Sunday, December 23, 2012

Baby Brother

Got a call last week from the agency caseworker for L & O. She reminded me that I offered to do respite for the foster home in which they were placed after we said we couldn't take them. Although L & O themselves have moved to a family placement, Baby Brother has not. (The family member with whom L & O are placed is on their father's side and Baby Brother has a different daddy.)

Baby Brother might need to spend a few days in respite -- could I do it? It wasn't the best timing, but it was manageable, so I said yes. They told me there as a 50/50 chance they would need me. The foster home wanted to take him with them on an out of town family trip and BioMom was saying No. The caseworker was hoping to either change her mind or get a judge to overrule her, but wanted to have something in place if that didn't work out.

He was here for 3 nights. And he was the most precious, sweetest, happiest, easiest not-quite-1-year-old I have ever seen. And I exhausted myself waking up to see if he was crying when he was not. :)

I didn't know his foster mom previously. And now that I've interacted with her, I think I understand why BioMom wouldn't let them take him along. (When I agreed to do it, I wondered why she would--she never refused to let us take L & O anywhere.) Foster Mom is totally and completely head over heels for that baby (can't blame her!) and she talks about him as though he's already hers. She called me 3 or 4 times each day, "just to check on him, is he OK?" When they picked him up from us they were taking him to see Santa, and -- let's face it -- an under 1 year old seeing Santa? That's for the parents, not the child. And a bit of the experienced parent in me was shocked to see Foster Dad wake up sleeping Baby Brother to say hello when they picked him up. (We met them partway between our houses and Baby Brother was sound asleep in his carseat--one of the infant ones that you take out of the car with the baby still in it.)

If Foster Mom talks about that baby around his BioMom with even half the possessive attitude* she showed me, I am sure that BioMom said No to the travel just to remind her that she is still that boy's mother.

I don't know anything about the case, so I don't know what Foster Mom was promised in terms of availablity to adopt.

I do know that Foster Mom has no other children in her home and is looking to grow her family.

And I do know that Baby Brother is having regular visits with BioMom.

*Foster Mom wasn't rude or ugly. On the contrary, she was apologetic for calling so often and thankful to us for taking him while they were gone; it wasn't a trip she could choose not to take and she would rather have had him go with her. It was just very clear to me that she's not only attached to Baby Brother, and sees him as a member of her family, but that she is uncomfortable being separated from him....which I don't think would play well to a bioparent who is being kept separated from him!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Asperger's and Connecticut

Because I have such a young one in the house, we have not watched much of the coverage of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

We discussed what happened with Peter and Susan. We encouraged them to continue to talk to us whenever they want or need to do so, but to ensure that we are in private when they do so. Edmund and S are young enough to not need to know any of the details. (At 3, S doesn't need to know anything about it all.)

But even within that little bubble, the latest stories connecting the shooter's behavior's to a supposed Asperger's diagnosis have filtered through.

And it makes me furious.

Asperger's can cause over-reactions to frustrations, disruptions and disappointments. Some people with Asperger's react to stress by lashing out.

But it is not a condition that should have made anyone expect that young man to pick up a gun and start shooting people.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best laid plans

So, we had that lovely review panel.

And we talked about changing the visit location between the time with Mom and the time with Dad and I was all excited about that.

The next visit.....first with Mom (at McDonald's), then with Dad (possibly at a nearby park).

Except that when the supervisor picked S up, she told me she hadn't been able to reach Dad to confirm the plan, so she wasn't sure how it would actually all play out. 30 minutes into the visit with Mom, I got a call from the supervising person. Dad is "unavailable" for the visit today, she tells me carefully, and asks if I'll be at home 2 hours sooner than originally planned.

"Unavailable" = back in jail. He was out long enough to have one visit with her and to attend the review panel.

At least nobody told S he was sick again. (S is of the opinion that he had to go to work, a lie with which I am perfectly comfortable.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Moments That Break Your Heart -- Take two

She's 3. She's been in my home for about 4 months. One night, we changed the usual evening routine, so I could attend something with the older kids. She's staying home with the other parent in the household, with whom she is perfectly comfortable. When I told her where I was going and who was going to get her dinner and put her to bed, she said, "OK." Then I said good bye and she looked at me solemnly and asked, "Will you come back?"

She's 8. After a year in your home, she's finally reuniting with family. During the time she was with you, she had regularly scheduled contact (in person and on the phone) with both Mom and Dad as well as some grandparents and occasional contact with aunts, uncles and cousins on Dad's side. Her parents are not on good terms with each other, and the grandparents have told you that this year has been the most regular contact they've ever had with her. She's going back to Mom. After the initial excitement to be "going home," she turns to you with tears in her eyes and asks you if she'll ever see Daddy again. The truth? Probably not.

She's 3. When she got in the car with the caseworker to come to my house, she asked him if he was taking her to jail.

He's 5. You went to the grocery store while he was at school and bought more of the cereal that had become his favorite breakfast since he's been in your home. When he saw the groceries after school, he got very excited. 30 minutes later, you get the call. Pack him up, he's going to Dad's tonight. When you tell him, his first reaction is disappointment because "Daddy doesn't have that cereal." Yes, I sent the box of cereal with him. Dad was probably offended, but I don't care.

She's 3. She's in the car about to head to her first visit with her Daddy since she came into care. As she's being strapped in to the car seat, the transporter's phone rings. No visit. Daddy's in jail. Guess it could have been worse...we didn't arrive at the visit and wait for him only to have him not show up.

He's aged out, without ever finding a permanent family that would claim him as their own. Living on his own and managing OK. He tells you that there a lots of places he can go for Thanksgiving. There are a number of families that would happily welcome him into their home for that celebration. But, he continues, "there isn't one house where -- if I'm not there -- they'll miss me."

She's 3. You're sitting outside at a coffee shop having a snack, when a police cruiser slowly drives by. She watches it until it is out of sight, then turns to you and identifies it as "the police." When you agree, she says, "they ain't coming to take you away?"

She's 8. You received donated Christmas gifts for her that included a board game you already own, so you held onto the new game to be "hers" when she went home without telling her about it. Now, she's reunifying with Mom, so you sent the new game to her mother inside a box, having explained out of earshot what's in it. When she comes back from the next visit, she excitedly tells you that Mom got her "an early welcome home present" and it's the game. With a secret smile, you tell her that's great, pleased that Mom was able to use it in that way. But what this child is the most excited about? "It's new and it has all the pieces!"

She's 3. When she started having visits with her mother, she would sob and scream and cry when it was time to separate again at the end of the visit -- she wanted to stay with her Mommy so badly! Now, she waves goodbye to Mommy with a smile as she gets in the car to head back to your house. As much as I am happy not to have to tear her screaming away from her mother, it also breaks my heart that she's OK with it now.