At first, I only wondered about my agency's lack of concern for my sanity when it came to potential placements. Then I received the following call which (1) made me ever-so-grateful for their apparently overwhelming concern for my physical well-being (note the intense sarcasm in that statement), and (2) made me realize just how far I've come and how much I have learned over the past two years when it comes to reading between the lines of "caseworker speak."
CW - "Hi Mimi! I'm calling about a 1-year-old baby boy... Basic care... He's currently in a home already, but needs to be moved."
Me - (I would normally jump at this because being a single, working foster mom, it's hard for me to get placements unless they are already in care. There was something funny in her tone though, so I dove a little deeper.) "That's too bad... What's the situation?"
CW - (hedging) "Well, the family asked that he be moved."
Me - (mm-hmmm...) "Why?"
CW - (resigned to the fact that she's going to have to answer me) "Well, he's in a family placement right now, but it seems that the bio dad is sort of threatening them."
Me - (Here we go... Getting closer...) "Threatening them?"
CW - (quickly moving on with the story) "He has two other siblings with another family member though!"
Me - "Can they not take him so the siblings can be together?"
CW - (pause) "Well... Apparently bio dad is threatening them too. They're all kind of afraid he's going to do something drastic. He's kind of threatening to kill them."
There it is!!! I've got to tell you, I'm not too sure about phone calls that say "Do you want to take this baby? His father is threatening his current caregivers, and they are afraid for their lives." I'm perfectly capable of going "Mama Bear" on someone who tries to hurt one of my kids, but I'd rather not have to. Naturally, because I'm a glutton for punishment, I said, "Absolutely! Submit my homestudy!" But I got a call back saying that they decided to go with a home in a far away county in order to "put some distance between them." Gotta say, probably for the best on this one...
I probably never should have said "yes" to that situation, because just when I thought it couldn't possibly get any worse than that, I got another phone call. This one was from my agency's Family Specialist... The girl who works with the kids once they are already with our agency.
Me - (Oh, this ought to be good... I just love how she tried to bribe me and make this sound awesome right off the bat. I, however, am
FS - "Well, he's been in care for a couple of weeks, but his current placement doesn't seem to be working out. I'm just not really comfortable leaving him there any more. He and foster mom seem to be having a battle of the wills."
Me - (This situation is not at all foreign to me. It's how I got both Little Miss and Booger Bear, so I was intrigued and asked a few more questions about his situation.) "Why is he in care? What is the problem with his current placement? Is it just because he's a 2-year-old, and foster mom can't handle him?"
This is where things took a rather interesting turn...
FS - (This woman should never. I repeat. NEVER play poker or to attempt a life of crime. She begins to spill the entire story rather quickly... Something about a meth lab, SWAT and the police getting involved, bio dad high and trying to kill people, caseworker fairly certain she was being followed when she left with the boy to bring him to his foster home, foster mom convinced that 2-year-old is suffering from meth withdrawals, etc.)
Me - (HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?!? That's what I was thinking anyway.) "Uhhhh... I don't know about this..."
FS - (Still rambling on...) "Well, there are actually a couple of family members who both look like good placements, and he'll probably be going with one of them at the first court hearing in a week or so."
Me - "Wouldn't it make more sense to keep him where he is for that week so he doesn't have to get moved again a week later?"
FS - (realizing that I'm not gonna get involved with this one) "Man! I knew I should have had *Caseworker* call you instead! I just left the foster home, so I'm still riled up!"
I told her that if it made her feel any better, *Caseworker* wouldn't have been able to convince me to take this one either. I told her that they never said anything in PRIDE classes about needing to hone-up on my self-defense skills in order to become a foster parent and that "MIMI DON'T DO DEATH THREATS!" So if they ever feel the need to ask me if I am "packing heat" for protection before placing a child with me, they can just go ahead and call someone else. Not that "packing heat" would do me any good as a foster parent... "Would you excuse for me for about 15 minutes, Mr. High on Meth Bio Dad with a Loaded Weapon? I need to retrieve my firearm and ammunition from their separate, double-locked locations so that I might adequately defend myself and your innocent child."
F'real!!! I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!!!
Yep... I do believe my agency is trying to kill me! I suppose on the bright side, at least they are keeping me in mind for placements. :-)