Monday, July 22, 2013

CW visit

Today was the monthly CW visit. He's a nice man, who really seems to have good intentions. However, he just doesn't seem to keep up with what's going on.

Since our visit last month, he hasn't even downloaded the application for her tribal membership, much less actually taken steps to complete it.

We discussed the proposed visitation with Gma. He says he's going to go along with the therapist (& my) recommendation (unofficial recommendation) that there be no visits. Gma does not have any legal standing & has not been given an ISP, so she has no rights to ask for visitation in the first place. Since there is no chance of Lil Sis being put back in her home, there is no purpose for the visitation. It will simply make Gma feels better, at the expense of further traumatizing the child.

I did find out that Lil Sis does have an attorney. In fact, she was in court during the last hearing. I, apparently, missed that fact because she stood there & never said a word. Ummm...wth wasn't she objecting to the presence of Gma & her therapist, neither of which had the legal right to be there, much less to monopolize the court's time as they did?!? I must make a point to meet this attorney, if possible, to see if this can be prevented in the future.

He asked about a clothing voucher for Lil Sis...again. We had this conversation last month. "I've never gotten anything from you guys to help take care of her," I told him, once again. Once again, he made a note to check. We shall see what happens...

Rambling...

The last several weeks have been a comedy of errors, full of the kind of new developments that make you rethink your perspectives on life.

I've had the foster care drama & my family's unwelcome opinions about it, which I've written about. But, there has been other stuff. Most of it wouldn't be so overwhelming, if it weren't for the impending Bar Exam, but the combination of everything is making me want to scream.

I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago for the annual torture that I get to endure for being born with the privilege of being a woman. All the tests came back clean, as expected, with the exception of abnormal cells on the pap smear. There were lots of notes on the lab report but it all seemed to boil down to the fact that they ruled out HPV & the cause for the abnormality was unknown. So, basically, it can't affect anyone else...but they don't know if there will be any problems for me in the future.

Now, I realize that this could be nothing. At the same time, in the back of my mind, I keep thinking about two women that I really care about & all the painful procedures that I've helped them through...all of which started with these same test results. This, of course, leads to thoughts of the two women that I've watched die slow, painful deaths from cancer that could have been caught had they been vigilant about keeping up with their exams. So, I am not panicking, but I will be certain to follow up on this.

Getting the results, though, made me feel very, very alone. I texted my best friend about it, sure...but I felt the loneliness of not having someone to share life's burdens with in a way that I haven't felt it in a very long time.

It's not that I'm unhappy with my life. I have meaningful relationships. In fact, several months ago, I let go of all the ones that weren't. I took a friend's advice & just stopped talking to those that only want me there when they need something, or only want to keep me around for a back-up until something more convenient comes along. Interestingly, though, most of those people have showed up & tried to contact me in the last few weeks. I was concerned that I might get sucked back in, emotionally, but I've found that their attempts at contact have actually just made me more certain of my decision.

Also, a friend of mine was in a serious motorcycle accident a couple days ago. He was airlifted for surgery to relieve swelling on his brain. I don't have many updates but, please send him & his two kids your thoughts & prayers. The last time we spoke, we actually talked about how I thought he needed to be more careful because he had just taken a spill on his bike. He laughed at me when I told him that he wasn't invincible & said "not invincible just tough as hell and was assigned a damn good guardian angel..." I sincerely hope he was right.

If you're expecting some conclusion to all this rambling, you won't find it. I don't really know what to make out of any of it. I'm sleep deprived, thanks to my usual sleep issues & I'm in survival mode until I take this damn test. After that, I can try to make sense of it all & see where I end up.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wow...just, wow...

Over the weekend, my father tell me that, by allowing Lil Sis to live with us, I am risking my other children & that I "should send her back to the state, where she belongs..." "She has issues" & "a bad spirit that bothers her" (I'm a P.K., remember? So this makes sense to him.) and that, if she grows up to have mental problems, it could affect the other children. There were more specifics, but you get the general idea.

Wow...just, wow...

I've had a couple people ask how I was able to keep my composure. The answer is simple: dissociation.

In that moment, I was outraged by what was being said about this child, whom I love & am very protective of. However, at the same time, I also flashed back to being 15 & sitting in that same room, asking my parents for help in dealing with the issues that I was dealing with. I was told that asking for help was a weakness & not being able to just get over it (though we never actually had a real conversation about what had actually happened, either before or since) was the sign of a weak mind. I had been raised better than that, I was told. And, here I was hearing similar things being said about this innocent child.

My parents have come so far from being the people they were when I was growing up. However, apparently not as far as I thought, at least in some ways. Quite honestly, I don't know how to deal with this. I can't expose Lil Sis to this attitude & it won't be tolerated. Yet, navigating this will be complicated since I'm not in a place in my life to cut them out, completely, nor do I think that would be beneficial for The Bigs, who are very close to them.

