Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This F-ing Broken System (and world at large)

So her dad had his first long (6 hour) visit with her today, unsupervised.
He was super proud of himself when fostermommy went to pick her up, because "she ate well and she slept well." Well, when pressed for details, fostermommy learned that she had slept for one hour in the middle of the day (she usually takes 2 hour-long naps during this time period). And when looking through the remaining food, she discovered that she'd been fed one jar of carrots and a small amount of green beans, and nothing else. None of her formula.

She just made a very hard small poop, indicating possibly being dehydrated. How could she not be? It was in the mid-high 80s today. He mentioned that she liked the a/c wherever it was that he took her, but a/c is drying, too. And we specifically mentioned in our note to him that she needed to drink the bottle, how much she should drink, how often. And that she needed water offered every half hour or so if it was hot. He was so pleased that she'd drunk some juice (that he brought).


Unfortunately, that's not what I'm most upset about right now.

I think I've figured out why he's doing this.
For a while when he first started fighting to get her back, it seemed to me like he was an old man trying to win one fight against the system after a long life of losing them.
Then I became convinced that he was doing it out of love for her, because he said something about "more time with my daughter" at the last meeting and on "my daughter" he got a bit choked up.

Today I came up with a new theory I feel is stronger than the other two: He's doing it for the approval of his ex-girlfriend. She's the mother of at least two of his adult children, and I believe he was somewhat estranged from her before this, but one of her daughters got involved in helping him, and she has now inserted herself forcefully into the middle of it. We know from comments by his counselor at the last meeting that he has issues that indicate that this is a likely motivation for him.

He seems so totally uninterested in learning anything about her daily life or her care from us. He seems annoyed when I try to tell him when she will need her next nap, or give him fostermommy's work phone number to call if he had any trouble during the day today. I feel like he has *no* respect for the role we have played and continue to play in "his" daughter's life.

I suspect he's going to ditch everything he's heard from us, from the case-workers, from the occupational therapist, and everyone else involved, so that he can follow to the letter whatever she tells him to do. And she is so not a good influence.


It hurts.

And there's nothing we can do about it.

And it's just one more piece of a really broken system, a piece of a really broken world. :P


Tamara said...

Oh please tell me that there is someone, anyone in this system that you can tell about how he sis not give her any formula??? Ugh. It would tear anyone up - anyone. I am so sorry. YOu know, they never think about what they are going to do when they don't have you all to give this child back to after their "play time" with them is over. AS IF that is what being a parent is about. I so wish he would go away. He obviously couldn't care for the other kids he so willingly proceated - why now??

FosterMommy said...

why now? because he's an old man who wants his shot to beat the system before he dies. that's one reason.
also, all his other kids were probably raised by their mothers. this isn't possible this time.

we found out that he fed her food we didn't send during the visit. Nothing actually nutritious, though. This somehow makes up for the fact that she didn't have any formula??

It's upsetting because we are very careful to test her on each and every food for 4 days before we consider it safe to introduce the next food. If she so much as increases in sniffliness, we take that food out of rotation to try again later.
The food he gave her was not on the list of safe foods we gave him.
And we have no idea if it was mixed with anything else, either, like butter or whatever.

She spit up 2-3 times yesterday, and we thought it was because we gave her blueberries for the first time. More likely it was what he gave her - and the dehydration. He doesn't want to take any advice from us, we get it, but does he have to put his daughter's health on the line?

We're just going to have to deal with the fact that he's not going to work with us to keep her healthy. We'll test the Big Allergens at home, so we can run to the ER if she has a bad reaction, and otherwise we're just going to have to forget about testing foods.
This sucks.
For a baby with a medical history like her's, it would be very helpful to find out if she's minorly allergic or sensitive to any foods. Because exposure to them will cause her problems down the road.

But, not my baby, not my problem, apparently.

Julie said...

My heart goes out to you- I totally understand. It sucks! The system is broke- the children are in our care for a reason and the system wants to give them back for the sake of blood. IT MAKES NO SENSE but we have to accept that??? I get soooo crazy when I think about it.

Michelle said...

HOw horrible! What is the overall status of your case?? I cant believe they let him have unsupervised visits when he doesnt even have ANY experience with babies~~!!

My Chosen Child

FosterMommy said...

I don't know what you mean about the overall status, but the biodad is getting Niblet back. Unless he shows up to a visit drunk or kills someone, he's getting her in mid-September.
Experience with babies is not a requirement for having them. Especially not where the county is concerned. And I'm sure he's had experience playing with babies - his own and his grandchildren - over the years. That's pretty much all he's had to do so far.

We'll see what happens when he starts overnights. But, really, the standards are pretty low. As long as he has a safe apartment, and a crib for her, he can have her back.

There are a lot of things in this process that I can't believe.
The only saving grace is that her occupational therapist is going ot continue seeing her after she moves. She'll make sure the dad is taking relatively good care of her. We trust her.

HerMajesty00 said...

It can be very hard to read your blog as the honesty is so painful at times, and very familiar to me.
We stopped fostering after 43 kids and some wonderful memories. But we lost two young ones we hoped to adopt. Both times the pain of their return home inspired us to become very political and help to pass laws more loving for foster and aoptive kids.
Nevertheless, reading your struggles brings back some of the more heartbraking moments. Please know you are all in our prayers.
The law cannot dictate the heart, our Baby Shaun and Baby Jazzy are members of our familiy even if they no longer sit at our supper table. But Jamie, Niiki, and Joe who were were blessed to keep are living proof that ofstering and adopting were the right thing to do. Bless you and your family.

HerMajesty00 said...

Fostermommy please excuse my atrocious spelling and keystroke errors in the previous post. In my defence I have chronic sleep deprivation. I work nights in a Detox! :>)

michelle said...

This is harder than I can imagine dealing with. I'm so sorry but do know that you started this child out in such a good way that it has to effect the rest of her life.

Can you ask them to only place children on a foster-adoption track with you? Or only children with a TPR?

Or do you think this is an issue in your county that just won't go away?