Difficult placements

When I have a difficult placements I disappear. Mostly because I’m forced to dedicate a majority of time dealing with behaviors and such. Then, when I’m not dealing with the trauma… I’m trying to enjoy my down time. I’ve been stagnant for months, approximately 5 months. My life has been on hold and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard.

I signed up for this. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I’ve never been this challenged providing foster care. Have you ever heard the expression ‘…throwing a wrench in a dryer?’ Yeah. Everything is fucked. I wish I were exaggerating. We experience the same behavior no matter what method we try. We attempt to prevent it and we cannot win. When I say we have tried everything I truly mean it. The lying. The stealing. The lack of accountability. The inability to maintain composure in groups. That’s the kicker, we are a group. My family is a group.

The agony is… well, keeping my difficult placement segregated due to outbursts and danger to himself is devastating. I don’t want him alone but he cannot function within a group. He struggles at school due to the group size and he struggles at the after school club due to group sizes. Luckily we have a plan in action that pulls him away from groups and puts him in a more secure space, where he can handle himself appropriately. However, I feel like constant segregation isn’t a way to live life. It breaks heart. He is enrolled in multiple therapies and groups to help with the trauma and to help intergrate him into groups. My placement has about half curriculum due to his behaviors. He simply refuses to do homework or read. And although daily I ask him for his behavior report he always says he lot it or he forgot it.

My heart aches for this boy. He is sweet and kind, he is bright and smart! When he is one on one he is an absolute joy to be around. Even adding in 1 child/person he does pretty well but when you add in any more than that this poor, sweet, boy cannot regulate. He will forget the rules of gravity and every safety precaution he has ever understood. Or, he will simply scream and meltdown. There is no rhyme or reason to his behaviors; we have tracked and tried all sorts of things. If you have any ideas or methods, PLEASE reach out to me. I’m open to learning or trying anything to help this boy. I’ve spoken to various therapists, behavior coaches, etc. I feel like I’ve exhausted my resources. Maybe YOU can help me.

This kids caseworker has gone out of his way to make me feel like garbage about the situation. He’s said shitty things about the family traveling without him and alienating him. This kid cannot be in a car with 4 other kids for a ride to school in the morning, we literally have a silence rule in the car to avoid meltdowns, his caseworker thinks taking him out if town and to a cheer competition is us alienating him. I’m sorry that I don’t want him exposed to things I KNOW will trigger him. It’s my job to protect him, I simply will not subject him to that. If he could handle the situation I’d happily take him along; I treat my placements the same way I treat my bio kids. I’d never put any of my kids in any type of situation where they’d be uncomfortable.

In any case, I’m drowning. It’s taking it’s toll on me. It’s taking a toll on my family.

I’ve been off the radar

I’m back. Some medical issues, a difficult child, and life prevented me from blogging.

Loud continues to be extremely difficult. I wish I could elaborate more… It’s hard and I don’t like it. This kid needs serious help, help I’m afraid I cannot provide. It hurts, when he is good he is a wonderful child but when he’s bad it just snowballs out of control and it’s difficult to come back. It’s 4 steps forward then 4,000 steps back. I try to enjoy those 4 forward steps and build him up hoping he will continue to make strides forward. It doesn’t work. Nothing works. I’m not joking, we have tried everything. I’m open to suggestions, please help. This is my S.O.S.

Lovely is hitting that learning curve hard! She’s impulsive and she thinks being flighty and dumb is cute. However, she is quick and has really worked hard to overcome the obstacles in her life. I’m very proud of her. She has learned a lot in the last few months, how to maintain standard hygiene care solo (washing her hair was a toughie,) following rules and meeting expectations, and time management. She is kind, helpful, and really loveable. With that being said, I truly love her. Lovely may end up a permanent member of this family if her bio parents don’t start working the case. As always, I want my kids to be reunified. Family is critical, if her bio family can’t be be there for her we will.

Smile is adjusting well, she is kind and likes lots of attention. I’ve befriended her bio mom and we talk regularly. Smile will, undoubtedly, be reunified. I love when bio parents put in the work and truly care. Smile has a unique situation, she wasn’t removed from her home for any type of neglect or the typical things that have kids removed from their homes. But, she will be home and I’m hoping by the summertime the case will be closed. I believe in Smiles family.

