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This is the story, up to Friday night:

Wednesday afternoon, home finder calls with a placement.  3-year old boy and 5-year old girl, coming from another foster home (ding ding ding, warning bells) that didn’t want to renew their license.  They’ve been in care since last June, and need to be moved by the 3rd week of May.  Would we consider?

Well, of course we would consider. How could we not…we’re averaging a call every three weeks, and half of those are not even in our guidelines!  So I called the case worker, who gave a few more details, like:

  • they came into custody because of homelessness and drugs
  • mom has been making progress on her court order, with housing still being the biggie
  • no big behavioral problems from the kids
  • they are in daycare full time, and the current placement has four older kids (9 – 18)
  • current placement is the second since they came into care

And that’s when the case worker insulted me.  She mentioned being sure we could commit to them, don’t want to have to move them again, etc. Right! We just finished training! I totally and completely agree that bouncing kids is a big trauma! I guess she has no reason to believe I live and die by that belief, but after I haltingly tried to defend us as hardcore and no, we wouldn’t flake out on her, she said “Well, that’s what I heard last time and here we are, 5 months later, looking for a new placement.”

Well! Sorry the current placement is a bunch of jerks.  I don’t know, what else can I say to convince her? But it doesn’t really matter; we’ve essentially accepted.

She invited me to the hearing the next morning at 9.  She warned me she was going to ask for unsupervised visits, but I have no intrinsic problem with that. I also talked to the current foster mom, who didn’t give a specific reason for leaving the fold, but it didn’t seem to be the kids, so that’s all I care about.  She confirmed what I’d heard: age-typical behavior, no regressions after visits, like to talk, need to be active, don’t kill puppies. Whew! Sounds like they’ll fit in fine.

So I do some major frantic dropping-off that morning to get to the county family court, which is stupidly in the middle of a banking/business district with no parking, so I have to park 10 minutes away in a garage (where it turns out later I’m probably not supposed to park. I seriously have no idea where they expect family court attendees to park. Case worker was no help either).  Anyway, I haul butt, make it through security by throwing away my combination mini-flashlight/butter knife, elevator up to third floor to sign, and then back down to first floor where this particular judge’s courtroom is.  I have no idea what the caseworker looks like, so I wander around through the few dozen people in the waiting room, hoping someone will ask.

Finally, the judicial officer for the case finds me and points me to the case worker.  We chitchat, arrange for her to bring the kids over that afternoon at one, and then fall into awkward silence.  I feel a little guilty pulling my book out (Salt, by Mark Kurlansky – rereading, but it’s good), but too bad.  I can only steal furtive glances at the others in the waiting room so many times.

So, at 10:30, I have to leave.  I have the rest of my life to get on with.  The caseworker assured me it was still going to be awhile before the case was called, and she was right.  She called me at 12:30 just having left court.  She was supposed to bring the kids by at 1:00 for a pre-placement visit, but we put it off til the next day.

Friday after lunch, they come by.  Nixon and Poet are super cute sister and brother!

Nixon turned 5 in March, and she is super pretty.  It sounds weird to say of a five year old girl, but really, she is.  She has very elegant facial features.  She also talks a LOT.  She really likes to hear herself talk.

Poet turned three in December.   He seems about average size for his age, and he speaks in better than average sentences.  He quickly settled in to the average boy toys we have around: cars, trains, etc.

So they hung around for an hour, with their worker, and really, it was a great visit.  They were polite, behaved well, and overall seemed fine with coming to live at our house on Monday.  The case worker, I’ll call her Amy, arranged to pick them up from daycare at 12:30 and bring them over.  Their clothes will have to wait until Tuesday because the current foster parents both work during the day.

Now I have to focus on getting the neglected bedroom, which still has K and S’s clothes all over the beds, up and running.  Poet and Nixon will use the bunk beds, and Junior thinks he wants to sleep in the toddler bed with them, which is technically allowed until Nixon turns 6 (mixed-gender rooms).

At the hearing, Amy asked for unsupervised visitation with Mom, on the condition that Mom is clean at her frequent drug drops, and she gets approval from her psychiatrist and counselor.  I’m not sure why she is seeing those two?  Probably more to this picture than I know right now.   That’s a little scary to think of straight contact with Mom, but I guess her kids have been in care for a year already, so she should be cool with it by now. I hope.  Foster mom told me Mom has only visited with them four times since December, but Amy said it was once or twice a month.

The next hearing is August 6, so they will be with us all summer, and then Amy hopes Mom will have made enough progress to get custody back.  I’m not taking any bets, and I’ll sign them up for Kindergarten (Nixon) and pre-school (Poet) when they get here.

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