Thursday, December 20, 2012

Our First No

No sooner than I posted my last post (and then sent out about 25 emails to all of our past caseworkers & investigators letting them know our house was open) I received another call for placement.  This time it was from a FAD worker looking initially for a respite placement but really a pre-adoptive or at least legal risk placement for a 2 year old boy.

This boy would be almost guaranteed to be an adoptive placement.  He needs a family now.  They are wanting to find him a good family now.

CPS is known to embellish the truth or omit key details sometimes when they are looking for a good family to take certain placements.  When you've been in this world a bit you start to notice certain phrases like "needs structure" or "enjoys fantasy stories" that sound like typical parent/child things but really are code-words for challenging diagnoses.  As a foster or adoptive parent, it's just something you keep your eyes open for when listening to a child's initial description.

In the case of the boy I was presented with yesterday, there appeared to be NO sugar coating.  I think I heard 2 "good" things about his boy in the entire conversation ("he's very smart" and "on his good days he can be really sweet").  The rest was full of real and pseudo diagnoses.  Given the brief history CPS has and I was given I would guess that most of the trauma behaviors are directly due to the trauma (it would be our first abuse case instead of neglect) and attachment disorder(s).  The way it was described to mie made it sound like this child will be on psychotropics as he gets older (that was actually said) and he would likely be a prime candidate to develop a conduct disorder and/or ODD as he ages.

I told the caseworker I'd think about it and talk to my husband.  Thankfully, he and I were on the same page about this one.  We will offer to do respite but otherwise say no for the following reasons:

  • We hope to stay open to keep a sibling group together.  Taking a single child would limit our ability to take larger sibling groups in the future, which are harder to place than a single 2-year old boy.
  • If the description is accurate, we would almost certainly need to close for a while to give this boy the care he needs.  Again, it doesn't quite fit with our openness to have a large family.
  • Based on the behaviors this child has, it seems as if he'd be better as a single child.  Most likely he'd be better with a SAHM.  Most likely he'd need to stay out of childcare and need an alternative schooling arrangement as he gets older.  Not exactly our situation in our home.
Ultimately we want to be available to what God wants for our family so we want to be open to taking this child but we also want to make sure this child gets to the best family for him.  We feel like we'd be an acceptable family for him but not the best family for him and since they are looking to find a home he can stay in permanently, I'd hate to take him and prevent him from getting to the family he needs to be in.

BUT/SO, we're happy to do respite for the family he's currently in so he doesn't have to go to a residential treatment center as a 2-year-old.  This would keep us open and available to him as a possible long-term placement, giving us the chance to evaluate his behaviors and fit in our home at least temporarily to get confirmation of whether we should move forward or not with him as a placement AND it would give his current foster family rest so they could take him back for a while until they find the permanent family.  For us this seems like a no brainer solution.  I just have to call the CW back.

Of course as I typed this out all I heard was "don't you trust mie?"...*sigh*  Here goes! (the call to the CW, I mean)...


Foster Mommy NY said...

I wish you the best of luck, in what ever you do! I know some times doing the "right" thing almost hurts because we can not help out. I guess that is why we are foster parents! LOL

FosterCareQandA said...

Good for you for knowing your limits and finding your own way to help. I can't imagine a two year the way this one was described. I have two two year-old-boys and they're both the sweetest things in the world. It's so sad that this little guy has already had his whole life shaped for him before he even stood a fighting chance.

NoMatterWhatMom said...

We adopted a child much like the little boy you described (along with his older siblings). He was a little older by the time he made it here, though emotionally, he was functioning as an eighteen-month-old child. He had suffered severe, chronic trauma and in-utero drug exposure. He is on psychotropics because without them, he almost never sleeps and rages full time, including daily physical assaults on mom (me).

Though we had always planned for me to continue working, I ultimately walked away from my professional career to become a SAHM and to educate our children at home because none of them could function, let alone learn, in public school. Our lives revolve around the therapy schedule. This week, I have been going around patching the holes in our walls and doors (again) and repainting the inside of the house.

Our only regret is that we didn't start out knowing how to parent our severely injured children--we had to figure it out and get educated in a big hurry to help us understand what was behind their frantic behavior and what we could/must do to help them recover. CPS didn't even use code words with our kids--they just said they were fine. We had no idea that God would lead us from being a two-income family to being a one-income homeschooling family with a SAHM and mental-health support workers in our home seven days a week, but here we are. And we love our children and don't regret for a moment becoming their parents. It is a big shift. Though only you can determine what God is calling you to do, I appreciate your wisdom in thinking realistically about what this little boy is likely to need rather than telling yourself that things will be different for your family. Love, consistency, and structure are a great start, but some children are so injured that it takes far more than those things to meet their needs. I hope that this little boy will soon find the family who will be able to meet his needs and become the loving family who will be with him through thick and thin. Bless you for providing respite. Respite is so important.