Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"When I hit a rut, she says to try the other parent."

Ok, so that's a Dar Williams quote that doesn't particularly apply, but it popped into my head while I was thinking about writing this post.

There's a permanency hearing next week. It will, most likely, be rote and the judge will just continue Cuteness in care for 6 more months. The mom is MIA and doesn't currently have visits and the dad *just* started getting his act together.

He's become a kind of dark horse. He's not currently living with the mom, because of circumstances beyond both their control, but he's taking this advantage to decide that maybe he wants to try and get the baby back himself. This might just be a big push before court and it may peter out afterwards, but we just have no idea what he's likely to do. Nobody ever thought he'd leave the mom or try to get the baby himself. He's quite old and likely wouldn't live to see her graduate high school. He probably has grandchildren older than this baby. He doesn't have a place to live. There are plenty of reasons why it's kinda crazy for him to try and parent her himself, not the least of which is that neither of us can imagine parenting her alone! It's not a one-person job - she's TOUGH.

From stuff the caseworkers have said, it's very likely that he just doesn't want to "lose" to The System. He doesn't want to "lose" the baby.

There are a million steps he'd have to go through before he'd be able to get her back, and all he's gotten so far is that he's starting 2-hour visits this week. This is good, in a way, because it's important that she naps during the visit, so he's going to have to try to put her for a nap. Good luck, buddy.
It's totally possible that she'll be so exhausted (the visit *starts* when she should be going down for a nap) that she'll pass out once he gives it a shot, but that won't happen every week.
Likely, she'll come home at 12pm not having slept and she'll be screwy for the rest of the day, as she usually doesn't take a very long nap right after her visit.

It's never been 100% that we were going to be able to keep her. Not even 50/50, if I'm honest. But mostly I've been blaming that on the fact that the judges tend not to really look at the case well and just do what they feel like doing. And we have the "worst" judge of the 3.

Somehow, having the dad say he wants to get her back and making some steps toward that...it makes it worse.
I don't know what his drug history is like, but he's the one who was with the mom during her whole pregnancy and knew she was harming the fetus and just let it happen. If he was sober during all that, then all the more blame falls on him. If he can't stick up for his baby before she's even born, how is he going to stick up for her now? And she'll need it to get all the services and respect she deserves.

They visited her in the NICU a handful of times in the 2 months she was there. They went to a couple of visits after she was released and then skipped the visits for over 2 months, which is why she was transferred to us from the temporary foster home.

I'm really glad that she has a good case worker and that there's a long process of transition that has to happen before he'd be given her back. If he really wants to parent her, he needs to learn what that means. I'm not letting her go until I'm sure she's safe with him. And, of course, I'll never know that for sure, but I can hope.

Of course, mostly I'm hoping that he'll realize that he doesn't want to parent her. We're going to do our best to let him know that we want him in her life and that, if he surrenders, we'll work with him on what that means. Pictures, visits, meeting her siblings and other family - that's what we WANT for her.

So this is where my brain is today. Fragmented, as that's about all I can muster with the kind of sleep I've been getting for the past 6 months. How is it coming across to my 1.2 readers, I wonder? I'd love to answer questions or hear your experiences.


R said...

Im here! Im reading! I totally appreciate this space, its nice to gain the experience of those who *are there and doing that*
Keep up the good work and keep all 1.2 of us reader's posted on how its going......

FosterMommy said...

Thanks for the comment.
It's a tumultuous time for FosterMoms. There is just no way to protect yourself emotionally during this process.

We *knew* all along that things could turn on a dime, and that the case workers were being mean making the assumption that we'd be able to keep her. We basically laughed them off.

But we believed it, as well. We had to. There is no way I can properly parent this little critter as a glorified "babysitter". I'm her Mommy. This is what keeps me sane when she's driving me crazy.

Lisa said...

As a former foster child and current child advocate...

I really appreciate everything that you are doing!!

I've just posted something recently on my blog about the risks of reunification: http://sunshinegirlonarainyday.blogspot.com/

Frankly, biology alone does not make a parent. In many cases, custody should be severed, and the child should be adopted by someone who will love and care for him or her.

FosterMommy said...

thanks for the comment. yes, our goal is for our FD to grow up in a family that love and cares for her. We know that we could be that family. If her bio-dad can be that, as well, then that's his right. Our county is in a phase where judges are sending kids back more often than they should. A few years ago, the pendulum was swinging the other way - judges cutting family ties left and right.

I wish there was the time and the resources for each judge to TRULY learn about each case. Then a good outcome would happen waaay more often for each child.

Julie said...

So sad that these kids have to have such messed up bios!!! makes me sad! they ought to just let them go- I hope the dad figures out soon how hard it is if he is going to- and not drag this out for the sake of not losing to the state- i have a permanency "conference" next week- I have never been to one- have you? what is it like?

Dream Mommy said...

2.2 readers now that I found your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine.

I hope biodad will do what's best for his little girl.