I am so over it when it comes to Lizzy's case. I don't even want to talk about it anymore, the only reason I am is because I mentioned that visit.
He came in, she cried and clung to me like she was scared to death.
We went in, she laid on me and would whine when he talked to her. The social worker asked me to try leaving the room to see how she acted so my son and I walked toward the door-this was after she had warmed up to the social worker and was coloring with her. I started to leave and she wasn't sure about that, but the social worker told her that I was just going to the bathroom and that it was ok and she was ok with that. I walked out the door and stood out of site for a minute to see what she would do. She asked about me again and the social worker said "she'll be right back" and she was ok with that.
I spent the rest of the visit out in the waiting room. Lizzy played with the social worker and her therapist (who I didn't mention was there all during this as well).
There was a lot of other things I didn't mention, like that I was super annoyed that he was even there. That he was 20 minutes late to the visit. That someone from my agency literally drove to his house and picked him up...it just all annoys me.
Anyway, when it was over Lizzy walked out the door, she wasn't acting scared of him anymore and he kissed her on the mouth good bye and i wanted to throw up. I know I didn't hide my disgust and I literally walked right from him to the bathroom with her and washed her hands, arms, face, & lips with soap because he is gross.
I was even more horrified that now that I have gotten her so she isn't terrified of everyone it is going to bite me in the butt because if the social worker says the visits are going fine I won't be able to get them stopped.
I have to say thank you to everyone that took the time to comment on my post about adoption. I obviously share very openly our struggle to "Adopt through Foster Care". With that being said, there were a lot of points and questions that were brought up that need to be addressed. I believe that everyone that commented had my best interests and Lizzy's best interests in mind, better said, I think we all just want to see God's kingdom furthered by doing what HE has called us to do, caring for the orphan and the widow in their distress. So, with that being said, let's dive in:
I cannot tell you how relieved I was when the respite foster mom confirmed that she had as hard of a time with Lizzy as I do, actually she had a much harder time with her, but I was relieved that I am not crazy and that yes, she is hard. Why I thought I needed that validated I don't know, but I did.
Every time I write about not adopting Lizzy I want to shout at myself, trust me. Foster Care is such an unnatural thing and I always assumed that adoption would feel "natural". After reading about 500 blogs about adoption, I see that adoption is a struggled. It is filled with Joy, Heart Ache, Loss, Loss and more Loss - especially foster care & adoption. Adoption is a beautiful thing, beauty from ashes really, but I am not going into it blind like some people do and as you can tell, I probably do over think things, but I need more (and Lizzy needs more) than for me to want to want to adopt her.
I want to answer this just so you can understand where I am coming from even though it will sound harsh. No, I don't see her in our future and if CPS came and got her today I would be sad, but relieved.
When we first started fostering we signed up for "the kids with no issues"-not knowing that there are not ANY children in foster care that "have no issues". We went into this being excited for when we got the kids, not realizing how even just coming to our house would be a scary thing for them.
We have learned so much! I am not the foster mom that I was when I got my first placement. I understand so much more about these kids than anyone could have ever tried to teach me or tell me. I am good at loving them, having fun with them...and I even managed to live through them leaving.
I believe that my husband and I went into this to adopt...I also wonder if God had much different plans than we did. We may never adopt. We may foster for the next 20 years or stop after Lizzy. Either way I am fine. I have no regrets, my kids that were supposed to be here have come and most have gone. That was God's plan, not mine.
Our reasons for doing this have changed. It has gone from "To adopt!" to "Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12
Now, that does not mean the same thing for everyone. If I adopted all the children that come into our home I wouldn't be able to foster anymore. I see TONS of families waiting to adopt...I don't see TONS of normal, good people waiting to foster.
I totally agree. I do not think that it is publicized the way it should be, but at the same time, some things you only learn through experience. Foster children, all of them will have "issues". Some will be absolutely not debilitating at all...and some will be completely debilitating for the rest of their lives. Our current reason for fostering is pretty pure...kids need normal families to take care of them, keep them safe, get them the help they need, teach them about Jesus, and to push for what is best for THEM. I am capable of all those things, at least to the best of my ability.
As far as adopting, well, until I am convinced that I can give am adopted child what they need, to the best of my ability...I won't be adopting.
