the first three weeks

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

well, we are now three weeks into this. It doesn't seem like that long when I think about children being in foster care for months, but when we are living it, it seems very long. :)

The kids have settled in fairly well. The first week and a half went pretty smoothly, but that was before we started visitation with the dad. Well...first let me back up...

Day 1: We get the call and go to pick up the kids at the doctor's office where the social worker had taken them to have an initial exam. They were just waiting in the waiting room with about 30 other people who were waiting to be seen. We sat down at a little kids' table in front of everybody, signed a paper for each child, and then we took them home. That was it. It was very strange and a little creepy. I guess I was just hoping there would be more to it. We wrote down about twenty questions on the way to get them, but it was obvious when we got there that it was neither the time nor the place, and the social worker really didn't know the answers anyway. We brought them home, realized we had no where for the oldest to sleep, and so Wendell went out to get bunk beds for Maggie's room. He put them up, and it took until 11 pm to get everyone to bed. Our oldest little girl was pretty sad, but quiet. The youngest was much more fussy, so Wendell sat with him downstairs while he watched Dora and eventually fell asleep.

Following Days: I was really unprepared for the emotional part of this. I cried a lot for the first three days, I was sick to my stomach, couldn't eat, and I think Wendell was ready to have me committed. The information we were getting from the county was conflicting depending on who we talked to. We had no idea what was going on or what was normal for this situation since this was our first placement. I began to get very uncomfortable about the little girl's age (4 and a half). I had wanted three and under, and couldn't figure out why I had said yes to this old of a child. We really felt like they would go home pretty quickly, but the info was once again slow to come and conflicting in nature.

On Sunday, we had my birthday party, which frankly, I didn't really enjoy because I was so emotionally exhausted. Maggie was unbearable for most of the first week...well, she's still pretty unbearable. Every negative behavior that she had before increased ten-fold, plus we were extra-sensitive to negative behaviors because we were having to spend so much energy on the new children in our family. Part of the problem is that she will have to adjust to not being the youngest and the only child at home during the day. Another part of the problem is that by taking an older child, we negated her ability to become the big sister/helper. Miss R is incapable of playing alone, and Maggie is very used to playing alone so it is causing conflict. I am unwilling to displace her in birth order right now in case these kids go home, but I am also unwilling to keep her as second-born in case they stay because Miss R will go to kindergarten next year. Maggie will still be at home, and therefore the pecking order will clearly change come fall.

Recently, however, we did discover some information about the case that leads us to think that the kids will probably go home with their dad mid-June. This case was unusual in a lot of aspects, but one of the things was that the dad, who did not have custody, wants these kids. There was a conflict of interest in the first hearing (which occurred within 24 hours), so they had to reschedule a second hearing. But they couldn't fit it in until June 12th. Which is ridiculous, I think. The kids' case worker told us this week that Children's Services has no objection to the dad. Which, assuming that the judge agrees, means that these kids will have be in care for a little over 5 weeks for nothing. I feel frustrated on this dad's behalf. It's a terrible situation.

More on the first few weeks later...I'll share more of how the system is working (at least in this particular case) then.

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