Fosterhood in NYC

Apr 18

Runfostermama said the ADHD training at the foster agency today was good. So that’s a plus.

It just hit me that since Clementine’s siblings’ goal is adoption, Runfostermama is literally going to become a mom today (to 3 kids!).

2 hours before the transfer meeting at the foster agency and it’s canceled. Mom, dad, grandpa and Runfostermama are all there. I text back “ARE YOU STILL GETTING THE KIDS TODAY?” and she said the case worker said yes.

I’m on pins and needles.

Poor Runfostermama

Amateur hour. The text she’s talking about isn’t specific to her, it’s a mass text the foster agency sent out about a training today. I got one late last night. Runfostermama responded like a normal person and assumed it was an emergency level requirement so she took off from work (as an ABA therapist and people with autism ESPECIALLY don’t like last minute changes so it’s not without consequences) and is at the training now. Ugh, I’ve so been there.

I received a voice message last night also telling me I was enrolled in the class and have to be there. I’ve finally learned to ignore these because I schedule and attend my trainings months in advance. Apparently most of the foster parents are so negligent in keeping up with their trainings (only a dozen hours required a year) these stunts are necessary. Sadly, I get conditioned to not take the calls seriously and the cycle continues.

Runfostermama should have the kids by 5pm tonight though!

“They texted me before 6 am this morning from agency to be qualified to take care of kids with behavior issues.” — Runfostermama

Apr 17

Asia just sent this to me.  That cheesecake is bigger than Clementine.

Asia just sent this to me. That cheesecake is bigger than Clementine.

Email I’m sure Meghan won’t let me write

I’d like to email Snap’s brother’s foster agency:

Hello, Attached is a copy of my SCR form completed 4/2/14, accepted and processed by You’ve Gotta Believe via scan and sent directly to you by that agency 4/8/14.

In the event that it’s your foster agency’s policy to create unnecessary and gratuitous obstacles for people who have submitted their personal lives to you, indefinitely and free of charge (aka foster parents), and will require an original copy- know that I will comply and arrive at your agency at your earliest convenience.

However, if I’ve misjudged, I apologize and thank you.

Sincerely,

Meghan’s back-up foster parent, Rebecca

So turns out, almost every foster agency in the city has at least one attorney who is a licensed foster parent with them. You all should form your own secret society or something…

Yesterday was bring your child to work day at ACS

And all the kids got certificates that they are honorary ACS workers.

But word to Snap’s mom’s attorney, the child’s attorney (law guardian), the judge, and let’s be honest, probably the ACS attorney although he/she can’t express it—- all being on the same page.  They all get it.  If they weren’t on the same page I wouldn’t have the confidence to push the issue.

Again, thinking about low income, uninformed, birth family members in crisis trying to break through all of this crap.  Makes me take a second look at the family members who were protesting outside the Brooklyn court house a few weeks ago.  Maybe they were dismissed before the start as well.

I just remembered that years ago I was given an award (big faux crystal looking thing) from my foster agency- something about foster parent support of [birth] parents [UPDATE: found it “…for bridging the gap of separation and by supporting and maintaining children’s connections with birth families”].  It was specifically due to my commitment to Snap’s mom.  I have no idea where it is, but how annoying if I brought that to court a la “why are you all fighting you’re own mission?!”

btw- thanks to my foster agency for that.  there was a dinner and I missed the presentation because I was in Florida but it was a very nice gesture.  I should have been more grateful at the time.

Also, I so wish I could say to the judge "Remember me from this case a few years ago?  And the law guardian wanted me out of the court room and said "I don’t know who she is or why she keeps showing up for court" but you said no I could stay.  And then everyone felt like shit when I said I was an adoptee (a card I didn’t plan on playing) and was just there to make sure his Lifebook went on record and then I gave it to the law guardian. You and I are the only ones still standing. And now look at this nonsense.  Thanks for getting it and being supportive thus far.  Now, can you send some court marshals or something to get this done pronto?"

Apr 16

Wha??

Meghan just clarified that Snap’s brother’s foster agency has actually had my SCR clearance since April 8th.  And the person who is asking for it was told (and documented in an email) of this before the last court date.

