The System is Flawed Yet
I think we can all say the The System is Flawed Yet there are some amazing people that you can find tucked up in this flawed area of our government. I have been a part of the social services world for 15 years. Our first adoption was from the foster care system. We learned quickly…be mindful of who you can trust and nothing is as what it seems.
That is a sad statement, ya know. With our VERY first experience in this world, we were so eager and naive. We knew this what God called us to do. Our goal was give a child in need a home filled with imperfections and love.
We had no clue.
None about trauma, interrracial things, cultural things, and we just knew our worker and the kids’ worker would be completely honest in all they did.
Let Me Backtrack
OUR R & C worker was fantastic. She was honest, asked hard questions, and did her best to advocate for us. To this day, I can still call her. She remembers my husband and me and all our children. She was the best for us and I’m so thankful for her. She is a gem in the world of social work.
However, our kids’ social worker was a piece of work. I should have known something was off when she kept questioning our desire to expand our family. We initially was just going to try and adopt one child but a sibling set came available. We didn’t hesitate.
It was going to be a tight fit but we knew that we knew that we knew these kids were meant for our family. We were not a foster family. It takes some special people to be foster parents. I know many and they have the most sincere, loving hearts ever. For us, we knew that we didn’t want to love and then have them leave. It would have been hard for our other 3 children to understand and I thought I wouldn’t recover if that happened. So, we were considered an “adoption only” house.
Back in the day, there was a “concurrent” path. It may still be, I don’t know. I’ve been out of the loop for 15 yrs. This means that the child(ren) are walking down the path towards adoption. This can be for many reasons. Birthparents aren’t doing their caseplan, there have been no visits, there has been more than one complaint, or the child(ren) have been in the system for close to 17 mths out of 23 mths consecutively.
Once we understood that we would be considered “foster parents” for a moment or two, that TPR (termination of parental rights) had already happened with the birth father’s and the birth mother was set to relinquish her rights soon.
Statements Made by Their Social Worker
I seemed to ignore the BLARING statement of “I wanted to adopt these kids. I want them where I can see them and be in their lives forever. These are my dream children. You will let me see them and give me daily updates, right? Even after you adopt them, right?”
I assumed all social workers loved “their” kids and wanted to hear from them. Honestly, we thought this was normal because we had never had a placement. I had neglected to tell our R & C worker. She would have handled it.
Again, we were naive. We aren’t anymore.
Once she grilled us for a very long time, she consented to bring the children to us. She gave us her personal cellphone number and told us to text her their daily routine and a picture, everyday. Again, I thought that was normal.
It is not.
I did that, as well as, email her daily. The kids came with the clothes on their backs and 2 bottles. That was it. There were no clothes, no baby stuff, no toys, nothing. Our daughter, Shay, was 2 years old. Our son, Tay, was 10 mths old. They were so precious and so terrified. It was heartbreaking.
Kicking Into High Gear
So, I had 5 kids 10 and under. I homeschooled and I did everything that was required of me from the state. We had taken all the classes, passed all the things, did monthly visits with our R & C worker, stayed in CONSTANT communication with the kids worker. We did all the things.
It was an adjustment.
A good one and boy did we love them, provide for them, embrace them and their culture, and did all we could do. Yet, my kids were VERY sick when they came. It started with a constant cold which ended up with some asthmatic issues. My daughter had ringworm on her nose…which she blessed that gift to ALL of us. It was constant.
Doctors Upon Doctors
We were constantly sick, now all of us. I cleaned constantly and they were always on some type of medication. At one point, I would have the 2 babies and Noah all in their chairs doing breathing treatments. We were at the doctor’s office all the time. That part was very hard. We just couldn’t get well.
We did weekly visits with biomom. I went into this being told that I would come to the office. Then, the kids’ social worker would come get the children. Next, I would leave for an hour and let them have their visit. It was important to me for that connection to be there. I had empathy for their birthmom. She is a product of the system, as well. She never had a chance to live a full and normal life. It is really sad.
Now, is that how our visits went?
Uhm, no. Thank you to the unethic duties of this particular social worker.
I remember the first time I took the kids. I had ALL of my kids with me. It was my understanding that I was just to pull up and the social worker would meet me outside. Okay, no big deal. Well, I pulled up. I had fixed the kids’ hair and had them looking all spiffy for their mom. Again, these visits were important to me because it is important for the kids to see their mom.
As It Happened
When I pulled up, I didn’t even get my car turned off. Before I knew it, my side door flew open and there were 2 women, I had never met, were crawling into it grabbing at the children. That terrified all the kids. I got out and asked who they were.
I was quickly told that she was the “real mom” and she was going to get her kids back. The other lady was a friend. I tried to blow it off and make peace with her. I didn’t want her to fail. I wanted her to be a part of her kids’ life. I knew she loved them and they loved her. I was trying to soften the moment.
The social worker was no where to be found. These ladies jerked the kids out of my van and quickly began screaming at me because I had done their hair wrong. I apologized profusely because I simply didn’t know. I was willing to learn.
She continued to scream at me for everything. I sat there and took it. Why? Because I knew this was a hard moment for her and I didn’t want the children to be subjected to 3 (me, bio mom, and the friend) women who were escalated. That wouldn’t have helped anything.
She was saying horrible things to me for about 30 minutes until the social worker finally walked in. She looked at me and just smiled that smug smile. Inside I was traumatized and she sat in the back, listening, and did nothing. She did nothing for me and nothing for the kids that she loved and wanted to adopt.
