Friday, November 21, 2014

Never again...

Well I can't say I didn't try. Today I attempted to reach out to baby D's aunt. I offered my phone number through the visitation facilitator. I knew it would be a holiday and 2 weeks she wouldn't see him- thinking maybe we could meet up and her kids could see him. 
But, She refused to take it. Does not want us to transport to her home or know where she lives. She views us as the enemy. So all of my effort for an easy transition and any hope of keeping up with his little life are dwindling. 
The facilitator from the visit couldn't believe his aunts reaction, knowing how kind my offer was. Knowing I really care about the baby. 
I am even more jaded than before. At this point with him inevitablely leaving we are letting go- and with those surrounding his case being so blatantly mean and rude it is making the process easier. 
I am ready for this to be over and we will never foster again. Baby D's caseworker is to thank for that. They wonder why they don't have good foster parents- because of the unethical and terrible treatment we receive. Unfortunately I never thought race would play a part, but being white has caused issues with the caseworker and now his family. 
It doesn't matter if you want to help, offer your home and your love. This is all such a horrible situation I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Never again- 
Why I will never foster again- 
When you become a foster parent you do it for the children. For the love of helping a child and with the hope you will be together forever. 
Hamilton county sells you on these kids- they plaster their faces on the Internet, pamphlets, Facebook pages, commercials - wherever they can. 
Then you decide to help. 
You choose an agency, have 36 hours of training, umpteen visits for a homestudy- turn your life upside down to help a child. 
You think the private agency will make a difference but in reality they have no more say than you do. 
You sign up for this- yet 
you are treated like the enemy. 
You are treated like the criminal. 
You are treated like the kid on the team who no one is willing to tell the play. 
In the past 10 months as foster parents we have been bullied, intimidated, lied to and put in bad situations. 
We have been sent to the limits of our comfort zone and been played against the birth family. We have been given short notice and no notice yet expected to change everything to accommodate. 
Throughout the last 10 months of this case this child has come into our home- had 24 hour care like he was one of our own. He has formed attachments, learned to talk, learned how to be in a family and become a smart and active toddler.  Yet we have only received negative feedback about trying to have him attach to us and not to his family. We have been to every single visit requested over the past 10 months. We have sent pictures, cards and done our best to have a good relationship when coming into contact with family members at court and at visitation. 
Our family has never been mistreated the way we have been from HCJFS. The Caseworker's attitude towards our family has been a problem since day one. We have done nothing to deserve the treatment we have received. 
There are families I have known who have thought about fostering- I have warned them to never do it. There is no best interest of the child- it is get the caseload of the desk. These kids are a number. 
Everyone knows the system is a mess- but the last thing I thought would be our biggest issue would be the woman who is supposed to protect our foster son. 

So much for my bleeding heart. For trying to save a little piece of the world. It has ended in turmoil and tears for the family I will protect first and foremost. I know we have made a huge impact on his life. But, as his GAL told me today. When it comes to foster care you cannot save a world that doesn't want to be saved. So never again- never again- NEVER AGAIN. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gotcha Day Surprise

It's Something pretty amazing when a plan comes together. With the help of a few talented friends and me asking for help in a blog post a few weeks ago of Wy's little dreams came true. 
Today is the 5 year anniversary of when Wy came home for forever- the day he counts as "gotcha day". He took Kit kats to share with his friends at school and came home to find a package on the front porch with his name on it. I had to videotape him receiving it because I knew how happy he would be. 

This blanket is something he has talked about since we found his baby picture a few years ago. 
It is something that can connect him to his past. He hasn't put it down since he opened it. 
Thanks to all of those who tried to help find the fabric and especially to Abbie Clark Robison of Clark Graphic Design, LLC for coming up with the design and pointing me to Fabric on Demand to have it made. 
And to "Beffes" aka Beth Goettke for making the fabric into the perfect blanket. 
Five years later still his happiest with a sippy cup of apple juice in one hand, a peanut butter sandwich in the other and now his baby blanket to snuggle with. Happy Gotcha day Super Wy. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 more weeks

This morning Baby D had his third visit with his aunt. As far as I can tell it went well. He comes home happy and says "bye nana- see you later" as he leaves. She seems very loving. I can understand that she may be guarded with me, but she is always friendly. 
Today they told us she was approved for community visits. So starting next week instead of two hours in a cubicle and toy room they will have 4 hours at the museum center. A facilitator will be with them at the museum. 4 hours from naptime to dinner with a 2 year old at the museum- better than a cubicle! 
As much as I prepare myself and my family for this transition each time one of these steps happen it is a little jab to my heart. I am slowly letting him go. Trying to detach myself as much as I can. Our family is doing the same. I made his life book to take with him and I am glad we have so many pictures and memories. I only hope his family can share it with him someday. 
As we work through these emotions and the coming weeks I keep reminding myself that he has a family that wants and loves him- even though we know he has 2 families that want and love him. 
When I talked to Anna about her feelings she sounded so much wiser than I have been. I asked her if she was upset about him leaving and she said no. She will be sad that he won't be here, but so happy for him that he will be with his family. That everyone should be with their family. 
Praying we can all feel that way and believe this was God's plan as we move forward. We still have 5 weeks until court and anything can happen. So prayers for both families and Baby D continue. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Birthday ...

