Summer is here!

Well, almost. Two more days of school and I will be free for a few weeks. That is what summer vacation really boils down to anymore, just a few weeks, but I always seem to feel fresh and ready for the next year after the short time away. We finally were able to send our second little baby home this week. I really hope his family keeps up the hard work. They seem to be doing a really good job. We had another court date about our little man and it didn’t go as expected. We thought TPR would be granted, but it turns out we have to wait until Aug for everything “official” to be lined up and ready to go. I was somewhat discouraged, but I know the time will fly. The important thing is that he is still ours and the plan has not changed. The older he gets, the easier the decision will be for the judge.

What else… Well, our new house with our finished basement was underwater for a while. I am being a little dramatic, but it was sad to hear that we were lied to about the house, and that this isn’t the first time the basement has been wet. The company that came to dry it out ended up gutting it out instead when they found mold. We were pretty heartbroken to lose the space, but we have to keep the kids safe. The finished basement was one of the main reasons we purchased the house. Now is the time I wish there were organizations that could come out and help families like us for lower costs or for free. In order to make the basement dry in the future it is going to take a lot of money. They will have to add drains outside as well as a sump pump inside. Then we will still have to pay for new drywall and flooring. Oh, well. We have lived without a basement space before, we will just have to do it again’t and work on the basement ourselves when we have free time (ha!). 

We are so close!

I feel like I never get a chance to update my blog. We still have two little guys hanging out with us. As always, it is a long story, but our newest guy will be here until early March. Originally we were looking at a couple of weeks…

Two is way harder than one. For starters, car seats are heavy! Having to haul two around is no fun, plus it is hard to open doors with two carseats. It is hard to do anything with two babies! We are surviving. Most days…

We had our big court date about our baby boy and it could not have gone any better! Our new judge is fantastic and not at all in favor of waiting for birth dad to get out of jail. It doesn’t sound like dad is going anywhere for a long time anyway. Even if he wanted to have a hearing,  we would have the same judge. She didn’t even want to make us wait the full three months before she terminated rights! So, the plan has changed to TPR! We are one step closer to making our son officially our son! 

Birth mom had not reached out to us for a while, but now she and boyfriend have split and she is contacting us again. She even asked for a visit. I asked if she had changed her mind about giving up her rights (not that it matters now, anyway) but she said no. She has even started asking for his thing’s back, like his small car seat and old clothes. I don’t know what to think. She is going to see him for an hour tomorrow and it is kind of making me sick. I know he is in good hands with our case manager, but I don’t feel good about it. I think I am struggling with jealousy more than anything else. I am his mom. He doesn’t know her. Ugh.

Christmas is here!

We are adding to our family for the holidays! We have another placement headed our way today. A little 4-month-old boy needs a family to love him for about 4 weeks. We are going to have two babies here for Christmas!  A year can really change things! 

We have a big meeting about our little guy next week, so please say a prayer for us. They should be changing his plan to TPR! There is still some stuff up in the air, but we are praying that the plan changes, even with the up-in-the-air stuff going on. We would love to adopt our little guy. He turned 8 months old yesterday! 

Struggle 

Some days I feel like this is the most beautiful journey I have ever been on, and then there are days like today that make me take a step back and wonder why I am even on this journey at all. Of course, the good outweighs the bad, and in our hearts we absolutely know why this journey has been picked for us, but that doesn’t make days like today any easier. We had a meeting today with our foster son’s team and it was a tough one on us. The birth dad phone-conferenced in from prison and had the nerve to call us the fake parents. He said that his son needed to be with real family and that we were just a fake family. As much as I know this isn’t true, I also know that adoption hasn’t happened yet, and that we are a long way from it actually occurring. Dad still wants custody back. Right now, his sentence hasn’t been determined, and if he doesn’t make parole we could be in this limbo until the year 2018. Although the court could terminate his rights, that usually doesn’t happen when a parent is incarcerated because the courts are afraid that the parent will come back and sue because they feel that they were not given the chance they should have been given to get their child back. Our system is so broken. If you have been sent to prison for crimes you committed while attempting to regain custody of your child, why should you be allowed to regain custody after you have served your time? I understand that there are situations in which the parent should be given time, but this infant doesn’t even have a connection with his father, and this birth father clearly wasn’t putting this child first before he went to prison. What they are saying is that there is a chance that a  two-year-old boy will be reunified with a father that he has never known. He could still be ripped away from us. At this point, mom is completely out of the picture and ready to sign over rights. Dad was not doing his part when he was out of prison and somehow he still has a chance of coming back and taking this child. The case manager tried to reassure us by saying that the birth dad  would never follow through with all of his promises, but somehow I know I can’t just let it go and expect everything to turn out the way I want it to turn out. Sometimes faith is so hard, but right now it is all I have. I’m trying not to get angry because it will do me no good, and I am trying not to dwell in the sadness because it will do no one any good. The case manager also told us that even though it could be a long drawn-out process, it probably wouldn’t be and we will probably have answers sooner than later. I can only pray that the judge we have in January will do what is best for our baby, and will not be intimidated by the birth father. Our little guy will be 7 months old tomorrow.

