Friday, April 24, 2015

Follow up

So, I waited until 8am, then called the agency caseworker. I had to leave her a voicemail.

She called me back several hours later, having already talked to one of the county caseworkers who was involved in M's case. (Interestingly, it was the adoption worker to whom she talked. I'm not sure whether that was because that worker was responsive and likely to actually get back to her or whether she had to talk to her about something else anyway or what.)

Good news: the county already knew about the pregnancy.

No one knows the actual due date. The person who texted me thought she looked about 5 months pregnant.

They will screen biomom for drugs at the time of the baby's birth.

If she tests clean and the home appears stable, the baby will go home with her, but under a protective order which will allow caseworkers to do random drug screens and generally follow up to make sure that she is coping.

If she fails the drug test, they will remove the baby. At this time, it's hard to say what sort of case it will be. Assuming the father is the same as M's, it will either be a concurrent plan (like M's was) or a straight-to-adoptive placement with no reunification plan even attempted. (If it's a different father, the county will have to assess him and his family members.)

The agency caseworker was going to call M's mother. She was hopeful that she would be able to learn the exact due date of the new pregnancy and planned to try to convince BioMom to let her help now. Agency caseworker knows of available resources and is willing to work to get BioMom into a better drug program -- one that might actually help her get clean -- if BioMom will let her help. She's hoping that BioMom will accept her help now, when no one is telling her she has to do it. She wouldn't accept her help when M was in care. I am skeptical that she will accept it now, either, but trying really hard to pray myself into a more optimistic state of mind.

We might have a 60 day grace period to wrap up anything before our home is really, truly closed. If so, we'll use those days to wrap up our training and do the reeval. That then gives us a year to figure out if this baby needs us or not. Although if the baby does need us, I have no idea where everyone will sleep....

Let me be clear about two things.

First, I would love to believe that M's birth mother could handle parenting this new baby on her own. But I just don't. The woman has a serious addiction problem which may have caused permanent cognitive damage. Even if she gets clean now, I have major doubts that she is mentally capable of parenting. (And that's not my decision to make, thank the good Lord in heaven.) So, I am trying to be prepared for the worst-case-but-seems-awfully-likely-scenario of this baby needing a foster-to-adopt placement. If not immediately, it will most likely happen soon. Frankly, the most likely scenario I can see where the baby doesn't need a placement involves a different father with extended family that are available, willing and appropriate.

Second, I have no desire to take on another newborn right now. This summer, I am beginning some coursework to train for a teaching certificate with an eye towards working in the school system when M is old enough for full-time school. There is a list a mile long of why we "can't" take another placement any time before Peter leaves home for college in a little more than three years. On the other side of that scale is all emotion: how do I say "no" to M's biological sibling? How can I look an older M in the eye (at 10, at 15, at 22, at 30) and say we didn't reach out to provide for her baby brother/sister? If I try to be rational about this, there is no way I jump hoops to get back into this system and cobble together sleeping arrangements to fit 5 children into our home. But foster care, adoption, caring for children....none of those things happen when we only do what makes logical sense. The emotion -- the pull of "but I just have to do this" -- these are the things that cause us to get involved anyway.

I still don't know what we're really going to do. Right this minute, we're just trying to get our ducks in a row to keep all the options open. And praying a lot.

1 comment:

  1. sigh - what a mess

    I'm quite confident you'll be blessed no matter what happens.

    Hang in there!