D’Update

A couple weeks back, right after this all happened, I emailed D’s social worker to see if I could do an unofficial weekend respite, just to give him a break from the group home.  That was a Tuesday.  No word by Thursday so I emailed her again.  Still no word by Friday so I emailed her a third time and said something along the lines of “I guess the fact that you’re not replying means you don’t think it’s a good idea.”  I also made a comment about how it was ironic that my SW said they didn’t place D with me partly because they didn’t want to risk losing me as a foster parent, while that wasn’t what was likely to be the reason they’d lose me.

Well on Monday she emailed me with a thousand apologies and an update saying D was acting out and exhibiting troubling behaviors.  She left me voicemails on Tuesday and Wednesday with further updates, neither of them good.  I had two crazy busy days at work (7 am to 10 pm two days in a row…how do I manage that if I’m a foster parent???) so I didn’t speak with her and haven’t since.  But I’m wondering if anyone but me thinks it’s crazy to not see that the reason he’s acting out is because of his environment, and the best thing in the world would be to get him out of there?  How much should I (can I) try to advocate for this kid?  It seems like he’s doomed and no one gives a rat’s ass.  Not his mother, not his grandmother, definitely not his father or step father, not his SW.

I first contacted DCF one year ago to inquire about fostering.  Here I am a year later, feeling like I’ve put my life on hold to do this, and at the same time feeling that DCF has no interest in me doing this.  I have to wonder why they haven’t placed a kid with me in the eight months since I’ve been licensed – and to be honest it really is starting to bother me and make me a little angry.  I know I’m being whiny, but I’m starting to make the transition in my head to the fact that I no longer want to do this.  I want to move on with my life and leave DCF far behind.  Ugh.  I never even got a foster kid and I can’t deal with the system!

Hmmm…

 

So I posted briefly about my respite with D.  At the time I did there was a lot more going on, and I wasn’t sure where it was going, so I held off posting more.  Here’s the more.  And I’m still not sure where it’s going.

I got a call from my SW checking on how the weekend went, and reported that it was a great weekend all around.  Then she told me that D had an altercation with his foster parents (a solid couple that I know from MAPP class), and  was removed from their home and sent back to a group home.  And by group we’re talking 40 kids – not 4 kids.  She asked if I would be willing to take him full time, and said she’d have his SW call me the next day to talk about it in more detail.

I know D has behavior issues, but I know that any kid that had faced what he had by the age of 12 would have loads of issues, and I didn’t see any sign of them over the weekend.  I saw a kid who was nice, respectful, fun, engaged, exhausting…albeit in the artificial environment of our ‘vacation respite.’  But that’s a whole lot more than I’d know about any other kid that I’d be asked about, and they were all things that I could deal with.  And I know that when D was removed from his foster home he asked if he could come back here.

So I talked to his SW (two days later…they’re very busy) and got a lot more details on his background and situation.  It was a great call, and seemed like we were planning for D’s future.  Critical to the situation is that there’s no after school care in my town for kids D’s age, so to make this work he’d have to stay in his current school system 1/2 hour away, which meant they’d have to agree to bus him in the morning and I’d have to add an hour to my commute at night to pick him up.  I also agreed to cover transportation both ways to his day camp for the rest of the summer.  Not the ideal situation, but workable.

That was Friday, and I started planning for the next week.  Cut to Monday, when I called his SW at the end of the day and was told it was “on hold.”  OK – first – WTF. Thanks for letting me know.  Second – does it matter that this kid is living in an Oliver Twist group home while you have an option for placing him?

Anyway, I had my bi-monthly home visit from my SW who explained that 1) they lost D’s foster parents because of this and wouldn’t risk losing me as well if it turned out this wasn’t appropriate and 2) D ‘has a bed’ so there’s not an imperative to place him and 3) I should just sit around and wait to see what DCF decide to do.  Exactly what I’ve been told to expect, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.

 

A little respite…

I did respite care this past weekend for a 12 year old boy D.  He’s the foster child of a couple that were in my MAPP class, so I knew a little bit about his placement, but no real history or details.