Boychild is doing well. The beginning stages of puberty has really done him some favors behaviorally and emotionally. He is a really cool kid and a total mamas boy. Boychild enjoys being the only boy in the house and having Loud around has solidified that; Boychild simply doesn’t like anyone touching his things. He is pretty meticulous about his personal items and he is easily frustrated when Loud messes with his deodorant or hair supplies. Boychild says he may be interested in an older brother some day but as of now he wants only sisters. I respect that and when Loud returns to his bio family I’ll no longer be accepting boys as placement.

Bunny is growing into a wonderful little girl, she is smart and opinionated. She is, hands down, the most popular kid in our home. Bunny has plans every weekend and is loved by the community. She’s a stellar student but has a messy room! She’s a stuffer, aaaah! She stuffs stuff along the sides of her bed, dresser, etc. We are diligently working on that.

Lemon is a typical 5 year old, sassy and terrible when it comes to listening. First grade has been going well for her, she is at the top of her class and a star reader. She told me on Saturday night that it was the best day of her life; she was on stage cheering and was with her best friend.

Biscuit is less moody. I like that! She is a busy kid and she’s always helpful. She does well in school, she has the best sense of humor, and she’s trustworthy. Biscuit knows her worth and is a l too confident. Now, if she could stop eating in her room and do a better job at making her bed in the mornings…

Blue is too hard on herself. She simply doesn’t recognize how amazing she is and cannot take a compliment gracefully. Blue is smart, funny, compassion, and weird. She has great grades, she has a job, she is independent, she cheers, etc. But if you tell her she’s doing great it’s always filled with negative backlash. She needs to stop eating in her room as well, Lemon rats both her and Biscuit out.

Pretty is moving into her apartment this month with her boyfriend, she’s working hard and enjoying her downtime. I love that she’s happy and I miss her! She came home for Thanksgiving and that was a treat.

Flower is living that university life, Go Wildcats! She works, goes to school, and sleeps. She will be coming home for Christmas and I’m excited! I haven’t had the opportunity to visit her apartment yet, I’m a bad mom. I’m working on sending Blue and Biscuit to her place during winter break and sending Boychild to his best friend’s house along the way.

Husband is doing well, I am doing fair. He and I together are unstoppable! I love him and he is a trouper for standing by my side during all my health issues, my absentmindedness, and my terrible laundry skills. Husband is the real MVP.

We had our first cheer competition and it was great. The Sonics had two first place wins and the other teams were in the top three. The South Bay Divas kicked some serious ass this weekend at the competition, they had a clean sweep! Another notable preformance was Arizona Element Elite’s Vibranium. Their uniforms were beautiful, their hair was sleek, and their routine was AMAZING. Do yourself a favor and watch them if you have the opportunity.

Pictures

New placement

Yay! I love getting new placements. Smile is 13 and she is adorable, tall and you guessed it… smiley. I got her enrolled in school before she arrived at our home, I’ll likely keep her home for a couple of days before throwing her to the wolves at school, give her a little break. This kid had earned a break, no doubt!

That’s all I’ve got for now, toodles;

Happy November!

Each year, November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. While all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care.

I’m sort of pissy about this, we have tried tremendously hard to adopt via foster care for several months and yet we remain unmatched. Focus on foster care, my ass. I’ve hit up every avenue, I’ve turned up empty handed. I understand it’s selfish of me to be fussing about this but I’m not asking for a baby nor toddler. We would like an older child or a sibling set, I’m talking about kids who are close to aging out of the system and need a parent to guide them through college, adulthood, have a place to come home for holiday’s, etc. Ideally between the ages of 11 to 17, but we are pretty open to other ages too… If they’re the right fit. Yeah, I’m bitter.

