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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Foster Care Fallout

There are a few things that really get my blood boiling, and one is the way kids
are treated in the Foster Care System.

Yesterday, H, the foster child our kids have had for the past 6 months was whisked back to her family. When I say "whisked", that is exactly what I mean.

This isn't the fault of the foster family, the real family or the child. It is the fault of a cold legal system that treats a child like paperwork.

It isn't the fault of the actual decision either. It is a good thing to be back with your family, but what it is the fault of is the lack of visualizing that there is a scared little person involved, who may have possibly made friends, connections and relationships, and she was given ZERO time to say her goodbyes or even get used to leaving. She was picked up from school early and that was it.

Bye, have a nice life.

They came in and disrupted her life, and now they have done it again.
We were able to see her for about 5 minutes before she left and she had been crying and crying because of the sheer shock of having to leave so abruptly. No time to really prepare her.

For those who work in this system, can we not pass the word that kids are people too?
How would you like it if you walked into work and they gave you a pink slip and escorted you out the door? Don't forget, you don't get to say goodbye, you don't get to take your things, or just what you can pack, you don't know what tomorrow will hold. Left your favorite thing... to bad, it is gone forever. Didn't get to say goodbye to your best friend? Too bad, you can never talk to her again.
This is what happens to kids everyday!

I was watching our girls faces as they said a shocking brief goodbye to H yesterday. They were silly and then when she walked out, very serious. I worried how this would effect our Anna, who had this very thing happen often in her first 5 years of life.
I had hoped it wouldn't effect her, but how could it not? We saw some behaviors show up that had all but disappeared, but not for long thank goodness. We had a good talk this a.m. about how she came to live with us and how shocked she was when she came home to a room all packed up. She was worried if Santa Clause would be able to find her new house, and she didn't get to say goodbye to her friends. Nothing. Just whisked away and gone.

The way the system works really sucks dirt.

The kids are supposed to be represented in court. Why can't the CASA worker ask them, "Do you want to know ahead of time? Do you want to be prepared?" If the answer is yes, can they ask the judge for a 36 hour warning so they can get things settled in their mind? Each way this is handled should be up to the child's wishes and in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. It doesn't take but 5 extra seconds for a judge to say, in 36 hours you will be moved, instead of go get her from school she will be leaving in 3 hours. duh.

I'm glad we were able to work through and have some good discussion with the girls.
Sarah piped in and said when she first saw me she was afraid of my moles. (gee thanks Sarah) :) She said, quote, "When W said, 'this is your new mother', I was like WHAT the woman with all those moles???" I'm not sure if I should laugh, seek counseling or go to a dermatologist.... :/
I'm glad the girls saw the process apart from themselves, as issues that were there came up and we could clarify things to them now that they are older, that we couldn't before.
What a mess of a system.

6 comments:

:)De said...

As a foster parent, I have seen this happen so often. It has made me have to be a bull-dog when it comes to the children that are placed in my home. Foster parents have to fight for the children that have been placed in their care. I have contacted workers, supervisors and judges in cases where it seems the children... the ones being protected... are being harmed more by "the process" than the initiated abuse/neglect. Judges sometimes only see casefiles and need us as foster parents to present the person with the case number.

I will now step down from the soap box. LOL!

Peace,
:)De

Mike and Christie said...

Our kids are new to fostering. I didn't know they could do this. I will pass that info on to them. :)
THANKS

Rebecca said...

Aww...this is really sad. Poor H. =(

Melissa E. said...

This is also a huge part of why people don't want to foster parent! Not just the child of the moment is hurt by this kind of insensitivity but other children can't find homes because the "system" is so sterile that those who would otherwise be willing to foster are afraid.

BTW, we call those, "Beauty marks" around here!

Mike and Christie said...

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. :)

We had a little more fallout this a.m. over this. I could see it coming and just felt so sad that she was back there, reliving it again. BUT... the good thing is we had a great talk and it wound up being positive. The biggest thing was discussing how our hurts can be turned into positives later. When she is older she can help to change the very system that hurt her, by being a voice for those who don't have one. This seemed to empower her for the moment. :) I really hope someday she DOES do this. She has so much to offer. It really upsets me that our kids have had to go through such trauma.

mommajeane said...

We did fostercare in Roanoke, VA for a few yrs before we moved here... I loved the kids but hated the system and most of the adults. They make so many lousy decisions for the children. We got kids that were whisked away from a previous foster family. We never had any leave us that way... that is one reason I do not recommend domestic adoption to most people. It is a tough way to help children and like the first comment you have to be a bull-dog. Stay on your soap box I am right there with you. Sorry for your family. We grieve still some of the children that were in our home.

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