Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Sane & Helpful Caseworkers

I haven't talked much about my current case because frankly its been one of those cases where nothing has happened the entire time.  I'm not saying that nothing has happened on the part of one or both parents - there may or may not be any activity on their part - it's just that nothing has happened in the case.  There is no sign it will be going this way or that way any time soon, except for that a hearing is scheduled in a few weeks and it is supposed to be the last hearing before the case is dismissed and I expect at that hearing for something to be proposed in regards to permanency.  I don't expect reunification to happen that day.  I don't expect termination to happen that day.  I just expect for someone to announce their support for one or the other at that hearing with the intention that then when the case is supposed to be dismissed it will be headed in that direction.  We'll see.  I do expect fireworks over this case in the end.

This weekend I was surprised by a call from CASA who was politely asking that mom get to talk to her kiddos on mother's day.  I'll admit, my flesh was slightly irritated by the request and I may have lamented to a fellow foster parent about how you kind of lose the priviledge of talking to your kiddos on mother's day when you do the stuff involved in this case and subsequently have them removed from you (and then subsequently continue to do some of the things you did in the first place).  Don't get mie wrong - I have sympathy for any mother not able to love on her kiddos on mother's day, it's just one of those things AS a mother I have less sympathy for when you make certain choices repeatedly rather than choosing the health and safety of your children.

My sympathy (and God's grace) won and I offered to go ahead and call mom with the kids so that she could talk to them (mind you they are 1 and 3 - there's not much talking going on especially since #10 is not really talking at all yet).  I used my Google voice account setup just for foster care and provided mom with the number to text mie if she had questions about the kiddos or was worried about them some times - she could get a hold of mie and feel that connection.  She promised she wouldn't bother mie much but thanked mie for the number and we went about our day after a short, successful call with her kids.

She texted mie a few times that day to say thank you for the call and to wish mie a happy mother's day.  And to promise not to bother mie.

This is where the normal mie is sometimes surprised by the behavior of others, particularly those involved in the foster care system.  I continually falsely believe that moms and dads have a level of common sense that many of them appear to not have.

Apparently "not bothering mie" or "contacting mie to often" means something less than 24 hours because lo and behold Monday night I find a voicemail on my mobile Google voice app that says mom called to ask if she could say good night to the kids and that if she could that would be great but if she couldn't then sorry to bother mie.  I didn't get the message until 9pm because when she called we were upstairs getting the kids ready for bed and thoroughly cleaning the playroom so I didn't hear the phone ring.  So, in fact, she couldn't talk to her kids because they were already asleep and she didn't bother mie because I didn't hear the phone. I felt bad explaining to her that I couldn't allow her contact with her kids without the court or caseworker's approval and she took it to mean that she was bothering mie and she "wouldn't be doing it again".  I tried to explain to her that she wasn't bothering mie, it's just against the rules and I'd have to talk it over with the caseworker.  I really do want to have an open line of communication with the birth parents and I really don't mind her contacting mie, but expecting to be able to talk to her kids, daily no less, seems a bit unreasonable to mie.

You bet I talked to the caseworker.  The next morning I contacted the caseworker who apparently was in on the deal to let her talk to the kids on mother's day.  I told her about the attempt to talk to the kids before bed and she said "Oh, you gave her an inch and she ran with it".  Yep.  I told her I wouldn't mind letting the kids talk to their mom on occasion, as in the case plan, but needed her to talk it over with the mom because of the rules in the foster parent agreement.  CW assured mie she didn't see regular communication happening any time soon and we both agreed it probably wouldn't be healthy for the kids.  Her strong reaction made mie wonder if they weren't going to be moving toward TPR at the next hearing...we'll see.

In the end I was able to be the good guy and let mom talk to her kids on mother's day, I was able to establish an "open" line of communication with mom, and I was able to let the CW be the "bad guy" limiting contact with the kiddos rather than taking the blame for that myself.  I'm sure mom will blame mie a bit anyway, afterall I could have let her talk to the kids without saying something about it, but the caseworker took responsibility for that decision and having that conversation and it makes my job that much easier.

I'm really grateful there won't be many phone conversations too - you know how hard it is to have phone conversations with a 1 and 3 year old in our crazy schedule when you also have 2 other young kiddos to manage?  It's nearly impossible - the only reason it worked out so well this Sunday is that my son and daughter decided they  needed to go home with their Auntie after church with my 2 year old telling mie "See ya, wouldn't want to be ya..."

On mother's day.

I did get a LOOONG nap out of the deal. :)

No comments: