Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's Tomorrow

I waited almost all day and heard nothing. OK, that's not quite fair. I got a text response to my question about biodad and the need for a DNA test, but it was pretty much a generic "how these things work" type of response, not a case specific one. (CPS prefers to have DNA, but there are other ways to TPR if the father is unknown or uncooperative. Well, I knew that.)

Finally, I called Tom at almost 5pm and asked if he'd heard anything from county caseworker. He said he hadn't, in spite of leaving a message for her, but had assumed that no contact meant they hadn't taken custody today. He said he would try again to reach her right now.

I waited again. For about 30 minutes.

And got a text from Tom. Saying that the county caseworker decided "to wait a while" before taking custody and would let him know when they did.

So, today's update -- which was supposed to tell me so much -- told me nothing different than what I've been hearing for almost a month.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It begins. Finally. Maybe?

I got a text this evening from Anna.

She's in the hospital. She'll be having (relatively minor, but unplanned) surgery tomorrow and will be out for about a week. She wanted to tell me what she knew and give me her supervisor's contact information as her supervisor will be covering for her while she's recovering from the surgery.

What she knew: C is expected to stay in the hospital for one more week. Kayla plans to surrender rights (already!?), so CPS may take custody tomorrow. (They usually wait until discharge to take custody, probably for budget reasons, unless they need to prevent the parent from visiting the child in the hospital.) If they do take custody tomorrow, we might be approved to go visit C in the hospital between then and discharge. The supervisor (let's call him Tom) will be talking to the county caseworker tomorrow to get more information.

I responded thanking her and telling her to quit worrying about us. (Can I just take this moment to say something that I hate hearing? I could never do Anna's job. I can't imagine being in the hospital and having to contact a bunch of people individually to tell them about it because my job required personal connections with so many and was so time-dependent that it wouldn't work to send out a blanket email: "I will be unavailable from x date to y date for personal reasons. Contact my supervisor if you need something before I get back.") She asked me to keep her posted.

I just texted the supervisor because I had one question I wanted to ask before he talks to the county caseworker. Kayla is surrendering; what about biodad? I'd be shocked if he makes a different decision with this child than he did with Lucy, but you never know. Regardless, do we have to wait out another DNA test?

My plan is to wait until about mid-day tomorrow before calling Tom to follow up. Until then....I'm feeling kind of...frozen. I want to leap into prep work with energy -- get the beds set up, pull out the baby clothing, put our support network on notice. But I don't think I can really do that until after we hear tomorrow's update. We haven't even told the kids yet.

So many questions. Surrendering already...does this mean no visits? No case plan? Do we go straight  to an adoption worker? How unheard of is this?!

Lucy's case was fast. This one? Sounds like it could be even faster.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday, Monday...

I posted last Monday that a new week felt like the start of another window of waiting.

I did get a text update from Anna early in the week, but it was one of those "nothing to report" type of updates. She said she still didn't know the planned discharge date and would try to find out why the baby was being kept so long. (Is something wrong? Is she actually having withdrawal issues? Does she just need more "growing" time?)

That was all I heard all week.

And, now, it is Monday again.

I do have some school meetings this week that will be easier to do sans baby, so part of me is selfishly hoping things continue to drag out. But I that baby alone in the NICU? Is anyone visiting her, holding her, loving on her? I know that NICU nurses are fantastic and loving people, but they have more to do than just hang out with one patient all day.

Lucy spent 5 weeks in a NICU. But that time, I didn't even know she existed until I also knew that she would be coming here in a few days. 


Friday, August 28, 2015

Academic snobbery

This post has nothing to do with foster care.

In fact, it has nothing to do with anything that I can discuss with anyone outside my nearest and dearest family members, and even then I have to be careful with whom.

But, I really, really need to vent right now.

In high school, I was one of those "best and brightest" academic kids. You know the ones. GPA over 4.0, taking all the AP classes the school offered back then and complaining that there weren't more of them, winning all the academic awards, offered academic scholarships from schools that I hadn't even applied to yet.

I went to a largish, private liberal arts university in the midwest. US News and World Report top 25 back then; I think it's ranked even higher now. There, I was surrounded by other students who were Just Like Me and I still did pretty well -- graduated with honors in 4 years with a double major in two areas that do not overlap at all.

