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So I had been under the impression that TPR would be initiated for Aaron and Allie this month.  Wrong.  Am I ever really in the loop about anything?

Without getting into too much detail, the judge has decided to stall on Aaron and Allie’s plan until something happens with their siblings;  that something would be either success or failure in reunification.  The siblings are in another foster home, and a specific plan has been set up to achieve reunification by a set date.  If it hasn’t happened by then, I’m assuming the siblings would also head to TPR.

BUT as far as I know,  Aaron and Allie are being fully recommended not to reunify.  So we are now just waiting, and it does make sense to wait, so any pre-adoptive families are fully informed about the family’s situation, and heck, maybe there is even someone who might want to adopt all of them.

And if their siblings do end up successfully reunified, maybe maybe Aaron and Allie might be able to attempt reunification.  I have no idea if the judge is thinking along those lines, but I am.

Is this confusing to you?  It is to me.

 

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So another one of the added stresses of the last few weeks is a trip we’ll be making next weekend.  It is about six hours, and Husband will be in a conference for two of the three days.  When we originally thought Mark and Nikki would be back home at this time, we planned on bringing our three kids and staying at a cousin’s house.  Well, since we didn’t feel comfortable bringing our three and leaving them behind, the choice was either all five kids or none.

All five would be stressful but doable, but would eliminate the cousin’s house.  Leaving all the kids at home would be easier – our three can stay with Husband’s parents, and they’ll love it –  but unfortunately for Mark and Nikki, they can’t stay there so we need to find respite.  So that’s what we decided to do.

And that’s where all the trouble has been.

I don’t want to try Eliza’s foster family because of some tension between them and Mark and Nikki’s biological family plus I’m not sure Mark and Nikki are ready to spend three full days with their sister yet.

So I’ve been cold-calling families on our county’s respite list, and so far, am 0 – 3.  (However, I did talk to a really awesome foster mom not too far from us, and she told me to keep her number around because she’d love to help us in the future – it just won’t work for this weekend.)  As each day passes though, I know I’m less likely to find a respite home.

That leads me to lean more towards using Eliza’s foster parents and just dealing with the fallout, but I found out yesterday they might be moving next weekend.  I did call them and she left a message last night, so I guess I should stop goofing around on a blog post and call her.  It just stresses me out so much when there are no good solutions.  (Maybe I should just leave our three with in-laws and bring Mark and Nikki on our trip.  Wouldn’t that be crazy??)

Crazy, hectic, no time to blog and all of a sudden it’s been two weeks since I posted!

Not that I really care about anyone who reads this, :), but actually, this has become a very valuable tool for record-keeping and holding others (okay, Mom and Dad) accountable.

So what has been going on the last two weeks?

We’ve been slogging through the visits.  I, personally, am sick of McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.  I’m spending money and gaining weight, which is always a bad trade-off in my opinion.  But until the heat passes and it’s bearable to spend four hours at a park, we’re doing a lot of lunches and dinners at fast food.

I don’t blame Mom and Dad.  Their home is just too far away for visits to take place there.  But I worry that Mark and Nikki are starting to highly associate Mom and Dad with fast food, if it wasn’t that way before.  Plus the quarter-trinket machines, which are now 75 cents [side tangent: there’s no cent key on the keyboard anymore! When did that happen?].  Dad blew 8 bucks last night on crappy little toys.  Mom has told me she has had trouble saying no to the kids in the past, and I worry that might not have changed much.

Put it all together, and the visits are not exactly quality family time.  I spend a lot of the time talking with Mom and Dad, which is nice enough, but the kids are so busy playing with happy meal toys, stuffing their faces, or begging for quarters that I don’t think they even really talk to their parents.

The good news is Mom did find someone else to do some supervising.  She should be approved in a week or so, and she lives near Mom so the visits can be at their home.

Second most important bit: stupid stupid stupid.  Found Mark and Junior in the bathroom with their pants off.  They each independently confirmed the story, and it seems Mark was in there putting his clothes in the clothes chute (it was bedtime) and Junior barged in to pee.  After he peed, he asked Mark if he wanted to show each other their penises.  Mark said sure, so they did.  Then Junior suggested they touch their penises together, so they did.  And that is apparently when I walked in.

This is just like last summer with Junior and Poet (well, the ages make a big difference.  I expect a hell of a lot more from an 8-year old regarding keeping private parts private.)  Junior didn’t seem to care at all about it; obviously, he initiated it.  They were both happy and talking normally when I walked in.  And neither of the boys have really changed the rest of their behavior around each other or anyone else.  Ollie chalked it up to normal boyhood stuff, and it’s true that there hasn’t been anything like this between them until now, but given all the problematic sexual crap with Mark, I’m annoyed, worried, and frustrated.  There have been other various allegations of sexual inappropriateness in Mark’s extended family too, as I found out at a meeting last week.

