A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. --Forest E. Witcraft

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just Turn It In

This is Grace Week at school for May.  In her English class, the students can turn in missed assignments for up to 70% credit.  Normally late assignments are not accepted.

Last semester we has many missed assignments, so I have made a concerted effort to stay on top of what is assigned and due this semester.  Or at least I thought I had. 

English is the most difficult subject in this respect, because there are four subcategories to that class, each of which may have homework, but not always.  May did pretty good and only missed one assignment in English in January.  But then she missed 12 in two weeks time in February!  Argh!  Grant it, 8 of them were in a single packet, which she completed but then misplaced at the time it was due. 

As of today she has turned in 12 of the 13 missed assignments.  BUT now she has missed one more last week!  Hopefully she can turn that in too.

I talked with the teacher, who indicated that the reasons given for missing the assignments vary: didn't finish, left at home, didn't know it was due, can't find it. 

The teacher has solved the one for knowing when it's assigned and due.  Assignments are written on the board each day.  May has a terrible time copying them down.  So the teacher allows them to take a picture of the board with their cell phone at the end of class.  Ingenious!

I usually make sure that May completes the assignments.  Most of the time I ask to see each one (although sometimes she leaves "completed" ones in her locker at school). 

What I can't seem to solve is getting her to turn the assignments in to the right place at the right time!  I ask her in the morning if she has everything for the classes that day.  Answer is always yes, but I don't think she has really checked sometimes.  So now she has to pack up the night before.  How though do I get her to turn the paper in at school?!

She is in 7th grade.  This is her first year of switching classes, multiple teachers, and alternating day schedules.  But I feel like she should be able to handle the responsibility of turning her work in!  The bulk of her individual assignments are either an A or an F.  She can do the work; she just doesn't do it consistently.

I've removed many privileges, but that doesn't seem to make much difference.  If I have a big enough carrot out there for her, she sometimes becomes quite responsible.  But I guess I don't have the brain power to continuously come up with something important enough to force her to focus.

Any ideas?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Month

Little Precious has been with us a month!  It doesn't really seem like it's been that long.  She is growing like gangbusters and has officially outgrown NB sleepers (not long enough).  She weighed 9 lbs 3 oz at her one month check up, where the doctor pronounced her good on all fronts.  That's up quite a bit from 7.5 lbs at birth!

She sleeps well, over three hours at a time, which lets me get some sleep at night.  I am getting better at staying awake during the middle of the night feedings so I can go back to bed.  Spending three hours in the recliner/rocker just doesn't make for a good night of sleep.

The other kids have adjusted really well to Precious.  I honestly don't think we have struggled at all, other than me getting enough sleep. 

I have heard nothing from the case manager or case aide in the last week.  Apparently mom is not asking for visits, because none have been scheduled after the last two no shows last week. 

There is so much to be thankful for...
   a healthy baby
   all the kids getting along
   no sickness in the house
   Sweets here this weekend
   all doing well in school
   a great job
   good friends
   all of our needs met
   an awesome God whose plans are bigger than all of ours!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Need

A friend of mine who is also a foster parent just had her license reactivated on Wednesday.  On Thursday morning at 9am she was listed as available for a newborn placement.  Within one hour, she received four (yes, FOUR) calls asking her to take infants.  The case managers were literally racing to see who could get to her first with a baby.  She received a 5+ pound boy who is less than two weeks old.  He is tiny, but adorable!

The need is so great for foster parents right now.  With the economy down and foster care reimbursements being cut, the state has lost many foster families.  If you have ever considered being a foster parent, please check into it.  We NEED you.  The children NEED you.  There are so many reasons to step out and say YES!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To Ponder

"To whom much is given,

much will be required."

Luke 12:48 (paraphrased)

Comment made by pediatrician during one month checkup for Precious.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweets Saga

Sweets called Friday night and said her dad told her she couldn't come again this weekend.  She was reaaly upset, because he apparently said she can now come only once a month.  I calmed her down and then asked to speak to her dad.