I am working on getting some evaluations done on Lizzy, but they aren't really for me, they are for her. I don't think it would affect our decision either way. Obviously if they told me that she was autistic that would be a "scary for the future" diagnosis, but if I was over the moon for a child even that wouldn't scare me away.
I love the way this was worded and it is a necessity that people who adopt know that love, love like God loves, would be enough. If we were meant to adopt Lizzy or Joseph or Kellen doing our best would be enough. Loving them would be enough...I am talking about unconditional pure love, not the fluffy feeling of love. God would give us what we needed to raise these kids. With that being said, I think that we have to be careful in doing things out of guilt and thinking it is "meant to be".
My husband wants to want to adopt Lizzy. I want to want to adopt Lizzy. That is not enough. It just isn't. I personally am not going to go against what God has put on BOTH of our hearts. Often I try to figure out what God is telling us by waiting until He tells us the same thing separately. It is the only way I feel sure about anything. When my husband and I both don't feel the overwhelming need to adopt a child and in fact we feel exactly the opposite shouldn't that tell us something?
We would have never started fostering just to foster. Years before we decided to foster to adopt be had "decided" that we would never deal with bio parents, thus fostering was just not an option. God changed our hearts. We said never and God laughed. He brought us to exactly where He wanted us. All our worst nightmares have happened and HE has carried us through. I can't help but think He will do the same thing when it comes to adopting. We had a peace about fostering and still do even though the worst has happened and our heart have been crushed. I believe when and if it is time for us to adopt there will be peace and that is what I have been searching for and it isn't there yet.
I feel like if I were to say "We will only foster from now on because that is what we are supposed to do" it would be more acceptable than wanting to adopt, but deciding on a case by case basis that a child is not "the one". I feel like everyone would be more ok with that or understand it more, but if a child comes along that we want to adopt that we have an PEACE about adopting that actually is available for adoption I have a feeling we will adopt them. And we will be so stinking excited about it regardless of them being "social acceptable" or very handicapped. I think that I often times come up with too many excuses about being worried about "isssues" when I really just should say, "I don't have a peace about it, my husband doesn't have a peace about it, so we aren't adopting them".
Because that is where we are and it is exactly where God wants us, apparently.
Yesterday Lizzy's new worker came out to the house. I like her...I think. She is very into paper work so we'll see how that goes because I am not into paper work.
Anyway, Lizzy has never met this lady and sat at the table coloring while she and I talked. I didn't think we talked about anything Lizzy would even understand, but as the lady was there Lizzy got more and more amped up and by the time she left Lizzy was wrecked for the rest of the day.
I have some questions for you. But, I will start with a bit of an explanation. I WANT to want to adopt Lizzy. She has been in our home for a year, we have made progress with her (some of which I know has gone backwards at times because of visits with bio dad, bio mom & legal dad), but the less she sees them the better she does. She is in general just a HARD child. I don't expect her to listen all the time...she is two years old for goodness sake...but the whining and crying...oh the whining and crying. It actually is getting better, but it is still a huge issue. Also, I have noticed how stinking rough she is with babies and I don't plan on her being the youngest. She seems to want to "tweak" them just a little to hard regardless of it being their foot or hand or whatever. Last night at the pool she tried to "help" an under one year old baby to stand up after I told her not to and made him fall over on the cement and bonk his head before I could get to her.
She has to be therapeutically parented to not be just out of her mind and I am sure as she gets older some of these things will just get more "complicated", but I am sure some will go away as well. I love Lizzy, I love her enough to not just let her get bounced around from home to home...I have given her a year of my life that I am glad I have been able to give...but it hasn't been easy.
What I am asking is:
How did you know that you were meant to parent the kids you adopted?
How did you make the decision to make yourself legally responsible for a child that had a family history of mental illness (if that applies to you)?
How do you factor in the family mental health into your decision to adopt?
Did you just always love you child and never wanted them to leave?