Like, I just can’t.  This is all such an unnecessary waste of my time.  Time that should be spent with my foster-adopt children.  Is it incompetence or some fucked-up dysfunction? Or, both?  It’s like some perverted “How many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb joke”- but it’s not even ironically humorous.  It’s painful. 

Quick question for NYC child welfare professionals-

Do SCR forms have to be handed to foster agencies in original, or can they be faxed, scanned, etc.  Or rather, can a foster agency insist on an original?

You Gotta Believe accepted my SCR via scan (as a back-up for Meghan); however, Snap’s brother’s foster agency has put up every ridiculous obstacle imaginable so if I need to take off work and go hand it in in person tomorrow, I will.  It would be unpaid time off and take me most of the day, so I’d rather not.

And an update on Meghan and Snap’s brother.  After the foster agency that has Snap’s brother testified that Meghan was unresponsive- they did not respond to her multiple requests to explain what more they want/need from her in order to transfer Snap’s brother.  A week has passed.  Meghan had her visit with Snap’s brother today and the level of supervision they required (again, I sound like a Republican but it’s our tax dollars wasted…)- hideous.  The case worker sat and took 3 pages of notes during the visit. When she needed a fork for her lunch she stood at the doorway and shouted for help so as not to leave then alone at the agency for single moment.

It’s worth repeating that Meghan is a licensed foster parent for the exact same city government as the foster agency.  ACS would put 6 children in her home tomorrow if she let them; yet, she had to have the highest level of supervised visit that exists.  Nice.  She was also told by the bold, brand new case worker that she could not take any photos.  Mind you, Meghan is ‘kin’- this is not contested and kin or foster parent- both are encouraged to take photos for the child.  No one cares that Meghan already has photos of Snap’s brother and Snap’s mom from visits in the hospital from months ago.  Pictures that -should Meghan not get Snap’s brother- they should be begging her for so that he could at least have newborn photos, and maybe the only photos in existence with his birth mom when he’s older.  But nevermind that.

At 5:30pm someone from the foster agency finally responded to Meghan- it’s now 3 8[correction, my mistake] business days until court.  They stated she would need 2 SCR clearances from back-ups and if she couldn’t get the forms from You’ve Gotta Believe, to let her know.  This is something they could have said months ago but she was told to do it with You’ve Gotta Believe.  Meghan planned to scan and email them but I was all

RED FLAG.  They will wait until court to say they need the originals.  And everything will be postponed again.  The fact that I was just cleared through the exact same “State Central Register” by one foster agency a few weeks ago doesn’t matter- every agency will say they have to do their own (..tax dollars?..).

So, original required- anyone heard of this?  And, the staff who finally responded to Meghan doesn’t have an address in her signature and she could literally be in 1 of 4 or 5 offices spanning 2 boroughs.  Snap’s brother’s case worker made it clear in court that she doesn’t handle or know anything about homefinding (conveniently, no one from their agency did) so hunting down a site location for the homefinding department is a whole other complication.

This is the part where a graduate degree SHOULD NOT be required.  If the judge has made it clear that a child is going to be moved, why would a foster agency actively work to delay permanency for the child?  Will they lose points for the ‘lateral move’ or something?  Is it the extra paper work?

Also, Meghan was willing to let all of this go if it was clear that the foster mom (that she met today) was invested and hoping to adopt given the time that bonding could have already occurred.  Not the impression.  If I have to, I’ll go to court with her next week and get Snap’s brother’s adoptive mom to come with us as well.  Maybe that will help?

Also, Snap’s mom is still M.I.A. which is pretty typical but it would really, really help if she came to court and made her wishes known again- like Clementine’s birth parents did (again and again) for us.

Oh, and my favorite part of Passover…

… was when Rachel’s mom opened the door for Elijah and Sandy marched straight out of the apartment. We had to wait while she gave the elevator a lecture and experimented widely with the sound of her voice in the echo of the building’s hallway.

I had to go to the foster agency today to sign some papers and the 3rd person told me “You’re going to give Clementine a very good life”. Maybe that was something they’ve been told in a training to say? It doesn’t matter, it’s still a really nice thing to hear.

But of course that means whoever says it gives me an open door to start showing them a million photos of Clementine and Sandy on my phone for the next 15 minutes.