So I have a question to all of you seasoned foster parents out there... Is it ever okay for a foster parent to say, "Enough is enough!!! Something's got to give, and it's not gonna be us!!!"?
You see, I've had the Booger Bear since May and Angel since June. Although they are mother and son, because they came into care at different times, it's opened up a whole new can of worms as far as people involved in their case(s) and the number of monthly appointments that we have and strange people coming into our home. On any given day, we have AT LEAST two CPS-related appointments (ex. therapy, medication monitoring, visitations, parenting classes, training classes, home visits with case workers, CASAs for each child, attorneys, court dates, etc.). We try to cram in all of the mandatory doctor and dental visits as well as our routine visits that we would have regardless of CPS on the two days a week that we don't have standing appointments. My 13-month-old has his own dayplanner, for crying out loud!!! AND IT'S FULL!!!
It's bad enough that these kids are living in foster care. Why on earth does the system make it WORSE by forcing them to have no life outside of CPS?!? One case worker even had the nerve to ask why Angel isn't involved in any extra-curricular activities! Another asked when she was going to start job-hunting! SERIOUSLY!??! I asked them when, exactly, they proposed we schedule something seeing as how Angel has appointments EVERY FREAKING DAY for those people! You expect her to WORK too?!? You're all freaking crazy.
As you can tell, I'm a wee bit fed up. I put my foot down as far as scheduling things during the school day. Angel IS NOT missing school unless absolutely necessary for her HEALTH. PERIOD. Fortunately, she has a fairly short school day, so we have been able to schedule things later in the afternoon. UNfortunately, I am a single parent trying to work full-time, and having to take off work constantly is going to get really old for my boss and co-workers. I try to make everyone schedule evening visits, but it doesn't usually work out that way. The CASAs have been great about coming in the evenings, and luckily we have case aids who are able to transport the kids to and from their weekly visitations. Everyone else though, is making it rather difficult.
At what point (if ever) is it okay for me to say, "No, I CAN'T take off work to do a home visit at 2:00!" or "I'm sorry, but Angel is going to take gymnastics and her classes are every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5:30-7. We're busy. You can come at 7:30 or on Friday night at 6."? Can I ask a therapist who can't work around our schedule for a referral to another therapist who CAN, or do we just have to suck it up, miss work, and potentially get fired all because she was "really busy this month."? I'LL SHOW YOU "REALLY BUSY" LADY!!!"
I think I need better meds, or maybe MY OWN therapist. But I don't DARE schedule an appointment for MYSELF! I'd end up having to miss it anyway due to a surprise visit from a case worker or a last minute mandatory training session. Fun times! How on earth do people do this with FIVE foster kids?!? It's definitely a full-time job and seems to require a lot more patience than I have at the moment. Fortunately, I'm a wee bit OCD and an organizational freak, so I'm getting a pretty good system going as far as all of the paperwork goes. UGH!