I told him I understand she is staying with him this weekend but wanted to know if I could pick her up just for diiner with my parents on Sunday.  My mom is going into the hospital Monday for surgery and we wanted to get together before that.  He agreed I could pick her up at 4pm and bring her back home Sunday night.

Today I went to pick her up.  Of course, he is not home at 4pm and didn't answer my first two calls.  Luckily I was running late so we were able to re-route when Sweets did call and tell me where they were.  When I got there to pick her up, he "assumed" I was taking her overnight.  I told him I had to work and go to school tomorrow and couldn't bring her home.  I would bring her back tonight.

We went and had a fun dinner with my parents.  Sweets was not happy because she wanted to spend the night.  She finally explained that her dad WANTED me to take her overnight, because now he has to work tomorrow.  I guess he doesn't want to pay someone else to watch her.

During dinner Sweets and I slipped out and called him.  She asked if she could spend the night; he said yes.  She is now sleeping soundly in my bed.  All is right in our world tonight. 

Somehow I'll figure out the logistics of getting her home tomorrow night.  Bless Miss M who may be driving all over, so I can go to class and still go see my mom in the hospital. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Tonight we had a very low key evening.  We had a simple supper from the grill.  May and I baked zucchini bread.  The boys played outside, managed to get wet and everything!  Boys will be boys!

While I was fixing dinner, Buddy started a Star Wars puzzle that he had been given.  After dinner, he continued while I got BB in bed and Precious settled.  Then I went in to help him at his request.  May popped popcorn, which was their treat tonight.  She then asked if she could watch TV, and I asked her to come join us instead.

Note that May does not especially like puzzles, never has.  Even Buddy made a comment to this effect when I asked her.  But she brought in the popcorn bowl, and the three of us finished the puzzle.  It turned out to be a fun experience for all of us!

Friday, February 17, 2012

No Visit Again

Mom did not call this morning to confirm today's make-up visit with Precious.  The visit was canceled.  That makes 5 of 5 visits setup by the CA mom has missed.  Who knows what is going through her head!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Yesterday was the first court hearing for Precious.  Mom did show up; we talked off and on while waiting to go into the courtroom.  She held Precious some and was obsessed with taking pictures of her with her cell phone.

The court hearing was short.  Mom agreed to participate in the case plan.  The alleged birth father neither showed up nor has been officially served.  The judge read mom all of her rights and responsibilities and stressed the fact that due to the age of the child, this case will progress swiftly.  Mom has only a short time to get her act together.  Next court hearing set in two months to check status.

Today was the next scheduled visit for Precious with her mom.  Yesterday her mom said she would be there, but she had to call the CA who provides transportation for the children and supervises the visit at least one hour prior to the visit today.  Mom didn't call, and the visit was canceled. 

Then mom called seven minutes before the visit was scheduled to begin, from probably an hour away, asking to still have the visit.  Umm, no.  But the Case Manager (CM) asked the CA to reschedule for tomorrow.  Ugh.  Mom has to call the CA before 8am tomorrow to have a visit.  If she doesn't, I think all visits are canceled until further notice. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Good Day

Sweets called tonight.  I hadn't heard from her since last Thursday, when her dad said she couldn't come over on the weekend.  She was happy when she called, and she had a Happy Valentine's Day at school.

On the positive side, she still has the puppy that her dad previously told her she couldn't leave behind when she came to my house.  I guess he had a change of heart.

On the negative side, her dad was too busy to drive her to Children's Chorus rehearsal last week after he said he would.  I didn't ask this week; I'm getting her a ride again.

Until she starts dwelling on "missing" us, she seems to be doing fine.  Hopefully she will be able to come over this weekend!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

No Visit

I called the CA to confirm today's pick up for Precious' visit.  I was informed the visit is canceled because mom never contacted the CA this week.  My parting words were "Thank you very much for letting me know."  I don't think the CA had any intention of calling me, just not showing up.

