Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Trials and Tribulations of Being a Foster Parent

Ok, first I'll start here by telling you a bit of what's been going on since April of this year.

MrKB was a long haul truck driver working for a major company and I rode along with him on his rig. We had been doing this for over two years. We basically lived on the truck...we didn't have a house or apartment...it didn't make sense to rent someplace we were only gonna be at MAYBE two days a month. We would stay out for months at a time, and when we did come in for days off, we'd stay either with friends or at one of our parent's homes.

So anyway...we came into the city for a few days off back in April. Had something like four days off, then we had gone to Ardmore to pick up a load. Between picking up the load and heading back toward OKC, MrKB gets a call on his cell saying his Dad is in the hospital and they think he had a heart attack. We immediately call his company and they tell us to just bring the load to the yard and someone else will take it to where it needed to go. We do this, and then go see his Dad.

A day or so later we're at his Dad's house when his brother calls. At this point in time we hadn't seen or talked to him in about 2 years. Well, he says that him and his girlfriend are losing their parental rights and would we be willing to take the kids, including their baby girl who'd just been born about 2 1/2 weeks before. We said we'd talk about it and get back with him. Keep in mind that between the two of them they have SEVEN kids, and don't have a one of them.

So...probably the next day we go meet them somewhere to discuss all this. BIL is a mess...drunk off his ass and crying his eyes out...though I can't say that I blame him, if I'd just found I was losing my kids for good, I'd be drunk and crying too. We discuss the situation with them and at first we were only going to take the baby, but they begged us to take 2 yr old and 5 yr old also. There is another little girl who is unfortunately a meth baby with serious problems...she is almost 2 yrs old now and baby girl (who is 6 mos) has passed her developmentally. I just can't deal with that, and go from having no kids at all to 3. Ok, that's 4 of their kids. Her oldest from a previous relationship is staying with her grandparents, and his two oldest have been adopted by my MIL. We are working on getting 3 of them adopted.

Of course, all these kids are in DHS custody, and we've been subjected to every background check, home check, you name it. We went through the required parenting classes, got a 3 bedroom apartment within a month of finding out all this...we've done every thing we've been asked to do and more.

We brought baby girl home from the hospital where she'd been since she was born when she was 3 weeks old. All we had to do to get her was pass a background check. We got 2 yr old at the end of June. Had a few visits with her and then they moved her right in. No problems! They are healthy, happy, and well taken care of...DHS has said this themselves. We were supposed to have 5 yr old in with us by the end of July. Has it happened?? NO! Which brings me to the point of this post.

5 yr old is currently in a "therapeutic foster home" due to his severe asthma, eczema, allergies, and developmental delays. All that means is those foster parents underwent additional training on top of the required training. BUT...he is not the only child they have.

I don't like these people.

They're the type that act all nice to your face, then talk shit behind your back.

First...when we were supposed to start having regular visits w/ 5 yr old to get him "used" to us and get ready to move him to our home, these people were never available...didn't return calls, didn't show up for court ordered visits between all siblings, that kinda thing. Finally I got fed up with that and finally the case worker made a set time for visits. We were going to have a few four hour visits, then some eight hour visits, then some overnights, THEN they'd move him in.

EVERY fuckin' time we had a visit with him, his other foster parents were finding some stupid thing to go to the case worker with. We brought him back late...he peed his pants twice after a visit...we brought him back "soiled"...he's FIVE people. Definitely potty trained. Over and over it's stuff like that. One time I was talking to the foster mom on the phone about a visit, and we were just chatting. We are in the process of potty training 2 yr old, and the day before she'd stayed dry all day. I was relating this fact to her (because I was proud she'd stayed dry, so I was bragging) and she took it to mean that 2 yr old hadn't gone to the bathroom AT ALL and that I must not have given her anything to drink!!! Instead of asking me to clarify this, she went to the caseworker!!! GOD!

Oh, I need to add that his current foster parents were wanting to adopt him and were gonna fight us for him in court. But then (at least they TOLD us this) they decided they weren't going to fight for him.

Anyway...

We had him for a few hours today...We were also supposed to have a "family team meeting" (one of the 'and more' stuff we've been doing) but we cancelled it 'cuz both of us are not feeling real well.
While MrKB was talking to our counselor, she told him that his foster parents (actually it's always the foster mom) had yet again gone to the case worker about 5 yr old. THIS time, when we took him home last weekend after he spent the whole weekend with us, "his clothes smelled like smoke, his inhaler smelled like smoke, his breathing machine smelled like smoke...and when we washed his clothes we didn't use the special soap he has to have so he broke out in a rash...yadda yadda yadda."

