Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Change

Primo has been assigned a new social worker within our agency.

I loved his first social worker.  I like the new social worker.  The thing they have in common is that they are both very young and just out of college.

The change is difficult.  I had built a relationship over the past 8 months with the first social worker.  I really miss her.  I have to remind myself that even though we had a great rapport it took time to work up to that.

It feels a bit like the case is starting over with the new worker.  Through all the miscommunications we've had this first week I try to focus on our common goal of caring for Primo, and to remember that this new relationship will take time and effort on both our parts.

This also means that there is a new supervisor for Primo's case at our agency, who really doesn't seem to be up to speed yet.  She also did not appreciate me asking her questions about the case and really did not want to discuss anything with me. I'm trying to be patient.

I did call the supervisor of Primo's DH$ social worker, but my call was never returned.  I'm torn because I don't want to be a whiny complainer, but I'm frustrated by Primo's case.

After being rebuffed by my agency's supervisor was the first time I felt that my agency and DH$ really don't care about what I have to say.

The reality is that I and my agency's workers have very little control over what happens with Primo's case.  The further removed parties of DH$ and the judge are the ones who make it all happen and so far they have not made much of anything happen.


Friday, May 18, 2012

How much help is too much help?

I try my best to support Primo's parents in any way I can.  I like them.  So, when holidays and special celebration days roll around I buy them gifts. Usually these gifts are small gifts with personal meaning, baby hand prints, photos etc.

I know that there is something Primo's parents need.  They have talked about it, and how much easier it would make their visits with the kids.  I know that they could purchase what they need for under $20.

I am tempted to buy them the item they need and want.  But, part of me would like to see Primo's parents take the initiative to buy what they need for their children.  If they really needed it they would get it themselves, right?


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Another shot at doing nothing?

There is a court date coming up in June.

The fact that Primo's siblings have been in care for over 3.5 years now and that Primo has been in our home for 8 months with little change to his parents case, I have little hope that anything will really be accomplished in court next month.

At the very very end of last month DH$ finally sent some one out, on a Sunday morning, to see Primo.  This was only the second monthly visit by DH$.  Primo's actual DH$ worker has never come to our home.  The lovely young lady who did come out to visit us was very surprised that Primo had no permanency plan in his paperwork.  Oh how I wish we had a more proactive DH$ worker for Primo and his brothers.  Their worker does not visit or contact us.  He shows up late to court and seems very unorganized.

I am beginning to think about contacting Primo's DH$ worker's supervisor.  I'm not sure if this would help or not?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Toys

I broke down and joined one of those online toy rental sites.  I joined for two reasons:

1. I spend too much money on toys

2. Primo gets bored with his toys over time

I didn't want to post about it until I had used the toy rental service for a few months.  I have to say I love it.  New toys arrive every month, this is fun in and of itself, but knowing they won't be staying and clogging up my already super full toy box of abandon toys is a relief.

I had been worried about losing the toys, especially the toys with multiple parts, but this company sends me a nice mesh bag to keep the toys in.  Then I slowly give them to Primo during the month and he loves them.  He actually gets excited when he sees an interesting new toy.

Friday, May 11, 2012

History/Life Book

As my fine point marker scratches across the pages of your soon to be history I am made suddenly aware that I am your history keeper.  I, who share no blood with you, am writing your story, a story you cannot write yourself, a story you may never remember. 

I record your young life with colored markers, stickers and photographs. Love flows through my markers onto the colorful pages as I chronicle the springtime of your life.

This feels weighty.  Your undetermined future stretches out ahead of us.

On whose lap will you sit while flipping through the pages of your fledgling life? Who will smile and reach out to touch your baby faced photos?

Will you be able to read between my handwritten lines and feel the love and hope I held for you in my heart?

I dare not let even one of my many teardrops stain the pages of your past.  Your tender, youthful past will be a happy and a gentle one.  I will keep the fears and hurts at bay as best I can.

For as long as I keep your history I will strive to make it a nourishing history, one that might feed you in your future.

