I have pondered that question for over a year now. Every time I think I will blog again I hesitate for two reasons. First, I don’t want to share too many private details about my family on the internet and I worry that perhaps I have shared too much in the past.
Second, I am a foster mom, currently to 3 little ones. Confidentiality rules say that I can’t share their photos or any real identifying information about them on the internet. Since so much of what they do fills my daily life, it doesn’t leave me much to say without sounding like a soundtrack that has words bleeped out.
Since I last blogged, we have celebrated many birthdays, the return of my son from his mission in Texas, the marriage of that same son, the birth of a granddaughter, and many other fun and exciting events. I chose to write about each of those in my private journal instead of blog about them, because that is where I can share the true feelings of my heart. After all, by the time my kids and grandkids read what is in my journals I hopefully will be dead and gone. If they want to kill me after what they read, it will be too late. 🙂
There IS something that has caused me to want to start blogging again, however…Child Protective Services. Why they are called that is beyond me. They should be renamed Parent Protective Services because with them it never really was about the kids. All of the caseplans are parent driven and/or money driven. If the parent succeeds, the children go back whether they want to or not. If the parent fails, CPS often looks for an adoptive home with extended family even if the child is firmly attached to their foster family and begs to stay. Don’t forget the money factor. Yes, foster care costs money. But so do adoption stipends to extended family members who often were not interested in the children until they hear a stipend is involved.
It’s pretty much what we are going through right now and it is ripping my heart out. How do you tell a child you love with all your heart that you wish she could stay when she sobs on your shoulder that she doesn’t want to leave? You do just that. You tell her how much you love her and how you always will and then you go in a private room and sob into a pillow so she doesn’t hear how much it hurts you. You tell her you will never forget her, and you won’t. And then you pray to God that she will never forget you and the love and laughter you have shared for almost two years.
Trust me that she has given us her fair share of grief. She came non-verbal, with angry fire in her eyes at times as she spit, bit and kicked, but it only took me a little while to realize that more of that venting came from fear rather than anger. Now that she will be leaving soon, we are seeing many of those same behaviors again, and they are very clearly fear based.
She comes in each night to my room by midnight and crawls in bed with me. She tosses and turns and cries out in her own bed, but once she is snuggled up in mine she goes into a deep, deep sleep. She feels safe. And loved. And CPS is taking all of that away. They are ripping a child out of my home whom I dearly love and who dearly loves me. All because of what they call “family.” A cousin who hardly knows my foster daughter and her sibling says she wants to adopt them. She lives 3,000 miles away.
The kids visited her in October and thought it was just a great vacation. No one told them that they were testing the waters on how they would do permanently there, but that’s a joke anyway. Kids on vacation are nothing like kids who are permanently moved to a new home. The cousin said they were wonderful and couldn’t understand why the other foster mother and I have ever had any trouble. Does she know what “honeymooning” is? Has she ever raised kids with ADHD, PTSD, ODD? Nope. But she will be soon.
Will she let my little one crawl into her bed in the middle of the night when she is frightened? Will she sing her the songs we sing before we go to bed each night so at least her bedtime routine is familiar? Probably not. Everything I have suggested to ease this transition has been openly rejected.
When our little one leaves in a few weeks it will be like a death in our family. And CPS didn’t even have the heart to allow her to stay through Christmas as we had pleaded. Nope, she needs to leave beforehand. CHILD Protective Services indeed. Just don’t ask them to ever protect a child’s emotional health. They see the case as a success because they are placing a child with “family.” Ugh.
Meanwhile, our little one doesn’t understand the permanency of this move at all. She still thinks she is coming back even though I have tried to gently tell her that she will be staying there for a very long time and that she will have a new mama to take care of her. She tells me she doesn’t want this cousin as her new mama and that she doesn’t want to go. Does CPS care? Nope. Does her worthless, court-appointed attorney care or do anything? Nope. He doesn’t even have the decency to return any of my phone calls.
She asked recently if she can have a Dora cake for her birthday and I reminded her that she won’t be living here when her birthday rolls around. Because she found that so upsetting, I gave up on trying to reinforce the idea. Now when she asks if she can be a cat next year for Halloween, I just say “We’ll see.” She seems happier with that answer. Tonight at dinner she said, “Mama,I will miss you when I am gone. After I have stayed there for a very long time will you come get me?” Oh my dear one, if you only knew how very much I wish I could.