On the other hand, I’m incredibly lucky to have my adopted children. I’m blessed to have met my children through foster care. My life with out Blue, Pretty, and Flower would undoubtedly would be considerably different. They each add something wonderful to our family and I’m lucky to have found them. Maybe that’s my destiny; adopting my placements. It’s not how I imagined it, but it may be how it’s supposed to be to in my book of life. Look at me, being a jerk and questioning God.

Ugh, let it go Mohave County Mama. It’s not my plan and it is really freaking hard to surrender. Give me free will, give me choices, let me work my ass off and all for naught. Fine. Let go and let God, right?!

With all of this being said, if you know someone who wishes to find their forever family send me a message on here of Facebook. You could help facilitate an adoption!

We have a DCS caseworker!

The system is flawed in so many ways, most recently I’ve been caseworker free. I’ve had zero contact with DCS and have had no idea if there were court dates, CFT’s, monthly visits, case plan updates, sibling and family visits, nothing. Radio silence. I had called supervisors and left messages and not one has called me back. Jerks. I voiced my opinions to the legal team, visitation team, CASA and to my licensing worker at AZCA.

After a month of winging it I received a call today from the neighboring city letting me know the case was moved there, great okay. I was beyond excited to get some answers regarding the case; unfortunately I was told that they’d probably have to start fresh. It’s heartbreaking as this case has gone on for many years already and now, due to negligence on the states behalf, things may get held up. This is a huge disservice to these children and their families; they need permanency. Loud and Lovely have been in multiple foster homes during their long stint in foster care, not to mention the various family members who agreed to house them yet failed… just to have them moved again.

Foster care is messy. It never goes as planned. Kids get lost in the mix, forgotten. I don’t like feeling that what we are doing in our community is a complete failure. I understand that pointing the finger is easy, correcting the problems is time consuming and practically impossible. There is no easy fix and when it comes down to the wire I’ve learned that an act of Congress is the only hope we have in correcting the problems. How does one person do that? Start here and get educated. Yeah, that’s a bunch of reading and nobody has time for that. Read the quote for the TL;DR version or changes to come.

Under the new law, the federal government will offer unprecedented support for keeping families together. In the past, the federal government would only reimburse states for child welfare services that were delivered after children were removed from their homes. Starting in October 2019, states can also be reimbursed for services that keep children safely at home with their families.

That means that they’ll not remove children from their families and pay for their services for a year (substance abuse programs, parenting classes, mental health, etc.) Pushing for early intervention and treatment instead of child removal. In theory that’s GREAT! The federal government is really upping their game but the biggest concern is that Congress will be taking money away from group homes to fund this project. They’ll still fund the treatment group homes but not the standard ‘overflow of foster kids with no where to go’ group homes. Maybe they’ve got high hopes that the standard group home will no longer be needed as more kids will stay with their families; what about the kids currently in those homes?

We have seen a serious shortage of foster homes, foster homes have decreased while the number of foster children has increased. I don’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m not seeing changes that will help children right now. Either way, children stay at home and parents receive services or the children are removed and parents receive services, there will always be tragedies and the finger will be pointed. There is no winning.

Open bed!

With Tata’s departure that leaves us with an open bed. I spoke with my licensing worker about the potential adoptive placement and it was an open and shut case, she needed to stay in the city she is currently residing in. I’m beginning to feel like this adoption stuff is for the birds! While I have had a successful adoption via foster care, it took long time to become completed. I truly thought that finding an adoptable child would be easy; older children need homes. I have jumped through hoops, sent my homestudy to various agencies (over 20 times,) and made it quite clear to my team that adoption was my motive. I enjoy foster care and I LOVE when kids are reunified with their bio families, but we’d like to offer a permanent solution to a child.

Loud and Lovely’s case is a mess, I’m unsure where it will go. We’ve got different bio dad’s, accusations, missed visits, behaviors, no contact with other siblings, a nonexsistant case worker, and more excuses than I can deal with. Lovely is a good girl, a hard worker and she is eager to please. Her bio family has instilled in her that excuses make everything better. All things, both big and small, there is an excuse for. It drives me batty. ‘My mom was a teenager when she had me, that’s why she doesn’t know how to take care of us.’ or ‘My mom asked me lie to the case worker so they could just get out of our lives, she doesn’t know any better.’ My favorite so far, and by favorite I mean it’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard ‘I can’t go outside with everyone, I’m allergic to grass and I’ll get hives everywhere.’ GUYS! We live in the desert, there is no grass in the vicinity of my home… not for miles. Also, she isn’t allergic to anything according to her medical records.

