Friday, February 8, 2013

What is Wrong with this Picture?

This is my calendar for the month of February.

I have a child in foster care.

I ask you...  What is wrong with this picture?

Bug's case has been by far the easiest case I've ever had.  So easy, in fact, it's almost (dare I say...) kind of boring!  He's a perfectly healthy baby and developmentally right on track, so no therapies or extra medical appointments.  His parents are nowhere to be found, so no weekly parent visitations.  His case is currently based out of a county an hour away, so visits from his caseworker are few and far between.  Nice Lady (from my agency) still comes out once a month, but after two years of knowing her, her visits are more like a good friend coming over to gab than a foster care "chore."  I was (almost) excited when his caseworker sprung a last-minute visit with his grandmother on me earlier this week.  I got to add something to my calendar!

For the most part, things have just been quiet, and it is a seriously foreign thing to me to be parenting without a ton of CPS interference.  I've never really parented without CPS breathing down my neck and having to jump through a ton of hoops and cut through red tape.  I sort of don't know how to parent without all of the crazy!  In fact, I'm missing the crazy so much that I've seriously considered taking another kiddo!  I said as much on FB (begging one of my foster mama BFFs to talk me down), and the ensuing conversation was pretty humorous.  You could easily pinpoint which of the respondents were foster parents and which were friends and family thinking that I've lost my mind.  :-)
"Sara!  You need to TALK ME DOWN!  Just when I thought I was perfectly fine having only boys, I ran into TWO super-cute baby girls (separately) who I wanted to snatch up and one very pregnant teen carhop who announced she was having a girl all in the matter of about 20 minutes.  Now I'm wanting to call my agency and tell them that I'll take on a 3rd infant/toddler if they can get me a girl and maybe even a teen mom!  (and OF COURSE I'm leaving this to YOU to talk me down because I know you're going to tell me to GO FOR IT! ;-)"
Responses ranged from "You do that and you will lose your respite provider!!!" to "Nana will change her mind the moment she lays eyes on another little one." to "Everyone should have have one of each!" to "STEP AWAY FROM THE BABY!  We're going to have to find you a 12 step program!"  Sara, however, turned on me and sided with my mom (suck up! ;-) saying, "Nana gets to decide!"  (Although I have to admit, my mom slowed me down a bit by saying that she'd boycott all respite duties if I added a 3rd. :-)  Still...  A 5-year-old girl sure sounds like fun!  Maybe I can convince her...  :-)

In the meantime, I'm going to have to find something foster care-related to keep me busy.  I'm going to focus hard on the blog and probably volunteer to do some paperwork or a foster parent newsletter for my agency.  I'll probably take them up on their request to teach a documentation and organization class too.  Heck!  Maybe I'll write a book!  If I can't get myself another kiddo right now, I need to keep myself busy in all of my "free" time.  Bug goes to bed at 6:30 and sleeps all night, and Monkey is only with me half of the week.  I need to find something productive to do!

Any ideas?  I've got to fill my empty calendar!

Thursday, February 7, 2013



I'm trying.  I'm trying really hard to muster some of the compassion that I usually feel for my children's birth families, but in Bug's case...  It's so hard!

I usually have a lot of compassion for my kiddos' families.  Usually to the point of everyone asking me how I can want to help them...  For me, it's easy to feel compassion for parents who obviously love their children.  Yes, they made horrible mistakes and poor choices, but up to this point all of my kiddos have had at least one parent really step up from the very beginning and do whatever was asked of them in order to bring their little one home and to heal their families.  Even the parents who were never able to overcome their addictions or who continued to slip back into making poor choices for the most part still tried.  I can't imagine how horrible it must be to have an addiction or a situation that has such a strong hold on you that it ultimately costs you your life with your child.  To this day, I still hurt for Monkey's birth mom.  As much as she loved Monkey and as hard as she tried, she was just never able to heal.

Bug has been with me for two months, and his parents have yet to contact CPS!  How do you simply forget that you have a child?!?  How do you just go about your life and not try to do everything within your power to be with him or to at least make sure that he is safe and loved?  Are you really more afraid of your outstanding warrants than you are of not seeing your child?  Is your lifestyle really more important to you than the child you brought into this world?  You have this amazing, sweet, happy, charming baby boy, and you wouldn't even recognize him if you ran into us on the street!

