Giani (coworker I wrote about before): You be acting stank with your babies.
Me: No I don’t.
G: Yes, you do.
Me: Wait, what the hell does that mean?
G: I thought you were black?
Me: apparently not.
G: You’re being greedy with your babies. I have a lot of parties to take them to.
Me: Any baby, any time! You filled out the form already.
G: I’m for real, I’m going to come take one this weekend (she lives 5 blocks away).
Me: Awesome sauce!
G: Say what?
Me: Awesome sauce.
G: Oh no girl. I gotta go, I’ll see you this weekend.
Uhm, I can’t do 3 days alone with the baby ladies. Even with Jacket my max was 2 days. I need to be ‘off-duty’ and watch a movie and relax. Asia needs the day off (more on her foster care week later).
Instead of emailing my SCR cleared peeps one-by-one and putting people on the spot, here’s my request for help. I will definitely pay you. I know most people are out of town, but if not and you want some baby love, give me a shout.
Finally got a non-blurry photo of Clementine and all of her siblings at a visit last night. Her birth mom was thrilled and I immediately got it up on the (private) facebook page I made just for Clementine’s birth family and friends. Another adoptive mom reported doing the Facebook page thing with success and it’s been a big hit.
One of my foster kid’s ACS attorneys just called to let me know that court is being delayed. She didn’t want me to take the trip to court and waste my time. Super nice of her.
On a positive note, there are several units of the foster agency whereby the first sentence out of staff’s mouth is always “Thank you for your service as a foster parent”. They all say it with incredible sincerity even though the same sentence is used. I’m pretty sure they had some sort of ‘how to retain our foster parents workshop’ and it’s pretty effective.
Note: I DON’T recommend going email ape shit like this. If you do, it’s at your own risk.
I sent one more. I feel sooooo much better, even if they pass me off as crazy, I say tell me that after you’ve put your personal life under your foster agency’s control (for an indefinite period of time, mind you).
“Sorry, just one more thing that is still bothering me. Second to the HIPAA issue, I recall your other chastisement of my inquiry of Clementine’s parents’ mental health history being that I referenced ____________. I promise that I wasn’t being a judgmental jerk. ______________ is almost always the first evaluation in a mental status exam (the most basic assessment). See link: http://psychclerk.bsd.uchicago.edu/mse.pdf
Note that Early Intervention is going to ask me a lot of questions about mom and dad’s mental health and cognitive development. Her pediatrician is as well. I would be remiss not to ask the foster agency now that the parents have officially surrendered their rights.
I very much respect and genuinely like Clementine’s parents. Regardless of their ___________ I hug them both at the beginning and end if each visit. I took unpaid early leave from work today to come to a change of goal meeting that everyone else could attend during their own paid work day. This is my personal life and you have a lot of control over it. The city spends an insane amount of money to recruit foster parents- why push me out? You don’t have to like me, but please try to be a little nicer. Thanks.
Also infuriating is that, at the Family Team Conferences (FTC) to which foster parents are invited, allll info is disclosed. One that I went to had mom’s IQ score read out loud in addition to the long outdated (and totally not PC) adaptive behavior scales stating “mental age of a 4 year old” and “mental age of a 6 year old” (now we just say ‘severe deficit’ or ‘low range’) - so don’t give me that HIPAA crap.
I asked a straight-forward but general question————brewing, brewing, brewing.
I keep thinking about how hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) are spent on desperately recruiting NYC foster parents. The only meeting I’ve been included in regarding my foster kids for the past 6 months happened today and I’m essentially asked ‘can I document already that you’re going to close [cancel your certification] your home already?’ (My answer was ‘Do I have to decide now?’) The tone, the attitude, the body language, the complete lack of eye contact while speaking.
I know it’s practically impossible to fire someone (at least in non-profit and gov world) for tone, but it’s also something that can be almost impossible to change in a person. No training is going to make someone act nicer if they don’t want to.
The staff person doesn’t have to like me, but I do think she should fake it. She has A LOT of control over my life. The life I handed over voluntarily to random people. Really? You’re going to ask me to close my home AND tell me to talk to my attorney? What kind of meeting is that? Why do that? I was expected a sort of ‘yay, this foster kid is getting permanency!’ or at least indifference.
Soooooo many people work in NYC foster care (anyone have a number?) and they have absolutely no clue what’s it’s like ‘on the ground’. It can really drive me nuts.
I wish I had better control over when someone gets to me at the foster agency. Or better yet, I wish I could put my feelings in a box when I enter the foster agency and then gather them unscathed when I exit.
