Begin Again

Begin Again

A very wise friend and fellow foster parent said to me yesterday ” Those babies are with you as long as they need you. Not as long as you need them.

She nailed it. It’s time to begin again and remember why I do what I do.

To back track a little bit, here is the email I sent to the worker on Tuesday regarding what had been going on:

Hi WORKER,

I am not sure the status of your case, but wanted to email you to keep you updated.

MOM has come off her seroquel cold turkey and refuses to go back on saying it attributed to her weight gain (which was admittedly severe in such a short period of time). To say she is a space shot does not even begin to describe her. She is not capable of caring for even herself, let alone her child.

She is deteriorating quickly.

We initially told her she could stay a week. Thursday will be two weeks. She has made almost no effort to find a place for herself. My son and I have made all the phone calls and I have driven her to numerous apartments. She has a complaint about each, though she did agree yesterday morning to finally apply for one (no idea if she will actually get it as the gentleman who we spoke with said he didn’t like the type of people that PROGRAM tends to send).

We are very close to the point where I will be taking her to a shelter and dropping her off. I understand the need for her to have “natural supports” and I care very much about her and JACK JACK, but I am not able to parent both her and JACK JACK while also driving her to several appointments per week and searching for an apartment for her. I took her in to provide shelter. The rest of her needs are too much to ask of me and should be handled by professionals. She needs help.

She ran out of formula Sunday night due to poor planning on her part. She refuses to carry her own baby citing her arthritis. She hands him off the majority of the time. She leaves him unattended often and twice he has rolled down the stairs (2 stairs). I think part of this is her incoherence and and forgetfulness because of the medications. I don’t think she is intentionally neglectful, but the end result is the same.

She is destined to fail if she does not receive supports once she is on her own. I BEG you to stay involved for her and JACK JACK’s sake.

I understand that this email may cause my relationship with her to end, and I will accept that as I know what I am saying is in JACK JACK’s best interest and honestly, that is all that matters.

Honestly, this email didn’t even BEGIN to describe how odd Mom’s behavior had become. One morning, she was pouring a cup of coffee and held up the Half & Half and asked Daffy “Is this Orange Juice??” Another time, she placed the baby in the car and as we drove she frantically asked me “Where’s the baby???????” She asked me to buy her a newspaper and when I handed it to her she asked “What’s this for?” These are just a few tiny examples. Her frame of mind was way beyond forgetful.

Long story short, the worker called me that afternoon and said that Jack Jack would be moved to foster care. Obviously I was sad since my point in taking her initially was to AVOID him going into foster care, but I also felt relieved because I knew in my heart that the two of them could not make it on their own with Mom in her current state. Since a voluntary case is not available in our state, this was really the only option for Mom to get the supports she needs to be successful.

The state called mom the next morning to discuss the many concerns I had shared with her. She let Mom know that they would be moving forward with a case. I’m not clear how exactly things changed from the state’s perspective, but Mom decided to move in with her sister (the one who had no interest in helping her or Jack Jack in any way over the past 3 weeks and has previously thrown them both- literally – on the street). Jack Jack and his mom moved out within just a couple of hours.

The worker told me yesterday afternoon after they let that this buys Mom a few more days. I don’t know know if the worker thinks that Mom can pull it together in just a matter of a few days or if they may still bring a case. I’m pretty certain she can’t keep it together without major changes, especially living in such an unsupportive environment. (The sister told me yesterday that if Mom makes one false step, she will throw her sister out and keep Jack Jack. Uggggggh.)

Mom says she wants to stay in touch with us, but who knows what will really happen. I still have some things she couldn’t fit in the truck yesterday which guarantees me at least one more visit.

I cried quite a bit yesterday. This was the hardest good bye I have done. I didn’t realize that 20 days was enough to fall in love, but I guess it was. I love Jack Jack. He is a totally awesome baby and I hope and pray he will have a bright future and get the love and nurturing he deserves. I also hope his Mom will get the help and support she needs. She deserves much happiness herself. It takes a village to raise a child and right now, she is very much alone.

signature

The Jack Jack (and Mom) Update

Thank you all so much for the amazing feedback on my recent post! I am humbled by the overwhelmingly positive comments of support I have received about taking in Jack Jack’s Mom.