I am in that protective Mama Bear mode when it comes to Bug and pretty much want to jump down his caseworker's throat any time she mentions his birth parents (not that there's much to mention).  They don't deserve him.  They haven't even acknowledged that he exists!  How long do you let him stay in foster care limbo while they continue to party and ignore him?  I find myself getting angry when I think about all of the possibilities of what might happen if Bug goes back to his maternal grandmother.  He'd be going right back into the exact situation that he was removed from.  Nothing will have changed!  His parents will continue to ignore him (although I suspect they will come around occasionally if CPS is out of the picture).  His grandmother will continue to enable her daughter's poor lifestyle choices and Bug will grow up exposed to that lifestyle.

But...  His grandmother is fighting for him.  She hired her own attorney and is fighting to get him back.  She's got issues of her own, and pitches fits when she doesn't get her way (like pouting for a month and a half and not visiting her grandson because the judge didn't rule in her favor), but she loves her grandson and is making the effort that his parents should be making in order to bring him home.  I might not agree with a lot of her choices, but she loves my Bug.  Her FB profile picture is evidence of that.

And that's when all of the wind goes out of my angry, puffed up sails, and I realize that my lack of compassion for Bug's family isn't helping anyone...  least of all Bug and myself.  My anger with Bug's parents and frustration with his grandmother's pouty fits isn't going to help him bond with them if he is able to return to his family.  It's not going to help me cope with the loss any better if he returns home.  I want to know that I've done everything in my power to help Bug return to a safe environment where he is loved, and I can't do that if I am sitting here in judgement with no compassion or empathy for a family whose poor "choices have led them into patterns of destruction and suffering."  I can't be the kind of mother that Bug deserves if I am "having a spiritual crisis" myself.  My baby deserves better.

So this is me...  Making a conscious effort to put myself in their shoes.  To harness my anger and to do my best to reach out to Bug's grandmother...  This is me, trying to be the kind of mother that my little boy deserves.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Six Months

I have six months.  Six months to find a CPS-approved babysitter for Bug so my sister, my mother, and I can have a mother/daughter bonding outing reminiscent of my teen years.  My mom and my sister make up the majority of my "approved sitter" pool, and I am always hesitant to leave my kiddos with anyone they don't know well, so that makes it a little difficult. 

This particular outing though, might just rival that of the one that we had during the time Monkey was officially my foster child.  When I was desperately wondering if going to see "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" was an acceptable excuse for respite...


I suppose this is where I publicly admit that we may or may not have just spent a small fortune on NKOTB, Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees tickets.  And I suppose as long as I'm confessing, I might as well own up to the fact that I'm kind of "giddy like a schoolgirl" excited about it!

I admitted once before that I was a boy band junkie, so the fact that I am considering pulling out the art supplies and making posters and fan t-shirts for the concert should come as no surprise.  Christy was a "loud and proud" NKOTB fanatic back in the day.  I think she still has a trunkful of posters, pins, clothing, bedsheets, etc. that she can pull out for the big day! 

Tickets went on sale today, and Christy snatched them up for us.  Then I sat back and giggled as I watched my FB newsfeed blow up with status after status announcing ticket purchases by all of our 30-something friends.  This is going to be one interesting concert...  :-)  A bunch of grown women acting like teenagers...  It's gonna be great!!!

I Must Be Trippin' - Foster Care Support Group

I've had quite a few requests on the FB page asking about online foster care support groups and quite a bit of interest from readers for me to start one.  So...

I set up a Foster Care Support Group for "I Must Be Trippin's" readers on FB.  While the group will mostly be geared towards foster parents, I'd love to include close family members as well.  There are lots of support groups for foster parents, but very few for foster family members.  I know that my extended family is just as invested in my children as I am, and the emotional toll is just as hard on them as it is on me.  I'm sure that it's the same for many of you as well.  I hope this group will be a great support for our families as well as for each of us.

The FB group is a closed group, so only members can see what is posted. 

I know that having a group of people to confide in who totally "get it" has been a huge support for me over the years.  "Meeting" and becoming friends with other foster parents with similar experiences has been one of the surprising perks of blogging, and I'm happy to be able to set up a place where we can ask questions, vent, laugh, cry, and support each other through this crazy roller coaster ride that is Foster/Adopt Land.

Hope to see you there!
Related Posts with Thumbnails