Monday, August 9, 2010


Compounding my frustration with the psych hospitalization seeming like a totally pointless waste of time, is today's interactions with "Patty", Big Guy's birth mom. She was at the meeting with the social worker at the psych hospital. She brought Little Guy (her other son, our former foster baby) and it was really nice to see him and make him laugh. We were warm and friendly to her, as usual. But I wanted to throttle her when we were informing the social worker about the fact that Big Guy been talking a lot about physical abuse he'd experienced at the hands of another family member... and the first thing she asked was "did he say if I was there when it happened?" Um, yes he did. He said you were there and you were laughing while she beat him. Seriously, you care more about whether you were implicated than knowing what happened and how it's affected him?

I am struggling with my patience with her. I have generally had a lot of empathy for her and wanted to support her in any way we can. We got into foster parenting hoping we'd have the opportunity to mentor birth parents to help them attain reunification (though CPS has gotten in the way of this at every turn.) We believe strongly in supporting reunification and helping first families/birth families get the help they need to be able to parent, yet since all the abuse stuff has come out, I'm finding myself feeling less patience for her cluelessness, her bad judgment, and the way she's more concerned about whether Big Guy's mad at her than dealing with what she did wrong that led to her no longer being able to parent him.

Patty is sweet, and she loves Big Guy. But not only is she unable to parent Big Guy, I'm also starting to doubt that she could ever parent him no matter what support is provided to her, and I'm worrying increasingly about whether she can keep Little Guy, her baby, physically and emotionally safe. Her judgment is so poor and due to her cognitive disabilities and mental illness, it's unlikely to change significantly. I would love to see her get parenting services that are available for people with developmental disabilities (DD) but because she didn't get DD services when she was young, she's not eligible for them. She's gotten more services than CPS has ever provided, though... all to keep the family intact and avoid having to remove the children. Now that she's lost her older son (she called CPS to take him) the court isn't even sure what services are left to give her. She's had intensive parenting training and so much more, and is unable to assimilate the information. It's so frustrating. I want her to have the best possible chance to parent her kids, and she is compliant with showing up to classes and appointments... but is unable to process any of the information in a meaningful way.

I could tell many more stories about the things she said today, but I won't. I really am trying to access my empathy for her. I can totally understand why she couldn't handle Big Guy's outbursts - We barely can, and there are two of us with above-average intelligence and more family support than she has. But I still feel so angry that she stood by and let him be hurt by her sister.

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