At the end of the day, I love her, but I get very frustrated with her...every single day. Not a day goes by that want to keep her...and then 2 minutes later she does something that makes me want to scream. It makes me feel nuts, like I am not patient enough or something. The one thing that has happened that has validated that it isn't just me is that the foster mom that watched the girls while we went on vacation had the same issues with her. She said that she thinks that Lizzy is moderately cognitively delayed (that means basically that she is at least mildly mentally retarded) and this is coming from a foster mom who adopted children that you can SEE have mental issues. She said that Lizzy reminds her of the one she adopted that has the MOST issues. My sister and I both wonder if Lizzy just shut down for that week so it made her look worse than she is because I wouldn't say she is mentally retarded...I think it is just whatever skills most people have that help them build social relatioships...she doesn't have. Neither does her mom by the way. Anyway, I would love to hear some advice from moms who have adopted and even if you want to weigh in on what you would do if you were me...feel free :)
I talked to Lizzy's lawyer and a "free" lawyer service in the state I live in. The "free" lawyer services do not cover what bio dad would need...but apparently that doesn't matter anyway because Lizzy's lawyer said that there is no way that bio dad will ever get Lizzy. The judge made it very clear that he has no rights, no DNA test will be done...he is NOT the legal father and won't ever be.
He also said he will not be letting some random relative come in now, a year later, and take Lizzy. He said it is too little too late for that.
Well, apparently some obscure male relative (a cousin of some sort) to Lizzy's mom is calling the agency wanting a home study done because he wants Lizzy. He is upset because they have done nothing yet to get Lizzy into his home.
This is the first I have heard of this.
The new worker told me his name and I called Lizzy's bio dad and her mom's aunt and neither of them knew who he was. I asked if he was married and the worker said she didn't know. He better be married because I don't want some creepy man coming after Lizzy by himself. That just doesn't seem right.
I am trying to figure out how to get bio dad a lawyer (without paying for it) so that purhaps Lizzy can go to him.
The social worker asked me if I want to adopt Lizzy because at the next court hearing she may petition to TPR. We have decided not to adopt Lizzy. The best thing I can do it try to help her bio dad, at least in my opinion that is the best I can do. Do any of you know how I could get him a lawyer?
Things are pretty quiet around here, at least when it comes to foster care. No new calls (I guess it is hard to get the younger ones :) ) - honestly, I think God just knows what is best and I personally am not in a huge rush for a new case to deal with.
Mondays are Lizzy's official visits with Legal Dad...who never comes so I never even bother to call or go to. Seriously, like today the visit is supposed to be in less than an hour and I haven't taken a shower, got the kids ready or anything because I'm not going and he's not showing up. It is ridiculous that they even have it on the schedule.
I will probably call Lizzy's new worker today and ask her why she hasn't contacted me yet and also ask who is writing the report for the next hearing because it better not be her. She hasn't had contact with me, the bio mom...no one.
I don't know if there will be a visit with mom this week or not...she hasn't been calling me either. I am worried about her.
I also am kicking around the idea of seeing if there is any way the bio dad could take Lizzy as a kinship placement...take guardianship of her...something. Of everyone in her life I feel like she loves him the most and he loves her the most. She seems to belong with him, but I just don't know if that is possible. I know he feels like there is no point because he doesn't have any money to spend on a lawyer...does anyone have any suggestions for me?
So, Lizzy's mom didn't have a ride to her visit this week or last week if I am remembering correctly. It has been nice to not have to deal with any visits for a while.
She also has a new worker that has yet to contact me. Big surprise.
Mom is having transportation set up to come get her and bring to to the visit through our agency because bio dad has decided he isn't driving her around anymore. He made arrangements with me to see her once in a while on his own. He saw her for an hour this week at a public play ground.
It is supposed to take a couple weeks to get transportation set up for mom.
Recently the little boy we were going to adopt and then didn't was placed in a home as an only child to two parents who have been on the waiting list for two years.
They actually inquired about him before we were asked if we would adopt him.
I talked to his former foster mom yesterday and she said that they are just thrilled to have him. They also have experience with "special needs", one of the parents even has a sibling that is "special needs" and has a fabulous relationship with them.
She told me that they got his hair cut and spiked it up. They dress him up very cute and already got a family photo taken of them all together.
They said, "Who was saying there is something wrong with him? He is so smart and learning so much!" Sounds like exactly the parents that he deserves. Ones that were so in love with him they couldn't imagine life without him.
He moved in with them after 3 visits. Everything moved very quickly and he is "doing great".
Congratulations Joseph, so glad you are FINALLY home.