I've about had it with this bitch.

First of all, yes, we smoke. We smoke strictly OUTSIDE..one of the many things DHS wanted us to do. Tell me, how in the HELL was his breathing machine and inhaler exposed to any smoke at all?? The machine was kept in a bag until it had to be used, then put up right after. The inhaler was in the kitchen on top of the microwave INSIDE A ZIPLOC BAG! I am so pissed off it's not even funny. I think that his foster parents DO still want to adopt him, but if they think we're gonna just relax and assume that's not gonna happen, they're wrong. I personally think they are just trying to find any little thing to make us look bad the next time we go to court over this.

Because of all their bullshit, DHS is dragging their ass on getting him with us. It's always something else they want us to do before they move him in with us. I'm sick of it. They had no problems letting us pick up a 3 week old baby from the hospital...no problems moving 2 yr old in after just a FEW visits. WTF is the problem with this one?!? Why would we be good enough to be the parents of his sisters but not him?

We are calling a lawyer Monday. We go back to court Nov. 17th. Maybe he can help us. I'm tired of all the bullshit and lies.

9 comments:

Alicia said...

I'm sorry things are going so rough right now. It is an amazing thing you're doing, taking in 3 children under the age of 5. Keep doing what DHS asks of you and keep fighting. That boy belongs with you and his sisters. You may want to consider video taping when you return the child. This way you have some kind of documentation of the condition you're returning the boy, clean,healthy etc. Try not to get discouraged! GOOD LUCK!

MamaKBear said...

Alicia,
Thanks so much for your kind words and the encouragement! I try not to get discouraged. It just gets so dang frustrating, ya know?

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Monica said...

My thoughts are with you on this one. I wonder why she is fighting for him though instead of letting him go to family? How long has he been with them?

mdrock said...

First of all, you are both wonderful to step in and be willing to help out with the kids. They are so often the casualties or our adult failings. I think it is just so great that you are willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to help these little ones out.

After reading your post, I can certinaly feel your frustration. I have worked with social services and I can tell you that too many times the fate of a family or a child is sometimes dependent on the kind of day the social worker happens to be having. It sucks, but it is the reality. The wheels of any DHS grind slowly, I am surprised that you got custody of the other two little ones as quickly as you did. Hang in there, even though they work slowly, most of the time they arrive at a reasonable conclusion.

Anyway, one of my boys had excema really bad when he was younger and still battles athsma today. It sounds like you are well informed, but if you would like to hear some of what we did to deal with these conditions, send me an email, I am happy to share our exerience...

MamaKBear said...

Monica: Thank you for your kind words, it means a lot! His foster parents SAY they aren't fighting for him, but they act a completely different way, so we're not letting our guard down. He has been with them for just barely a year now. I wish we'd known a long time ago that DHS had the kids, but being on the road and MrKB not talking much to his brother, we didn't find out soon enough.

mdrock: Thank you! It's so nice to know that someone out there can at least understand a bit of what we are going through. His asthma is pretty much under control, though he still makes occasional ER trips. MrKB, his brother, and my nephew all have asthma too, so we're pretty much experts on that front..lol...the eczema is what's gonna be a constant battle, as he has it pretty bad..when he was little I remember seeing the poor thing with sores all over because BIL and g/f just didn't give a damn. Thanks for the encouragement! :)

kaliblue said...

Sounds like to me these folks probably don't want some of their Money leaving(him). A little advice....Don't inform this foster mom of any of your goings on with the boy.(meaning how he was, what ya'll did or doing when he visits..nothing) She is playing chummy with you to use things against you. She may act and sound all concerned and that she is just *Helping* because you are New to this, but TRUST me I know because my best friend is a Foster mom and has lots of probs with parents, other foster parents and even Social workers being very 2 faced. I have heard some of the horror stories about some Social Workers not doing there jobs right. Good Luck and I hope that things turn out for the best for ya'll.

kaliblue said...

P.S. as for the eczema.. If ya'll ever get him in your care. A Dermatologist will help him. There are special soaps, lotions and shampoos made just for it. :)

MamaKBear said...

kali: That's what we're thinking too...and don't worry, I already stopped telling them anything other than what's absolutely necessary after what happened that day I told her about the potty training thing.

I'll just be glad when this is all over.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

ty bluesmith said...

deep.

so good of you to take someone else's children in, too.

i couldn't live without my kids.

that is all just sad sad sad.