Like so many dwarves wrapped in a spider web and hanging from a tree. Thank you, Tolkien, for the visual image.
I’m trying to even pinpoint what I want to say and figure out how to make it sound true, yet concise; complete, yet honoring. Sometimes the truth is just messy.
Sometimes foster care is.
Three weeks ago from tomorrow we dropped Baby T off for a weekend visit with another foster family and two of his brothers. That was the last time we saw him. He did not come back to us.
And I mentally blasted DHS because, really, thanks for the notice, you guys.
We could have pushed for the 5-day notice they are required to give us, but in the end since we knew they were going to move him we felt it was better for him to go ahead and stay rather than come back to us for a few days and then go back again. And being with his brothers is also a good thing. But still.
And now we’ve been back to a family of 8 for the past three weeks. And it’s been one big blur. I’m finding that managing the lives of at least 7 people (7, since Craig generally manages his own) is really kicking my butt. Every single night I open up my computer and email myself a detailed list of who has to be where and when. It looks an awful lot like this one from last Wednesday:
- 7:15: Craig takes Katie and Millie to school
- 7:55: I leave with A5, R4, Maddie
- 8:05: Drop A5 off, head to R4’s school
- 8:40: Drop R4 off, head to Eye Doctor
- 9:15: Eye Doctor with Maddie
- 10:15: Walmart for meat and cheese tray supplies
- 11:00: Home, drop Maddie off to do school
- 11:45: Leave for school – pick Katie up and head to school
- 12:30-2:30: Durin’s Day Festival
- 2:30: Craig heads to R4’s school and picks up R4, Megan heads to North Campus and picks up Millie
- 3:00: Pick up Millie and go home, Craig picks up R4 and brings him home
- 4:30: Pick up A5
- 4:45: Take Maddie to Guitar
- 5:00 Figure out dinner
- 5:45: Leave to pick up Maddie
- 6:00: Pick up Maddie
- 6:15: Finish feeding anyone who hasn’t eaten. Mad scramble to prep house for City Group
- 7:00 City Group
Add to the insanity that a schedule, similar in length, yet different in implementation combined with trying to figure out the logistical, physical, and emotional needs of everyone here and it’s a wonder I’m not on some kind of antidepressant yet.
The boys have had to deal with so much grown up stuff in the past few weeks it’s a wonder THEY aren’t on some kind of antidepressant yet. Seriously. So much has happened that I decided to seek therapy services for them. I made an appointment based off the recommendation of my foster care support worker only to be forced to change it by the boys’ social worker. I did some digging around and found I do have the ability to push on this, but I never know how hard to do this. I pushed a little. I said I’d stick with the social worker’s preferred place for 6 weeks but if I didn’t see improvement in the boys, I was going to seek collaborative services between her preference and the place I wanted to go with. Seems reasonable, right? I got this email today, “I appreciate your concern for the boys but OKDHS has custody of this case. And we make those decisions regarding the children. Please be [in] compliance with our process.”
Y’all. I’ve tried and tried to be nothing but supportive for OKDHS, but this email right here? It makes me want to OPEN UP A FREAKING CAN.
Because I don’t really see OKDHS comforting little boys who wonder why their life sucks. I don’t see OKDHS taking these little boys to the park. I don’t see OKDHS desperately creating sticker charts and reward systems to motivate little boys to follow the rules. I don’t see OKDHS rocking little boys when the rules simply don’t make sense and they can’t handle them. I don’t see OKDHS micro-managing where I take little boys to the doctor. I don’t see OKDHS giving one flip about the education of these little boys. I DO see us doing these things. We are the ones parenting these boys. We are the ones taking them to the park. We are the ones navigating them through the rocky sea that is their life. We should the the ones who make these important decisions too.
At the very least we should be allowed to give input.
At the very very least we should be treated with the same respect they expect us to treat them with.
And I could very well be taking this way too personally, but I just feel like this is a power grab and not one that really seeks for the best interests of the boys, but just a way to say, “I’m making this decision and you can’t change it. So there.”
This is foster care. And sometimes it makes absolutely no sense.