Thursday, March 27, 2008
Monday night we received Sweet Pea, a 10 week old baby boy.
When he got here he was very obviously neglected. Dirty, smelly, and not so happy looking (go figure). He was substance exposed (meth) at birth, but no information about the levels of exposure to know if he has any residual effects.
He had serious diarrhea and was in obvious discomfort. I think he was given milk and not formula.
He was living with an aunt with three of his siblings. There are seven children in all, three residing with paternal relatives for a long time now, and then a 10 year old, 4 year old, and almost 2 year old.
Actually, we were asked to take the 2 year old, but I had to say no because my dear husband reminded me I was going out of town this weekend and he would be home alone!
Anyhoo, we're acclimating the little guy, as well as ourselves. He's not a sleeper and the first night was up every 45 minutes. The next night up to just over an hour, and last night we had one three hour stretch.
The worker that brought him over was very open about the case, so in turn I briefly told her about my issues with the last worker and asked that whomever took over for her (she is only the investigative worker) know that I will not go quietly this time around. She laughed and said "That's funny shit. I'll pass it on."
I think she will.
So we'll see where we go from here. For now, we're having some difficulty with constant comparisons to the baby boy, but I think that's normal as it is our only experience.
Wish the hubs luck alone with Sweet Pea all weekend. I personally think it's great for him to live in my shoes. Yes, normally we help each other, but he goes out of town a lot and I'm home alone for days. It's high time the shoe was on the other foot (0:
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Got me thinking - I know, scary stuff.
I called the district office and spoke to the placement coordinator. She remembered me. Looked it up.
We're not on the list.
Say what??? Repeat that???
You're not on the list.
So I've been carrying my cell around with me like it's oxygen and you're telling me it was never even going to ring.
Called licensing worker.
WTF LICENSING WORKER?
Um, well, the girl told me she put your info in and doesn't know why there is an issue.
Oh, but there is an issue.
Well, she tells me you're on the list getting submitted tomorrow.
OK. Great. Thanks.
We're changing agencies.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things…. Your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions— and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else— the small stuff.
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and put out the rubbish.
Take care of the golf balls first- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.
The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked.”
The coffee just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.
Every day is a little better. It is still heart wrenching when anyone asks me about the boy or comments about how hard this must all be.
Particularly difficult when my 2 year old god child asks 'where's the baby?' every 20 minutes when I'm with her. She LOVED the boy. Smothered him every chance she got. Now I just say 'He's at home'.
Time marches on slowly.
I am still in the work vs foster care debate. There is an opening at CPS for a trainer. I am considering it. I would be working with a friend, training new hires, and at the district office. I would have (maybe) the opportunity to try and train people on how to better meet the needs of the children. Maybe help change the focus just a little. Hell, if I knew I got one person to do things differently it would be a start, right?
But part of me is not ready to give up just yet. I liked being a mom. If I go to work, we would not do foster care. We would wait for an adoptive placement. Who knows how long that will be? I am just meeting other stay at home moms and finding things to do around here.
I am getting used to wearing pajamas more then not.
I am getting used to not dealing with others unless I want to.
We are supposedly on the list for a new foster placement since last Monday. I honestly don't know how much faith I put in our licensing worker to get it right. He's quite unorganized. If we continue with foster care there might be an agency change in our future.
I have not finished the scrapbook yet. At first I was OK looking at all of his pictures, but then it got too hard. I need to finish it soon and send it to him. I have decided to include a picture of me with him, as well as both a letter to MGM and family and a general letter/list of things about him. I figure it can't hurt to give them my phone number and e-mail. My return address will be on the album. I have not decided exactly what I will say, other then that we love and miss him very much. I have not decided if I will ask for updates. Partly because even if MGM was willing, I don't think she has much follow through. I would be asking and hoping for something and leaving myself vulnerable again. But who knows. Maybe I will anyway.
I haven't been able to bring myself to clean the coffee table with the hand print. It's dusty as all hell but it's in the front 'formal' living room we don't use. I doubt my husband even noticed. There are actually two prints. I look at them almost every time I walk by.
I don't listen to the laugh or look at the picture on the phone as much.
I don't cry myself to sleep every night. Just some.
I'm finding the less I focus on it the better. I feel like such an asshole trying to put him out of my mind, but I think it's my best chance at getting over it.
When I do think about him, I try to shift my thoughts to the good things and not the bad. We knew he was leaving and no matter how it went down, I was going to be sad. I was going to miss him. I was going to hate it.
It could have been so much worse. He could have been here longer then 7 months. We could have not known all along he was going and been broadsided. He could have been reunified with a drug user or prostitute or other shady person instead of a loving MGM.
For all her faults (let's recap just for giggles - dirty house, unprepared, passive, poor) she loves the boy. Before us he lived with his mother. She loved him.
He has never gone without love.
I have to believe that will make all the difference in the end.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The house is quiet. I am lonely. I am sad almost all the time.
I try and rationalize my feelings. Try putting things into perspective.
It's not working.
I find myself looking at his picture on my phone. Listening to his laughter on my phone. Walking by the coffee table to get a glimpse of his hand print.
