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.

Remember this?

I last shared, prior to getting my placements, that my interest was piqued in regards to a 12 year old girl that was seeking a large family and that I had been contacted regarding to placement and adoption. Well, that was complete crap. It it a pretty shady ordeal, they can only disclose very small pieces of the case during the inquiry while letting you get emotionally involved. During a 6-8 week process they can pick you apart as the family who wishes to adopt but you get minimal information… but not medical or behavorial stuff.

I indicated to the the CSR specialist to call my licensing worker and disclose all of the information to him as there is a loophole in the process. Although he isn’t allowed to disclose any information to me, he can get the nitty gritty. I trust him to make the call for me, he knows my family dynamic and what I’m willing to have in my home in regards to placement. The CSR specialist called my licensing worker, disclosed all the things, he knew it wasn’t a good fit and it was closed down. I hope that anyone who is looking into a CSR child can find this information helpful and time saving, not to mention avoiding yet another emotional rollercoaster.

It was a CSR ordeal which pretty much equates to kids that are EXTREMELY hard to place due to behaviors, multiple placements, etc.

I’ve learned enough about photolistings, CSR’s, and adoptive searches in general. The masses are correct; it is a waste of time and pointless. Despite my initial feelings about everyone else failures being a personality flaw or getting emotionally attached to a picture of a child, everyone was right. It is complete garbage. I’m objective, even during my emotional bit during this journey.

I don’t like being this pessimistic but the proof is in the pudding.

TL;DR

Don’t bother looking at photolistings ot CSR’s. It’s a lost cause or a trap.

Whirlwind!

If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that we have been on the quest to find another family member, someone looking for an adoptive home. You’ll also know that the search has been an emotional, and fruitless, adventure. I’ve sent out more than 20 homestudies and I figured my door would be beaten down by all of the responses. But…no. Recently, I dealt with the disappointment by fooling myself into thinking the ‘1st and 15th’ rule (homestudies are typically reviewed the 1st ans 15th of each month, not as they trickle in to the DCS caseworkers hands) applied to us. The 15th came and went, in the last week I had only received 2 calls, both in Arizona. WTF. The first child was not a match per my criteria and the second one was a courtesy call letting me know the the child would only be placed in the Phoenix Metro area. Oh, and shortly after this disappointment I was notified that my agency would begin charging me a flat rate or or per word rate, depending on which option I chose, to send out my homestudy to other states. Fabulous. Now I’m being penalized for attempting to find a child a forever home. This whole adoption search is a pain in the ass.

I am no longer seeking out a child via adoption listings or CSR’s. I feel like it is emotionally drained me, changed my outlook on adoption via foster care, and made me more of a pessimist that I’ve ever been in my adult life. In fact, I feel a lot of negative feelings regarding the foster care system and how the adoption sector is managed in general. I found myself saying, for the first time since I’ve become a foster parent, some things negative about foster care. That’s unheard of! I’m a huge advocate for children, how the foster system works, etc. And there I was, bad mouthing something I truly believed in.

I believe that a successful foster parent will always let the child in their care know that they are supported, care about their feelings, and truly want them to go home. A successful foster parent will fight for what the child wants (older children) or what is in their best interest (younger child.) A successful foster parent will never badmouth the system, the immediate working staff, nor the parents of the child…despite how much we dislike their parents choices or treatment of the child in our care.

Foster care works, reunification happens. Oftentimes parents don’t do the things required to regain custody of their children; adoption via foster care works too. Family is family, blood or bond. I need to remind myself of these things because I feel sad and let down about this adoption photolisting ordeal. Maybe this is part of my plan, God is pushing me elsewhere because it’s where I’m supposed to be. Maybe I’m not to be adopting via photolistings and God has called me to only provide temporary care for children in need. I hate to be a pessimist, but I should have heeded warnings about photolistings and other people’s personal experiences. For some reason I thought I’d do better… I was wrong. I didn’t do better, I am not better.

Onto a brighter note! My licensing agency forwards me CSR’s (adoption flyers from in state and in house) I have struck out there too. I’ve inquired and gotten responses fairly quickly BUT often times the children in these CSR’s have severe behaviors or are sexualized in some way/shape/form. I’m not equipped to deal with that, or a plethora of other things that our household had deemed unacceptable. Anyway, our homestudy had been dropped onto a desk, a desk of a coworker within our agency in the Phoenix office, and we received a call about a child. A child that has not been listed yet on any adoption sites, that currently lives in a group home nearby. I had played phone tag for a week or so with a stranger, unfamiliar number = no answer. There was never a voicemail left, I never thought twice about it. That is until Husband had called me and let me know that this adoption recruiter was looking to communicate with us regarding placement.

Placement is the operative word. This child is not legally free for adoption but the state and case team anticipate rights to be terminated. I was given very little information regarding the child and then a host of proceedings, including a 2 hour phone interview set up for Monday evening.

The information I was given is as follows: female, 12, wants a large family. My interest was piqued, I like kids and I have a large family.

Once the phone interview is completed and they feel we could be a potential match they will disclose all the information regarding the child during the same phone call. I wonder if they’ll let me see a picture of her? Not that it matters much, I’m merely curious. After the interview and information exchange my homestudy and interviewers opinion will all be presented to a board of people who decided if it’s a good match. If it is a good match we can facetime/phone chat with the child then move onto meeting her in person shortly after. If things go well transition to our home happens.

I also received a placement call around 1am regarding a sibling set. Naturally, I was sleeping at 1am! I returned the call this morning and the on call placement person referred me to the DCYS, I’ll likely hear from them tomorrow unless they’ve found placement already.

What a ride it has been.

Everything is going swimmingly!

