Tuesday, October 27, 2009

i'm alive and well

oh yes, i am alive! sorry for the major lack of updates but as i am learning, personal computer time is not really a high priority when trying to juggle 2 kids, a husband and a full time job! anyways, we still have r & p in our care and are starting to establish our new normal. we had a facilitated staffing meeting with CPS last wednesday, and that was truly a learning experience. as newby foster parents, i can honestly say that our state/county training program DOES NOT do a good job preparing foster parents, particularly for meetings like last wednesday. so for those of you who do not foster but are interested in knowing more about it, or those of you who are like me and are just nosy, here's a little about our meeting last week:

wednesday morning, we took r to the meeting at the request of the supervisor on his case. he was super nervous and so were we! on our way upstairs for the meeting, we ran into his mom while waiting for the elevators and i was surprised by how emotional it made me to see them greet each other. bio mom cried, seeming sad to be there because of the circumstances but also really happy to see r. she was cordial with us and actually thanked us for taking care of her boys, which was a major surprise! i expected her to be more angry or rude towards us than she was, but i'm still not sure how to interpret her reaction to us. i'm not sure if it's a good thing because it shows that she has clarity of mind over the situation and knows that this is the best opportunity for her to get her life and family back together, or if she just doesn't really care about her boys, so them living with strangers is fine. not sure how to process that one?!?

anyways, as we waited upstairs for the meeting to begin, baby p's dad arrived and we were pretty surprised about that too. it never even crossed my mind that he would be there or be in the running for getting baby p back, but i guess at least now we know. he was much younger than i was expecting, and appears to be much younger than the boys' mom. he never spoke to us but did speak to r briefly. i still don't really know what to make of him either but he definitely is the more vocal of the 2 parents and did not mind trying to throw bio mom under the bus at every chance he could get. he also got caught in a few bold face lies during the meeting, but yet still tried to lie his way out of those too. that really irritated me!!

just to give you a brief rundown of the scene in the meeting, here's all the players who were in attendance: the boys' bio mom, baby p's bio dad, bio dad's mom, grandma and cousin, bio mom's sister and brother-in-law, a rep from the drug treatment center, 2 mentors within the CPS program, a student social worker, ryan and i, our social worker, the supervisor on the case, r, and a meeting facilitator. so, it was a full room to say the least!! since i cannot give much in the way of details about the boys' case, i will just say that there are definitely some ongoing concerns in regards to the family. the bio mom currently has a protective order against baby p's bio dad, so they couldn't even be in the room at the same time. we basically had to sit through the meeting 2 times in a row so that they could disburse and gather information from all parties involved without having the parents in the room together. it was a long morning overall, and most of the details we learned, i wish we could forget. poor r has not had an easy life, while baby p really knows no different. all things considered though, both boys are a joy to have in our home so far and we hope to hang onto for as long as we can!

the purpose of the meeting though was to determine what the state was going to recommend for the boys' case later that day in court. CPS wanted to lay all their facts on the table and see if all parties involved could come to a consensus on what the next plan of action. as i mentioned before, baby p's dad's cousin (*are you tracking with me??) and the bio mom's sister and brother-in-law were at the meeting. baby p's dad's cousin wanted to petition to get a relative placement of just baby p, while the boys' aunt and uncle (from mom's side) wanted to petition to get a relative placement of both boys. the aunt and uncle actually already have custody of r & p's biological middle brother too and have had him from infancy and he's now 11. *confused yet?* however, through the meeting, thankfully the supervisor determined that it was not a good idea to split the boys up so she basically told bio dad's cousin to take a hike. then, because the boys' aunt and uncle live over an hour from here, and because there are a few concerns with preliminary background check stuff, the supervisor also decided that the aunt and uncle would not be a good placement for the boys either. so, all that to say...after everything was out on the table, everyone (except p's bio dad and the aunt) agreed that it was best for the boys to stay in foster care and in our home for the time being. PTL! some recommendations and requirements were made regarding the case plan for bio mom and dad, and those include a range of things like anger management classes and in-patient drug treatment. we still really have no clue what type of time frame we're looking at but if i had to guess off the top of my head, it would be months, not weeks. both parents have a long road ahead of them and i really hope they do what they need to do to get their kids back. (*at least bio mom...baby p's dad is pretty much a whole 'nother story!!)

the most surprising thing though about this whole situation is really seeing God change both mine and ryan's hearts in regards to fostering. one of our biggest concerns going into foster-to-adopt was just that we would accept a child or children into our home and not be able to keep them. after everything my family went through with baby sam, we just did not think we could take another lose of a child to this screwed up system, but at the same time, we both still felt compelled to pursue this. however, i'm not sure if it's just the reality of having a teenager in our home or just way too much optimism, but at this point, ryan and i both feel like we really just want to love these guys while we can and then turn them back to their family once they are rehabilitated. *now i will say though, the thought of the boys going back to their families before they are completely rehabilitated, does still freak us out but we're just trying to leave that in the Lord's hands!* SO, we are just taking things one day at a time now. we are just praying for God's mercies to be new every morning and for us to know how to best love these boys as Christ loves us.

hopefully, now that i am beginning to catch my breath again, i will update more often again and can share some of the fun stuff we are getting to do with the boys and not just all the mundane/yucky/legal stuff. thanks for all your prayers and love during this transition!!!! i know many of you have probably thought we flew the coo coos nest, but i assure you that we're doing alright and we're getting through each day with strength and guidance from above!

much love!


Julie said...

I'm super excited about the kiddos! I will certainly be praying for the whole situation, especially about caring for a teenager. I know that is probably a lot more difficult than it seems, but that is a big undertaking. I hope that you and Ryan will be able to love them so much and show that how much the Lord loves them as well. SO EXCITING!!!