Warning: This post is long, but I would feel so appreciative if anyone took the time to read it and share their thoughts or words of support... or even just prayers.
Little Guy has been with us for 2.5 weeks and it's been a total joy. Except for when he started having seizures, unexpectedly, last week! I was sitting in the waiting room of Big Guy's pediatrician's office, waiting for Big Guy to go in to have his hives checked out. He'd woken up with horrendous hives all over his body and I kept him home from school. The baby was sitting across from me in his stroller and started to shake. I thought maybe it was shivers from a fever, but when he started blinking his eyes and scrunching his face over and over, and his eyes would sometimes roll up 1/2 way and then he looked drunk afterwards... I was so scared that I ran crying to the receptionist and said someone needed to look at the baby. That office doesn't even take Little Guy's insurance, but the doctor who usually sees Big Guy was fantastic and checked him out pretty thoroughly. He diagnosed it as a febrile seizure but said that we should either make a neurologist appointment or take the baby to the pediatric ER to have him checked out. We chose to go to the ER. They sent us home, saying that if it didn't happen again in 24 hours than there was no need for any follow-up or EEG, but that we should bring him back if it happened again. Well, the next day he didn't have any fever at all... yet it happened again. Long story short, he spent the weekend (Fri-Mon) hooked up to an EEG and Sarah and I traded off staying with him 24/7 and staying with his brother. It was really scary and stressful.
While in the hospital with the baby, we got to meet Little Guy's dad Gerald. That was fascinating (he's so much older than I expected!), and in some ways reassuring since at tomorrow's hearing the court may well send the baby to dad. It's a little less scary now that we have a face to put with the name and we have seen him interact with the baby. Patty also visited a lot and was grasping at straws to try to blame us for the baby's seizure. E.g. "You said you wash his hair once a week? In our culture we only wash hair once a month. Maybe that's why he is having seizures"... and so on and so forth. Nevermind that the baby has fine, soft hair that's not at all like mom's thanks to a) him being a baby and b) his dad being part white and part American Indian in addition to being Black. His haircare is not going to be exactly like hers or the rest of her family's, but I'm not sure she's aware of that. Of course earlier in the same day she was complementing how we did her boys' hair and saying she wished she could do it so well! I feel for her because it makes sense she'd be concerned about whether we know how to take care of Black childrens' hair and skincare needs, but she was grasping at straws because she had no control. She usually trusts us pretty well (enough to place her baby with us voluntarily!) but we also learned that, as CPS had warned us, she can often twist peoples' words. To be fair, her baby was sick, she's paranoid and has a low IQ so everything is scarier and more confusing for her than it would be otherwise, and she doesn't have custody of him so all she can think is that if only the baby'd stayed with her this never would have happened. But she also showed up unannounced, and woke the baby up when he was already asleep for the night (needless to say he hardly slept that night). She called all the time. The nurses told us she called the hospital at midnight because she was freaked out. We both have a lot of empathy for her, but we were so underslept and stressed after being with the baby for days at the hospital that she was really just contributing to our stress and we ended up having to set limits with her about when she should call and when she should visit and for how long.
So, the hearing is tomorrow that determines whether Little Guy stays (at least until the January hearing) or goes. Either the judge could say that dad still has to jump through certain hoops to be able to get the baby, in which case we'll have him at least until January when they will reconvene and reevaluate... or he could go to dad tomorrow or Friday. Because of this new medical info (seizures) and all the follow-up that needs to happen (MRI, etc), as well as the neurologist's concern about the baby needing an Early Intervention evaluation due to possible developmental issues, I chose to call his lawyer. I filled her in and she implied that she would be arguing for him to not go to dad yet, especially given this new information. She certainly said that they would need to make sure whoever the baby's with can meet his medical and developmental needs. In the meantime, we are making the appointments he needs and if dad takes him I'm going to ensure that CPS gives him adequate info about what a seizure looks like, how to administer the medicine we were given if the baby has one, the importance of controlling his fever, and the dates and times of the appointments that we made.
CPS is going to argue for the baby to go dad, but it looks like the baby's lawyer may argue for him not to go yet. Angel, our caseworker, says that the judge is the same one who sent Little Guy back home (see bullet point #7 of the post that link sends you to) early in the summer due to lack of proof that the baby was being neglected or abused, and the fact that the removal was really because mom called CPS saying she couldn't handle Big Guy's behavioral issues. This judge is unpredictable and CPS never knows how to predict how he'll rule. So we're holding our breaths and trying so hard to trust that the kids will be okay even if they are separated. This is so, so hard. I don't know if I'm more worried about the baby or about Big Guy, who is doing so well but could really be set back by this huge loss of having his brother taken away again. I have to believe we'll all be okay. I have no other choice if I don't want to fall apart.