Note: I don't curse. Ever. So putting that word in the title is a sign of just how bad this news was....and, no, it has nothing to do with election results.
I got a call at 8am this morning.
L and O are coming back into care today, as is their baby brother.
Their mother failed a drug test.
The call, of course, was asking if we could take them back.
We can't. The logistics just don't work.
If we took all 3, there would be 7 children in my home. Our largest vehicle seats 7, which means that I would not be able to leave the house without leaving a child behind if Mr D were not at home. Not practical.
If we took only L and O, splitting up the sibling group, we would still have to have L and S share a room. I'm not even certain that's legal in my state, since they aren't related. Even if it were, I'm not comfortable with it. L, at 8, is very interested in arts and crafts projects, so her room was fully stocked with crayons, markers, and beads. S still puts things in her mouth and does not fully understand the concept of "if it doesn't belong to you, don't touch it." Or, frankly, even the concept of "not everything belongs to you." There is no way that S would leave L's things alone.
So I said No.
I said we could be available for respite or occasional babysitting. I said, if they have to split up the group, we could take one. (If they do split the group, the baby will be the one.)
If S were not here, we could make it work and we would do it. Even though we have been very clear that we are not a potential adoptive home for these kids, we would be the foster home until they found an adoptive family. (The judge told the mom when they went home that there would be no second chances. It's been 3 months since they left here, and she's already failed a drug test? This case is not likely to be about reunifying with her. There might be a family adoptive option, or they might be looking for a whole new family.)
They are having a family team meeting today to determine the plan. I don't think the kids have been removed yet.
I still feel guilty for saying No.
I am heartbroken for those precious children who thought they were home and it was over and now it all starts again. I really wanted to believe their reunification would be successful, that this was how it was supposed to work, and that we had done our part to help preserve a family.
I am devastated for their mother, who worked so hard while they were with me, and who has now -- most likely -- lost her children due to her addiction. It was never that she didn't care about them. It's not that she doesn't care about them now! But when the stress of managing all 3 kids on her own built up, it appears that she turned back to the drugs. It may have only been once -- I'll never know -- but it was enough to get caught.
And now I don't know what to say when people ask me if I've heard anything about how they're doing. I've been saying that I haven't and explaining why that's a good thing. Now....I just can't talk about it?