Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Visit Drama

All the pieces that go into scheduling visits for S are so difficult to juggle and it causes such issues that it's frustrating. And meanwhile, there is a little girl who just wants to know when she'll see her parents again. And I can't tell her.

When visits were just with Mommy (Daddy was in jail), we didn't have that much trouble. Her work schedule is all in the evenings, so visits were on a weekday, mid-morning to lunchtime, always the same day of the week. Perfect. Predictable, routine, evenly spaced.

Adding Daddy's visits originally wasn't that much of an issue either. Tack his time on either before or after hers.

But then he got a job. Which, of course, is a good thing, except it was M-F all day, so he wanted weekend visits. We did a few of those and then he lost the job. During the last one of those weekend visits that he had, he gave the supervisor a ton of attitude when she hinted that a lot of people had made sacrifices to make this happen the way he'd wanted it.

Supervisor would rather not work weekends herself, so we went back to weekday visits.

Now, he has another job and wants weekends back; supervisor is pushing back. I think he rubbed her the wrong way when he refused to admit that he owed anyone some gratitude for adjusting the visit schedule for him (specifically, I think she wanted him to acknowledge that S's mother was owed some thanks for being flexible with her own schedule). She's told him she'll do one weekend a month and if he wants a 2nd visit that month, he's just going to have to request a day off.

I also suspect that she doesn't think this job will last long either and is setting some firm boundaries with him.

But what all this drama leads to is this. There are about 2 weeks between visits. On visit day, I never know when the next one will be. Lately, I don't know until a day or two beforehand. Which sucks. It sucks for me and the other kids in the house -- it's hard to plan ANYTHING when I don't know what time she will need to be picked up or returned and during what time frame she'll be gone. But, bigger than that, it really, really sucks for her. We used to put a sticker on the calender on visit day and mark off the days as they passed, so she could have a visual for when she'd see Mommy again. We're still marking off days, but there's no sticker anymore for long stretches of time. Wouldn't be surprised if it makes her feel like she's never going to see her mother again.

I hate this. This little girl needs her time with her parents to be consistent. This is a child that is desperate for control and stability and the only things she's getting from the state are more disruptions and disorder. I hate the way this increases her behavior issues because she just can't cope with the not-knowing of all of this and I hate that I can't do anything to fix it. I hound the supervisor planning the visit; I remind her that S asks when she'll see them again and it's really hard on her when I can't tell her. But I don't think this is all the supervisor's fault--it's just too many schedules to juggle and too many people to try to get on the same page.

Mommy is requesting a move to unsupervised visits this month, so this may be the last time that there's just the one long visit time with both parents getting a share of it. I'm hoping that will help. I'm hoping that unsupervised means that Mommy and I work it out between us and it's just Daddy's visits that have to be "I don't know." Maybe the supervisor will be more OK with a weekend visit when it's just one parent, instead of two back-to-back. I'm not sure, but I suspect that S will cope with uncertain Daddy-time much better than uncertain Mommy-time. (It's always Mommy that she asks when she'll see her. It's always Mommy she cries for when she's unhappy. It's always Mommy that she wants to know when she can go to her house. Never Daddy for any of those things, although she will acknowledge that she'll see him the same day she sees Mommy.)

Foster care sucks.

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