Stressful Visit

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Stressful visit, stressful week, stressful year!! This is my second attempt at this post; let’s see if it goes through this time. Usually I’ll write my posts in Microsoft Word first and then copy and paste, but the one time I type right on the website, I lose everything I wrote, ughhh!! Some weeks I struggle to write a single post and other times, like now, when it’s only Tuesday, I could write 5 posts a day for the rest of the week!

Buddy had a visit with his mom yesterday. They were on Tuesday mornings, but were switched to Monday afternoons during his nap (of course I get no choice in the matter). Mom has been showing up weekly, but usually cuts out early.

The visits are held at a center run by the Salvation Army. A transporter comes and picks Buddy up 15 minutes before his visit and a supervisor watches them for an hour and a half. I love having the transporter because my husband and I both work during the day. However, that is all they do. They pick up the child and they drop them off, they have no idea how the visit went or have any other information. I have to call if I have a question.

At last week’s visit, Buddy came home with chocolate milk and an empty donut bag. I called the center and was told that mom brought it for him for a snack. He ate half of it at the visit and must have eaten the other half on his ride home. She told me that it makes the parent feel good by bringing their kid a special treat. I said that’s all fine and good, but a donut isn’t an acceptable snack for a two year old! There are plenty of healthy snacks she can bring him. He absolutely loves fruit. You can give him anything from an apple or banana to a kiwi or pineapple and he’ll go nuts for it. So, I told her to talk to mom about it and I would send him with a healthy snack from now on.

I called the girl at the center yesterday morning and told her that Buddy had an orange in his bag and it was already peeled and segmented. He also had some water. Later on I text the daycare girl to make sure that Buddy left and returned from his visit okay. It was 40 minutes after his visit and she said he hadn’t returned yet! So I called up the center and they said they had transportation issues and he should be there any minute. I said, “why didn’t anybody call me?!” My husband or I could have tried to make arrangements to come and get him if there was a problem! Instead of apologizing, she just said that she’d call me from now on.

After I hung up the phone in disgust, a million things went through my head. It is only a 15 minute ride from the center to daycare. Where was he all that time? Who was watching him? Didn’t the girl supervising have to go on to her next appointment? Was he in the car the whole time? I have no idea where the child was! It was a full hour later that he finally arrived. He’s only two years old. It’s not like he can tell me what happened! So, I put a call in to the caseworker. She said that the girl supervising the visit watched him until he was transported. That didn’t completely answer my question because she also said that mom cut the visit short, like she usually does! So, he was stuck somewhere for OVER an hour then, and I still don’t have a clear answer why or where, but nobody seems upset about it but me!

I rushed home once work was over because I was so relieve that Buddy was back and safe. His mom had given him some things. He was wearing what I call a “thug” hat. It wasn’t a cute little ball cap or a floppy summer hat, but a hat with a big, flat brim, with a big graphic on it that kids usually wear sideways. In his bag he also had a new outfit (too small), a pair of sandals (too big) and a book. That’s all fine. I understand that mom was trying to do something nice for her kid and I totally appreciate that. There was also a juice, a DONUT, the orange that I sent (untouched) and a note saying that he ate a lunchable! Now come on! At least they didn’t give him the donut which is a step in the right direction. They know that he ate lunch before he came and that he’s going to eat dinner when he goes home. Well, now he’s not going to want to eat dinner! According to the caseworker, that’s something I’m just going to have to accept that he’s not going to eat dinner on Mondays. I mean, what do they care that my kid is not getting a proper nap or proper meals? They don’t have to deal with the fall out after a visit, I do!