So, what did I do, at the time? Emotionally, I was numb, at that moment. In fact, it took quite some time after the discussion ended in order to feel the resulting emotions. So, I handled it as I always do when I'm in that frame of mind--I became hyper-rational. I told him , matter-of-factly, that I understood he had concerns, but she is a person, not a used toy, so I wouldn't be casting her off because of "her issues" (which are very mild, btw). I don't know where this placement will end up, because foster care is unpredictable, but I will make the decisions that I feel are right for me & my children.

Then, I went on FB & cussed about it a little bit...and even more via text message, to my best friend.

THIS is why I attend court...

Lil Sis's case review was a few days ago &, let's just say I wasn't fully prepared mentally or emotionally for what I was walking into.

First of all, I was told her Grandma wasn't going to be notified about this hearing, as she was denied visits & told, by the court, that regaining custody was not an option. Also, I had been led to believe that the family was not aware that the girls were living together--this was somewhat of a relief because of past security concerns. Additionally, I had been told that there was never indication of sexual abuse against Lis Sis, therefore there was no reason to actively pursue services to help her address this. Turns out it was all completely & utter bullshit.

Gma showed up to the hearing. In fact, I had quite a long talk with her, both before & after appearing before the judge. Naturally, she had to tell me how none of this is her fault. Interestingly, her therapist was with her & seems to believe everything she says. I got the distinct impression that she believes that the domestic violence situation that Gma was living in is the only problem & that Lil Sis should be returned to her (either she hasn't been informed about the pattern, going back decades, showing that she is not able to properly care for children or keep them safe OR she's far more optimistic about people's ability to change than I). In fact, she blindsided me with a request for visits. The CW, naturally, threw me under the bus, saying "it's alright with me if it's alright with her..."

I told all of them that would need to be discussed with her therapist. If her therapist has any reservations, whatsoever, my answer would be "no" but, I would speak with her about it & ask her to include her decision in the court recommendations at the next review. All agreed.

However, when we went before the judge, Gma's therapist (not sure why she was even allowed to attend the hearing, since it's closed court & Gma is no longer a party to the case, but that's a separate matter) asks the judge for an immediate ruling allowing visitation. When asked, I told the judge that I was not will to make that decision, nor was a I qualified to do so, but that I was willing to speak to her therapist about it. Thankfully, he agreed with me, and ordered that the decision be deferred to therapist's recommendations.

This does bring up the question as to whether Gma's visits were ever actually discontinued or not. The former CW told me they were. Gma says they were not. I have no idea. I do know that I am not willing to have visits in my home, which was the original requests. There is a reason that the original security measures were put in place, way back when Beautiful was placed with us. This is a family with a long history of violence. Granted, the uncle that the state was most concerned about at that time is no longer a threat, as he was paralyzed in a police shootout several months back. However, I still think that it would be foolish to bring them into my home.

Gma's therapist is actively advocating for visits or, at least, phone contact. While I understand that this is what Gma wants...&, it may even be beneficial for her therapy...however, that does not, necessarily, make it in the best interest of the child. Lil Sis's therapist & I have spoken on many occasions about how damaging visits could be for her, at this point in time. She has no desire to see Gma. She doesn't want to talk to her. She barely wants to speak about her. Presently, there is no way that visits will be anything but negative & traumatic for her. However, Gma's therapist wants contact reestablished to help keep the relationship ties so that Gma can work toward getting her back (I thought that ship had sailed...???).

Also, it turns out that the family has known that the girls have been together since right after the move. Apparently, it seems that their mother asked that they be placed together, upon being informed of Lil Sis being taken into care. Interesting, since the state never contacted me, as they are required to by law. In any event, Gma says that the girls' mother is glad that they are together now.

Perhaps the part that bothers me the most about this whole thing is the way the SA has been handled. The former CW told me that, even though she had been living with a registered sex offender, there was never indication about SA against Lil Sis. However, I start reading the court report to find an entire section of the parenting plan surrounds the classes & training that her mother will need to take in order to understand how the SA Lil Sis has suffered will effect her, how to help her deal with it, etc.

Now, the fact that she was abused doesn't surprise me. I had already seen the red flags, so I already knew that much. However, this means that they knew what she had been through yet hadn't even gotten her basic therapy in the 6 months that she was in care, prior to moving in here. Also, this is something that her therapist should have been informed of. It just makes me feel like the state doesn't care an ounce about the kids that are in the system.

See, foster parents, THIS is why I attend the court hearings. Had I not been there, I wouldn't know what actually happened...& I suspect there would have been an ordered entered requiring me to allow visitation.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

PTSD

I was speaking with someone today about how PTSD effects relationships & how, no matter how much explanation you give to others, most people cannot understand it. This was the incredible response that I got:

No matter what the cause, PTSD is PTSD. We battle with a ghost that only a few unlucky, get to meet. We deal with normal situations in our own manner. We face adversity with a smile because we've been through unexplainable shit. We will always have that bear spirit hibernating with in, anxiously waiting for that moment of unexpected thaw, to rear its ugly head in a menaceful manner, ruining the day.

 Wow. I never could have crafted such an amazing explanation. So true.