Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Foster Care Sucks

Yesterday I posted an entry about the more heartwarming side of Foster Care, but today I just don't have it in me.

It's 11:15pm and I've just spent the past two hours trying - in vain - to calm my foster son *Jason down.  He went to bed at 8pm exhausted after a long day which I'll get into later, and soon after woke up screaming.  I got him back to sleep, but every time he dozed off he'd jolt back awake in terror.  

Now, it's my opinion that *Jason has some sort of undiagnosed sensory processing disorder.  His doctors have hinted at it, and his special education teacher is working with him on his sensory seeking behavior.  But without a diagnosis to Google (let's just be honest about Dr Google okay?  We all do it.) and in the absence of anyone taking the time to figure out what Jason's challenges are, I'm basically parenting by instinct.

Which sucks.

Added to this is the fact that my caseworker is perhaps the worst communicator on the face of the planet.  No really, she is.

I send one weekly email update for *Jason, and it serves three purposes:
(1) A written record of behaviors and patterns.
(2) To show that *Jason is getting the services the State has provided and is attending medical appointments as needed.  (This is also known as the "I'm doing my job" purpose.)
(3) To remind the caseworker that he exists.

This sounds harsh, I know, but I have sent SIX weekly updates complete with important questions about his care and have never gotten a reply or answer to a single question.
At the one month mark I called up my certifier to discuss this.  I made it clear that I hadn't gone to the caseworker's supervisor yet because I didn't want to get her in trouble, but that I was frustrated with the lack of communication.  The next day I got a voicemail from caseworker saying that she would be better at responding to my questions.

That was the last time I heard from her and she still hasn't answered any questions.

So today was a long day because he had his weekly 3 hour visit with mom.  
And just like every other week he left for the visit a happy boy and returned angry and upset.  He threw his dinner across the room, had multiple tantrums, and no amount of calming him down or hugs or a warm bath or anything made him feel better.  He's speech delayed so he can't tell me what he's feeling or express himself.  And now I'm up trying to console him and prevent him from waking everyone up with his screams.

And this happens every week after visits.
And in a few days he's back to being happy *Jason.
... Just in time for the next visit.

I don't want to be that person that takes the stance that these visits aren't in his best interest.  I'd much rather assume that it's returning to MY home and not staying with his biological mom that is setting him off.  But given what I know about the case history and what I know about how *Jason responds to things, I just don't think that's true.  I think he's reminded every week of the neglect and abuse.

It's heartbreaking, and frustrating, and exhausting to sit up with him like this.
It's moments like this where Foster Care sucks.  

I'm angry at this whole system - 
That more isn't being done to help *Jason thrive and that I don't have the tools I need.  
That my caseworker is either so overworked or so apathetic that she's never available.  
That every week I send him off to visits knowing that he's going to come back even more traumatized than when he left.  
That I can't have a conversation with him about how he feels because he can't speak the words, and yet he's only receiving the bare minimum of speech therapy despite my complaints. 

I always try to see the bright side of things and today I just can't.  
There isn't a bright spot here. 
And don't be fooled - I'm not the bright spot.  
Him being here, in our home, isn't the bright spot.  
That 'I care enough to sit up with him' isn't a bright spot.  
That's the least I can do to comfort a three year old child stuck in a system that isn't serving him.
Having someone hold him through his nightmares is a mere bandaid on a broken situation.  
It barely even registers as a flicker.

Foster Care sucks.

42 comments:

  1. I just wanna hug you Carla. I have a 3 yr old almost 4 yr old with an undiagnosed something and he seems (by what what you wrote ) is at a place I am with himml. Speech delays, tantrums of just because I think hes frustrated he cant speak for himself and though hes had an IEP and in special needs prek . I haven't seen an improvement in the past 5 weeks at all. Come to find oyt rhey havent started his spech therapy yet and all I get is notes from his teacher that they have problems with him touching. which he does to get your attention as he cant communicate. Hang in the there youre doing a great job. We are on the third pediatrician as apparently I'm on of those moms as they keep saying its speech delays. Thats it. No my momma instincts are saying its more :(. and oh yes Dr Google is an everyday thing around here as im the crazy mom who thinks her son has something and no ones listening

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  3. Hang in there Carla it stinks and it is tough but it is going to be okay. My only advice is to give him to jesus
    Take care

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  4. Your doing an amazing job. Has anyone considered that apart from the sensory issues that he may be on the autism spectrum? Transitions and change are not easy for most kids with autism. Its Just a thought as my son had the same sensory and speech delay but because he did not have the so called autism behaviors, they kept telling me that he will be ok. Well he ended up being on the autism spectrum so my mama instincts were correct all along. Wishing you all the best.

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