It has been 8 days since I left him with MGM. I know it took 7 months to attach, it will likely take just as long to de-tatch. I wonder if I can make it.
Infertility must be penance for some past crime.
You try pills and they don't work. You are sad, but move on.
You try IUIs. They don't work. You are sad, but move on.
You try IVF. Maybe once, maybe twice. They didn't work. You are devastated, but move on.
You try foster care. You lose your first baby. You are devastated, but move on.
But when does it end? It's just one pain after another. One heart break after another.
A very large part of me is leaning towards a childless existence. I wonder if it would be better to have one final pain of never having children, or continue being beaten down and disappointed.
I am aware of the argument that the right one will come along and everything will be right with the world.
But from the angle I am currently perched upon, it looks bleak.
I don't know if I WANT another child.
Right now I want MY baby boy.
Times like this I wish I had the ability to fall back on some vice. I don't smoke, don't do drugs, and don't drink much. I wish there was something I could do to take the edge off.
I guess maybe tip tapping away is what I have.
But I gotta tell you, my fingers are tired.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
After much deliberation, I am posting a picture. It's one of my favorites taken about three weeks ago. I am the type of person that feels more connected when I have the entire picture, so I am providing you, who are quite honestly getting me through this, the entire picture.
OK. Two pictures. Even though the first is dark and a whole lotta' sky, I think it's too cute with his ASU baseball cap on and his shades.
Not that any of you doubted what I was missing was a ball of cuteness and fun, but here it is for you to see for yourself. Always smiling. Always watching me with those big brown eyes. Now watching someone else and smiling at someone else.
But I do find some contentment knowing he is still smiling.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
I miss him terribly.
I don't cry as much as before, but the heavy vacant feeling in my chest is still there. At times I find myself convincing myself he's coming back. Like he is on an extended visit or something.
We're back on the list for Monday. That's tomorrow. Now that it's so close, I am scared. I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do. I know I can't sit around and pine for my boy. I know that it's done and over with and not going to change. I know I need to move on. I know my propensity for depression.
I know without something else to do I may end up in my car stalking out MGM home trying to get a glimpse of my boy.
That would not be good.
While out on Saturday, I ran into a GAL I used to work with. We spend quite a bit of time together on this case or that. She was an Assistant Attorney General, then found she needed to work for the children instead of representing CPS.
She was with her daughter. I remember when she was pregnant.
She recognized me right away and asked how things were. I told her about the boy. She remembered I left the State to do foster parenting. She said 'Didn't they know who they were messing with? You were always such an advocate for you kids. It's sad they didn't utilize your skills'.
Big happy smile from me. THIS is how I wanted to be remembered.
She went on to tell me she had staffings coming up for several children for adoptive homes. She wanted my e-mail, phone number, licensing agency, and worker's name. She is specifically requesting our file be presented.
There is still hope my 7 years at CPS was not wasted. That someone will put in a good word. A helping hand. Something.
I came home feeling hope.
Then I saw the little hand print in the dust of my dirty coffee table.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
One minute I'm OK and the next I feel like I've been run over. I can't breathe, my chest hurts, I cry so hard my head hurts.
There's this mental battle going on where I am trying to convince myself it's OK. It's not as though he died or anything. And it's not as though he was put in a home with bad people. It's not as though he's not going to be OK - he was always so happy and well-adjusted. He has everything he had here.
But on the other hand it feels like he has died. Knowing I'll never see him again is a kind of death. Having him one moment and not the next. Never seeing him smiling at me again.
I've stepped on a boundary and flat out asked a friend who is still at CPS if she would look into his case and see how he's doing. She said she would.
But what will that tell me anyway since the author is the stupid worker who fucked all this up to begin with?
Ugh. I'm really just tired of thinking and feeling anything at all.
And now the bitch response - it's even more difficult when everyone tells you it's OK and that you gave him a good start. When in the midst of the pain, my reply is so fucking what. I know people mean well and it's just one of those situations where you feel you have to say something. And don't get me wrong. I really and truly appreciate all the comments and support I've been getting from you guys. I'm amazed how much hope complete strangers are able to provide.
I just don't know how to function right now.
A while after completing this post I got mad. You know how it is.... being a big ball of emotions going from one to the next with abandon.
I called our licensing worker and we're going back on the list Monday.
I doubt I will be over missing my boy by then, but I can't sit around and wallow, either. Especially since I have no job and am home. Alone. All day. Ewwwww......
I also just (almost) finished another page in the scrapbook for the boy. B/c I have MGM address I have more time to complete it and mail it to her.
I didn't cry once looking at all his pictures. Maybe because I was bawling while typing the above entry and got it all out of me. I don't know. But I feel better for working on it. I'm not focusing on the pictures so much as the layout and how to make it pretty.
When I'm finished I'm going to take it to a copy shop and have really good color pics taken so that I have my own little version. I should get to keep some memento of all this work~
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
This morning was like any other morning. We got up. We drank our bottle. We played.
We went to the store so I could buy him more formula. I also bought a six pack.
I took him to MGM home and got there early.
