She mimics what she hears. She says what she thinks she should based on who she is speaking with. You could get ten different answers if she spoke to ten different people in the same day. As for what *I* think…. I still just don’t know. I like Daffy’s birth Mom for the most part. If it weren’t for Donald living with her, the decision would be easier (still hard, but def less complicated). Daffy saw her 5 times in 8 months. Things were bad. She has seen her zero times in 4 months. Things are still bad. So, what is the right answer? Should she see her birth mom? Is that in her best interest? Or is it harmful to her at this point because of Donald’s transition? Does it make things more complicated for OUR family? Does that matter? I ask myself these questions all the time and I just don;t have an honest answer. Sometimes I wish deep down that there was no birth mom option so I wouldn’t have to deal with that alongside all the other issues….. but there is also a part of me that wants the connection to remain because I simply can’t believe that we will survive another 2400+ days until she turns 18. I can see her “running away” in her teens and at least with a birth mom connection, it would be somewhere relatively safe. Ahhhh, who I am kidding? Birth Mom’s home will NEVER be safe for Daffy with Donald living there. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I’ve been typing for 2 hours now. Goofy and Pluto just came home from school and we were discussing the cancelled appointment and Goofy said, and I quote “We have two options here. Either everybody is going to kill themselves or one of us has to kill her.” Yep, you read that right. THIS IS MY LIFE! I live in fear of Daffy, but I also live in fear FOR Daffy as well.While I know Goofy is just saying this out of frustration, the fear is still very real. If Daffy hurts Andy or anyone else, her life is in jeopardy. We are a family in CRISIS. How did it get this bad? Will it ever get better? WE STILL NEED HELP!

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Guest Blogger | 4 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Began Fostering

Thanks to Rachael Walker for allowing me to share this post with all of you! I am always interested in other’s perspectives!

Becoming a foster parent is definitely one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, it is also one of the most difficult and draining!

Before we began fostering my husband and I went to a lot of classes, training and meetings with the agency we foster with. While our agency was certainly helpful and informative they can’t prepare you for the way you will feel and the everyday reality of being a foster carer.

It certainly isn’t for the faint hearted, but I am so proud of the difference my family and I have made in children’s lives.

If you are considering fostering, these are some points that might help you. These are four things I wish I had known before I started to foster:

How it would impact on family life

Of course I realised that having another child in my home would make a huge impact on my family life; my husband Tim, teenage son Jack and myself, but I didn’t consider just how much.

When you put yourself forward for short term placements you have to accept that you will have to drop everything at the last minute – for instance when we accepted Lyndon we had planned a trip to see relatives for the next week that we had to cancel. The child comes first in these situations, but I have certainly had less opportunity to see extended family since we began fostering.

How I would feel about my foster placements

I was worried that I would fall for every child that I cared for, but luckily this hasn’t been the case. While I have felt a bond with all of them, some children are harder to let go of than others.

Some placements are very short term, and this makes it easier to mentally detach yourself from feeling too close to the child on a personal level. Some older children are also easier to part from, as they don’t need you to be maternal towards them in the same way. However, my first foster daughter Lucy is certainly a very special little girl to me, and I hope to keep in touch with her for the rest of my life.

That I may have to experience rejection from a child

I hadn’t considered before we began fostering that a child may not want to live with us, and may have been happy with their previous foster family and not wanted to leave. I naively assumed that if a child had come from a difficult home life they would lap up the attention and affection we gave them, but of course most situations are a lot more complicated than this.

If a child felt that their last foster placement was their family and they were happy there, they are going to be angry that they had to come and live with you. And even if their biological parents were addicts or abused them, that they still loved them and this was their home. This is completely understandable.

No matter how perfectly you set out a bedroom for them and how many cookies you bake, be prepared to meet with ‘get away from me, you’re not my mommy!’ If you expect to go into fostering and receive a child that is grateful and in awe of all you do for them, then you are making the wrong decision. That is not a reason to foster.

That I had realized how much these children had lost

I obviously knew that the children I would care for had lost their home and parents, but of course it runs much deeper than that. These children have lost their neighbors, their friends, their family pet, and the blanket that they like to sleep on at night.

Their school may have been the only continuous stability in their life, so if they have moved schools this is even more difficult. You have to accept that most children you care for will be missing the life they have lost, and will cling to you or feel animosity towards you as a result.

