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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lord, Give me strength

There was a hearing today. The division was requesting that unsupervised visits be suspended. This did not happen.

The positive of today's hearing: the case goal was continued as adoption. This was another permanency hearing, because the last one was 12 months ago and by law a child in state custody needs to have a permanency hearing every 12 months. Also, visits were not increased, as was requested by biomom's attorney.

My thought is if this judge was inclined to reunify J with his biomom that the goal would have changed and visits would have increased. They did not.

The negative of today's, hearing, which is huge: J's safety is still in jeopardy because a person who is coming to visits, who is NOT a safe person, can still come to visits because they are unsupervised. There may be a specific plan in place to keep him from coming, but I am not sure of this. So, he is not being kept safe as far as I am concerned. This situation is dangerous. I wish I could say more.

Also, just as concerning, J will continue to suffer the very negative effects of these unsupervised visits. He is traumatized week after week after week. My thought is that he feels incredibly unsafe being with his biomom unsupervised because of his past. This feeling of being unsafe is triggered each week. He is being literally re-traumatized each week.  Trauma exhibits itself in behavior and we are seeing huge behaviors from J after visits, especially for 3-4 days after. He is aggressive and sad and angry and just generally very, very unhappy. The long term implications of this continued re-traumitization are immense.

If J's mom's parental rights are terminated and I am able to adopt him, we will have a very, very long road towards healing J. Trauma in a child is huge. It shows itself in behavioral issues. This will be big part of our family for many years to come.

My hope for today's trial was that unsupervised visits would have been suspended. My wish was that they were cut back to one hour a week, supervised, in a therapeutic setting. This did not happen, and it is so disappointing.

I wonder how much more this child can take before he is broken to the part of not being able to be put back together. As it is now, we have so much work to do to heal him. Put 3 more months of these visits on top of the damage already inflicted on him, and I am truly scared the damage is irreversible.

So, Lord, please give me strength. Please give me strength to parent J with love and patience. Please give my family strength to withstand the very bad days.  Please renew our spirit. Please give J the strength to withstand these continued visits and for his spirit to rebound from the trauma. Please give us perseverance.

There is no other option than to pray for strength. I am completely committed to this child. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Its broken.

Things in J's case have taken a dangerous turn. There is a person involved in his case who is dangerous and J is around him. It is scarey. I am scared for him.

I am in a position where I am advocating for him endlessly. This can be a tenuous postition. Its not that I have an issue advocating for my kids. I can be a momma bear when advocating for my kids. I have no problem advocating for my kids. Its just that advocating TOO much in this situation can backfire on me (as in biomom demands he is moved to another home or the division gets sick of me complaining/advocating and moves J).

Everyone involved in his case is working within a system that has endless red tape. It is making us all crazy. Why can't we just keep this baby SAFE. He has a right to be kept safe. He is not being kept safe. And this is literally driving me crazy. He has a right to be safe.

Someone involved with him said to be earlier this week, "we need to hope he doesn't become a statistic". And by statistic, she meant THE WORST kind. Dear Lord.

THE SYSTEM is broken. A small child is not being kept safe.



Friday, November 14, 2014

The Enemy

Its hard to be the enemy. I understand why I am considered the enemy, but that doesn't make it any easier. I guess it shouldn't matter, but it does.

I overheard a conversation in court. It took place in a public area between bio mom and her attorney and I guess they didn't see me sitting there. It was all about "she said this" and "she said that" and "she wasn't there" and "the OTHER MOMMY"...unfortunately I wasn't able to hear most of the details, but the tone they were using when referring to me was not kind.

One of the comments I heard was "if she is so into him, then she should be there". I know they were discussing the ONE appointment I asked the CW to go to for me so I didn't miss another day of work. I missed one of the 65 appointments he has had, but CW brought biomom to it. So, I was being dissed for missing this appointment. I wonder if it was brought up that CW and biomom were so late to the appointment that it was cancelled, as in it never happened, so she didn't actually go to it. 

I am the enemy. She needs someone to blame. I get that. But, it doesn't mean it doesn't bother me. I should probably let it slide off my very thick skin.

But, its tough to be treated like the enemy when I have devoted my life to this kid for 22 months. I give him the best of care. I attend to his every special need. His medical and therapeutic needs take up an incredible amount of my time. He is worth all this and more. He deserves the best care possible. He is so very loved.

So, hearing myself being spoken about so negatively is tough.