Almost all of my foster kids have been little girls and I LOVE buying little girls stuff because it is so darn cute! Well, there is FINALLY a blog that highlight really CUTE stuff ALL for little boys!!!
I know a lot of you have little boys at home so I thought I would pass this along!
This question was in Carol's comment on my last post. Carol and I live in the same state and even we have seen such a difference in our experiences with foster care. Carol is a sweet lady that has always been very supportive of all foster moms, especially myself.
If you go back and read her whole comment on my other post you will see where she is coming from and you will see that she has very good reason to be concerned about bio parents having this information.
To answer your question Carol, yes, I do think about that and worry about being "harassed", but more so I just worry about their misconceptions about access they would have to Lizzy in general.
Honestly, I can always just change my phone number. I don't want to have to do that, but if it got bad enough that is what I would do. I am glad that you and your agency have decided to do everything you can to protect your children and you. I do feel, in your case, that is a necessity. I have not been put in the position you have been YET.
Obviously, I need to proceed with caution. I do plan on being a little more careful with my next cases. BUT, I kind of have been cut off at the knees when it comes to privacy anyway. Let me explain how:
1. Everyone that comes into the agency has to sign in on the sign in sheet. First and Last names. I often have to sign right under my child's bio parent's names. So, all it would take was them glancing at the sign in sheet at any time that sits there for all to see and they would have my first and last name.
2. There is no separate parking for me vs. the bio parents. They all know which car is mine and could copy down my license plate number any time they wanted.
3. When we go on vacation we have to fill out a sheet WITH THE ADDRESS of where we are going. The bio parents have to sign this very same sheet allowing the children to go WITH THE ADDRESS ON IT.
4. Often times the workers will hand me paper work in from of the bio parents that has my full name and address on it. I know on one occasion I accidentally left that paper work alone in a room with a bio parent.
I feel like they do so little to protect our address that it honestly is hopeless. I obviously do not give it out, ever, but all they would have to do is google my name and if they end up knowing my husband's first name (which they all have known) it would be VERY easy to look me up.
I am well aware some day this may be a problem and I don't plan on giving my phone number to everyone. My two little girls that just left were a case as such, dad wanted our phone number, but I never gave it to him. I don't regret that. I don't think we would have had some stellar relationship and they didn't even go back to him.
It is not a good idea for these people to know where we live. Any of them. BUT sometimes, after you get to know them...it works out ok. Honestly, I think we all need to be issued cell phones that are for foster care only that have no addresses or names attached to them at all.
Rachel, I love that you spoke up because what I have going on here IS NOT NORMAL. Basically, because I go through the agency I do, I have more contact with the bio parents than other people do.
For example, at minimum, I will see them before and after every visit when dropping the child off and waiting for the parents to arrive or waiting for the social worker to call mom or dad into the back so they can have their visit. The agency REQUIRES me to do this. Unless I was to walk into the waiting room and ignore everyone that was in there including the parents who are excited to see their child it is inevitable that I will end up talking to them.
The first time I ever exchanged phone numbers with a bio parent was when the court approved a two night visit over Christmas with the family and my first foster child all to be done while the agency was closed. We met in a parking lot and I felt it was in both of our best interests to have each other's phone numbers in case something happened and we needed to get ahold of each other. Fast forward a year and a half and because I ended up having a relationship with mom, going to her home, having her phone number, ect I just got to spend a whole day with my first foster child and I wouldn't trade ANYTHING for that. Not even less drama, which her mom was full of. Not as full of as Lizzy's mom, but still.
In Lizzy's case I was getting handed a child that made me VERY nervous. I could tell from the minute I met her she was going to be a hard child. I took the phone number of her previous care giver, her great aunt. I still have a good relationship with her.
Mom on the other hand got my phone number because one day after her visit Lizzy had a scheduled visit with her legal dad. When her mom and bio dad left so that legal dad could have his visit Lizzy was screaming out of control. She was terrified because she didn't want to go into the visit with legal dad and was crying in the most horrendous way. That night, after Lizzy was in bed I called her bio dad and left him a message telling him that she was ok. I couldn't get the look on his face out of my mind as he had to walk out of the building while his child was screaming like that. He was devastated.