If you are wondering whether fostering might be for you I would recommend that you have an informal chat with somebody from a fostering agency or request some further information; the agency I foster with offers a chat function on-site which is a little less intimidating than making that first phone call.

Fostering is so rewarding but certainly not for everyone; it is so important that you get as much information as you can before hand and really consider whether you can handle the emotional pressure that this special job will involve.

guest bloggerRachael Walker is a foster parent, wife and biological mother of one from Birmingham, UK. Read her blog here: http://www.rachaelwriting.blogspot.co.uk/

Calling In Reinforcements

As we approach the one year anniversary of Daffy’s adoption – a day we have dubbed her “adoptaversary”- we have called in reinforcements.

Tink was at her first OB appointment (finally!) and was asked if she had any concerns for her safety, she was quick to reply YES as a result of her fears of Daffy! I decided to be PROactive rather then REactive and wrote immediately to Daffy’s former case worker as well as the adoption specialist on the case. I told them our plans for keeping Tink and her baby safe and asked if they had any other suggestions. I was SHOCKED to hear back within just 15 minutes from the adoption specialist and a half hour from the case worker.  The next day I received a call from the head of the post-adoption unit who quickly assigned a new worker to our case.

Over the past couple weeks, that worker has come out to meet with us, met with Daffy’s therapist and then came back to present her suggested plan. We will be receiving in-home services from a local agency for a max of 90 days (paid for by the state) and they have recommended a neuro-pysch exam for Daffy just to “rule out” any diagnosis other than ADHD. Letting social workers back into our lives to that extreme feels like ten steps backward, but honestly, I am desperate for change. I am desperate for hope that things will be better one day.

I have continued to work on how I deal with Daffy, forcing myself to be quicker to recover when I am angry, providing her with quality time when even the sight of her face turns my stomach. Daffy has continued to be… well…. Daffy. If I ask her to eat lunch, she will ignore me for an hour even if she was hungry to begin with. If I tell her it’s time to get off the tv, she will grunt, stomp her feet and wail at the top of her lungs for hours. The more I try, the more she resists. Then she acts SHOCKED when I am angry. It’s an evil merry-go-round of sorts and I just want to get OFF this ride!! It’s dizzying and maddening.

At the suggestion of Donald’s former therapist (the one I started meeting with this summer), Daffy and I have started to communicate daily in a notebook. It helps to some degree to be able to carefully word my thoughts before responding and allows Daffy to say things she might not otherwise say (without making up lies, anyway). However, it could be just another tool for her to use to manipulate the situation. She doesn’t write her “angry things” in the notebook. I think she knows I would take it right to her therapist and she would be “found out”!

As you might be able to guess, I am pretty bitter with her therapist. She wrote to me shortly before she was to meet with the post-adoption worker and said that she had spoken with Donald’s former therapist and said that she heard some things from her that I hadn’t told her directly. WHAT????? NO WAY! I’ve told her EVERYTHING. She just excuses it all away. In fact, when I spoke with the post-adoption worker this week, she said Daffy’s therapist denied ever having seen the image Daffy drew with the gun and someone’s head chopped off.  Really??? I got right online and forwarded her the email with the image as well as HER OWN RESPONSES to it saying Daffy must be “sad” to have drawn that image. Are you kidding me??????? Don’t try to weasel your way out of it now that there are professionals taking a look at her behaviors, thoughts and actions!!! UGH!

Right now we are in a holding pattern. We are waiting till mid-Oct to start the in-home services. Since they can only last for a max of 90 days, we need to make sure the coverage will include the birth of Tink’s baby and that whole transition.  We’ve got A LOT going on as a family and we need all the supports in place that we can get!

Incidentally, I talked to Daffy’s birth Mom last week, too. Donald is transitioning to full time at “home” this week and she is facing her own major challenges (who didn’t see THAT coming??). The one thing that sticks out in my mind from our conversation is her saying that she asked to be trained in proper safety holds because waiting for the police to arrive takes too long. All I can do is shake my head….. how can ANYONE think that is safe for her or her stepdaughter????

Thanks to all of you who have commented on my blog and emailed me recently. I appreciate your support and it really does help to know I am not alone. I appreciate the ideas, suggestions and links you send to me! Getting through this will not be one “ah ha moment”, but rather a slow process with a lot of small changes over time, so keep those ideas coming! I am open to almost anything!

