Thursday, June 11, 2009

Spleen Vent

If you need a happy post, you better read yesterday's.

Here I sit in the waiting room. Waiting for Brad’s second shoulder surgery to be completed. What do you do for two hours as you wait? You bring something to occupy your time. In my case, I brought my paperwork to renew our foster care/adoption license. And this, in turn, reminded my how much I hate CPS and this whole foster care system, a system that professes to love and protect children at risk.
Last Wednesday, Brad attended Baby A’s first court hearing. He has been in care nine and a half months, and this is the first court appearance. By law, the case should have been heard in court before the six-month marker, but because of some faulty filing and declaring by CPS, it was delayed until last week. Mistake number 1.
I have little respect for Baby A’s case manager anyway. But when I heard that she was unable to make the court hearing for maternity leave, I held out even less hope that all the paperwork would be filed correctly or that someone would appear in her stead that had any clue what was going on with the case. Unfortunately, I was right. The court report hadn’t even been completed, forcing the CPS manager (R.) to scramble to find answers to all the questions. Mistake number 2.
Brad has had more courtroom exposure than most laymen, so I trust his opinion on this: he said he’s never seen a more circus-like atmosphere in a courtroom in his life. The tribal attorney representing S., Baby A’s mom, was disrespectful, sarcastic, and rude. The judge ended up chewing her up pretty handily. But the main problem was CPS. No one in the courtroom for CPS knew ANYTHING about this case. It was an example of CYA at its worst. Apparently, CPS neglected to investigate everyone on the list of potential family members, neglected to file important papers, neglected to inform the tribe on certain issues, basically neglected the law. CPS had even lied to me about resolved issues and efforts. The tribe even moved to have S’s random drug testing changed to scheduled drug testing because it’s just "too hard for her to get there." Really? She tested positive for meth in February and hasn’t taken a single UA since. Now the court is going to trust her with scheduled testing? Shockingly, the court agreed. Mistakes number 3, 4, and 5. At this point, my licensing worker (the person in the system that represents me and my family) turned to Brad and said, "We’re screwed."
Since I was in SLC for the day, I was unable to attend, much to my dismay. But Brad came away from the hearing disenchanted with the system and its ability to serve the needs of any child, mainly based on this observation: not one word was uttered by any party in the courtroom in regards to the best interests of the four kids involved. The tribe only wants what’s best to preserve the culture and identity of the tribe, no matter what methods they have to revert to. The guardian ad litem (court-appointed representation for the kids in the case) currently has 340 cases on his caseload (due to all the budget cuts), and he was bouncing from one courtroom to the other during the proceedings because he had two hearings scheduled for the same time. CPS doesn’t want to deal with tribal law, so they’ve been in a state of inaction for the past 9 months, hoping that the case will just disappear, maybe? Not one person, including the judge, asked for the findings of either Foster Care Review Board hearing (both of which found that concurrent case plans of severance and adoption should be implemented for the two youngest kids), asked whether the kids were in appropriate placements, asked if the kids were happy, well-cared-for, or loved. Mistake number 6.
What this all boils down to is this: Because Baby A is Native American, no one in the system cares if he’s happy, safe, and loved. CPS wants him off their roster, and the tribe wants him back on the reservation NO MATTER WHAT. It looks like he will be leaving us, and probably before the end of the summer.
I knew in my mind that this day could eventually come. And I think that I would feel better about it if I knew he were going to a home where he’d be loved and taken care of. Unfortunately, it looks like he’ll be heading off to some single 27-year-old uncle’s, who has no idea how to take care of two little kids. Yes, two. Baby A has a baby sister, Baby D, who was taken straight from the hospital and placed with a loving foster family at three days of age. Born exposed to marijuana and meth. And they’re sending these kids back into the lion’s den, with the state mostly powerless to intervene.
I’m sick about it. Part of me wants to hold onto him with both hands and run to Bolivia. Part of me says, "Fine. If he’s going to leave, take him now, because I can’t bear it lasting any longer." And part of me says, "God knows what’s best. Trust Him." Any of those three ways is hard (not like we’d really run to Bolivia. . . ). And the not knowing is hard. But the worst is knowing that his fate has been left up to bureaucrats and lawyers who care NOTHING for him as a little boy. He’s just a case number to them.
But not to me. Because I’m his mom.


  1. Oh, I am so sorry. Sincerely. I wish I had something helpful to say. I know you are his mom. I hope, and will pray fervently, that he can stay with his family. Sending you love!

    p.s. What a jacked-up, outrageously ridiculous system! Sickening.

  2. It is the scariest most crazy thing ever. I have my moments of courage and my moments of just loosing it. I would love for you to come see him. He is very adorable if i do say so myself.

  3. I'm sickened with the whole CPS. My parents were foster parents for years until my mom just couldn't take the injustice to children any longer. She did it to be a solution and gave up hope. STAY STRONG! DON'T GIVE UP HOPE! These babies need you!

    Lastly, I wish Brad a speedy recovery. I too, just had my second shoulder surgery (same shoulder both times) six weeks ago. I'm now in P/T and it sucks. Good luck!

  4. This hurts my heart to read. AND, I think you should stop being a foster mom. I mean, if they can't get their poop in a pile and fix these HORRIBLE negligences (sorry, I suck at spelling and there's no spell check on the comment maker) then it's just not worth the emotional strain. Is it? I don't know HOW you do it. I vote for Bolivia - but I'll miss you terribly! And PS - WHY is Brad having more surgery? I must've missed something and will have to backtrack the posts to catch up. And, on a totally random note, yes, Lana thinks I'm a psycho, but poo on her - it was meant for you. I heart Jenny Denton!!!

  5. This sounds so difficult, Jen. I can't even imagine it. I guess anyone who signs on to be a foster parent knows that the child may well be reunited with the family eventually. But the thing is...How are good, loving foster parents supposed to trust CPS when they clearly don't even have his best interests at heart? I can't believe they are letting the mother have scheduled testing. It needs to be random.

    Drives me nuts, and I will be praying for you...AND for the sweet little guy your family has been loving so well.

  6. I know Jenny I know. We send kids home all the time to 17 year old mothers with 3 kids. Yes you read that right. It just makes me sick inside.... especially because of Daxton. I am a good mom. Why couldn't I keep him? and not that I would wish on any mother what I have had to go through, but why do they get them in the first place. So many questions. Not so many answers.

  7. Ugh! That's all I have to say to that whole thing. Just UGH!!! I'm sorry!

  8. So fustrating!! (why don't they have spell check for comments?) I know the case workers are overloaded and there's not enough money, etc, etc...but really there is no excuse to be so poorly prepared. I HATE that kids have to endure such horrors, when there are other choices.

    I agree with Allyson....UGH!!!

  9. Arrgh. The frustration. Love him and take care of him as long as you can. It's in God's hands, right? But fight for him as his advocate and his Mom.