Monday, March 2, 2015

News

We got some news a few days ago. As of this week, there WILL be a TPR trial happening in a few months. This is the trial that was scheduled for January, but cancelled because the state's attorney did not think it could be won. Now, additional evidence has been obtained and the trial is back on.

This is progress. It means the reunification plan will not progress. We WERE looking at additional unsupervised visits, progressing to overnight visits, then reunification with his mom in about 6 weeks. Now, all this is on hold.

When his caseworkers has their meeting with me back in late January, to tell me the TPR trial was cancelled and that a reunification plan was put in place, they asked me to trust them. They acknowledged that this new plan must be a huge shock to me, but asked me numerous times to please trust the plan they put together and to let it play out. They suspected it would play out exactly as it has, although they fully acknowledge now that things have fallen apart much more quickly than anticipated.

When we met back in late January and they broke the news to me that the trial was cancelled and laid the reunification plan out, I was very calm. They told me they thought I would go ballistic, or hysterical, or at least cry. That isn't how I roll, though. Sure, I was a complete mess on the inside and lost my ability to feel like I could breath, but I sat through that meeting with my wits about me and I was able to trust them. I know how much these people care about my J and I did not feel like they were feeding me a bunch of empty promises. I placed my trust in them because what other choice did I have?

This is not to say trusting them was easy. My fear of losing J was sucked up and replaced by the fear of how much danger he was in. There is something completely unnatural about, as a parent, handing the child you love over each week to go on a visit that everyone admits is not safe. I handed him off not knowing that he would come back safe. There were 4 specific times that the only reason these visits did not end horribly for him is because God kept the situation from ending horribly; because, it could have ended horribly. The fear and uncertainty of these visits are hard to put into words. But, they did not end horribly for J. He survived. Thank you, God, for keeping my sweet J safe enough to come home to me.

And now, we seem to be on the path to securing a safe future for him.

He deserves to be safe.

And, I feel like I can breathe again.




Monday, February 23, 2015

The trap of self pity

I read an amazing daily devotional called Jesus Calling. Today's reading was about being on the guard against self-pity, especially when you are weary and unwell. Its a dangerous pit to fall into.

I am so emotionally drained. And, I am now sick with a pesky cold that has been hanging around for over a week. I am tired. And so stressed. And, I started falling into that pit of self pity.

We continue to have serious, serious issues with J's case. I find myself losing my perspective at times because the issues are so serious and yet the current case plan continues. Are these things as serious as I think they are? I reach out to my friends, ad neuseam, as sounding boards (sorry, friends, you must be so sick of my texts!). But, yes, they are that serious. They are that scary. J is in that much danger.

I find myself thinking WHY can't things just be a little easier? Why can't we just keep him safe. Why is my family going through this? Why is J having to go through this? How can I possibly handle the stress of handing over my precious little boy each week to go to where he is most definitely not safe.

I have fallen into that pit. But, God never said things in life would be easy. In fact, He says there will be many struggles.

There is a plan here. I need to keep my eyes fixed on God. He will give me the endurance to run the race that is set before me, without stumbling or falling.

We are so blessed to have the support and prayers of our family, church, and friends. We would very much appreciate your continued prayers.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrew 12:1


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The danger in reunification


Trust Me and don't be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song.

The reunification plan for J is in play. He has had 3 extended unsupervised visits. We have had 3 very significant issues arise during the visits. Serious, SERIOUS issues.

This reunification plan is dangerous.

He has a right not to be held prisoner to his mom's parental rights. He has a right not to be put at risk because of his mom's parental rights. He has a right to safety. He has these rights.

Its been 33 months since his case has been open. She has had 33 months to learn how to care for him. He is not a simple child to care for. There are significant special needs in play here.

I know she loves him; however, it takes much more than love to care for a child, especially a child with special needs.

I have such a deep-seated fear of how this is going to play out. I feel like I am watching a train wreck and am powerless to do anything. I know this is God's plan; but I am still so scared for my sweet Baby J. This is a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking time.

Walk by faith, not by sight. This is something I need to keep reminding myself.  Fix your eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. God has this. I could not get through this without my faith.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday

We went to church today. As is our routine, Moo went to his kid's experience and Baby J and I went to worship and sing together. I take him to his group after we sing together. He raises his hands in worship and cuddles into me. It is an amazing bonding experience we share every Sunday.

The worship experience today was raw. The singing was amazing. Many tears were shed. My sadness ebbed and flowed. My hope ebbed and flowed. I poured my prayers to Jesus. They were direct and honest and raw.

I came home exhausted. I napped and could have slept all day. But, a Super Bowl party called our names.

I spoke with his CASA worker tonight. It was a promising conversation.

We are holding on for the roller coaster ride that is foster care. But, J is worth this ride. He is worth the sadness and anger and feeling of powerlessness. He is worth the hope and the tears and the unknowns. He is worth the sleepless nights and the anxiety and fear.

This is in God's hands.