Now for the book… I’m sure I’m just taking this out of context because I’m upset. I have been collecting Dr. Seuss series books for a couple of years now, before I ever had Buddy, because they brought such joy to me as a child and I was hoping to share them with my future children. We already have the book that she gave him and I’ve read it to him several times, but never thought of it this way before. It was, “Are You My Mother” by P.D. Eastman. It’s about a little bird that hatches from his egg while his mom is away and he goes around to different animals asking if they’re his mother until they’re finally reunited. It made me wonder if it was a stab at me since she doesn’t like that Buddy calls me Mommy. Is she saying that he doesn’t know who his mother is but that she’ll get him in the end? Maybe I’m just being paranoid about it, but I will never look at that book with the same innocence again.

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5 thoughts on “Stressful Visit

  1. Donuts for two-year-olds would drive me crazy too! Every time I read one of your posts, I think about how hard (yet rewarding) it must be to be a foster parent hoping to adopt. You fall in love with a child, take care of him every single day, without really knowing if he’ll end up being your “forever” son. And you have to deal with stressful visits & other encounters with difficult birth parents. I really hope this all works out in the end!

    • Hi Red,
      Thanks so much for sympathizing! It is really difficult being a foster parent. It is definitely not what I expected. Like you said, I really do hope that is works out in the end as well! Take care!

  2. As one who worked with kids and adopted from foster care, yes, I can tell you that Buddy’s bio family’s values and experiences generally won’t be yours. Often, they’ll be lower. Part of that comes from how those parents were raised, part of that is from their experiences translating to parenthood. You and I have one set of values, they have another. According to bio mom, sweets are acceptable for children, because she had them too. My kids were the same way, and I still struggle to get them off the sugar. My daughter, at 15, constantly craves sugar and it’s almost an addiction; if given a blind choice between sugar and a healthy snack, she’ll go for the sugar. Once kids get a taste for it, it’s hard to let that go. So my suggestion is stick to your guns. No processed food at all, sweets come from oranges like you do. When you offer sweets, make sure it’s something you made, like your own-baked oatmeal cookies (when Buddy is older, of course).

    Thankfully, Buddy is only 2, so time is on his side. The more structure and discipline he receives, the more it will be his norm.

    Also, unfortunately, as a foster parent, you are on your own for a lot of things. I was always on the phone driving social workers crazy. Hey, they entrust you with this child, yet simple things like a haircut you need parental permission.

    How well do you know the child’s lawyer/advocate? If you haven’t already, build a relationship with this person. This actually works in your favor when you stand in front of that judge who will determine Buddy’s fate. The more you speak to this person about Buddy’s welfare, the more of an image you are presenting as a responsible parent.

    See, the drawback to foster care is so much expectation is risked for very real disappointment. On your side, there’s this structured, loving home that offers a promising future. On the bio parent side, there’s a person who often is lost, misguided, fallen on hard times or plain just doesn’t know how to parent. Sometimes they really do try to win back their child, but regularly they don’t knowing what parenting means, since their examples were often poor ones. Or they try to do what the court wants them to do, i.e., just by showing up for visitations with goodies means they’re a good parent.

    It’s tough. I know. Nerves of steel would come in handy, right? Except they’re often in real short supply. Never second-guess yourself, though. You’re on the right track. Just accept that this bio parent’s going to do what they’re going to do. Smile. Take the donut and give it to the squirrels. Kid ate a Lunchable? Make sure he has plenty of water to wash it out. One day a week won’t hurt him too much.

    Most of all, keep up the good work. Buddy appreciates it.

    G.

    • Thanks for responding. I love reading your posts because you adopted older children. Our first foster child was 12 and he turned our house every which way but sideways, from smearing poop on the walls to lying and destroying things. He would constantly tell his caseworker that he didn’t want to live with us. Finally we all obliged him and he went to live in a group home. I’m grateful that Buddy is only 2 and hopefully most of his scars will heal with time. I hope that things go in our favor with him since bio-mom isn’t even going to visits anymore or doing her psych eval. However, like you said, there are always disappointments. We do keep in contact with the lawyer and caseworker. This time we’re lucky enough to have very good ones. I’ll keep you updated.

  3. Pingback: Fostering the Adoption | fostadoptfoibles

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