I don’t want to be the angry, fighting foster parent; I want to be the fun, easy-going one. Sigh.
What was supposed to be a quick change of goal meeting at the foster agency totally upset me. I’m trying to channel all of the hurt feelings into some empathy that parents feel a 1,000 worse and have so much more at stake so when they start shouting and acting crazy, remember this moment.
It was just one person and if another person after the meeting didn’t say “wow, what did you do to her”, I probably would have passed it off as her personality.
If it’s true that the only question that is asked of foster parents during the change of goal conference is if they are going to close their home now- I strongly advocate that the format be reconsidered. Ouch! My impression was that you want me to close my home even though I said I still have another foster child with me. Double Ouch.
Also, you mentioned that it was a HIPAA violation for the case worker to provide me with any medical or psychological information about a child’s parents and to consult my attorney. I don’t have an attorney, but I am a member of the NYSCCC and they recommend this
—The agency compiles the child’s family heritage and medical history, secures his current medical report and subsidy approval and provides the adoptive parent with a copy of each (Domestic Relations Law §114). In addition to information contained in the prescribed form, the child’s medical history to which adoptive parents are entitled includes copies of all available reports and evaluations, including by way of illustration and not limitation, the child’s hospital birth record, psychological, psychiatric, developmental and neurological reports and treatment summaries. It also includes to the extent available medical history of the child’s biological parents, including conditions or diseases believed to be hereditary, their psychological or mental health history and drugs or medications taken by the mother during pregnancy (Social Services Law §373-a); see, also, DeWoody, “Adoption and Disclosure of Medical and Social History: A Review of the Law, 72 Child Welfare 957 ). Heritage information includes the sex and age of the child’s known siblings (Public Health Law §41-38-c.3).—
I’m committed to adopting Clementine regardless of her family’s mental health and I’ve actually never asked for the documents that I have a right to. I know I’ve asked you this before (maybe that’s the problem?), but please be more friendly to foster parents. I respect you, I think you do an excellent job, I’ve learned a lot of crisis management from observing you in the waiting room with parents.
I’m not the enemy, the case worker hasn’t violated HIPAA by telling me that he/she only has an incomplete psychological on mom, and please consider a filler friendly question for prospective adoptive parents during the change of goal conferences.
Up til recently, it’s been a one-way relationship with Sandy s.c.r.e.a.m.i.n.g. to hold Clementine. It’s as if she were a dangling Twix bar 24/7. Sandy lunges at Clementine with all her might and roars out “UUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhh!” and I’m all, “No, Sandy, you can’t have Clementine, remember the last time.” And she’s all “Give her to me!!!!!” And I’m all “No, look at this bright, noisy toy, isn’t so cool!?” and She’s all “Get that crap out of my face and give me CLEMENTINE” and I’m “Oh my god, that sound, please please stop making that sound. Here, have some banana.” and Sandy is “Aaawwwwwaaaaaaaaa Uuuuuuhhhhhh Uuuuwuuu UUUUHHH!” so I say “fine, take her” and give Sandy to Clementine and immediately Sandy grabs Clementine by the ears and starts gnawing on her face and Clementine does that newborn, epileptic freak-out cry and is all “Oh, my god, what the hell, Wah, wah, wah, wah, waaaahh, WAH!!!!!!!!” and then Sandy looks at me with total confusion for one second and then dives back in sticking her finger in Clemmie’s eye. Then both babies are crying and I’m like “Fuuuuuck” as I peel Sandy off of Clementine.
A friend asked me today “How do you have time to blog?” The answer came easily. It’s a compulsion. A full-on, I could blog every second of every day if I let myself, compulsion.
I’ve always been this way. I started a diary in 4th grade and I wrote a solid 10 pages a night. It’s how I process information. Actually, it’s how I process everything. Before blogging existed I was sending friends group emails, I had three-tiers (yep, you should totally laugh your ass off at my neurosis here) “GUL” which stood for “General Update Letter”, the “GULP” which was “General Update Letter- Personal” and if you were a very, very close friend you also received the “GULPED” “General Update Letter- Personal Extremely Detailed”.
I blog on my phone during my 1 hour (each way) commute to work and obviously in snippets here and there. I blog before I call friends back. I’m very lucky to still have friends. Actually, I’m lucky to have friends at all seeing as my mental mainstay is dialed toward talking about myself. ‘Cause that’s what blogging is. Essentially, I’m fixated on talking/writing about myself so long as someone is listening. Doesn’t sound that impressive anymore, does it. It’s working for me though so I’m going with it. I constantly think how cool it is that you all are reading. Thank you!