Court is this coming week.  We'll see if mom shows up for that.  If she has given up all ready, I don't know what to think.  I just can't understand.  Addiction is a very nasty thing.

On another topic, Sweets didn't get to come this weekend.  Her dad said no.  When she asked why, he said "because I said so".  She was not happy Thursday night when this exchange happened on the phone.  Hopefully she will call sometime this weekend.

Supposedly, the final court date for Lil Sis is at the end of the month.  Maybe CPS will get out of the picture (because there is no way they are going to pull either of the girls anyway), and then dad can relax and go back to a more normal exchange.  Unfortunately, this may just be wishful thinking on my part, but that's where I am right now.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Strike Two

Today was to be the next visit for Precious.  Her mom called and confirmed the visit this morning.  The CA came and picked up Precious and drove 30 minutes to the visit location.  After she arrived, about the time the visit was to start, mom called and said she wasn't coming today after all.  The CA brought Precious back, having been gone only about an hour and fifteen minutes total. 

This is so sad.  Perhaps mom just had tranportation problems at the last minute.  Maybe she was afraid to be late again.  I just can't believe she doesn't want to see her baby girl!

Next visit is set for Saturday.  Mom has to confirm that morning by 9am for an afternoon visit.  We'll see.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I'm so proud of my kids and their individual reactions to Precious.  They have all accepted her with open arms and adjusted well to her joining our family, for however long it may be.

May is a mom in training.  She is both a nurturer and a rule enforcer.  She is a great help and always usually willing to go above and beyond with regard to all of her younger siblings.  She dotes on Precious, enjoys feeding her, and even doesn't mind changing her diapers.  She also plays with and distracts BB as necessary and wrestles him into his carseat when needed.  Bless you, May.  You will be a wonderful mother some day!

Sweets was a bit in shock when she came in last weekend and saw a baby.  "Who's that?", she asked.  She was a bit indifferent that first night, but remember, she had just been through a very lousy ordeal when I picked her up from her dad's house that afternoon.  After she got some sleep, she was much more interested in Precious, wanted to hold her, and was hyper vigilant letting me know any time she made any kind of sound.  At the end of the weekend, Sweets said she was glad Precious was here and would miss her as she would all of us.

Buddy is a great big brother.  He loves on BB like there is no tomorrow.  They tease and wrestle and are really good brothers.  Buddy has quite a bit of patience for an eight year old when this toddler gets into his stuff.  Buddy also really likes babies.  He likes to hold Precious and enjoys feeding her.  He is excited to have any baby around, but he thinks it's extra special that Precious is BB's sister.  Buddy is the one who continually asks how long she will be here.  His standard question is "Will she be here for [insert event]?" 

BB has really impressed me.  He is very protective of his time with me.  If Buddy would sit on my lap or lean against me, BB would come over and push Buddy to move and then climb up in my lap.  I was very worried that BB would be extremely jealous of me holding Precious.  That really hasn't happened, except maybe once or twice when he was super tired.  He is very curious about Precious.  He brings her pacifiers to her, puts blankets on her, hands me any bottles he sees, and tries to share toys.  He will sometimes climb in my lap if I am holding Precious, but he is very careful not to climb on her.  BB has adjusted well and seems to like Precious being here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Details - part 2

This is the second half of the story detailing the initiating of visits for Precious with her mom.  You probably want to read the first half before continuing.  I left off last time with the CA arriving 45 minutes late at my home to pick up Precious for the visit.

I was holding Precious as I answered the door.  The CA introduced herself.  I asked if she had a car seat; she said it was in the car.  I followed her out.  Luckily the weather here is beautiful right now.  She pulled an infant car seat (looked very new) from the back of the car and then proceeded to buckle in the base for the infant carrier.  I was impressed that she knew how.  [I can't tell you how many times I've rebuckled car seats in cars that have come to pick up my foster children.  I don't care if I hurt the feelings of the transporter.  I consider the children's safety more important.  I even had one worker tell me they were never trained on car seats and thanked me for showing her.]