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Halloween Frosty Coupon Book At Wendy’s Helps Kids In Foster Care

Halloween Frosty Coupon Book

I was so excited to see that this great deal at Wendy’s is back again this year! You can purchase a Halloween Frosty Coupon Book for $1! This booklet contains 10 coupons for a FREE Frosty Jr! These are great to give out at Halloween or even to keep on hand for a treat with the kids! Even better? Every book sold benefits our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption! I think I’ve mentioned before that we found Daffy and Donald as a result of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids so this is definitely a cause that is close to my heart! Please consider heading to your local Wendy’s to support this offer! Click here to find a Wendy’s in your area!

Thanks to She Saved for bringing this to my attention!

So Which Is It?

foster care

Waaaay back when we first started this journey, we took the required foster care classes where we were told that foster children should not be parented the same way as biological children. That stuck with me.  Why am I now being asked why I don’t treat my adopted foster child the same as my other children? Make up your freakin’ minds, people. Oh, and trying LIVING this life before you start offering your unsolicited opinions next time, too!

Yeah, I’m bitter. Can you tell?? It’s been a LONG summer. Hell, its been a long YEAR. Looking back, I would say that the nightmare started when Daisy and April moved in last November. Daffy can not handle ANY competition, real or perceived. Though they stayed only about 6 weeks, Daffy’s attitude never really recovered. Tink moved back home in April and Daffy attributes all of her behaviors to that in an effort to get Tink out of the house. Honestly, I fear for Tink’s baby… Daffy has always been abusive to animals and has made comments wishing harm to Tink’s baby. Daffy’s therapist says there is nothing to worry about, but she doesn’t live what we live and it’s not HER grandson in jeopardy.

Anyway, at this point, we are having more bad days than good. Daffy refuses to follow any rules and then blames us me when she receives consequences. I feel like everyone around me has set me up… Mickey won’t give her consequences and just excuses away her behavior.  Her therapist won’t have any meaningful conversations with her for fear of putting a “divide in their relationship”. It’s all put on me. What the hell??? Does OUR relationship not mean anything? Am I just the sacrificial lamb????

As the suggestion of Daffy’s therapist, I met with Donald’s former therapist a couple of times recently. (Daffy’s therapist wouldn’t meet with me or do family therapy because it would undermine HER relationship with Daffy.) It was a somewhat validating experience in that she said I am not the first adoptive parent in this situation and feeling the way I do. She also revisited the idea of Daffy’s original reactive attachment disorder diagnosis being accurate. She is concerned about Daffy seeing her birth Mom because of the impact it’s having on my relationship with Daffy, but is not willing to go on record because she hasn’t “met” Daffy (she is very familiar with this case having been involved since the time of placement). Daffy’s therapist feels the same, but you know damned well any decision will fall squarely on MY shoulders. It will be relationship damning. I asked Donald’s former therapist “How can I make the decision that MY relationship with Daffy is more important than the relationship she has with her birth mother?” She replied that Daffy is attached to her birth mother. She is not attached to me.

I still have not made any official decision, though Daffy has not had a visit with her birth Mom since the one overnight they did at the beginning of July. I just don’t know what to do. I hate life. I hate waking up every day knowing that at least one (if not both) of us will shed tears. I’m tired of being hated. If I had known that adoption from foster care was this physically exhausting, I can’t say I would have done it. I’m in over my head. I’m drowning. And I’m alone.

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All Kinds of Updates

Our License: Our foster care license expired earlier this month. The family voted to renew it… all except me. Our resource worker sent me the paperwork and I immediately forwarded it to Mickey. If he wants our license open, HE can do the paperwork. It’s been almost 3 weeks and he hasnt even printed the forms. Pretty sure that means we are done, but no one wants to make that official or actually speak about it.

Jane and Michael: After several psychotic episodes, Jane was moved to a new placement. Thankfully, Michael was left in his current placement where he has been thriving, but there is no guarantee they will be able to move forward with adoption. Sad.

Ariel: We saw her for Mother’s Day as planned and visited her later that week to take pictures of her “prom” at her residential placement. She then assumed she could come stay with us every weekend for the rest of her life. Ummmm, no. I have been avoiding her calls (which border on stalking). I want to maintain a connection, but I am not able to support her at that level. Her infant son is still in foster care with another family and the state has done nothing to secure a home willing to take both mom and son. Pathetic.