Biomom wouldn't even look at me when we were waiting for the case to be heard. She didn't think I should be there. But, I showed up, because he matters.





Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lets start to get real

I took down all my old posts. We are getting very close to TPR trial, and I didn't want to risk anything (although I worked hard to keep confidentiality, you never know how people can spin things).

But, I need to get real tonight. Because I am very very quickly losing my patience with "the system". To be clear, I am sick of my little boy being traumatized. SO much has happened that I wish I could share, for the sake of letting others know how broken the system really is and how much it hurts these precious, innocent little children.

My guy had a visit today. The visit coordinator and I texted back and forth numerous times earlier this week to determine the time of his pick up (read: bio mom KNEW when this visit was); it was in the middle of his nap, but that was all that worked for all involved. So, his nap was interrupted. He was put in a van and driven 40 minutes to her home. She no-showed. He was driven another 40 minutes back to daycare. Then, in the 60 minutes or so that he was at daycare before I picked him up, he let everyone know how very very mad he was that this all happened. He used vulgar language (yup, something he has been doing since these visits started) and was aggressive towards his friends. He is two, and this is how he shows his BIG feelings (he is getting numerous different therapies to address these serious issues). He was a mess at home. I made his world very small. I ordered in dinner and we had a pizza party and movie night. I didn't move much from the floor next to him all night. I told him how much I loved him and that he was safe and loved and safe and loved.

I wish I could share why I keep telling him how much he is safe and loved and safe and loved. I can't, though. But it is really not good.

My poor precious little boy.

He is traumatized. He is being more broken and more broken.

This child need permanency. 29 months in the system is too much.

God bless this kid.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Baby That Almost Was (in My House)

So, on Tuesday I found out about a newborn in my county needing placement. My name was "out there" as interested in the newborn (who was in the hospital, dealing with issues related to his "birth history".) It was by no means a sure thing, but the opportunity for an infant needing a placement was there. And that is something. So, of course, I got my hopes up. I let myself dream. I researched what I expected his special needs to be. I prayed...oh, did I pray. I even saved on Amazon a special swing I though would be good for what I thought his particular needs would be. I considered the time I might take off from work, and how I would afford this (my tax rebate supplementing the loss in my salary, etc.).  My Moo is already primed for taking in a foster baby or little one, because its a line of dialogue I keep open with him, and he knows we are working on a possible adoption (although he knows an adoption will not happen until he starts kindergarten, at least) . He even asked me today, when I was taking him to daycare, if his baby would come to school with him (this was completely on his own accord, because I did not mention this possible opportunity to him). I love my Moo's heart. He wants a little one too! Actually, he has told me he would like a "brown" baby boy and a "red" (he calls my skin complexion red) little girl. That will be a tall order to fill!!!

But, I found out today the baby was placed with another family. And, again, I am disappointed. I was pretty bummed for several hours after I found out. Then, I found a place for my disappointment. This baby wasn't meant for us. There is another child out there that is meant for us.

And, I did not actually get a call for this baby. So, the "3rd call is a charm for 2013" is still open. Who knows what will happen next week, or the week after that, or the month after that! We don't even have our home study completed yet, and our search for an adoptive placement through this avenue hasn't even begun.

A newborn would have been very nice, though. Sigh.

Monday, February 18, 2013

1st Home Study Visit

I had my first home study visit today! It went okay. Actually, it was a bit anti-climatic and I feel let down now that it is over. I found out their network program isn't exactly what I am looking for, but there is still another person I need to talk to that will give me more information, so its not time to be disappointed yet.

The route I am going, there are a lot of unknowns. I will need to do a lot of networking and a lot of the leg work. I WILL eventually end up with a child, but its not like a typical agency adoption. When you go through an agency, you can request a specific age and even gender, and pretty much know that this is what you will get. My route, though, is MUCH less certain. My dream has always been to adopt internationally, but this is so far out of my reach financially. I feel strongly about adopting domestically, though. I know there are children in the US, especially special needs children, who need loving homes just as much as kids abroad do. And, I know God has our child picked out for us and His timing is perfect. I keep reminding myself that if I had stuck with international adoption I would not have my precious Moo!

 I just wish there weren't so many unknowns with my adoption route! It is what I feel God is leading me to pursue, though, and I have to place my trust in Him. I feel so strongly that am I meant to adopt a child with some special needs from the US.

And so begin the roller coaster ride that is adoption. There are so many highs and lows!