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.