Saturday, January 25, 2014

Nothing to See Here

I haven't been posting as much about N as I did about other placements.

Truthfully, there's just not much to say. He's a sweet, cuddly one year old with no major behavior issues or delays. He's not old enough to say or do things that are likely to be "cute" when retold to others. I don't need the release of venting on here about frustrating behaviors. His parents are kind, hard working people who are doing their best to get their baby back. There's no drama coming from them or because of them. The case is dragging, but the CASA is doing her best to keep things moving. I'm used to cases dragging by now and am just glad that I'm not the one having to jump and down to make progress.

I did just spend nearly a week in the hospital with him as he had surgery. Hopefully, this will be the last one to repair the damage done from his injury, although he will need regular followups for the rest of his life. The hospital experience was exhausting, but as good as any such experience can be. His surgery was done at a pediatric hospital that does an excellent job of making things as easy as possible for family members and patients. His parents came to visit him daily and stayed for hours -- and I could slip away while they were there. He didn't like that I left him, but he got over it quickly and it made it possible for me to cope with the nights and the rest of the day when they couldn't be there. Nurses and social workers and the hospital chaplain all came by to check on him and me regularly (the chaplain making a point to tell me to get a break every now and then, including a little mini-lecture on the importance of self-care). Friends and staff members from our church came by to visit and offered to bring me anything I wanted or needed.

I'm expecting him to be gone in about a month. That month should include gradually increasing time spent with his family instead of here.

I'm enjoying not having much to say that is blog-fodder, but it feels a little bit like I've been neglecting this lately. I probably shouldn't get too hung up on that, though; who knows who comes in next!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Random updates

Our new caseworker has been assigned and I have met her, very briefly. She seems very nice and very young and very overwhelmed. I didn't have the heart to ask if she speaks Spanish, but I suspect she does not. (I met her at the beginning of a family visit. I did not hear her attempt any Spanish when meeting N's family for the first time. Hence, my suspicion that she doesn't speak the language.)

N's CASA, on the other hand, continues to be awesome. When the new caseworker was not responding to my emails about what the plan was for a family visit the week of New Year's, the CASA went over to the CPS offices and "met with" the new caseworker and her supervisor. The new caseworker had not yet looked at our case file, which was why she was not responding. The CASA didn't say this when she told me about the meeting, but I'm pretty sure the result was the CASA setting her straight about how that's not really acceptable. She also explained to her that it is within her authority to approve unsupervised visits, that unsupervised visits should really have started before the next court date (in late February) and that it is not appropriate for me to be supervising the visits. (I'd been going to the parenting sessions because the previous caseworker asked me to attend them; I thought it was in case there was something the parenting aide told them to work on that I could help keep consistent. Pretty sure that was getting written up as me "supervising the visit" which frankly ticks me off. I would never have agreed to supervise the visit.) The CASA was also present when I met the caseworker and there did not appear to be any uncomfortable feelings, so I suspect that the setting straight was done kindly, politely, tactfully...but firmly. As I said, the CASA is awesome.

And thank heaven for that. Because the more details that come out about this case and this family, the more certain I am that there was no abuse here. It seems more and more likely that there was a horrible accident, to which the family responded appropriately by taking the child to the ER....and lost custody of their baby for half of his life so far.  Awesome CASA has drawn up a transition plan of visits in which we slowly increase from the current visit schedule of once a week for about to hours to once a week for all day (on BioDad's day off work) to weekend overnights, with the goal of having more than one weekend accomplished before court. New caseworker was supposed to discuss that plan with her supervisor and approve it.

I know you'll all be deeply shocked to hear that I don't have the approval yet.

N is doing very well. He's at the walking stage where he can do it if he's not paying attention, but as soon as he realizes he's got no support, he sits down. He's saying a few words -- of the sort that only the people who live here can identify as words, of course, and in English. He's also signing a few words, which I'm hoping will translate back to his family more smoothly. When we show him a new skill -- how to go down the stairs, how to make the book play music, how to sign a new word -- he picks it up quickly and retains it. He is sweet and cuddly and still has the best laugh ever. Reading Cherub Mama's descriptions of Daisy is reiterating to me that N's initial diagnosis was wrong -- he has a Traumatic Head Injury, but not Shaken Baby Syndrome.

This is the first child we've had where the thought of him leaving --and eventually forgetting us -- is breaking my heart, but I am confident that there is no reason to keep him from his God-given family, so I will do my best to send him off with a smile and save my tears for after the door closes behind him.