 I loved you then, I love you now, I will love you forever.





Monday, May 7, 2012

Money

I have not kept complete records of the money we have spent on foster care or the money we receive from our agency every month; but I do keep track of our family expenses on my computer so I can pull up a report of how our budget looks (as long as I've been good about categorizing our expenses and incomes).

After having Primo for over 7 months we were pretty close to breaking even in April, meaning we have now spent as much as we have been given for Primo's care.  For the months before this we had way outspent the money that came from our agency for his care.  This is normal as we had to purchase some big ticket items for him, build up his wardrobe, and stock up on bottles, formula, toys, wipes and diapers.

It also takes a while to break even because our agency sends the checks for the current month at the end of the following month.  Meaning, even though Primo arrived in September we did not receive money for his care in September until the end of October.  I'm not sure if this is how all agencies work, but it is the way ours does.

Anyway, now that we are on an even keel I am thinking that it may be possible that we will have extra money left over after Primo's expenses next month.  I will save this money for upcoming wardrobe expenses and a new car seat and pack n play which we will need soon.

Which leads me to wonder what you all do if you have money left at the end of your child's stay with you?

According to my agency's giant red binder of information:   "Any bank accounts should be closed out and the balance should be given to the child in the form of a blank check"  Huh?

Doesn't seem so bright to hand over a blank check to anyone for a child, how can you be sure the money ends up helping the child?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Opportunity

Finola has just decided which college she will attend in August.  This was an intense process of visiting schools, filling out the FAFSA, deciding what area of the country she wanted to live in and how we would be able to pay for college without taking on too much debt.

To be honest it was exhausting.

A few weeks ago we made a last minute trip to one last college.  As I sat in a classroom listening to professors speak about the advantages of their program of study, I was overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and longing, my heart was calling out: I want Primo to have THIS!  I want him to have the option of going to college.

I know that not everyone will go to college, I know not everyone needs to go to college. 

However I want Primo to have the option of choosing what he wants to do.  I want to heap opportunities on him, love and guide him and provide for him.  I wish for him to grow up to be confident, happy, healthy and loving.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Food for thought

Below is a partial summery of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997:


Establishes New Time Line and Conditions for Filing Termination of Parental Rights. Federal law did not require states to initiate termination of parental rights proceedings based on a child's length of stay in foster care. Under the new law, states must file a petition to terminate parental rights and concurrently, identify, recruit, process and approve a qualified adoptive family on behalf of any child, regardless of age, that has been in foster care for 15 out of the most recent 22 months. A child would be considered as having entered foster care on the earlier of either the date of the first judicial finding of abuse or neglect, or 60 days after the child is removed from the home


Sets New Time Frame for Permanency Hearings. Former federal law required a dispositional hearing within 18 months of a child's placement into out-of-home care. The new law establishes a permanency planning hearing for children in care that occurs within 12 months of a child's entry into care. At the hearing, there must be a determination of whether and when a child will be returned home, placed for adoption and a termination of parental rights petition will be filed, referred for legal guardianship, or another planned permanent living arrangement if the other options are not appropriate

Modifies Reasonable Efforts Provision in P.L. 96-272. States continue to be required to make reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify families. In making decisions about the removal of a child from, and the child's return to, his or her home, the child's health and safety shall be the paramount concern. The reasonable efforts requirement does not apply in cases in which a court has found that:

  • the parent has subjected the child to "aggravated circumstances" as defined in state law (including but not limited to abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, and sexual abuse);
  • the parent has committed murder or voluntary manslaughter or aided or abetted, attempted, conspired or solicited to commit such a murder or manslaughter of another child of the parent;
  • the parent has committed a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another one of their children; or
  • the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been involuntarily terminated

In these cases, states would NOT be required to make reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify the family but are required to hold a permanency hearing within 30 days and to make reasonable efforts to place the child for adoption, with a legal guardian, or in another permanent placement

Sadly almost every case I am aware of in foster care is not following any of the above guidelines.  Given what is written above Primo and his brothers should not still be in care and would never reunify with their parents.