As I finished getting Precious into the car seat, I casually asked if the CA had confirmed the visit with mom (since the CA didn't confirm it with me until I called her this morning).  She said mom had confirmed.  We small talked briefly, and the CA finally made some comment about she was a little worried that mom hasn't called her asking about the visit starting so late.  The CA then said mom hadn't called her today, but confirmed yesterday. 

I suggested the CA might want to call mom to confirm now, before driving almost 30 minutes to the location of the visit only to turn around.  She said she had to take Precious, wait five minutes, and then she could cancel the visit.  She indicated the court had already ruled on this.  I said (maybe not so politely) that no, the court hadn't ruled in this case, because we still haven't been to court for this case.  Again, I suggested she might like to call, since I have an older bio sibling, who has now been adopted, and mom NEVER showed up for a visit in that case.  [Okay, so I can be controlling, but I try to be very polite and tactful.  I just think it is silly to waste a lot of time and effort if not necessary, not to mention any stress that the child may be put through.]

The CA then placed a call to mom and got no answer.  She left a message indicating that she was running late, asked mom to call back, and told her that if she was not present at the visit location at 2:45pm, the visit would be canceled.

I told the CA that I could pick up Precious following the visit; we were heading out to dinner anyway.  Since the visit was starting late and I recognized that the parent is still entitled to the full two hours if the late start time is due to the CA, I would wait until about 4pm to leave and would arrive at the visit location around 4:30pm.  The CA then said that she was now guessing mom would be a no show, and if that were the case, she would wait a few minutes and then bring Precious back.  I asked her to please call me if mom didn't show up, so that I would know they were heading this way.  The CA left with Precious about 2:25pm. 

Assuming a 30 minute drive, they arrived at the visit location around 2:55pm.   I figured that 15 minutes would be the maximum time she would wait, especially considering it would already be almost an hour into the scheduled two hour visit.  So, when 3:15pm rolled around and I received no call, I started to think that maybe mom did show up.  Maybe this case would go better.

At 3:25pm, the CA called and said mom was a no show. She was now leaving to bring Precious home.  Five minutes later, she called again and said she "just noticed the time".  Since she wouldn't get to my house until about 4pm, why didn't I come pick Precious up instead?  I told her that would be fine, but that it would take me about 20 minutes before I could leave.  Since I wasn't expecting to leave before 4, my son was still sleeping, and I would have to wake him from his nap and get all of us in the van.  She said okay, that she would see me about 4pm.  Again, I told her I wouldn't be there until after 4 (remember, it's already 3:30, it's a 30 minute drive, and I can't leave right away).

I went in to wake up BB and discovered he was awake, lounging in his crib.  I got him up, changed him, and came out to realize I had missed a call from the CA.  She then called again about 3:40pm, saying she would just go ahead and bring Precious home (she would have been halfway here if she had left when she first called). 

At this point, I told her no (okay, there's the control issue again).  I said I already had half the kids getting in the van and we were going out for dinner anyway.  My son was already awake when I went in, so it was not taking as long as I had expected, and we were just about ready to leave.

We got to the visit location and the CA was sitting in the parking lot, waiting in her car.  It's now about 4:15pm, almost two hours after Precious was picked up.  I'm not sure if she was ever taken out of the car seat.

The one good thing that came out of this fiasco is that mom is now on this CA's "no show, no call" list.  This means mom must confirm the day of the visit, at least one hour before the visit is scheduled to start, or Precious won't be picked up and the visit will be canceled. 

The next visit is scheduled for Thursday morning.  I asked the CA to call me at work that morning to let me know if the visit is on or off so that I can, 1) let Miss M know the CA is coming to get Precious, and 2) prepare to leave work to pick Precious up at the end of the visit.  We'll see...I bet I'll be calling the CA Thursday morning to find out what is happening.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Details - part 1

For those who want an inside peek at the details of establishing visits, here goes...

