Friday, May 09, 2008

"How long? How long must we sing this song?"

I can't imagine why I have this U2 song stuck in my head...

Niblet's birthday is coming up. She is going to be 3 years old and she still doesn't have a permanent home. Never has. It makes me so angry and so very sad. The county had a choice. They could have kept her where she was, with us, where she had been for as long as she could remember and where she was safe and loved. Instead, chose limbo. To send her to her very old father who maybe-kinda-sorta-might be able to handle an energetic 18 month old and, ya know, see how that goes. Well, it didn't go very well. And now she's with a family who loves her and cares for her and keeps her safe...and they're still allowing the father to "work his plan" and try and get her back. As far as we know.

I thought I might run into Niblet's father today, because I do occasionally. fostermama and Squeak and I went to the store this morning and got her a birthday card, slipped our phone number in it, and a picture for her family from her 1st birthday. I was hoping to give it to him and ask him to pass it along to her. No guarantee that he'd do it, but if he did, then at least they'd have our phone number. Not that I really think they'd use it, but whatever. I want them to know how much we miss her, but it's impossible to convey. Why should they care, even if they did understand? As far as I know, they could be in the process of losing her back to her father. We're not their family or their friends. All we are is a reminder that the system sucks and that they could lose her. Would I want to be in contact with us if I were them? I don't know. I'd do it for Niblet's sake, but as far as we know, the caseworkers have actively told them not to talk to us.

As I read Baggage's description of the Federal laws and how her county follows them pretty well, I became overwhelmed with sadness for the thousands of kids who live in counties, like ours, that don't give a crap. If Niblet had simply been born in a different county, she would very likely have a permanent family and not be in need of multiple therapies each week. It makes me afraid to continue living in this city that, otherwise, I love. It boggles my mind.

I hope we can find a way to keep up on Niblet's case. We made a promise to do something if her father manages to get her back, and I need to be able to make good on that promise.

This Mother's Day, send a little mothering energy Niblet's way. She needs a permanent, safe, loving mother to raise her into the wonderful, vivacious woman I know she will be. In exchange, I'll send you a little bit of that Niblet Hug I'm keeping in my heart.

The Last Time

A few weeks ago, I ran into them. I haven't posted about it because I'm having a hard time processing it. Squeak and I were headed to the local playground and when we got there, I saw Niblet's aunt and uncle at a picnic table. I almost fainted, the physical impact of seeing them was that strong. I immediately scanned for Niblet and there she was. Her cousin was blowing bubbles for her and she was watching them and batting at them. The aunt and uncle saw me and I said hi. Her aunt said "Niblet, look who's here. Go say hi."

And Niblet turned around and saw me and ran over. She said "hi!" and I scooped her up and she gave me a big hug. The Certified Niblet Hug. With her legs wrapped around my waist and her head resting on my head. She's still so light, she barely felt heavier than Squeak. I didn't want to put her down. She didn't want to get down. But I could feel her aunt watching us and I felt it was better to put her down. I whispered in her ear that I love her and was so very glad to see her.

I put her down and asked her if she was having fun at the playground. Then I asked her aunt how they were doing, how the move went, etc. She gave friendly, but short, answers. I said that we'd tried to call them, but their phone wasn't working. She said it still hasn't been turned on and it's been a while. I asked if they had our number, she said they'd lost it, but I didn't have any paper (I actually did, but I forgot!) and they didn't make any move to put it in their cell (which was sitting on the table) or otherwise seem to care about it. It was possibly the most uncomfortable conversation I've ever had. I didn't even ask how Niblet's therapies were going or how the case was going or anything. I did compliment Niblet on her hair, and asked her aunt if she'd done it, which she had. I asked Niblet if she sat still while she got her hair done and her aunt said "say 'yes', Niblet." and Niblet said yes.

Oh, and Squeak was there, too. Niblet was very happy to see him and patted him on the head, just like she's done every time since she first met him. Her aunt was happy to see him and how big he's gotten.

I called fostermama to see if she could make it to the playground to see Niblet, but she was stuck at work. I took Squeak on the jungle gym and played around, but all the while my stomach was in my throat and I was jittery.

They started packing up to leave, so I went over to say goodbye. As they walked to their car, Niblet kept looking back. I waved each time she did, and she liked that, so she kept doing it. It felt so surreal, like a movie scene. I felt, in my heart, that it was the last time I was ever going to see her.