School, sports, clubs, church, therapy, doctor/dentist/optometrist’s,  CFT’S, licensing workers, case managers, PAT…it’s all in action and we are scheduled. It’s a really tight schedule but it’s worked out. I’m in my car a lot moving these kids around and I don’t mind at all. I’ve got a great group of friends that help with carpooling, with overnights when I need a breather, and very sound support group. This is my home and these are my people. I’m blessed.

I’m thinking that next month Bells and Shy should be moved into their permanent home! I’m really excited for them, they deserve to feel safe and secure. And I’m pretty sure that October is a good month for our teenage foster child, reunification is SO close. She’s started having overnight weekend visits, I’m psyched for her. What does this mean for our home? It means we will soon have new little faces in our family! October is going to be a great month, I can just feel it. All of our foster babies will be transitioned to their homes, this makes me feel incredibly happy. I feel proud of the parents who worked so hard to regain custody of their children; kudos to you bio parents on our teen! I’m also feeling full in my heart knowing that Bells and Shy have a forever home. 

Seriously, reunification can be beautiful. Sometimes it can be bitter and unjust, but in this situation…wow. Also, a church in our community is starting up a Foster Care class! If you have any questions, concerns, or comments please reach out to me  I’d be happy to help anyone. 

My heart is full! 

Busy summer!

Yes, I should write more but summer has been exciting and fun! We’ve taken trips, we’ve been to sports practices, we’ve tried new things, and we’ve eaten a lot of ice cream. Now, back to reality. We have one more week and school will resume. 

The kids are busy and now the start of school approaches, the preparation begins. Backpacks, notebooks, pencils, shoes…everyone has a preference this year. Biscuit is ready for 8th grade; she recieved her schedule and decorated her locker; this is a pivotal year, it’s the last year before high school. I remember what I was doing in 8th grade, gosh I hope and pray Biscuit is better than I was at this age. The elementary kids are great, no huge milestones for them. They’re anxious to find out who their teachers are and if their friends will be in their classes. Lemon will be attending a preschool at an elementary school and she’s pretty excited.

The reason I decided to write this blog is because I had a recent boom in site views this evening . Now, I told 3 people news today pertaining to my life and that would pique the interest of many people. One was my husband, one was a friend who was at my home most of the evening with us, and one other friend. In addition; my husband shared the news with one of his close friends. That’s a maximum of 6 people, as spouses get information by default in most marriages. One of those people has loose lips and told a number of other people…it makes me upset. I trust my friends and I like to believe that what personal information I tell them is, by default, is private. If you are reading this, person who ran their damn mouth, you’re a jerk. For those of you reading who are dying to know information because so-and-so heard this or that here you go: 

Yes, I accepted a new foster child. Happy? We aren’t. You see, we do not like to talk about the potential placements in our personal lives! Sure, I blog it but I don’t want people sending me random texts, phone calls, emails, etc. about a child and expecting me to dish out private details. No. It’s weird for anyone to ask and it’s rude to think I would disclose anything about a placement. Just because we said yes doesn’t mean they’re here. There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of BEFORE a child is physically placed in a foster home. Just because we agree to have a foster child come into our home doesn’t mean that we will be placed with us. It’s not our choice, it’s up to DCYS. We choose not to share things on this blog or otherwise until things are set in stone, with that being said…if you see us with a new child it’s never safe to think  we’ve got a new family member, we always have a pretty hardy group of kids with us whether it’s family or friends. Don’t act like an idiot, be respectful, and be kind.

In other news, Shy and Bells have found permanent placement with family members! I’m so happy, like ridiculously happy. I’m pleased that they’ve got someone who cares a great deal about both of them, I’m pleased that the kids have a positive relationship with the permanent placement, and I’m excited that I’ll continue to have a relationship with the kids and their placement! This is the good stuff guys, this is the positive side of foster care. Good things are happening in foster care and I can prove it; let’s ditch the negative stigma and turn it around. 

Ch-ch-changes.

Today marks a day of change, I’m unsure of what the future holds. Bells and Shy have court this morning, it’s a permanency hearing. What does that mean? Well, it means that the courts are trying to figure out what is best in the long haul for these kids. Is reunification still an option? Will parental rights be severed? Will they find family members willing to adopt them? Will we adopt them? It’s a big day.

Obviously they will take into account what the kids want, and it’s probably not staying here. Why? They haven’t fully comprehended that all foster homes aren’t like ours, in fact they think every foster home is like ours.  They think they’ll have their own rooms, a pool, a trampoline, pets…in short they told me all foster families are rich. (We sure aren’t rich but based on the living conditions that the kids were in before,  I get it. We’re only rich in love!) Bells and Shy have issues with trusting people and they’re ready for the next step in their adventure. They will undoubtedly bounce from home to home until they age out of foster care or move into a group home.

I wish I could persuade them into staying…that is unethical. I’ve told them that we are going to court today to figure out a long term plan for them and where they will live. They’ve come to ask me a series of questions:

‘Can I have my birthday party before we leave?’

‘Will we still get to keep our stuff?’

‘If I keep picking at this blackhead on my nose do I still have to go to court?’

‘Do we have to stay together or can we be seperated?’

I’ve tried answering them to the best of my ability, but I don’t have the answers to some of the questions.

Husband and I had talked about the possibility of adopting the both of them, if they decided they wanted to stay, Husband just said ‘Looks like I’ll have to buy Shy his own dirtbike.’ The truth is; this is new for all of us. We have no idea what we are doing. We are like that little bunny hopping through the forest, except we are hopping through foster care system.

Wish us luck this morning, pray for us, anything would be great. I have no idea what’s going to happen, all I know is Bells and Shy have been with us for 10 months and during those months they’ve become our family. Whether the stay or go…nothing will change that.