In Lizzy's particular case, I have been very glad that mom, bio dad & I communicate or I would never know what was going on in this case because the last worker I had was a horrible woman and would hide things from me that she wasn't supposed to. She is gone now thank goodness.
Anyway, I have asked the supervisors in the agency if I am allowed to have their phone numbers and talk to them on the phone-and I am.
No one is allowed to give the bio parents my phone number, that is up to me. Also, they don't want you giving them any home numbers, only cell numbers.
I have noticed where I live SOME of the rules are not as strict. Some of it is in my favorite, some of it is not.
People ask me all the time, "Why do you talk to them on the phone?" and honestly, it is probably because I am nosey. I enjoy learning about my kids and their history. I like having a chance at seeing my kids again. And, even though it is very hard, I am glad I get to be kind to these people. Most of these people are from "the other side of the tracks" and aren't used to anyone being kind to them or just being the voice of reason.
Yes, the things that Lizzy's mom talks to me about are inappropriate, but it doesn't matter. If it at all benefits Lizzy to have me have a relationship with her mom that is what I am going to do.
Lizzy's bio mom and bio dad have split up for good. Lizzy's mom has moved into a motor home over an hour from where her dad lives and the agency where Lizzy's visits are held.
Yesterday she called me up and in her "I haven't taken my meds in a while" shaky voice asked me if I would adopt Lizzy because she wouldn't be able to come to her visits anymore because she has no ride after this week.
I told her to slow down and asked her if she wanted me to call the agency and set up a ride for her because it doesn't make sense for her to give up over a transportation issue (and for the record once I heard "motor home" I immediately thought to myself "This case is going to get in TPR") so I am going to try to help get her transportation through the agency which I am sure she will start blowing off soon enough.
This is not going good at all. Both mom and dad are done. Done with their relationship, done with dealing with CPS...just done. One of two things are going to happen. Lizzy's case will start moving towards TPR or CPS will give her back to her mom at the WORST possible time.
I think the main question is "why do you not want to adopt?"
Our decisions have been on a child by child basis. If I could adopt Sabrina TODAY or ANY DAY EVER I would. She has some medical issues (needs plastic surgery very badly where a very large tumor was removed) and some HUGE emotional issues and probably some learning disabilities - BUT NONE OF THAT MATTERS TO ME.
Not even a little. I love her and I want to be her mom, but I accept that God did not make me her mom.
My 2nd foster child was a boy named Kellen. Kellen has RAD. I didn't know anything about RAD until God educated me on it by reading Blog after Blog after Blog about parents struggling to parent children with RAD. I have a son and Kellen was very jealous of EVERYTHING having to do with my son and never wanted anything to do with my son. My husband and I will never do anything that we believe is not in the best interest of our son so we decided this would not work so we did not adopt Kellen even though he was legally free for adoption and we were first in line.
Next we were presented with a 2 year old boy who was available for adoption. They should have never even showed us his profile. They were using terms like "a little delayed" when they should have been using terms like "mildly/moderately mentally retarded". As we spent more and more time with him we saw more and more red flags and when it came down to it neither one of us "wanted" to adopt him. We LOVE our kids, and we loved this little boy, but not in that "I can't live without you way" and we didn't want to bring this boy into a family that wasn't in love with him. We weren't in love with him.
Sometimes I think that it is us over thinking things. That we may be talking ourselves out of blessings, but I am pretty sure that is my guilt talking. I know I would have never started fostering just to "just" foster. We started fostering with ONE thing in mind. Adoption. That is what we wanted. But, as time has gone by we see that we are not desperate to adopt. We are desperate to love our kids, for whatever time we have them. I love the time I have with my kids, but after loosing one that I wanted to adopt so badly and having to make many very hard decisions I have come to accept that I may only be able to care for these kids for a limited time and the more I do it the more I am ok with it.
I do think that some day we will adopt. There will be a child that is able to be adopted that we will WANT to adopt. That hasn't happened yet and I am learning to be ok with that. It isn't what I expected at all, but I love what God is doing in the mean time.
After having said no to the last two phone calls I received asking me if I would be willing to take new foster children, I have been bummed out about all the reasons behind why I have been saying no.
These two calls are the only calls I have ever said no to. Every other call I have said yes, or I think there was one where I said "no, but call me back if you can't place them". Even though I said yes to all of them, some of them never came because things didn't work out.