Loud had made some huge improvements in the last couple of weeks, now we are back tracking. He has started acting out again, I took him out into the community as his behaviors were improving tremendously… big mistake. Mohave County Mama learned a damn lesson. I think I had moved too fast, he clearly needs more time to develop the skills that we are teaching him. In addition; mental health continues to be a joke. I’m getting nowhere. I’m anxious about Halloween, how in the heck am I going to manage Loud? I’ll be brainstorming.

I’m doing surprisingly well, amazing actually. I had a blip in the mental health department a few months ago, stayed objective, made some changes, and I am officially an Overcomer! In fact, I’ve never felt better emotionally… physically not so much. I’m sorta fat. One thing at a time, right?! I’ll get less fat next, I mean… what else have I got to do? I’m not working, so yeah. Well, I’ve been toying with the idea to head back to school.

Husband has been stressed out and that brings on the snoring, WTF man? I’m trying to get my fat girl sleep here. All that snoring leaves me a bit cranky and irritable BUT, hey, there are worse things in life than a snoring husband. For example, a rabid Chihuahua backing you into a fire pit full of cobras or panties full of porcupine quills during a 5k. See, I’m an optimist. Snoring is legit. My Fitbit says I’m not hitting my sleep target, that’s all I’m saying.

In closing I’d like to say that I’m very upset that I did not with the billion dollar Mega Millions. Total crap.

Adios, Tata!

Tata has left our home, she was moved in with her siblings out of our county. I was happy to see her go as she truly missed her siblings. I received a phone call yesterday informing me that her caseworker had changed AGAIN and that Tata would be picked up at 8am the following morning. Short notice… my favorite. 😯 I sent a bag of dirty laundry with her, I wanted to make sure she had all of her things. She came here with nothing and left with a large box and 2 duffle bags full of items. I’ll sure miss her, she was loud, obnoxious and constantly laughing. I hope one day she is reunited with her family!

The flawed system chapter 463

About 10 days ago I received a call from DCS alerting me that Tata would be leaving our home. I was very excited to hear the news; she was going to be moved to a new home with her siblings! I was also annoyed that they would move a child from foster home to foster home with a flick of the wrist. As it turns out when you’re part of an Indian tribe the rules are very different, standard state regulations and rules don’t mean squat.

A DCS caseworker picked up Tata, we packed the car with her items and send our goodbyes. They drive off and I packed up my car with the remaining kids and headed to lunch, we planned on watching the Jet Ski Finals after lunch. An hour and a half had gone by and the DCS caseworker called to tell me she was bringing Tata back. I was frazzled, I knew that Tata would be upset. Tata returned very confused and a little angry, while she didn’t necessarily want to leave our home but she was reassured that everything would be great and she would be with her siblings. She cried because she ‘knew’ that she couldn’t see her siblings and ‘everything in her life falls apart.’ We all did our best to sooth Tata… meanwhile another terrible thing happened. Loud and Lovely we’re to have a visit, they were picked up and got to the destination but bio mom was a no show. You guessed it, Loud, Lovely, and Tata all arrived at the same time and they were all upset. Excellent.

Oh, but it gets better. I had called my licensing worker and let him know that I’d have a bed open shortly after Tata left the house. During all the emotional termoil I had failed to recontact him and let him know that I did not have a bed open and fill him in in the recent happenings. A couple of days had gone by and he had called me, I let him know about the situation and reassured him that DCS would be picking her up sometime that week. He presented me with a possible adoptive placement and I said that it could work. Nothing solid but a loose entertainment of the idea, it wasn’t a rush situation. So, Tata is still here. No one had ever contacted me about picking her up as previously discussed. Radio silence. The 6th is when the picked her up and dropped her back off, today is the 20th. Excellent version 2.0.

