Thursday, April 23, 2009

This is "Basic?!?"

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.


Kathy of the HavinsNest said...

Tammy I'm so sorry. I just know there is a baby out there for you and I'm so sad about the way this situation is turning/has turned out for you and for Baby.

sclevenger said...

Hey, I'm sorry it's been a rough couple of days. I wish I could say there's a "good" baby waiting for you, but even my "good" baby screams when I leave him and climbs out of bed to fall on his head and poops on everything and gets gronky diaper rashes and barfs on my shirt (and that was just last Sunday!). But hey, being a mom is still great, and hopefully this fostering adventure will be a great learning and growth opportunity for you. I'll be praying for you and the sweet babies you get to help. Love you!

Patty said...

Non-Fosterparents just do not understand the insanity of being a foster parent. You can't explain it, you find out what it is when you first start. Being a single parent who works just does not seem to match up with the child they sent your way....don't be afraid to say so, it's not that you're giving her back because it's the convenient thing to do, you are making sure that she has the correct foster parent(s) for her (if that is what you feel you need to do). My partner and I both work full time and do foster care and just a couple of months ago, we got a call to take a three year old boy with autism and a broken leg (basically immobilized like your little girl)........and my reply was "I don't think so....this little boy needs a stay at home mom because no day care is going to take him.....". Sometimes, agencies, caseworkers, whoever don't give you the whole story and that is not your fault. As to the caseworker who wants you to reschedule the appointment with the orthopedic, tell her no way. The child's health and well-being is more important than a meeting with the caseworker. I had a little boy with an impaired immune system and failure to thrive who really needed his naps, and I was always having to tell the caseworker, "nothing between 12p and 3p, his naps are very important". Caseworker tried to argue with me and I got a note from his pediatrician.....Good luck, it will all work out the way it is supposed to.

Dawnelle said...

oh, it's hard to have a baby, much less one that has injuries- my goodness! And you are brand-new? What a first placement. I took the two girls we have had for a month now as "emergency" placements, (ha) and both are FAS, younger has special needs. Of course we had no info prior about this.

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