Keeping Him!

We have been through a ton of stress and worry over the past week, but it looks like we are going to be able to adopt our little guy! Mom isn’t going to continue following the plan the state created for her and is also not willing to break up with her new boyfriend. She called and asked if we would keep our baby last weekend, after the Friday meeting, and then at the Wed meeting she said she just couldn’t fight anymore. She had a visit with baby the next day, and we have heard nothing more from her. She hasn’t called the drop line to have her drug screenings, and she didn’t even set up a visit for next week.

We still have a long way to go, but it looks like we will be adopting this adorable guy! I talked to the lady that adopted our little guy’s brother and she said that she would love for the brother’s to know one another. I think that relationship will be a huge help in our little guy’s life. He will have someone that understands how he feels.

At first birth mom thought that she would be able to be a huge part of little guy’s life, and be able to stop by and check on him anytime she wished. We did have to tell her that we would not be comfortable with that because of her history with drugs. I do want our little guy to know her, but she doesn’t need to be a daily part of our lives. That would only confuse him.

So, I guess our new journey into parenthood begins!

Meetings

The case manager and I are meeting with birth mom tomorrow to confront her about the things she is hiding from us. She hasn’t even told her counselor about the new relationship she is in. I think it just goes to show that she knows the guy has a long history. 

She tried to get the case manger to run a background check on the guy’s daughter so that the daughter could be her “room mate”. Mom lied about how she knew the girl, but the case manager already knew who the girl was. Mom has no idea we know anything. So we confront her tomorrow and see what she has to say, then next Wed we have a PPRT meeting and discuss what the next steps are going to be. The case manger said that she will be talking a lot more about adoption than she has in the past, although I doubt mom will be on board with the idea of giving up her rights. 

Liar

I don’t understand addicts and their need to lie. I get the fact that they try to hide their addiction, but why do they feel the need to lie about everything?  I really didn’t see this case with our little guy going down the way that it is, but over the past two weeks I have seen a completely  different side of our little guy’s birth mom. I am angry and in momma bear mode.

She has been hiding a relationship with a bad guy. She also has lied about lots of other things that don’t even matter.  Most of the lies seem to be about topics that would make me feel sorry for her. I hate it because I trusted her and had such hope for her. As far as I am concerned, this little guy is ours and isn’t leaving. She is going to have to change a lot of things in order to rebuild what she has torn down. She has no idea that we can see her Facebook. If she stays in her current relationship, she will not regain custody. I just can’t believe I poured so much time into her. I feel like I threw away almost my entire summer so that she could spend time with her child. 

Rant over.

Playing Catch-up

First of all, I am so very sorry that I have been away from my blog for so long! So many things have happened, and every time I sit down to write I get a little lost in the timeline. I can never seem to remember what I have and haven’t shared.

I don’t know that I will have enough time to update you on everything that has happened, but I will do my best to highlight the important things that have been going on.

We only have one foster kid in the house right now. He is the infant that we had placed with us at the end of the school year last year. I spent the summer getting to know his mom. We spent at least 10 hours together every week. She recently got more freedom with her visits and could come and pick up her son for 8 hours a couple of times a week. She had been clean for almost 5 months, and we got the news that today she tested positive for the first time since she lost custody of this little guy. I can’t even express how I’m feeling about this backslide. I have gotten to know his mom for who she really is, and I really believed that she would be able to beat the drug addiction. I know the last time I wrote, I was questioning whether or not I would be okay with her getting him back, and now that I have somewhat dealt with those emotions, I am sent spiraling back into the “what if” abyss. This mama has become a friend to me. I believed that she was going to win this battle. I fought with her and stood up for her. We talked about our plans to stay in touch when she regained custody of her son. Our son. My son. 