When his foster dad T dropped him off late Friday night, the three of us sat around chatting.  D hadn’t said more than two words to that point, and T was doing most of the talking.  I kept catching D’s eye as he seemed to be trying to size me up.  All I could think was how strange it must have been for him, to be dropped off at this stranger’s house for a few days.

The weekend was like a mini vacation for us both – going to the movies, bowling, to the water park, playing football.  Granted it was a totally  artificial environment.  We didn’t deal with anything heavy or have any kind of conflict.  And the entire weekend he was nice, respectful, polite, funny – just a good kid to have around.

Yup – still waiting

Friday will be the six month anniversary of my licensing – seems like a long time to wait for a placement.  In the beginning I was pretty consumed by the whole thing.  Then I stopped thinking about it much at all.  Now I guess I’m back to thinking about it a lot.

There have been three calls.  The 12-year-old that I blogged about back in February.  Then twin four-year-olds in March who found a home with a relative. And over the summer I got a call about a two-year-old, but before we got too far with that conversation I told them I was licensed for 6 to 12, and was happy to go a little younger, but didn’t think I was capable of foster parenting a two-year- old…

My SW checks in regularly and tells me I’m going to have a placement soon.  She says there just haven’t been as many kids through their office lately who would be appropriate placements, but when one comes through I’ll get a call, and she thinks it will happen any day.  So I’m still waiting.

It’s a strange time

It’s been many weeks now, and still no word of a possible foster child.  It’s a strange time.  The excitement and energy around getting licensed, and being among a group of like-minded people going through the same thing, has definitely waned.  In the mean time, I continue to follow all of the fostering blogs that I now love, and while there are some uplifting moments, it’s mostly about the difficulties of fostering.  So now I’m busy second guessing the whole thing, wondering if I’m crazy to be doing this – especially as a single guy.

At the same time, I can’t help but focus on what won’t be possible when I have a foster child.  I was in New Jersey last weekend with my two sisters and my brother for our aunt’s funeral.  Although we loved her a lot, and it was very sad to see her go, truth be told it was also a great weekend.  My sibs and I had fun traveling down and hanging out in a cheezy hotel together, and we really enjoyed hanging out with all of our cousins, even under less-than-ideal circumstances.  But I couldn’t help wondering how I would have pulled that off if I had been responsible for a foster child.  Don’t think it would have happened.

Plus work continues to get even crazier, so my job security isn’t the best.  And even though I think I’d probably come through things ok, it’s still a bit stressful.  To have responsibility for a foster child through this may not be a good thing.  But…as my friend pointed out over dinner tonight, if I lose my job now with some good severance, I’d have the summer off with the foster child, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  And since he’s a teacher and will be off himself, he had it all planned out for us.

So what I need to do now is 1. talk to my social worker, who’s scheduled out here in a week, to understand what’s going on behind the scenes 2. think about all of the reasons that I want to do this, instead of why I don’t 3. keep in touch with my MAPP class, none of whom (as far as we know) has yet been placed 4. read fewer blogs.

Maybe not

No kid today.  Turns out they decided foster care wasn’t appropriate for him.  I learned this from my social worker, when I called her to check in on what was going on.

Lesson learned (and one that I already knew, so I guess it was re-learned).  What was going to be a pretty dramatic event in my world is just another case in the world of the social worker trying to place this kid.  I shouldn’t count on them to call me back – next time I’ll call them!

Maybe tomorrow?

Got a call last Wednesday from a social worker about a possible placement.  We spoke for just a bit, and just as we’re told in MAPP they would be, details were few.  A 12-year-old boy from a neighboring town whose mom may lose custody at a hearing on Monday.  School is an important issue so they want to do everything they can to keep him in his current school, but since it was school vacation week they couldn’t get any details on transportation or after school programs…things that are really important for me to do this.

I told her that I could certainly do this in the short-term, but some pieces would have to fall into place in order to make it possible on a longer term – most specifically the availability of an after school program in his town (and ideally busing, but that could be figured out).  She said that’s great and that she would call me if she learned anything more.

I’ve heard nothing since, so am now wondering what tomorrow will bring.