Baby D turns 2 today. We woke him up with a round of happy birthdays and his choice of "ritos" aka Doritos for breakfast. 
I dressed him in his birthday boy shirt and fixed his hair. 
After hugs and kisses I packed him in the car to head to his visit. After last weeks positive experience with his Aunt I was hopeful. I didn't realize when we got there he would have so many arms waiting for him. 
His Aunt was there along with her two daughters and grandson, another aunt and his great grandma. They had cupcakes and a card and balloons for him.
As his Aunt walked towards him to greet him he looked a little nervous with all of the people. She showed him his balloons and he lit up "mike and sully"! She had remembered that I had told her he liked monsters inc and Mickey Mouse at court and bought those for him. 
When I came back to pick him up I was able to spend a few minutes talking to his family. As much as I never thought I would feel this way my heart breaks for them. This is his family- those who cared for him from birth. The woman who cried for him when he was taken and had done all she thought she could to try and get him back. These women are the reason he was happy and well cared for before he came to us. 
I never thought I would call his GAL  and tell him I think he needs more time with his family. That he needs to spend the holidays with them. But, if inevitablely this is how our time with him ends it is best for all of us.
 D deserves to get to know them again. He deserves to be with his family that wants him and loves him. They have done nothing wrong. They have never stopped loving him. 
The idea of him leaving and never seeing him again is excruciating. I never want him to think that we didn't want him and love him. To think of how much Anna and Wy mean to him. How much he means to them. How he loves the only Daddy he has ever known. To think about how much mama and papa love him- and sissy and the kids. He loves his pepaw and granny Nate.  He knows and expects these people in his life. He asks for them by name and loves them. I can barely bring myself to think that I won't be his mommy.  I pray he is young enough and resilient enough that he doesn't really realize how much things have changed. Just that he has gone from one family to another that loves him more than anything. 
I pray he never feels the pain that I am feeling as I type these words and think of him leaving. 

I need to keep my faith that God has known all along what Baby D needs. That His plans will lead him to a happy and safe life with the family who loves him. And that we can somehow see him grow if only through pictures. 
So many unknowns. 
So bittersweet. 
As I took him from the visit today I thought of his family. Watching me walk away with him, as they wait for him to come home. 
Praying for the two families who love him so much and for the baby who has so much love. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mommy needs a favor...

This month marks 5 years that Wyatt has been home with us. This is the first year that he really grasped the idea of adoption. He has asked more questions and gotten more honest answers than ever before. The thought of baby D going back to family has brought many fears and ideas he has never dealt with before. As hard as it has been it has also been a wonderful opportunity to explain that adoption is forever.
Last night at skyline we were talking to the waiter about Baby D. He asked if he was adopted to which we answered no- he is in foster care. Wyatt sat straight up and proudly announced "I am adopted". This is the first time I have ever heard him declare this to someone. He has always known, but never been able to express his fears or his pride about it before now. He has asked about his foster home, his belly mommy and many more questions. 
Me being pregnant with Sammi has brought forth a lot of questions as well. He knows I carried him in my heart, but seeing me carry Sammi in my belly makes that more real. 
There are very few things we know about his past. I know when he came to us he did not have anything special - like a blanket or stuffed animal. Apparently when he came into care he had a stuffed bear his foster mom threw away because of it's filth. This makes my heart hurt- wishing he had something small to tie him to his past. We gave him a stuffed puppy the day we met him and he snuggles that and his blanket "kiki" from grandma to this day, but he often asks about before we knew him and what he snuggled. 
So finally- on to the point of this post. A few years ago I was able to get Wy's hospital pictures. He looks at himself every night and talks about how cute he was and how he loved his blanket when he was a baby. I have searched for this fabric and have never found it. I imagine it was made by the hospital (UC) volunteers and given to his mother. 
For all of you crafters who frequent fabric stores could you please keep an eye for anything resembling this pattern? I can't think of a better way to celebrate 5 years of being a forever family than to find a little piece of his past.
Thanks so much ....