I am heartbroken for her. She feels that she is a failure, and she has lost all of her hard-earned free time with the little guy. She completed all of the classes, stepped down in her amount of treatment, and now we have to start all over. I am left wondering if there is hope for reunification, and I am worried that more time will make it harder for my husband and I to say goodbye to the baby. He is rolling over now. He is cooing and smiling. I have held him every day for 5 months. I want him to stay forever. I also want his mom to beat her addiction. I am torn. We talked on the phone today after I found out about the positive test. She lied to me at first saying that the test was wrong. She screamed and yelled, but then she told me that I was her best friend and that she wanted to be honest with me. She told me what happened and then asked me if I would see her differently. I told her that I was proud of her for staying clean for 5 months and that I didn’t see her differently because her addiction doesn’t define her. She asked me if I thought an addict should ever be a parent, and I was at a loss for words. I just said that I didn’t have that answer because I wasn’t an addict and I didn’t know how it felt, but that I hoped they could be. I didn’t have a good answer.

In other news, we moved. We now have room for lots more foster babies!

Saying Goodbye To Our Boy

After talking to his case manager today, she feels that our 4-year-old’s status needs to be elevated and that he needs to go to a different home that specializes in his type of behavior.  He acted out a little when she was here and she watched as he completely turned off when we tried to talk to him about anything.  She got to see him be defiant no matter what we said to him, even when we were offering him rewards. He also came out of a bedroom and proclaimed that he had “peed his pants because he wanted to!” (He never has “accidents” at school or church.)

As awful as I feel about seeing him go, I also feel overwhelming relief.  Our animals will be able to come out from hiding and we will be able to function as a unit again. Right now, we are just surviving. I am so tired of fighting this little guy over every single decision we make and I am tired of him hurting each of us with his words, his mental games and his physical actions. I do believe that we tried everything we possibly could have to help him.  He needs more than love.

His case manager expressed that is it going to take an entire team of people to save this little guy and commended us for sticking with him as long as we did.  I had reached out to her for help, but I don’t think she knew how intense he had become.  She is going to try him in a single parent home where there are no other children.  That way he will be the center of attention and he will be able to get everything he needs.  She said that she worries that he may have some unaddressed mental issues, too.  She says it runs in the family and could really explain the complete emotional disconnect we are experiencing with him.

We knew this journey would be hard, but we didn’t know how hard it would be.  No one could ever know how hard fostering really is until they do it.  I had such guilt going into the meeting today and I felt such relief when the case manager said, “you are spending all of your energy on one child that isn’t accepting your love and help.  Why would you continue when there are other children that need you and that WILL respond to your love?”  I think that sealed our decision.  She said that she will be sure that we know where he is going and that we can keep in touch with him.  She even talked about us meeting his next placement before he leaves.

I am sad.  I am sad that I didn’t have the answers or the strategies that reached him.  I wish he would have let me in.  Even though his case manager emphasized over and over that we are not at fault and that we did all we could, I still feel like I have somehow failed a child. I am doing what I promised myself I would never do.  I am throwing in the towel.

Before his case manager left, she said to expect other placement calls from her.  She said that we are one of her favorite houses and that she was so happy to have us as a foster family.  I am afraid that we don’t share her same feelings about ourselves tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

Praying for What?

Today was our first court hearing over the baby. It was continued because mom and dad want lawyers (they are not married so they were appointed two different lawyers). All I know is that I am glad that my husband and I are on the good side of the parents. I wouldn’t want to make them angry. We found out a lot of information today and I have less faith in reunification for this little guy. There is a deep and difficult past that lead both parents into a lot of trouble. They both have other children that they have lost to the system. It is such an emotional roller-coaster because I think I should feel super sad for the mom but at the same time I feel excited about the prospect of keeping this little guy in our family, especially now that I know the whole story. I try very hard to not me judgmental. She was a foster child herself. I do feel a little more frightened about visits, and I am glad that I am not in charge of the weekly visits with the father. What should we feel? How should we pray? We feel selfish praying to “keep the baby” but at the same time, we feel that the environment he could be heading back to could be a terrible one. I worry that the  “problems” the mom and dad have will be hidden for the three months that he is in our care, and that there will be a relapse once the baby goes back.

They were so angry when they learned that the little guy would be in care at least three months. They said they had their lives together and were doing everything the courts had asked of them. They couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact that it has only been three weeks since he has been in care, and that three weeks just isn’t  long enough to prove that they have changed. There are a lot of classes and programs they are going to have to complete in order to get him back. So far the mother has done everything. The father has done some, but has also had a lot of excuses. If mom doesn’t ditch dad, he may ruin her chances of getting baby back.