Jack Jack’s Mom was released from the hospital yesterday morning. She was gushing her appreciation that we took her in. Shortly after I picked her up, I received a call from the state saying they had called the hospital and were told that she had left the program. I explained that she was discharged and we had decided to take her in. The worker was surprised but seemed okay with it. Later that afternoon, our resource worker called and jokingly threatened to kill me for being nuts, then congratulated me on being human. She went on to say that there had been a meeting and that our foster care license had been on the line. Although Jack Jack is NOT in foster care, there is apparently an “open investigation” and a licensed foster home can not be taking in someone under investigation as that would prevent any other placements. The supervisor wanted to pursue a case against Jack Jack’s Mom through the courts, but somehow the state worker and our resource worker convinced him not to and they agreed to let her stay! The resource worker told me that they will be doing some case planning with Jack Jack’s Mom which will include a parent aide and built in respite (with us!) Yeah! I was really happy to hear they wanted to HELP her instead of make her situation worse.

Jack Jack’s Mom has continued without luck to pursue a shelter that will take in her and the baby. I am beyond frustrated that no one has been able to find something for her, not because I mind having her here, but rather because we were told that no mother and child can be left on the street by the state. She has been told numerous times that she is the highest priority for several welfare departments, yet when the end of the day comes, those workers punch out and go home to their nice warm beds never giving her a second thought.

Anyway, after having Jack Jack’s Mom here 36 hours or so, I’m sad to say I do have some concerns about her and can see how this case was inititially referred for investigation, especially when she was in her peak of mental illness. I still fully believe that she loves her child and would never intentionally harm him, but the mental health piece is definitely an issue in her daily life. I have never seen anyone on the volume of medications she is taking… yet I still can’t figure out if she is spacey BECAUSE of those meds or because she needs more to get herself focused and back down to earth. She often leaves the baby on the floor and simply walks away. I had to remind her at least 5 times today to take her mid-day meds. She has no concept of time. She often seems confused and unable to complete simple tasks. I am hoping and praying that the hospital stay was just stabilization and that her continuing to work with her team will allow her to get to a better place because if this is the best she has got (and she has to do it alone), Jack Jack is in trouble.

I encouraged her to try to relax for the weekend simply because I don’t want her to leave with the baby in the condition she is in. It’s not a good long term solution, but it buys me some time to figure out how best to help her. Any thoughts?

signature

One Crisis To The Next

We live one crisis to the next. Parenting 7 children (between the bios and the fosters), I guess this is to be expected, but it certainly is never any less alarming or intense.

Monday afternoon, Tink’s ex-boyfriend brought her home from school and shared that Tink had a plan to commit suicide by overdose that night. Tink confirmed the plan, so off to the ER we went. It was determined that she should be transferred to a psychiatric facility and she was moved the next day. A series of events has begun since Tuesday that overwhelms and consumes me. My heart is broken for Tinkerbelle and all she has to deal with, but I know that the hospital is the very best place for her to do that.

Despite that stressor, I have continued to be on top of managing the needs of the other children as well. Daffy was vomiting Saturday through Tuesday, but has finally been able to keep food down and return to school. Donald has been having a very tough week at the RTC with multiple agressions. We will be visiting him as a family on Saturday so my stress level is obviously increasing. Goofy and Pluto are truly my saving graces and I am doing my best to stay connected to them and be sure their needs are being met as well. They are just so “easy”, but I dont want that to change and find them seeking negative attention.

That said, my goal is to focus on all the positive things in our lives each day to keep me going. This morning I am thankful for:

  • Snuggles in bed with our puppy who has healed well from his injuries
  • A gorgeous foster daughter who asked me to straighten her hair (a rare occurrence)
  • An amazingly supportive network of friends and family (both in real life and on Twitter)
  • The ability to work from bed in my pajamas while drinking coffee
  • A social worker who always goes above and beyond the call of duty to support us

Despite our circumstances, I am blessed and grateful.