Precious was placed on a Monday.  On Tuesday, the case manager (CM) asked if I would mind supervising a visit between mom and Precious, because it would take her a while to get official visits set up.  I told her Friday would work the best for me, and we agreed to 9:30am.  I specify that I am fine doing this, as long as mom is the only one visiting.  Apparently, there was quite a bit of drama from others at the hospital upon initial removal.  I also state that I can really only stay about an hour.

On Thursday she tells me the visit is confirmed for 10-11am on Friday.  Okay, good enough.  All the visit rooms are booked, but we can meet in the lobby.  Nice.

I arrive right at 10am on Friday.  Mom finally shows about 11:25am.  You can read the details here.  At least I finally got to meet mom of both Precious and BB.  I offer to bring Precious to court if I can, assuming it would be within the next week, and also offer to facilitate another visit the next Friday, if the CM doesn't yet have visits established. 

This past week I contact the CM again about a court date - still none set.  By Wednesday, I figure it has to be on Friday, since it is supposed to happen within 5-7 working days of removal, and we are already on eight weekdays.  On Thursday I get voicemail from a case aide (CA) whose primary job is to transport children to and from visits and supervise the parent(s) during the visit.  This social worker is at the bottom of the food chain at CPS.  The CA says she has setup a visit from 2-4 this Saturday, with regular visits starting next week on Thursdays.  She wants to know if I can help with transportation.

Thursday evening I call the CA back and say the visit times are fine.  I doubt I can transport this Saturday, but I can probably pick up from visits on Thursdays.  She is incredibly distracted during the phone call, and I hear a lot of background noise.  I ask if it would be better for her to call me the next day.  Yes, that would be good. 


Saturday...I call the CA in the morning and confirm the visit is on.  She will pick up Precious at my house at 1:30pm.  I tell her I might be able to pick up after the visit; I will let her know for sure when she gets here.

1:30 - nothing; 2:00 - still nothing; 2:15 - ding, dong, here to pick up Precious for her visit.  I recognize the CA from when I sat in the lobby for over an hour during the first visit last Friday.  She's slow, very, very slow; definitely at the bottom of the food chain.

To be continued...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

No Show

Today was the next scheduled visit for bio mom to see Precious. 

Mom was a no show, no call.  So sad.

Friday, February 3, 2012

So Not Fair

I went to pick up Sweets at 4pm today. Lil Sis and she were in the house with the other family that lives there. Sweets was obviously hiding something as she told me to wait outside. Lil Sis whispered to me that it was a puppy, as Sweets went in the other room.

Out comes Sweets with her backpack and her jacket wadded up.  I asked her what's in her arms.  She says her jacket.  I told her to hold it up and show me.  The truth came out.  I told her, no, she could not bring the dog to my house.  She started to get upset, saying it was little and could stay in her room.  I reminded her that I told her never again, after she smuggled a dog last year.

About that time, her dad drove up.  She told me she had to bring the puppy or her dad would take it back.  I still told her no, to let her sister watch it.  She finally resigned herself to that and then her dad told her no.  If she left the dog, it wasn't going to be there when she got back. 

What a choice?!  He knew I was upset with the dog last time.  He let her bring this puppy home, and then told her she had to stay with it or she couldn't keep it.  Sweets had to decide whether to stay home with the dog or come to my house knowing the puppy wouldn't be there when she came back.  I think he was shocked when she shoved the puppy at him and then ran and got in the back of my car.  I felt miserable.

I drove around the corner, parked the car at a McD's, and got out and loved on her.  I told her she shouldn't have to make a choice like that.  I told her I was sorry she couldn't bring the dog to my house.  I praised her for being a big girl and making a very hard choice.  I cried.  We went in and got a special drink for her, and she felt a little better.  She did great until bedtime tonight, when she said she would really miss her dog, that she didn't even get to say goodbye. 

I hope I did the right thing.  I really can't deal with a puppy right now, and I'm so irritated with her dad for putting her and me in such a situation. 

It was a very cute one month old teacup chihuahua.  I hope he gets a really good home!