After about 2 decades out of academia, I am now taking graduate school classes, working towards a Masters degree in an Education field. I am enrolled in a 100% online program at a smallish liberal arts school in my southeastern state's public university system. (Not the big flagship institution, one of the little ones with a directional description in its name.) Let's just say the admission requirements are not as stringent as my bachelor's program was.

I really, really don't want to be what my university professor uncle once described as "an academic snob." But.

The readings are killing me. Not because the material is difficult or there's a lot to cover or any of that. But because the assigned readings...we're talking about required reading assigned by an individual with a doctorate who is supposed to be teaching me to be an educator...are full of grammatical errors. Some of them are relied-on-spell-check typos: "the issue you as a perspective teacher face." Some of them are subject-verb agreement! One text (a published book that I had to pay for!) had a sentence with no verb phrase of any kind!

It makes me want to scream.

I get that typos happen. I'm sure I've made more than my fair share in the history of this blog. There might even be some on this post. And I can ignore and brush off errors in something posted on the message board about the next assignment. I will cringe, but can even let go of errors in the syllabus. But when the instructor chooses a text and assigns it as required reading? I expect it to have been thoroughly and professionally proofread. My blog is not an academic publication; these texts should be.

There's no way to complain about all of this to friends (and certainly not to classmates!) without sounding incredibly full of myself. I may sound that way to anyone reading this as well, but at least it doesn't burn any relationship bridges. But, oh, it is making me crazy. I want to break out a red pen and mark up the readings. Maybe I should. It might be therapeutic.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A New Week

Not long after I posted my last update, I got a text from Anna. She told me there wasn't any real update; C is still in the hospital, DFCS hasn't taken custody yet, but she still expects them to do so.  She also said she still didn't have any sense of a timeframe for C's expected discharge.

So, we went about our busy weekend baby-free...and kind of relieved about it. (Mr D was out of town all weekend so I was parenting solo, Peter had a cross country meet that was over an hour away, Susan had a school project to work on, I had a church committee meeting....all things we could have managed with a baby, but it was for sure simpler not to have one.)

And today begins a new week of waiting. I do feel that nothing surprising will happen on a weekend, so I was able to put the question mark of when she was coming out of my head for the past few days. But, now, it is Monday morning. And I will spend each day this week wondering when the call will come. And will the call be an update -- with a window of time to prepare? Or will it be, essentially, "so, I'm on my way..."? I'm hoping for the former, because we haven't told the kids (or anyone else). And since we haven't told them, we haven't even begun to set up baby equipment or pull infant clothes out of storage boxes.

I think it will be an update first. We had a few days advance notice with Lucy. Which stretched into a few more days as the hospital decided to keep her a few extra days. So, that could happen again. But what I don't know is what the county caseworker is thinking. Were the extra days notice with Lucy available because the caseworker was working on making sure she had a placement ready? And does she think she already has that this time? We shall see, I suppose.

Still have Dreft, but it's getting very low....

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

No, it isn't. Not this kind of waiting, at least.

But it's the hard thing I'm doing right now. I've heard nothing from anyone since the last update. I left a voicemail for Anna earlier in the week, commenting that I was trying to determine whether I could commit to doing something this weekend, but have heard nothing. (This is highly unusual behavior for her to leave me hanging like that after I've called to follow up. Either something has exploded in another case or she never got my message.)

For now, I'm assuming C is not coming before this weekend.

I don't know what to assume beyond that. Is she doing OK? Is she coming here at all? 

The only experience I've ever had like this in foster care was the second case we were asked to be a part of. Those were kids that needed an adoptive home because they were split across more than one foster home. Since the children were in safe and stable places, the county was being very careful and deliberate about picking an adoptive placement....and also dropping the ball to schedule meetings with us. We waited a month, thinking we were going to take on 3 children as a foster-to-adopt placement, but we never even met the kids. We never did another case with that county, either.

This is a completely different situation, but it feels very similar. There is no other foster-to-adopt home competing to take in C. The only question is whether she needs a home at all and when she will be healthy enough to leave the NICU. At the root of it all, though, I'm just waiting.