Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What does "doing well" mean?

S's BioMom confuses me. That's not hard to do, because I still fall into the trap of thinking that bioparents will behave in ways I can imagine behaving if I were in their situation...

The first visit S had with her mother was not handled the way visits usually are in my area, mostly because of the time crunch.

The visits are supervised, and the supervising person picks the child up and takes them to the visit, then brings them back.

S's first visit was squeezed in around some routine medical appointments that had already been scheduled before she came into care, and I was just keeping those appointments instead of making different appointments of my own for initial health checks. Since Mom had scheduled those visits, she obviously knew when and where they were and I was told she intended to come. That's good.

So, the supervisor picked S up and took her to a visit and told me that she'd meet me at the 1st doctor's appointment with S. She assured me that S would ride with her and that Mom would just have to follow in her own car.

Except, it turned out Mom didn't have a car. So, the supervisor let her ride in her car with S and herself. I suppose because the alternative was to essentially tell Mom that it was too bad she wouldn't be at her daughter's doctor's appointments after all.

At the doctor's appointment, I let Mom answer most of the health questions--I'd only had S a week, so I was still figuring out a lot of the answers myself. I was surprised to hear that this 10am appointment was during naptime. I was also surprised to hear S described as a "picky eater", and felt compelled to add the comment that she will eat some things from every food group. (To me, that's not a "picky eater.")

The dentist came next. That's when I learned that Mom didn't have a car and she "guessed she'd just ride with me." OK. I wondered at that point if I was going to have to take Mom home after all this. I didn't; she had her mother come pick her up at the dentist's.

Both visits went well -- S is in good health, although there's some dental work to do. Mom strikes me as a reasonably good parent, although I think she may baby S a little bit. (She carried her everywhere, for example.) We scheduled the next dental visit together, so Mom knew when it was and made no objections to that date and time.

S screamed bloody murder when it was time to go, though. She kept crying that she wanted to go with Mommy and there was no good answer at a 3 year old level for why she couldn't. Up til then, S had been repeating that Mommy was in jail. I think S had understood that as the reason why S was at my house. Seeing Mommy out and about and unescorted by anyone rocked that assumption. Clearly, Mommy is not in jail anymore, so why can't I go home? Mom didn't know what to do -- I wouldn't have either! -- she kept trying to talk S down, but S wasn't having it. Finally, Mom asked me for advice and I told her she was going to have to walk away. After a few more minutes, she did.

It was heartbreaking.

Since then, S has had another visit with Mom, where the supervisor transported both ways. The artwork S had brought to give her was still in her backpack, so I don't know if Mom ever looked at it. (S said they didn't play with any of the things in the backpack, which were all things S had wanted to take with her; It's quite likely that Mom thought the backpack just contained an emergency change of clothes, diaper wipes, etc.)  Caseworker has said that Mom is doing well on her case plan already and it seems likely she will get S back, eventually.

Then came the follow-up dentist visit. I thought surely Mom would be there. She wasn't. I told S that she might not be there because she might have had to work. No idea if that's true or not, but it seemed like a reasonable explanation for the 3 year old.

Then an officer of the court charged with collecting background information on S called me to ask what I knew about her and mentioned that Mom was avoiding his calls.

Another visit coming up. And a meeting with caseworkers. I just get so confused to hear that Mom is "doing well" and then have her not complete what seem like fairly easy steps.....hope I'll understand more after the visit with the caseworker.

1 comment:

  1. "Doing well" is so incredibly subjective. It sounds to me that S's mom might be a bit flaky. Not showing up to appointments is a big one in MY book. But...I'm not making the rules here. And Lord knows most SSWs have seen things that would make my skin crawl. So in the grand scheme of things, I suppose only dealing with a missed appointment is probably "doing well" by most of The System's standards.