Giving Myself Permission to be Selfish

Again we sat in the waiting room as lawyers were allowed into the court room. It’s really starting to sound like Groundhog’s Day isn’t it?
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When we were allowed in, it was just a repeat of the month before. Bio-mom wants a chance to prove herself once she gets out of jail in June. The fact-finding porting of the TPR is still set for next month, but they’re holding off until August for disposition. My heart sank. August? Why? The caseworker said that it’s a really big deal to take away a parent’s rights. They want to give her every possible chance.

Oh, and by the way, they heard from supposed bio-dad. UMMMM, WHATTTTT????!!!! He is on a ship (Navy, Marines?) until June. The DSS lawyer had a cell phone number. The caseworker didn’t even know about it. I’m hoping that he’s just sick of the letters he’s been receiving for the past year and a half and is going to sign a paper saying that he wants nothing to do with Buddy after never seeing him or having contact with him in 3 years. They did the same thing with bio-mom’s estranged husband a few months back. DSS is all about the drama, I swear!

Anyway, I understand that it’s a big deal to take away a person’s rights to their child. I couldn’t imagine being in bio-mom’s position. The thing is that, I never would be. I’ve never tried a drug in my life and I’ve got a very supportive family. I’ve thought before, how selfish I am for wanting her to give up her child to me. How selfish it is to think I am any more deserving than she is. In the end, what it comes down to is that, she will go right back to her old ways. She will go back to her old friends. She unfortunately has no family to support her. This is about what is best for Buddy and being with us is what is best for him. That might be selfish on my part, but he deserves the safe, secure, nurturing and loving home that we can provide. She is dragging court out for herself, not for him. She didn’t even send him a letter for Christmas or his birthday. How is that being a parent?

So again we wait, but I thought about it and said, so, we’re looking to adopt him in the next six months. That doesn’t sound too bad! We’ve got a lawyer now and he even coached the judge’s son’s soccer team and they’re good friends! These are all positive things.

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Christmas Past Collides with Christmas Present

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The jail visits continue to be difficult. Buddy is a good actor. He’s very brave as he gets into the van with the transporter, dutifully goes to the visit to see his bio-mom and then returns to daycare a little wild but himself. Once he gets home the meltdown begins. There has been screaming at the top of his lungs, flinging ornaments off the Christmas tree, rice and corn flying through my dining room, tantrums about getting dressed and terrors in the night. But we’re complying with a court order, so it’s ok (say the people who don’t have to deal with the damage that’s being done).

We met with the caseworker today and she said that the judge cannot make the decision of giving bio-mom another chance with Buddy just because she is doing the programs in jail. So that was good to hear. It was up to social services to say that rights should be terminated. Now when we go to TPR on the 7th, bio-mom can either do the right thing and sign over her rights or go to trial. We will most likely go to trial. The hearing would be around March. There are only a handful of people to testify, so hopefully that will move quickly. Also, by that point Buddy will have been with us for over a year and we can hire a lawyer to speak for us. I still have fingers crossed for adoption in the summer.

During the good times, Buddy and I made Christmas cookies and wrapped some presents. We’ve been singing Christmas carols and watching the specials on TV. He’s still a little unsure of the logistics of how the whole deal with Santa works, but he’ll find out soon enough. My family will be coming to our house Christmas Eve for dinner and gifts. On Christmas Day we’ll go to my aunt’s and see the Great Grandparents. Hopefully he won’t be too crazy with all that’s going on over two days. Change in routine + overstimulation = meltdowns & getting up multiple times during the night.

To all the foster parents out there, I wish you the best through this joyous but difficult time of the year and to everyone a Very Merry Christmas!

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Surgery, Court & Jail Visits = Fun Times or Something

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My surgery went well. It turned out that my Lapband did slip and the skin that they put over it to keep it in place had ripped. So it was a good thing I got the surgery after all.

I ended up spending the night, which was not cool at all. I ended up with a roommate that moaned, groaned and coughed incessantly despite saying she was not in any pain. Lucky me!
The cool thing was that a PA came in the room around 8am and said I could go home if I ate a good breakfast and tolerated it okay. I was starving! They had a menu and you order food like room service! I had a ham and cheddar omelet, home fried potatoes and apple juice. It all went down so easy! Then hubby came and picked me up. I was so thankful to go home and sleep in my own bed!