I miss saying yes to everyone.
I miss being excited about getting a call and saying YES and bringing my kids home.
BUT I know too much now. I remember how hard it was to even bring an almost 4 year old here and, bless his heart, he drove me CRAZY for 8 months straight. When I thought that him leaving might be postponed I CRIED. It did not get postponed, and on the day he left I surprised myself by crying (out of sadness, not relief as I thought I would). He was my very first one to leave. It was a "happy ending"-he got a WONDERFUL family, but our family still grieved in it's own way. My son (who never got along with him) "missed" him, Sabrina missed him terribly because he was her every day play mate that she liked to boss around, and I missed him just because I was used to him being here. It is funny how you tend to forget the bad once it walks out your door. You can feel the heaviness of the stress leave your house...but, you still miss the little person with the huge (sometimes devious) smile.
I also don't like that I am making decisions based on Lizzy's behavior. Surprisingly, my husband asked me "Why did you say no to the three year old?" I thought that he didn't want kids that old, but I forget that we both go back and forth on things like that. I told him that I couldn't deal with Lizzy and anyone else her age if the screaming is going to start again. Obviously, she may react differently to a child other than Tina, but if she doesn't I am going to be in a ROUGH spot.
If you couldn't tell, even when I want to, I don't move kids. I guess that it would have to be worse than anything I have endured so far. I think it is based on my lack of being able to help them in other ways, saving them from one extra move is sometimes the only thing I have to give them. I get so little say in everything else, it literally feels like all I have to offer.
I wish I could go back to that really excited "new" foster parent that I was two years ago. The one who was excited about adopting. The one that didn't know kids would go home even if there was proof they were being sexually abused there. The one who wasn't scared of three year olds with RAD. The one who didn't see two of her baby girls go home to a mom who did nothing for six months. The one who hadn't decided yet to not adopt a little boy because she thought he had autism. The one who didn't know she wouldn't want to adopt EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. - because she thought she WOULD want to adopt them all.
I think that has been my hardest lesson. I never thought I would have the option of adopting a child and then opt not too.
I got a call today. It was a two in one. "We have two different situations we would like you to consider..."
a three year old caucasian boy.
a six year old caucasian boy.
I think they throw in the caucasian part in hopes it will "sweeten the pot". I am as white as white can be. I burn every. single. time I am in the sun. But, sorry stereo typing agency...I like my babies white, tan, brown, red and maybe even purple.
When I hear "mixed" I get excited. Anyway. That is not the point of this post.
I said no, to both.
Six...too old for this family. Three...apparently still too old plus too close in age to Lizzy who screamed for the six months my other little girls were here.
The worker was very nice, I told him that we would take back ANY of our previous children, but as we move forward we need to keep things to 18 months and younger for now.
I am still a little shocked I am actually sticking to "my" guidelines. I guess I am finally learning how to say no.
Yesterday both of Lizzy's parents called to talk to her.
I didn't answer either one.
Mom seems to call to talk to her when she wants to show off to who ever she is with that she can talk to her "any time she wants" which sounds ridiculous I know, but she is odd like that.
Dad really just wanted to check on her. Lizzy sometimes gets upset after talking to him. She wants to see him and gets very irritated that I can't just take her to see him. We were out as a family and I didn't want to send her into a tail spin by letting her talk to him.
I texted them both separately and told them I would have her call them today.
Dad called this morning and talked to her. She was happy to hear from him.
I am sure mom isn't worried about it now that there isn't anyone she is trying to show off to.
*Update-mom called too but it was to say that she would be too busy to have a visit with her this week. I tried to call her back but it now says that her phone has been disconnected just two hours after she called me. This seems a little crazy to me, I guess we'll see what happens.
Well, we have started the leg of this journey where we say "This Lizzy's 2nd 4th of July with us." "This is Lizzy's 2nd time at our family reunion." "This is Lizzy's 2nd summer with us." "I remember taking Lizzy to the beach with us last year."
Her next hearing is scheduled for September. That will put her at 15 months in our home, if she doesn't leave before then.
That is a long time to take care of a child, to have them call you "mommy", and then to hand them off to someone else and act as if they never existed.
It is a very unnatural thing, this life of foster care.