Tod & Copper: After providing respite for them, we were called to take placement of Tod and Copper “for about a month.” We declined. Low and behold, they were returned to their mother’s care that very evening. I was infuriated when I learned that, not because they were returned, but rather because they were clearly READY to be returned and yet the state looked to keep them a month longer. THAT is not how foster care is supposed to work, either they are safe to be returned or they aren’t. It should not be determined based on availability of foster homes!

Jack Jack: Tink and I visited Jack Jack and his Mom in early May. He was hesitant with me at first, I think likely because he wondered if I would be taking him again. After a few minutes, though, he warmed right up and was the adorable baby we had fallen in love with! I still get some of his Mom’s mail here and have been texting her for an address to mail it to. I haven’t heard back from her at all. I saw a picture of Jack Jack on her sister’s Facebook page  this week and it looks like he may be living with her. I pray that Mom is able to get herself settled and raise that beautiful baby herself.

Simba and Nala: I have not received any updates on the twins since we declined the placement (family vote, not my decision). I think about them often and miss them like crazy. I have accepted that the placement was not right for us at that time, but I am angry at the state for not allowing us to keep an ongoing connection. There is NO REASON why children can’t have positive adults in their lives without being in a parental capacity. We watched these connections terminated in Donald and Daffy’s lives and we’ve seen it in almost every case. This disgusts me.

Donald: He remains at the residential treatment center, though is now up to 3 nights per week with his (and Daffy’s) birth mom. At my request, I no longer receive updates on him other than what I hear from the birth mom. This has worked out quite well and has definitely reduced my stress. According to his birth mom, he is making some progress in therapy and was recently able to share with her what happened while he was here that led to his hospitalization. That in itself is HUGE progress. In the 18 months since he left, he had always refused to speak about it. Daffy has not had a face to face visit with Donald since late December. She doesn’t want to see him. He recently expressed a desire to have more communication with Daffy so he is now calling from his birth Mom’s on the weekend.

Daffy: I know this is the update you really want, but I just don’t have it in me to go through everything that has been going on. Things are so complicated right now. Every single day is a struggle with her. Her food issues are at an all time high. She stills sees her therapist every other week, but that is all but useless because she shows a different side to her therapist than to us. Her therapist thinks she is happy and well adjusted. Uhhhhhh, no. Happy well adjusted children don’t talk about the deep desire to kill people (not just me, but she also recently told me she fantasizes about it at school). Just sayin. I recently spoke with Daffy’s birth mom for HOURS on the phone and we are planning to start some unsupervised visits and even start some sleepovers. I know most of you are groaning at what a terrible idea this is. There is a part of me that questions if this is the right thing, too, but it’s what Daffy says she wants. I know that I can NOT do this alone. I need a break. Daffy thinks she wants this, so let’s give it a try. Nothing to lose really and maybe it will help Daffy resolve whatever internal struggle is happening for her. If she is feeling torn, she wont have to. If she thinks life is better there, let her learn that it’s not. If she is jealous because Donald is moving there, now she can have her own time, too. I dunno know what else to do. There is no rule book or manual, and even if there was, I assure you Daffy would break the rules and burn the book. I’ve got to try something and this seems to be my only option at the moment.

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My Life In A Picture

mylife

If my life were a picture, according to Daffy, it would be my death at her hand. Marvelous. I find myself thinking back to the day our social worker told us that the state prefers to have foster children adopted as close to the 6 month waiting period as possible. She told me that every month longer decreases the chance of adoption. At the time, I couldn’t understand why. I assumed that the longer the placement, the stronger the bond. We are currently 18 months post placement and 9 months post adoption. This is how my child feels about me. She not only wishes I were dead, she wishes she were the one who killed me. Awesome.

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The Fosters

The FostersI finally got a few extra minutes this week to watch the series premiere of The Fosters on OnDemand. Have you seen it? I have to say, it wasn’t at all what I expected. The thing that struck me the most, though, is how painful it was to watch. The writers and cast nailed the underlying feeling of chaos within the foster care system. From case workers who are “on vacation” during critical transitions, to siblings being separated, this show dug deep in the very first episode. Despite my discomfort, I am likely to watch again.

Have you seen it? What did you think?