Oh, sweet Lord... I now know why so many people are so frustrated with the foster care system. I'm single. I am certified for Basic Level of care. And what do they bring me? A little girl who is about to turn 1-year-old in a week... Completely immobilized from the armpits down to her ankles due to a broken left femur. She also has a corrective helmet that she has to wear 23 hours a day for a skull malformation. And to top it all off, she either has a cold or is allergic to my cat because she can't breathe.
She can't lay down because she can't breathe. She can't be situated on her stomach because she can't hold her head up from the weight of the helmet. She can't even SIT because of the body cast. Where on earth did they come up with her just needing "Basic" care?!? She can't go to daycare like this! I can't take off work for 6-8 weeks while she's in a body cast! What were they thinking even calling me about her!?!
Apparently somewhere between HER case manager and MY case manager, she went from "being immobilized from the waist down" to "has a big cast on her leg" (SINGULAR). HER case manager hadn't even seen her... An aide brought her over from the hospital. And being my first placement, I didn't realize I was allowed to say, "Uh... This is NOT what you told me to expect!"
I talked to her case manager yesterday (she STILL hasn't seen her), and told her about her condition and the level of care that she actually requires, and she said "Oh, yeah... I think we need to see about reclassifying her." YOU THINK?!? They are going to try to get her into a home that's better equipped to take care of her. There is NO WAY that I can give her the level of care that she needs.
I am SOOOO frustrated, angry, depressed, TIRED, and DIRTY!!! Luckily, my mom and my sister have helped as much as they can, and a one of my best friends is on her way over to help out so I can at least take a shower. I feel like a complete failure, but I also know it's not MY fault that they completely misrepresented the situation. And I swear, if one more person says another word about how "convenient" it is that I can just "give her back," I'm going to beat them with a stick.
So, a word of advice to those of you waiting on your first placement... Be sure your case worker is VERY clear on the situation before accepting a placement. I specifically asked if she was immobile, and see where it got me. Know that you can say no if the placement is clearly not what your were led to believe before you sign anything! BE ASSERTIVE!!! Also, no amount of prep work prepares you for the actual number of people who will have free access to your home. On top of having to try to take care of this poor baby, my phone rings off the hook from people I never knew would be "scheduling a time to come to the house." Seriously??? I can't even go to the BATHROOM without backup! And don't get me started on having to find the time to schedule 10,000 doctors appointments around visitation with the family and visits from the workers as well as time to fill out the 100,000 logs and forms the agency requires. I finally had a chance to schedule her follow up with the orthopedic, and now her case manager wants me to reschedule it. GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!
Like I said, "This is 'basic?!?" It's taken me the better part of two days just to type this little update. I want to cry. I have cried! I don't know if I'm cut out for this whole motherhood thing after this.