Monday, September 16, 2013

Case worker visit

Today was the monthly CW visit.

I was explaining the behavior issues that have been going on and the underlying cause. He was stunned. He said he never realized that moving placements could cause this type of problems in kids.

Say what...?!?!

I stared at him blankly for a moment. Ummm...yeah...I still don't know how to respond to that, except to say that this is part of the problem with requiring CWs to have a Bachelor's degree in ANYTHING (as opposed to being something related to social work or child development).

Of course moving kids cause them problems!

So, I gave him a little summary of how & why it causes problems. So he asks, "How long does the therapist think it's going to take her to just get over it & stop acting like this?".

Ummm...as soon as I find the right button to push on her remote...?? Seriously, people...I cannot make this stuff up.

He continued with saying that she shouldn't be acting this way with me, since none of this is my fault (yeah, no kidding)...& then actually looks at her and says "you understand that don't you?!?"

I have no idea where he was planning on going with that, because I cut him off. She had obviously frozen & refused to acknowledge his presence for the remainder of the visit.

I think he means well, but he clearly thinks that she is just acting bratty, instead of acting out because of the trauma that she has been through.

He did tell me, though, that he will object to the grandmother being in the next court hearing. Legally she should not have been allowed in the last one & her presence only interferes. That should also eliminate the issue of her persisting about visitation, which would clearly not be in Lil Sis's best interest at this point.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Knock on wood...

I'm almost afraid to say it out loud but...

We made it through today without any meltdowns from Lil Sis. There was some whining, but no melt downs & no raging.

She even went to bed without complaint.

Part of me is afraid that I will somehow pay for this at some point. lol

But, I'm just grateful for a full day of relative peace.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Respite

Until recently, I've never considered respite care, but it seems like it may be only way to keep going, at this point.

I know a lot of people didn't understand my hesitation to take Lil Sis into my home. It wasn't for lack of caring about it; it was the opposite, in fact. I knew how devastating another move would be for her; and I knew how overwhelmed I already was with the responsibilities that I already had. However, when the last foster family made the choice to have her immediately moved, I did what I truly believe is best for both sisters.

The grieving process has been so hard on Lil Sis. In fact, she's actually kind of stalled in this state of confusion & emotional chaos. It's not the same as losing someone to death. Then, you know they can't come back. In this case, she knows they are still out there. They're still in the same house, living their daily lives as a family...only, without her in it. She doesn't understand why they won't let her call them; why she can't send them letters. Quite frankly, I don't understand it either. I try not to judge, as I know they were upset...but it's difficult not to be angry at them selfishly choosing their own comfort over her best interest.

I've actually been quite overwhelmed & depressed lately. The primary support that I've counted on in the past (and the only people approved to keep Lil Sis for overnight visits or emergencies), my parents, want her moved out. They didn't even want me to try to help her...just move her out so everything can get back to normal. Isn't that the same thing the last family did? The acting out can be difficult...but it's not worth throwing her away & causing the damage that it would cause to her.

I'm also dealing with the custody battle for the baby (well, he's not a baby anymore. He's almost 2). His father doesn't want Lil Sis living with his son. He said she has issues & he's afraid that she's going to be mean to our son. She's never endangered my lil man, but I do try to make sure there is constant supervision. Still, it's not enough. He has been threatening to call the state & make reports until they pull her out of the house. If she's still in the home when we go for trial on the final custody orders, he promises to use my allowing her to stay as proof that I can't provide an appropriate home for Lil Man. I'm sure, though, if he is successful in getting her removed, that he will use the removal as evidence that I somehow did something that makes living with me not in Lil Man's best interest. So, it's a catch 22.

So, I feel like I'm constantly fighting just to keep my little family together, but I'm also in a constant battle when I'm with them because of Lil Sis's acting out. Since my back-up care no longer can be counted on...& it's next to impossible to find a babysitter for 5 kids, I have no break. So, I've gotten caught in this cycle of just getting by & have become increasingly isolated.

I have friends who think the solution is to fix me up. Honestly, though, even if I managed to find a way to go out on a date, I don't think I have anything left to give. I simply don't have the emotional energy to put into a relationship (or even the potential for one). So, there's no point.

I've been trying to stay positive, but even I know that it's impossible to keep this up for much longer. I've been searching for any solution that can help. At this point, respite seems to be the only option that's left. Hopefully it can give me a break on occasion, so that she can work through some of this in therapy. At the therapist's recommendation, the CW is going to try to talk to the former fosters to see if they will open to letters or phone calls so that she can hopefully be able to move forward in the grieving process.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Parenting is fun...really...

It was a rough day in the Parent Hood today.

I knew that Lil Sis was finally starting to understand that she no longer lives with her former fosters because of some of the things that she was saying during yesterday's therapy session. However, things ramped up quickly this morning.

She started out the whining, so I knew she was still pretty emotional. By noon we were on hour two of a raging meltdown. She yelled, kicked, hit people, 
threw things. It was ugly. Since this was happening in her room, I have everyone else go to other parts of the house so that she couldn't hurt them & could calm down. Needless to say, her room was destroyed. 

Finally, it ended as quickly as it had begun. I gave her time to play & decompress. Then, when it was time for us all to clean up (part of our normal routine), I asked her to clean up the mess  in her room. This started round two. 

This time, it wasn't the out of control meltdown that happens when she doesn't know how to deal with what she's feeling. This was was just an angry, defiant tantrum. 

I asked her who made the mess. She acknowledged that she did. So, I explained that she needed to clean it up. She calmly told me that she would rather lose all of it than clean it up or stop destroying it (we had gone back to throwing things by this point). Deal.

Her room is now cleared of everything except her mattress & bedding. 

Of course, she never really wanted to lose her stuff. In fact, she never thought I'd actually move it out. She just said that to push my buttons because things like that have worked for her in the past. 

Naturally, now she is begging to get it all back. Oh...you want it back? Good, then you'll be willing to work to earn it back.


Oh yeah...and while I type this...we're 10 minutes into yet another meltdown...

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Stay focused & optimistic"

"Stay focused & optimistic."

That's the advice I got today...and it's excellent advice that I intend to take.

Things have been kinda difficult lately, but I'm going to focus on the positive.

This week, I was given a temporary order for sole custody of my baby boy. His father is still threatening to attempt to fight "to take him" but, for now, things are going well.

Along with that, the judge granted a child support order. Even better, the generosity of one of my blog readers & an amazing friend has ensured that the kids & I will get by until child support enforcement starts collecting from his employer. With any luck, that shouldn't take long & the support, combined with my modest salary, should be enough for the kids & I to make it until I can start getting attorney pay.

So, I'm choosing not to feel sorry for myself. Instead, I'm going to "stay focused & optimistic". My focus will be on finding solutions, instead of on the problems. It's going to be ok. I've got my kidlets & that's all that matters.