Friday, January 30, 2015

I just can't do that.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~Jeremiah 29:11


I am feeling the need to back way off from communicating with DCPP. We had some very significant issues with Baby J's first extended unsupervised visit. These issues led to a request by DCPP for me to sit down with his biomom and explain some of his medical care. This request upset me tremendously. She has had 33 months to learn about his care. This is NOT my job or responsibility. There are numerous state agencies involved in helping her learn to parent. Yet, they are asking me to sit down and try to teach her things she has yet to learn? I can't do this. I hope they respect my inability to do this. Emotionally, it would be too devastating for me.

I need to begin guarding my heart. I need to take a step back. I need to gather myself again because right now I am a bit of an emotional wreck (at times).

I have to be able to parent my kids. I have to be able to work. I have to be able to eat and sleep again (not much of either has been happening lately). I have to stay healthy. I have to be able to keep my home clean, do my laundry, and keep my kids fed. I need to draw some boundaries in order to do this.

I cannot be an active part of a reunification plan that I feel will end very badly for a child I love. I just can't do that.

If we stay faithful through the trials, the rewards will be miraculous. 

I choose to stay faithful.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Unbelievable

Trial was scheduled for Monday. Trial to terminate parental rights. I was asked to testify and given a list of questions.

Then I got a phone call today to come into the office to talk to the caseworker.

It was not good news.

The trial is not going to happen. Instead, a reunification plan is being created. Reunification meaning J will be slowly transitioned back to his biomom...after 24 months in care and 33 months of having an open case.

The evidence to terminate is just not there. Perhaps with more time, it will be there. Or, the transition will happen smoothly and J will leave us in 8 weeks.

The trial was not cancelled. The case plan is still adoption. But, there is not enough evidence to prove termination. So, if they go to trial now and lose, its over. If they postpone trial and get more evidence, it may happen. But, with more parenting time being given to biomom, this sweet child will be exposed to even more than he is being exposed to now. Its heartbreaking. He is so broken now. The next 8 weeks will cause him even more trauma. It is heartbreaking.

I have so much I would like to say right now, but this is a public blog, so I  choose my words carefully.

The best interests of the child are not the priority.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Egypt

My pastor gave an amazing talk today at church. Our current series is "Its a Wonderful Story", leading up to the most amazing story, Jesus' birth. Today, he spoke about Joseph's story and his journey to Egypt. The talk was all about how Egypt is the place where dreams die, but also a place where dreams comes true. My pastor told the story of Joseph, who was betrayed by his family, sold into slavery into Egypt, falsely accused of a crime, imprisoned, then vindicated when he became a close confidant to the leader of Egypt (I might have a few details wrong- I am so not a biblical scholar). He spoke about (a) how Egypt was lonely, (b) how it was about being in slavery and bound to the whims of others, (c) how Egypt is foreign, (d) how one can waver in their faith while stuck in Egypt or continue to trust in God completely, and (e) how one can be stuck in Egypt for a long time. Obviously it was a metaphor for our difficult journeys in life.

This spoke so strongly to me in regards to our current journey in foster care. We are SO stuck in Egypt!

A. It is lonely, like being stuck in Egypt. I vent to my friends (and to some of them, they must cringe when I text them yet again about the ridiculousness of this case). But, regardless of how much I am supported by others, it is very difficult for them to understand. This journey is so lonely. It is so difficult for anyone not involved in foster care to understand! And, at the end of the day, I am left alone with all the issues involved in this case.

B. We are enslaved to "The System" and the whims of those who make the decisions. Most involved in this case knows that unsupervised visits are so damaging to J's well-being, but they continue because of the whims of this judge. J is bound by this court-order to continue being unsupervised with his mother, despite a huge amount of evidence that this is not in his best interest.

C. We are stuck in a world that is foreign. Who can understand a system that is bound by red tape that continues to put a small child in a dangerous situation, week after week. Who can understand a world that continues to expose a child to trauma week after week after week. This is so foreign to us; we want to keep him safe. In this land, he is not safe.

D. This foreign world can so easily test our faith. I can stamp my feet and get angry at God because He is not protecting this child. Or, I can place my trust in God, and know that His will be done. This can test my faith, or strengthen it. I choose for it to strengthen my faith. I also choose to find joy during this journey.

E. And wow, have we been stuck in Egypt for a long time. My J has been stuck in Egypt for 30 months, my family for 21 months. We are all ready to LEAVE!

But, as my pastor ended his talk today, Egypt can also be a place where dreams come true! The journey in this foreign land can be an opportunity to find new strength and renewed faith in God. It can strengthen our relationship with Jesus. Like Joseph, who saw his family again after being betrayed by them and who was rescued, we will also be led from this land and see our dreams come true. And, being stuck in this land will strengthen our faith and strengthen our family. J will survive and with God's help and our help, he will prosper. My family will prosper because of our resolve and our faith. This journey in this foreign land will strengthen us. I look forward to our dream coming true.

#lifechurchjersey, #itsawonderfulstory