On a positive note, Loud has truly improved! I am proud of him, we’ve got the tantrums under control for the most part and he is improving at school too! His listening skills are 70% better overall, he is regulating his emotions about 50% better, and this is no thanks to mental health services. I sought out help but services are a joke and I was at a complete loss. We worked out a reward system and a punishment system… it seems to be working extraordinary well.

Lemon and Bunny received the Principles Honor Roll. Biscuit didn’t get in to NHS. Boychild is a pain in my ass and he has a girlfriend. Blue is attempting to gain employment. Flower is doing college kid stuff and Pretty is… Pretty.

I’ve been getting a lot done since I’ve not been working, it’s pretty cool. I have NO laundry in my entire house and everyone’s bedding has been washed. Holla! I’ve organized, trashed clutter, and helped Husband with things too. Next week I plan on getting the baseboards, the ceiling fans, and replacing air filters. I no longer need a housekeeper since I’m free which is both good and bad at the same time. 😋

Boychild bought a blazer, he is loving it! Why does he need a blazer… I don’t know.

A ray of sunshine

Good news, Loud’s behavior is improving. Not a landslide by any means but we have progress! Yay! I’ve taken him into the community once this week and his outburst was small and was only about 20 minutes. Yes, ONLY 20 minutes. That’s a tremendous improvement in comparison to the 2 hour tantrums. I’m proud of him. He has improved a little in school too, I think he has it figured out; we are all talking, collectively, and the entire team is holding him accountable. Today both Loud and Lovely had a family visit and it they were a no show, Loud did NOT take that well.

Lovely is doing well, she is working on her confidence and speaking up. She has been told her entire life that her voice doesn’t matter and her self esteem is wrecked. I’m all about empowering her, praising her for speaking up, and rewarding her for a job well done. Lovely eats up words of affirmation and continues to try her hardest. Our next feat is speech therapy, I bet her confidence will skyrocket after a few weeks of speech both inside and outside of school.

Tata is struggling, poor baby. Her caseworker is nonexistent and she really would enjoy a family visit. I’ve emailed about it, called about it, a d the only answer I’ve been given is that she’s probably being moved to a new home with her siblings. It seems odd to me that they’d move her at all because typically the state doesn’t like moving kids from here to there as it’s bad for the children. Sadly, I haven’t gotten much at all from her caseworker. It’s been a month, I should be seeing her caseworker soon as it it required that we have a monthly face to face meeting.

It’s fall break! We aren’t going to do much as taking Loud anywhere is hard, he does much better solo and we have made improvements and I don’t want to backtrack. I am going to request respite for him for a couple of days so I can take Lovely and Tata to ride a rollercoaster… they’ve never been on one before! It’s hard to get respite in general but even harder for a child with behaviors, I guess time will tell. I’d love to give the girls the gift of the rollercoaster experience!

Grading for the kids have come and gone, I’ve got a group of smart kids! I’ve got a pile of awards from all of the kids, I’m a proud mama!

Football has started, both Bunny and Boychild have enjoyed it. They both had their first games over the weekend and they cannot wait to get back to practicing.

Cheer, cheer, cheer.

Jet Ski Finals are now completed, yay!

I’ve gone through and bought all the kids new bedding and jackets to prepare for the winter. Eight bedding sets and eight winter coats. Cha-ching.

Biscuit is going on a trip with her friends during fall break, to Huntington Beach. Boys are going too. My mama spidey sense is tingling. 🙄

Blue has a boyfriend, she spend time with him as much as possible.

Boychild has moved up in the world as he is quickly approaching his 12th year on earth. He is no longer considered one of the ‘little’ kids and now has more privileges.

Bunny is a sassy, bratty, diva. She is at the age that makes me want to knock her little head off. I love her, undoubtedly. She is my most challenging child right now. Yes, even with Loud and the tantrums.

Lemon is a bright little girl, she is reading at a second grade level right now and is exceptional at math. She reminds me a lot of Biscuit when she was younger. Smarty pants!

Halloween is coming, I cannot wait! Costumes and fun. Most of the kids have decided what they’d like to be.

It’s time for me to make dinner and enjoy the cool weather!