Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Brief Debriefing, And Why The Boys Are Still Here

We are still here, alive, and mostly healthy. A brief update in bullet points:

  • The boys are still with us, and it doesn't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon, though with foster care anything can happen at any time.
  • Patty got notified that CPS' evaluations have found her incapable of parenting on her own due to her cognitive limitations and mental illness. That means she cannot and will not get custody of her children unless she is living with a capable family member who will be their legal guardian.
  • Patty's uncle Thomas, who sounds like one of the more stable members of her family (which is not saying much), moved in with her in hopes that they can get the kids back if he helps with them. However, CPS has doubts about how long-term his commitment is and whether he understands how much work this entails and that he will be signing up for no less than 16 years (until the baby is 18). So CPS could theoretically send the kids to live with Thomas and Patty, but we kind of doubt it will. 
  • In addition to issues with Uncle Thomas' commitment, we aren't sure that he has a job, and we don't know what they'd do about their living situation since Patty lives in a 2-bedroom and CPS does not look kindly upon kids and their parents (or uncles) sleeping in the same room, plus if Section 8 gets wind of Thomas living there they may have problems. Please understand I am not saying that I think that how many bedrooms there are should influence whether the children are returned - I'm just acknowledging the reality that while one wouldn't have their children taken away in most cases for simply co-sleeping or not having enough bedrooms, when a parent is trying to prove that they can have their children back from the system those scenarios are generally not acceptable to the Power That Be.
  • Patty had been complaining to me that she really didn't want the kids to go to their great aunt in another state. I felt powerless to do anything and I told her over and over she needed to tell her lawyer and CPS who are the only ones who can actually do something. Well, before court last month I reminded her again who she can tell if she wants to make sure that doesn't happen (which she had told me yet again). I'm proud of her because I actually saw her go up to her lawyer and tell him in no uncertain terms that she is not moving in with the aunt and does not want her children to go there. In addition, the great aunt seems to have been discouraged by the whole process of getting the kids. It is likely it would involve her losing the foster kid she currently has because she cannot be licensed by her home agency and our state simultaneously (absurd, right?)  It's doubtful right now that the kids will end up with this aunt.
  • The baby had been having seizures. Frequently. As some of you know, he started having them shortly after being placed with us but they went away for a long time. Now he is on medication for them, but it's not fully controlling them. It is slowly sinking in that we now have not one special needs child, but two. Granted all adopted and foster children are special needs in my larger worldview due to the specific attachment issues and grief they will deal with for the rest of their life, but having two kids with major emotional/medical/behavioral needs is different.
  • Little Guy is big! He is 21 months and is talking up a storm. He is still delayed in terms of his speech but he's catching up really fast with the help of Early Intervention. His newest word is "diaper." He says it almost perfectly. Between this and his patting his crotch when he's in the bathroom with us (watching us pee, one of his favorite pasttimes) I think he's going to be more than ready to start potty-training when my schoolyear is over in May! 
  • Big Guy at 10 is increasingly sophisticated in how he fights with us, tries to get his way, manipulates, and argues. But he's also incredibly loving and affectionate (you should see him when he gets overcome with love and comes up and kisses me 20 times on the cheek!)  He has started calling me Ima in public, which is a huge milestone for him, and let me come into the classroom with him after months of having aggressive meltdowns if I'd even show up at school because he was so embarrassed to be seen with a white woman who people would think was his mom.  He's talking a lot about his feelings with his new therapist. 
  • Big Guy is incredibly sad right now about being in foster care and misses his mommy so so much. He's going through a lot of fantasizing about how he could go home - Whether by running away, or by offering to never have behavioral problems again, or by saying he'll help mommy with the things she has a hard time with. It's really painful. The up side is we're finally being more honest with him about mommy's shortcomings and why he's in foster care and he's having to start to deal with the reality of why he can't be with her. This is so painful for him, but so necessary since within a few months the goal could change from reunification to adoption. We want him to have a better understanding of the problems mommy has instead of simply thinking "but mommy didn't hurt me! there's no reason for me to not be with her!" or thinking "but I'm only in foster care because of my behavior problems and if I stop acting out there's no reason she can't take care of us!" We have been carefully finding ways to describe her mental illness and cognitive limitations and asking him questions to help him realize on his own the ways mommy has "problems with how her brain works."
  • Overall, as a family, I think we're doing pretty darn well. We're moving to a house with a yard this spring, which is really exciting! We're also talking now and then about theoretically being open to another child or two in the not-too-distant future, though not actively planning for it yet.

1 comment:

  1. I was doing FaceBook on my phone all weekend, and half of my stuff is not showing up (including Gowalla posts). If your friend request did not go through - SEND AGAIN!!


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