The rescheduled permanency hearing for Buddy was pretty uneventful except that bio-mom got to meet with her lawyer for the first time right before court started and she just lied up a storm. She said that she has everything in place to take Buddy home when she gets out of jail: place to live, clothes and supplies. I wanted to ask her what size he wears so bad! She was homeless last I knew, with no job, so it’s just so hard to sit there and listen to her distorted view of reality. I don’t know why she thinks she’s getting him back when she gets out. She still has to take parenting classes, get a psychological evaluation, take anger management classes and I’m not sure if she’d still have to do rehab or not.
Court lasted all of 10 minutes.

Yesterday I got some pretty upsetting news after I got home from my surgery. Bio-mom applied for this program that they call Headstart (not the preschool). It’s a time for her to spend about an hour to an hour and a half with Buddy twice a month and get parenting lessons. First off, we were told that she probably wouldn’t qualify for it since TPR is scheduled for January 7th. Then, not only does she qualify, but we have to take him to the jail twice a month and the Headstart people want to come to our house and meet with us twice a month on top of the monthly visit we already do with social services. So, five times a month I’m either going to jail or entertaining people in my home because she got locked up! Hopefully we don’t still have to do the regular jail visit too! It’s so not fair to us or Buddy. I’m also sure my husband’s job is going to love him taking all that time off! Buddy has night terrors again and his attitude is horrible since she’s been back in his life. It upsets me so much I’m not going to talk about it anymore.

My husband said that we just need to play the game until TPR. The thing is that bio-mom is not going to sign over her parental rights on the 7th, she’s going to make them go to trial, which will drag things out longer and she’ll still get her time with him.

So, what I am going to think about is the fact that Thanksgiving is this week and I can enjoy a nice dinner with my family! Last year when my dad asked us what we were thankful for, I was in tears because I knew that the foster baby we had was going to go back to his parents soon. Now we have Buddy with us and we’re pretty sure he’s here to stay. I’m so thankful to have him, my amazing husband and a wonderful and supportive family.

When Things Go Bump in the Night

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Buddy has sleep/night terrors. The poor thing doesn’t wake up, but screams out “No!” or cries. He is very restless and tosses and turns like crazy. Needless to say, my husband and I don’t sleep much either.

I read about the night terrors and I guess there is no way of comforting them, but how can I not at least go in and check on him? I’ll rub his back or his belly, stroke his hair and he blissfully drifts back off, but this will happen upwards of 5-6 times a night. Thankfully “experts” say that he shouldn’t remember the episodes, which is good, because being that he is only two, he wouldn’t really be able to express what happened in them anyway.

We do our best to keep a routine for him. He has two night lights, a sound machine and a turtle that projects stars on the ceiling. He comes home from daycare and plays with toys and watches the Disney Channel. We eat dinner. Then he plays some more. After, I give him a bath with lavender scented bubbles. Next, I lotion him all up and put on his pj’s. We read a book or two. Then we say the names of the things on his walls (Pooh, Tigger, Eeoyre, Piglet, Flowers, Bees, etc.). Then I say, “you had a good day today.” You did this and that, etc., recapping his day for him. I give him and his doggy, owl and star turtle a hug and kiss and put him down. If he fusses, I tell him that Mommy, Daddy, the kitties and doggy are here to keep him safe and we’ll be just downstairs.

I always ask him in the morning if he had a good night’s sleep and he’ll say yes, but he’s very crabby and clingy. So he either is not getting a good night’s sleep, or he’s like me and is NOT a morning person. Sometimes he won’t want anything to do with my husband, until he does something to make him laugh. That’s tough because I depend on him to help get Buddy ready in the morning so that I can walk the dog.

Anyway, I hope that Buddy will get a better night’s sleep soon. I think we have a good routine for him and it will just take a little time. He’s only been with us a short while and has had to make a lot of adjustments in his short life. He’s a good boy and I just want him to be happy.

Photo credit: thejbird / Foter.com / CC BY