Friday, January 27, 2012

Learning her Triggers

Even after 6 months, we are still learning the things that trigger L.

99% of the time, she is a perfectly normal 8 year old girl. A little bratty, a little bossy, a little too obsessed with looks and material possessions. But generally loving and obedient and so very smart. There's nothing about her behavior that would strike me as odd in a child that one of my kids was friends with from school or church. And then, something will happen and she will react all out of proportion to the event; at that moment, I remember again that no child enters foster care without some sort of trauma in their history.

We were shopping for new clothes. She'd had a great time--I'd given her a budget limit on what we were going to be able to spend and some guidelines limiting her to things she actually needed, and we spent a couple hours hunting through racks and she tried on a bunch of things and was so proud of herself for coming in well under the budget cap I'd set while still scoring a lot of new clothes that she loves. A good trip. Until we got the the cash register.

While we were waiting our turn to checkout, another customer set off the security sensors at the exit, although she appeared to be carrying only a large purse. This customer began protesting loudly that she was leaving and she hadn't done anything wrong and they couldn't make her stay there and she wasn't going to show them what was in her purse. After several minutes of passively trying to prevent her from leaving the building without cooperating with them (mostly by blocking her path and speaking calmly), security personnel told another employee to call the police.

By now, L had her head buried against my hip, her arms tight around me, and whispered that she hoped that wouldn't happen to me. Trying to be casual, I said it wouldn't and talked about how I would react if the sensors went off, because in my case it would mean there was a mistake and we would all fix the mistake together. I thought I had her calmed down, although she was still glued to me.

On the way out, we even got to witness the police cars arriving and attempting to get the woman to get out of her car, which was still in the parking lot. And later in the night, what may have been the real concern came out when L said she hoped that woman wasn't her mommy. (It wasn't.)

Monday, January 23, 2012


Baby Brother is home (with BioMom) from the hospital!

That's all I know. But I presume that means that he's now regulating his own breathing.

Now we just wait to see if she can handle it. And if she can find a different place to live in the next 5 weeks.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Wheels Turn Slowly....

Visit with mom today.

The baby is still in the NICU, still having trouble breathing.

L and O will have to have flu shots before they're allowed to see them, says their mom.

My agency caseworker says hospital visits to the baby haven't been approved by the county caseworker yet, but to go ahead and do the flu shots anyway.

His drug screen was clean--thank you, God!--but her current housing goes away in about 6 weeks, so she and Baby may be homeless at that point. I'm told that I can expect the county to be watching every move she makes to be prepared to take him into care at the slightest sign of neglect or abuse. (With this mom, more likely neglect.)

Still no word on the relative placement.

I'm still trying to figure out how to answer the inevitable question from L when Baby Brother goes home with mom: How come Baby Brother gets to stay with Mommy and we don't? Got no good answer to that one, not without violating my rule against saying negative things about the birth parents to the kids. I'm just hoping for inspiration before it gets asked!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Still in a holding pattern

Baby Brother is still in the hospital, although I haven't been given any updates beyond that.

I don't know if he's improving or what the prognosis is on when he'll be able to leave the hospital.

L and O have a visit tomorrow with their mom. I'm pretty sure they're expecting Baby Brother to be there, but I don't know how likely that is.

I was asked if they'd "seen the picture of him yet", but no one has sent it to me.

Reference was made to bio-mom's father visiting her in the hospital. This is the first reference I've heard of bio-mom's father in the nearly 7 months we've had his grandkids. Who is this guy?

There was a relative placement supposedly being reviewed, which would be approved this week if at all. Haven't heard a word about that, either.

I hate not knowing what's going on!

Monday, January 16, 2012

So far, so good?

So, the baby was born.

I haven't been told anything about DFCS taking custody.

But I know the baby's in the NICU, so I don't know when he would leave the hospital anyway.

And I don't know how long it takes for the drug screens on an infant to come back, anyway.

Oh, and I've been told that bio-mom's current housing will not allow her to live there anymore once the baby is 6 weeks old, so there goes the "stable housing" part of her case plan.....

Guess I'm still holding my breath. Turning blue.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Holding my breath....

Bio-mom is in labor in the hospital.

I've been told she's working the plan and making progress.

I've been told they will only take the baby into care if there is some sign of neglect or abuse for this child; the fact that his siblings are in state custody is not a reason for my state to take a baby at birth. However, he will be drug-screened at the hospital and if anything shows up, he'll be picked up by DFCS. Also, they'll be watching every move she makes once she's left the hospital with the baby and any sign of anything will be enough for them to swoop in and take him.

I've been told that if they do take the baby, they will call us first, since we are caring for his siblings.

I really don't want to take the baby, but we don't have any non-selfish (read: "I just don't wanna") reason not to and we know that L would be heartbroken to know that baby is anywhere but with her or her mother.

Please, God, let him have a clean drug screen?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Preschool conversations

In the car on the way home from preschool, with the three-year old--he's trying so hard to figure our family relationships, and all I can do is keep it as simple as I can for him.

Mommy is my mother. Yes

Nana is my grandmother. Yes.

Daddy is Your father. Daddy is your father.

And I'm N's** Big Brother. Yes. You are N's big brother and he's your little brother. 

L is your Big Sister. Yeah--she my big sister. And she'll be N's big sister, too, just like she's your big sister. Oh.

Mommy is my mother? yes. And that why we go see her every....every... Every week. Yes. Mommy is your mother and you get to see her every week.

**Bio-mom is pregnant, with a boy, who has been named already. She talks to the kids about the baby a lot and says things like "N misses you!" O is still kind of confused about interacting with a child he can't see, I think, but she's getting pretty close to the due date and they've gotten to feel the baby kick a few times during a visit.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I have one biological daughter, and she has Asperger's. This means that she has never been, and will never be, a "typical girl." She does not care what she wears. Or how her hair looks. Or want to wear nail polish or lip gloss or wonder if she "looks pretty."

And I thank the great Lord in heaven above for it.

L is reminding me why that is a blessing in my life as she, at age 8, is already very particular about how she looks. She has declined food "because it will make me fat" (she is a perfectly normal weight for her age and height, as are both her parents); she dresses herself, carefully coordinating outfits; she wears necklaces and bracelets and rings, all either made by herself or given to her by a family member.

This morning, though, I had to intervene. It was 20 degrees outside and still dark. She tried to decline to wear a hat (or any sort of head covering) to the bus stop. Why?  It'll mess up my hair.