Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Can you take the child back?




When I was dating Mr. Hall we decided to have 3 babies then start fostering. When I was pregnant with baby #3 I started filling out the paperwork. When River was 2 months old and nursing up a storm, a girl arrived. I called her Melody because I didn't get her real name. I was at Zumba when she came. She was 4.

She stayed for 3 years. Her mama never really got better. A combination of mental health problems, drug use, ghettotude and selfish choices do not make stability sustainable. Melody had like 500 family members but only a small percentage stepped up and offered to take care of her. Only a small percentage of that percentage could pass a drug test and a background check. Finally an auntie showed up that cleared all the hurdles. Two inches of the ground hurtles, but she passed them.

We were called the white village by the auntie. Our village  was a shameful secret in the family so when Melody left they didn't talk to us.  I sent that auntie like 500 photos of her time with us. Making sure it was mostly just Melody, not the white folks with her. Two years go by, we hear nothing.

Which brings us to two months ago when we learn the auntie has had enough. She's done. So, the social worker asks, can you take the child back? We pray. We hem. We haw. We decide no. Because the plan is to support a reunification with mom. Mom has not and cannot change.  I'm crying because hurting and ugly. But we said no. Melody is placed with another white village. We offer to be in the background, providing respite as needed. Which is a fancy foster care word for babysitting.

The new white folks ask us to baby sit for a week and we say yes. It was awkward when she came. It's all hey, sorry your plans of healing with your auntie didn't work out. Sorry your mom is still a huge mess. But hey, we missed you and remember our cat? She did remember our cat. Two years later she remembers the cat's name. I didn't really say the first part btw.

There were times where I had to leave the room because I would be so sad with her. She was my daughter for those three years. She was a mess and tore up drywall. She carved stuff into the side of my car. Destruction was her language. It was never more loud than during the 10 trips we took to visit her auntie as we moved her down there. Long ass 2 hour drives with her screaming and tantrumming. Then passing out cold. I drove her each time. Because I needed to be there for her because I loved her and wanted to help with her pain. Still do.

In the middle of the visit we learn the other white village is only temporary. And through the underground tunnels of commination we are asked, Can you take the child back? We don't answer this time.

Then we prepar her for a visit with mom. Still at the supervised visit level. Mom said she had a flat tire and the anger I felt was unbelievable. The plan is to reunite Melody with mom and mom can't even make a visit. What happens when she's in school and she get's a call that her daughter is sick. Who is going to pick her up? Then I get angrier. Why is she still in foster care,  five years later? Why is mom even being considered for reunification?

I leave all these questions up to Mr. Hall to ask. He is a sensei of foster care communication. He is logical, charming, good looking and very much a guy who can negotiate conversations between multiple females. Mad skills.

What I do is this. I say, sorry your mom couldn't make the visit. Let's go to Costco, it's a crazy store with lots of big huge items. I buy her a book and we get the dollar fifty hot dog on the way out. As she's grazing she starts to cry and I hold her. Because I can love her and comfort her. And I do as she cries and eats the hot dog. In Costco.


And that is why we are taking her back and whatever happens with this crazy process happens. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

out of body



We bought a pop up camper and have gone camping three times now. It.is.divine. I was so happy last weekend I cried when we packed up and went home. There is just an ultimate freedom with camping.

No cell phone service. All your stuff in three tubs, the car and a pop up. Kids play together because there is nowhere to go and nobody to do it with. So much dirt to dig, so many frogs to catch. It's perfect.

I take great joy in watching the sun bounce of the tree leaves. I could just stare for hours.

On the foster front we said no for the first time to a placement. The little guy was 3 and had autism. It's not the autism that we said no to, it's the 3 years old. I'm tired. I'm 41. I'm a older kid momma now. Chasing babies and getting up in the middle of the night is no good. Plus anxiety. I didn't realize I had anxiety until I went to see a therapist. Because my middle son is still super complicated with ADHD and genius factor. Genius meaning super smart but emotionally behind.  And it's still hard but I went to therapy to make it less hard. Therapy is going well, I'm getting things cleaned up a bit.

Which is another weird factor. I'm literally recreating my operating systems. Which are no longer working on fear, divide & conquer. I'm slowing down and it's just weird. It's calling up fundamental questions of who I am outside the people that need me. I think I lost myself a long time ago. But now that the kids are all potty trained and I don't have to hover so much, I'm emerging a bit. Also weird.

It's a slow process. We still have paperwork in to the foster to adopt folks. Our references told me they got their paperwork to fill out. So something is happening. It's all so different than a belly pregnancy. Belly pregnancy is just stopping birth control and getting it on. This is so out of body. Pregnant on paper they say.

I wonder when the bone crushing morning sickness will start... oh wait! That's only with belly pregnancy :)


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