I unpacked the car while she held him.
I didn't realize holding him when I got him out of the car would be the last time, but it was.
The CM showed up with the case aide and translated what all the stuff was.
She was listening, but I doubt she'll remember.
I hope she remembers to give him his bear at bed time.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I can get over it being in a not so great neighborhood.
I can get over it being small.
I can get over the fact she has nothing for the baby.
Yeah, I said Nothing.
She has a crib in a box she picked up yesterday. Who knows if she even has crib sheets.
But back to the main issue, you'd think she would clean up knowing we were coming over. The floor was gross. Just dirty. I don't even know what some of the shit was. She has a cat who is mostly outside, so some hair. And dirt.
I went into the kitchen so get water to make his oatmeal and there was a pile of dirt and stuff swept into the corner. A LARGE pile.
Now all I can rely on is she's raised four children and they are all healthy individuals. And the old saying 'God made dirt so dirt don't hurt'.
The worst part is I lied to my husband about it. He called at 11:03. His very first question was 'Is it clean?'
Um, not as clean as I'd prefer, but it was OK.
'Not filthy or anything, right? Because I don't want to think of him living in squalor.'
No. It's OK.
'Good. I feel a lot better'.
I'm glad one of us does.
It has also prompted me to send everything.
I am cleaning up his highchair and sending that.
I am washing ALL his clothes and sending ALL of them.
I am packing almost all of our toys.
Because at the end of the day, we can get new stuff. And the guilt that would weigh on me knowing I could have done more far outweighs the financial burden of buying new stuff for the next kids. Shit, we'll probably get a 3 year old and I wouldn't use any of this stuff anyway!
So for all those reading who know my husband, don't mention any of this. It's better he not know. There's no point in making it worse for both of us.
And seriously, keeping this to myself (more or less) makes me really feel like a mom.
Monday, March 03, 2008
- MGM's visits have allowed him to bond with her.
- If I knew anything about child development, I would know it will be more harmful then helpful to confuse him with going back and forth for more visits.
There was more but there's the highlights.
So I called the next person above. I explained my frustration with no transition. He appeared concerned there have not been more visits, but stated he needed to discuss it with the CM and her supervisor. I also mentioned the issues between myself and the supervisor and that I thought this may have lended some of the ill treatment that has gone on in this case.
He responded via e-mail about an hour later.
There is now a 2 hour visit at MGM home tomorrow in which I will take him and the case aide will meet us there to translate. Seems they think I would be pacified if I was able to tell her how to care for the baby. Although this is not my point, I'll take it.
Then on Wednesday I will take him there for good.
Still crap, but a step up from complete shit.
I think seeing the home and him with MGM there will help me a lot. I still wish there were more visits, but he's a happy kid and my heart knows he will adjust quickly.
Now I am sorting through his clothes trying to figure out what to send. He's at that in-between size where the 6-9 month is getting a little short, but there isn't a lot out there for 9 months. Just jumps to a 12 month size. I have already purchased a bunch of 12 month clothes, so I am trying to figure out how much of the other to send knowing he will outgrow them very quickly. If I keep them I could use them for a future child myself.
Which brings me to telling hubs I want another child right away. He's coming around. I am hoping my old contacts will pay off somehow and a permanent placement will come along. My heart is so heavy knowing the risk of fostering again with no guarantees. But it is heavier thinking about not having a child at all.
In a way I am glad to be alone right now. It's been harder dealing with other people and I've always been one to cry when others are hurting.... even when they are hurting for me.
When I stop and think it through, I know this is not as bad as it seems. He is going to a good home, he will be happy, and we will move on.
But I have a feeling I'll be drunk by noon on Wednesday.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Still crying at the drop of a hat, but I have a feeling that will take some time to subside.
Now I am planning my attack.
I already sent the CM an e-mail in response to hers requesting some visits before a permanent move. I know Monday will be too late, but Tues, Wed, Thurs and then move on Friday seems pretty reasonable to me. I am willing and able to transport so the only issue would be MGM schedule.
Come Monday morning, I will wait until 8:30AM. CM should be in at 8:00 so this gives her 30 minutes to respond to my request. After that, I am going to call the supervisor's supervisor.
I know the lingo. I know the policy. I know how to be diplomatic and bitchy all at the same time. So I may have a shot at making this a little bit better.
Hubs is saying he doesn't know if he can do it again. In many ways I agree. On the other hand, how do you go from being a mom to not? Are we willing to pay the money and get put on that long waiting list of people holding out for adoption? We're on the list for CPS, but our age range is 3 and under - just like 90% of the other people on the list.
I know right now isn't the time to make any decisions as our heads just aren't in it. But we will need to decide soon so I know if I need to go back to work. I will not be able to sit around here all alone for long without another child. If we decide to keep trying, I want another sooner rather then later so I'm not sitting around lamenting the loss.
Right now I'm focusing on getting his scrapbook done. Then it's on to sorting through his clothes to see which ones will fit him long enough to be worth sending. Then toys, deciding what he likes enough to send and what should stay here for future children.
And it sucks I have to do it all by myself.