Friday, November 30, 2007

the line has broken

To say it has been difficult to take off my case manager hat in order to don the foster mom hat would be an understatement. It's been hell. Almost impossible to stop thinking the way you have been for almost sever years. To suddenly be on the outside. I knew it would be hard, but had to be done in order to best serve my new role without pissing off every case manager I ended-up working with. This being our first foster child, I have been extra good, keeping my mouth shut and only offering up minimal suggestions to benefit the midget.

And yet I've been shut out.

The case manager has responded to the 3 e-mails I have sent her over the past 4.5 months. I have not actually seen or spoken to her since she dropped the boy off in July. That's ok. He's doing well, has no special needs, nothing I really need her assistance with. She had informed me the MGM (maternal grandmother) was being considered for placement. OK. Now we start thinking along those lines, knowing the heartache that will occur when he goes, but at least we know.

He has visits with MGM once per week for one hour at the CPS office. I suggested these need to increase in both time and duration, as well as moving to MGM home so he is able to familiarize himself with the new surroundings.
No response.

I requested information on what daycare situation he would be in so that we could start with some kind of transition. I was aware MGM works, thus my assumption would be some kind of daycare. I offered to start transporting him to whatever daycare she would utilize so he could get used to it (as opposed to being with me 24/7).
No response.

I requested information on the next court hearing so that I may attend and see what's happening first hand.
No response.

On Wednesday, I get a call from the CM. She informs me there was a court hearing on Monday and MGM has been approved for placement. Holding my tongue about not being told about the hearing, I only ask when she plans to increase visitation, and how much time before he goes. She states she will talk to the case aide about visits as she is the one who has been scheduling and supervising them. She states MGM has SOME THINGS TO WRAP UP so it is unlikely he will transfer to her care until January.

Right after this conversation, I check my e-mail. An old co-worker has forwarded a message sent to all of CPS from the supervisor of the midget's case manager. My co-worker has attached her own comment above the e-mail stating:
This sounds eerily like your midget's case??

The e-mail reports a family on the worker's load is in need of assistance. If anyone saw the news, on Thanksgiving day there was a house fire leaving 15 people homeless. Her family has three children and will be getting custody of their grandchild. If anyone can provide assistance or resources for assistance it would be appreciated.

In a follow-up e-mail, she stated the Red Cross will be assisting the family, however, their help is limited due to the family's legal status.

This prompts me to look up news stories on home fires on Thanksgiving as sure as shit, there it is. A picture of a burned up house with the car MGM drives to and from visits in the driveway. The article states the home owner is NOT MGM, and there were 5 adults and 8 children in the residence.

MGM has some things to wrap up.


It is at this juncture, my already thin line between foster parent and case manager snapped and my head started spinning.
How did they pass a home study with that many people in the home? How were background checks completed with no social security numbers? Why is the cm saying stupid shit like MGM has some things to wrap up with the woman is now homeless with three children and no belongings?

So I sent an e-mail to the GAL (guardian ad litem - atty who represents the child's best interests) voicing my concerns and apologizing if I was overstepping any boundaries. She agreed to meet with me at the court house between hearings on Monday.

As a last note, I know exactly why the cm is blocking me out. Her supervisor and I used to work together. Without going into detail, she did some shady stuff - providing case information on one of my cases to an opposing attorney. She was written up and told to take some time off, but that was it. And now she's a supervisor. Yeah, welcome to THE SYSTEM.
I'm pretty sure once she knew who the baby was getting placed with she had a talk with her worker. Whatever. Little does she know I also know how to work a room and will plant a big bug in the GAL's ear about the entire situation.
And did I mention I got the dirt on the GAL from another co-worker? I already know exactly what buttons to push to get my point across.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Houston, we have a milestone......

The boy is now up on hands AND knees, rocking like he's at a concert. Yes folks, it will not be long until the baby gates must extend, the floor must be cleaned, and the pants pulled out of the dresser (to protect those cute little knees, doncha know).

On a less exciting and more annoying note, he has also discovered how to whine. And boy does he practice. Yeesh.
I have found he is less whiny when left to his own devices - AKA ignored. This moment, he is contently in the exersaucer watching a Sesame Street sing along video, jumping and eating toys and drooling. A moment ago, I popped my head in to see how he was and the moment he spotted me the evil whining midget took over the cute smiling boy. I made a quick retreat and we are once again happy, smiling boy winning out and back in charge.

I got our first baby book, from ebay, and will be starting to fill in some pages. There are some things I will write on sticky notes, more personal things I may want to know and write in should the book stay with us, with the boy it belongs to. Otherwise the MGM will have everything she ever wanted to know about him for when he gets bigger and wants to know. I will download most of our pictures onto a disk, print some to go into the book. It's difficult because I don't want to 'waste' time and money making a cute scrapbook for him in case he goes away, but I don't want to withhold anything either. It's not his fault he's in foster care!
I know in the end my creative scrapbooking pull will likely win out and the money and time will be spent.... But don't tell my husband about that just yet.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A duck is a duck is a duck

Was anyone else disappointed in Halloween this year? I bought EIGHT bags of candy and we had a total of 10 trick or treaters. So sad. So full of candy (we can't just waste it, right??).
The boy was dressed up as a duck, waiting to expose his cuteness to door ringers, but alas, it was not to be. And not just because there weren't any~

First off, the zipper broke on the outfit. No biggie, nothing a safety pin couldn't handle.
Second, it's unseasonable hot here in Phoenix, so he was turning into a roasted duck pretty quickly.
Third, the dog thought he was a giant stuffed animal and kept trying to get him.
And the funniest part was his rigidity in the outfit. For those of you who watch 24 hours of a Christmas Story on TNT every year, you are as familiar with the classic as I am. I put the boy on the floor to move the candy bowl. He was laying there with his arm out not moving a muscle. Didn't even turn his head! Reminded me of the scene in which the little brother is in his snow clothes and can't put his arms down or move. You have to understand what I'm talking about to get the chuckle here.

Because we didn't feel we got our full $8.00 out of the duck costume, we decided to put him in it again for an encore performance with the grandparents on Friday night. He was a bit happier in it, even smiled for pictures this time. And now the duck has been retired to the box labeled 3-6 months in the closet for another child another year......

I have decided that instead of droning on and on about my infertile angst, I will focus more on stories and things regarding the midget. Another way to try and see the glass half full, and find enough to allow everyone a sip.