The team would like to get Eliza and Mark and Nikki together for some visits, so Mark and Eliza can start not hating each other.  Eliza’s foster family lives 45 minutes away too, and I’m not really excited about Mark and Nikki spending time at her foster home but I’m not so keen on having her here too.  She’s a surly 13 year old.  Nuff said.

Summer is fleeting, school starts in a month, and I’m enjoying summer.  I wish I had a little more time for it though.

It wasn’t too bad.  No decisions made on visitation, but I believe my input will help get more hours for the kids than otherwise.  Mom may spend some time in jail; we’ll find out on Thursday.  Mom and Dad have lots of issues with Eliza’s foster mom’s parenting, and if what they say is true, I would also.  However, Eliza’s foster mom didn’t show, even though she said she’d be there.  It seems where Eliza ends up is still undecided.  Mom and Dad did reluctantly admit to some of the rule breaking alleged, but there are still problems Mark and Nikki brought up that the parents deny.

And because I spent the whole morning in this meeting or driving to/from it, I’m turning off the computer and spending some time doing nothing.

Like I suspected, Mark wasn’t sick at all, and because he had to stay home today, we went out in the morning and did some fun things around town.  He got to talk to Mom a little on the phone today AND I tried to explain to him last night why she can’t talk to him at bedtime as often.  I talked about addiction, drugs, and the classes she’s taking.  I doubt anyone, even Mom, has explained to him exactly what she’s doing to get him back home, so I hope it helps him feel more secure in his Mom’s love.

Other things:

  • Eliza’s allegation turned out to be true, so now Eliza will be moving in the next few days to a new house.  Concerning is that they’re a friend of the family’s.  I hope that works better for Eliza, but I’ve only read bad endings when friends try to take foster kids in.
  • Mom sincerely thanked me today for what we’ve done so far.  It was really nice to hear, and I told her so.  I bet it might have something to do with not being as gross as Eliza’s foster family.

In Mark’s ideal world, he would play uninterrupted all day, and then talk to Mom for an hour or two right before going to bed.  Basically, his conversations with Mom are his lullabies.  (He would also get pizza and cake for all three meals, but that’s another story.)

So when, like yesterday, Mom has important classes to attend at his bedtime, and he’s forced to choose during the day between playing and talking to Mom, he gets perturbed.  And when bedtime rolls around and it really hits him that he CAN’T talk to Mom FOR REAL, he gets even more perturbed.

And then morning comes, and the camel’s back can’t take it anymore.

So that’s why Luke spent 45 minutes this morning screaming.   And why I had to carry him out to the car wrapped in a towel at the waist.  And why he was an hour late to school.

NOT because I wouldn’t let him change clothes in the bathroom this morning, like he’s been told not to do.

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And on another “Now THIS is foster parenting” topic, Mark and Nikki’s sister, Eliza (preteen), alleged something yesterday about her foster family that is pretty gross although not technically enough of a reason for them to have their license removed.  Mom is pissed off and probably going to push for Eliza to be placed elsewhere.  There might be an aunt or uncle who could take her, but if not, I know I’m going to be mighty tempted to offer our home.  There are many more reasons to NOT do that than there are to do it, and I don’t even know if Marge would allow it, but I know I’ll be tempted.

A lot’s happened in the last two days.

Mark had a playdate with a friend yesterday.  He asked specifically for this boy to come over, but the boy (we’ll call him Lars) was pretty jerky/bossy the whole time.  Luckily, Mark didn’t lose his cool, but he came close.  I don’t blame him too much, and afterwards, we both agreed that Lars wouldn’t be invited back over for a while.  I think their personalities clash too much.  The problem is, I’m not sure what the best personality is for a friend for Luke.  I’m picturing someone not too competitive, calm, and patient.  Know any 2nd grade boys like that??

Mark and Nikki visited with their 12-year old sister today at our house.  She was very patronizing with them, but I think she was pretty bored.  Mark has been longing to see and talk to her more for weeks, but when she was here, he barely talked to her.  Then he pooped in his pants on the drive back from dropping her off.  Sigh.   We had gone a whole week with no accidents.

The kids had conversations with Mom last night, and she told them that her classes are starting up, so she’s going to have a lot less free time, and 2 nights of the week, she’ll be in class during bedtime, so Mark won’t be able to lull himself to sleep in the cradle of the phone.  I’m optimistic he’ll handle it fine.  But I’ll be prepared for more poop, just in case.