Friday, February 28, 2014

Goodbye, N!

I had been packing all day, because I didn't really think there was any doubt he was leaving.

So, when I got the call, it didn't take long to put the last few things in the boxes and bags and start loading the car.

I drove him home, unloaded his things and gave him to his mother.

She looked straight at me -- which she rarely does -- and said, in a clearer and louder voice than I have ever heard from her, "Thank you."

I bawled the whole way home.

I know N is where he belongs.

I trust that God watched over that day -- the day he went home -- with a smile.

I believe his time with us has served its purpose.

(Mr. D put it well when he said that what we did for N was prevent this time of his life being a period in which he did not feel loved. He will not remember any of this and that is good. He will not remember the hospital stays and the needles and the staples and the IVs. He will have the scars and whatever stories his family tells him about them. What we hope he will also carry with him is the emotional strength that comes from the simple fact of having been loved through all of it.)

But right now? Oh, right now, I am struggling. Everything rational in me says "this is right, this is how it should be, this is good." But rationality is not the order of the day at the moment. Because this was the case. This was the one where I loved that child as deeply as the ones I birthed. This is the one where I never reached the point where the hard was outweighing the good -- even for a moment or a day. This is the one where it was hard to let him go.

Or maybe it was just the first one of those.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

N's Court Date

When the CASA arrived at court, she learned that DFCS was planning to ask the judge to continue the case for another month.

That was news to me. When I had met with the new caseworker, she didn't tell me much. (She told me she'd just come back from medical leave and been assigned a staggering number of cases. I want to say she said 80, but that seems ridiculous. Surely I'm misremembering that number? Maybe she said 40?)

I told her a lot. The history of the case, the care I have witnessed the family give, the lack of evidence that I have heard that there was any abuse here, the concerns raised by the community panel about the detective in charge of the criminal investigation (whose report fairly oozes racism), the general consensus at the last panel that it was time to reunify this family, the steps that we have taken to restore his bond with them so that he can go home without a transition period.

I thought we were all on the same page. That's why I didn't go to court. (That and the logistics of having a one-year old at the courthouse when court is "everybody show up at 9:30am and wait." They didn't get called into the courtroom until nearly 1pm.)

I wondered why the CASA called me that morning to ask about his last visit with his parents and whether I had any concerns about him going home that day. I thought she was just being thorough. I wondered why she called me later that day to ask me for the name and number of the parent aide.

It wasn't until it was all over that I learned that she was fighting DFCS right up until the case was called to convince them not to drag this out any further.

CASA won, but just barely. She told me she wasn't sure she'd changed their minds until about 5 minutes before the case was called.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Surgery follow up

We had the other surgery. This time, we left a tight bandage in place for a week, to try to make sure the swelling didn't come right back.

It didn't work.

So, less than a week before court, we were squeezing in yet another surgery. The bandage is staying on for a week again.

If court goes as I expect, he will go home with the wrap still on.

Which means I will probably never know if it actually worked this time.

Trying not to think about that too much.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Another surgery, another caseworker

Well, that "last" surgery didn't turn out to be the last one after all.

There was some swelling that kept getting bigger, so I called the surgeon's office. They had me bring him in to "take a look." I could tell from the look on their faces when they saw him that they had thought I was going to be a parent over-reacting to normal swelling....which I was not. We had another surgery scheduled immediately to fix the shunt that was supposed to be draining all that fluid. Praying this one really truly is the "last one."

In the midst of that -- quickly scheduling a surgery -- the caseworker informed me that she was moving to a different role and would no longer be on the case. Less than a month before court. Lovely. At least she could tell me who the new caseworker was.

Even more lovely was the email I received shortly after from my agency caseworker telling me that the new caseworker has a horrible reputation for being unresponsive. This should be fun.

We go back to court again in about a week. At this point, I'm just hoping that the new not-so-good caseworker doesn't mess things up for N to go home!