Saturday, November 16, 2013

I am really struggling today.

I can't go into details because of foster care confidentiality. However, the longer Lil Sis is here, the more it becomes evident that all the things I feared over the years are reality.

I had been reluctant to accept placement, initially, because I was concerned that placing her in a crowded home (therapist often call kids in large families "crowded children" because exclusive attention & personal space is at a premium), as well as the fact that it would be an out-of-birth-order placement. For those who aren't accustomed to the lingo, that means accepting a placement of a child that is older than the youngest child in the home.

This sort of arrangement places the smaller child at risk if there is aggressive behavior. Likewise, having so many kids so close in age, can increase issues if the placement acts out sexually, as that can be directed at any child, not just the younger. I could go on about the risks, but I think I've made my point.

However, when it became clear that she was going to have to move from her old placement, I was happy to make room for her here because it was the best that could be made out of the situation as it existed.

The longer she is here, and the more therapy she undergoes, the more issues that are coming to the surface. Don't get me wrong, none of my kids are in any immediate danger. She as line of site supervision at all times. However, it is now at a point where her therapist & I have to decide whether or it is best for her to stay here or move to another home, where she can be an only child.

We've know that her issues were deep, because she spent almost 5 years in that environment. It took that long to get her to where she is mentally & emotionally, and it will take at least that long to make significant progress with helping to repair the damage. But, with therapy, the long term looks positive & she is on target developmentally. So, now that it appears that her case may be moving towards permanency, it is time to decide what is ultimately the best permanent living situation for her.

Ideally, the absolute best arrangement, given the facts as they are currently, is for her to be in an ICWA compliant home that would keep her involved with us but where she could be an only child. That way, she wouldn't lose us, and especially not her sister. It would also give her a safe place where she can have individual attention and there would be no other young children around that she can act out on. So, it could be a way to ensure that everyone is safe while she can get the help she needs to address all that she's been through.

However, that is a best case scenario. ICWA compliant homes can be hard to come by. There are quite a few open for adoption, but not as many that are willing to take a legal risk placement. Add to that the factors or being willing to keep the sibling contact & keeping her an only child, and preferably a home that is therapeutic home & the odds of finding the ideal placement seem long. I will be having a meeting with the therapist, which will be followed up by a conversation with the ICW CW, to see what the possibilities are because, while I am technically the 2nd best of all possible options...I may be the best of all available options.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to her being placed in a non-Native home, so long as they are willing to keep her connected to the tribe. However, our tribe has made it clear that they have plenty of adoptive homes, so she will be placed in one of them...the real question is whether it's possible to find an appropriate placement, timing, etc. We want to make sure there aren't multiple moves and that, if she does ultimately move from my home, that there is a healthy transition and ongoing involvement. Honestly, the thought of having her leave my home breaks my heart. However, if we find a placement that is better suited for her individual needs, I will definitely allow it for her sake.

What I'm really struggling with, today, is the emotions of it all. I am broken hearted, knowing what Lil Sis has been through. I am also very angry because, had DHS removed her at birth, as originally planned, none of this would have ever happened. All of this was predictable. I talk, I screamed, I told them that this is what would happened. I was brushed aside. I was accused of trying to take her child because I just wanted to steal her baby. In reality, the entire family had proven on multiple occasions that they were not fit to care for children. My God, that's why I was already parenting her older sister. That's why she wasn't in a family placement. But they sent the new baby home anyway.  And, now, here we are...

Truth is, I blame DHS (the system & the individuals who made the decisions) for the things that Lil Sis has gone through as much as I blame her actual abusers. Actually, her abusers probably have no real concept of what they were doing to her because they were wrapped up in themselves. The people responsible for the welfare of children don't have ANY excuse. They knew the damage that could result by subjecting a child to the unchecked pattern of behavior that occurs in this family, yet they chose to NOT protect this child. It makes me sad. It makes me angry.

I have to fight hard not to hate all the people that contributed to putting Lil Sis in harms way...not because they aren't deserving of such animosity, but because it takes too much energy & would poison my life with negativity. Today, I'm losing this fight more than I am winning.


  1. I cannot imagine how frustrating this situation must be. Especially knowing in the beginning what the possible outcome could be and DHS not being proactive on this. Here (TX) If the state terminates your rights they immediately remove any child born to you after that. Period. Of course they also have a 1 year rule as well. They either have to return or terminate at that time. The system is a wreck...there are many issues here as well. I know you have her best interest always in mind and you might be the first person ever to think of Lil Sis in that light. *hug*

    1. When Lil Sis was born, their mother had not lost her rights to Beautiful yet. To me, that's an even bigger issue than if there was a previous TPR. She had one child in care, that they were AT THAT MOMENT saying she was a danger to & could not care for...but let's send a newborn home with her & hope for the best?!? It's absolutely absurd! They tried giving her services but she simply could not comprehend how to properly care for the baby. At that point, you'd think they would have removed...instead they gave baby to her grandmother--who had been found unfit but 3 different counties (!) to care for the older sister. Gma had kept moving around until she found a county that would let her take her under a "safety plan", which is supposed to mean they supervise her care of the child. Naturally, as soon as she got the baby, she moved to the other side of the state &, since they hadn't fully opened the case & taken custody of the child, DHS had no authority to track her down or remove the child. So, baby ends up stuck in that environment for 4 years, until Gma finally gets arrested again. Everything that happened to her in that time is as much the fault of the people in child welfare that failed her, as it is the people who actually committed the horrors.

  2. Re moving county to avoid supervision. There's your advocacy point right there. Get the law that allows that changed. May I suggest asking for more than you want, so you can back off to something good and decent. As, ask for, "immediste removal of child by DHS if caregiver moves county/state while under supervision. Be willing to settle for "supervision of family must continue if caregiver moves while under supervision."