I told her that I would never do that again. It was so upsetting for me, for my kids, and for Shay and Tay. I brought my kids to every visit. I drove them an hour, weekly and the social worker NEW IN ADVANCE, that she wouldn’t be there. She never told me. She just let me drive up there with 5 kids and 9 times out of 10, my kids were puking. Again, they were ALWAYS sick.
She Didn’t Stop There
This social worker went even further in her actions. There was a point, after a visit, that my kids brought home the flu. Well, per usual, we all got the flu. It was the deep dog, old-fashioned flu. For kids, in the foster care system, you can’t just “ride out” a virus. They have to be seen. We were becoming great friends of our pediatrician.
Well, this time, we were all bed ridden because we were all so dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea. I called and made the kids an appointment and then realized I was too weak to even drive. My husband had to work and we didn’t have any options.
I did what I was supposed to do. I called the social worker and asked if she could take them. I had already called and talked to the nurse. She said there was nothing they could do because it was viral, but she understood that they had to be seen. I was already doing everything I needed to do.
Well, she came and picked the children up. Then, HOURS later, she called and said that they had been admitted to the hospital. I called my husband and he came to be with the other 3 children and I flew to the hospital. It wasn’t completely necessary, from what I was told, that the children even be admitted. Yet, because they are “foster kids” they went ahead and did as she asked.
They were only in for that day and I never left their sides. They shared a room and we snuggled. I thought that was the end of that sick saga but boy was I wrong. A few days later, we were better and I was deep cleaning, sterilizing, all the things in my house. It was a few days before my son’s first birthday.
I received a call from a number I did not recognize. There was stuff piled everywhere. The kids were happily all playing because they were feeling better. I answered the phone and it was the supervisor of my kids’ social worker. There was no clarity for me. I couldn’t understand why she was calling and not the social worker or why she was calling for that matter.
In a moment, she said “we had court today and you need to have the kids ready to leave in an hour.” First, I was not told about court. Second, why was there court and what was being discussed. Third, what the hell did she mean they would be leaving in an hour.
I asked all those things. She said that the social worker had presented the case that I was an unfit mom because we had the flu. I could not defend myself, call witnesses, have the doctor or nurses to talk to the judge, nothing.
Time Stood Still
I was hysterical when I got off the phone. Immediately I called my husband and he flew home. We did as we were told and got their stuff together because NOW they had stuff that we had gotten for them.
The 3 kids were in my room watching a movie when this bitch of a social worker walks up with her smug ass smile. My kids were clawing up my back to get away from her. I told her to just give them a minute. They were confused.
She did not do that.
She RIPPED them out of my arms with them screaming MOMMY MOMMY! It is a phrase that I can still hear in my head 15 years later. There was no explanation, no reason that she went before the judge without telling us, no calling our R & C worker, nothing.
I escaped to the bathroom because I was close to vomiting and I could not continue to listen to them scream for me and watch her drive off. Honestly, I thought I was going to die. I wanted to die. It was horrible.
In my fashion, I told my husband I was going to bed. When I woke up, I wanted all trace of the children gone…like they never existed. Yes, that is how I deal with things. No, it is not appropriate or healthy.
I tried to reach out to the social worker to see if I could find out what happened or if I could see the children. She said that she wanted the kids closer to her so she lied about me and my husband. Who the f*ck does that?
One Year Later
We had accepted another placement in March (our kids G and D) and we were trudging through their trauma and my PTSD about doing this again. You know, sickness, doctors, visits, etc. Luckily, their social worker was AMAZING and we became great friends. I understood the role of a social worker from a seasoned one who had not interest in adopting children. We still had our regular R & C worker, so that was consistent and good.
Granted, these kids came with some issues that I will address in another post. Not details about their personal history but about the lies we were told by someone OTHER THAN their social worker or our R & C worker.
Their is a foster care family christmas party. We went for our kids with no intentions of seeing our children that were taken from us. Sadly, we got there and they were the first people we saw. The kids were in another “race acceptable” foster home.
Bart asked me if I wanted to see them. My mama heart said yes but my logical brain said no. My heart won out. I had 2 things I was terrified of. 1. Them remembering me and wondering where I had been. 2. They wouldn’t remember me at all. Logically, I knew they wouldn’t remember me. Yet, I tried.
I walked to the table they were at and I squatted down. Then, I said “babies.” This is what I always called them. They turned around and they RAN to me and leapt in my arms. Oh..my heart, my babies. They were safe, well dressed, loved and they remembered me.
Bitch of Christmas Returns
As we are in the moment of hugging our children, I heard a familiar voice talk to the foster parent. Then, the bitch of a social worker came around and literally ripped them out of my arms again. Again, the children were screaming for me and again, she had no regards for their hearts or mine. I could not understand why she did that again. We were not harm to them, we were not going to get them back, we were not talking to the foster parent, though they knew who we were… we were no threat.
She whisked them out of the room with no explanation. I talked to the R & C worker and our current social worker. They sympathized with us but could offer no explanation. I left the room and did not return.
The Next Year
I refused to go. My husband took the children and saw my babies. He took pictures. They did not recognize him. The social worker no longer worked there. I’m assuming she got her unethic ass fired for doing this to other foster parents.
I’m so glad she was found out. I’m so glad she was fired. I have not forgiven her. I miss my babies everyday. I do not talk about them for a reason because it is hard for people to understand. Listen, I have mad respect for those in the field of social work. There are some amazingly dedicated workers that are overworked and underpaid. It is a painful job seeing and hearing some of the worst stories ever. They work tirelessly.
She was not one of those good people. She was evil and she deserved to be fired. I’m thankful she is no where near those kids. I do know they were adopted by an older couple who had the means to care for them financially and I’m hoping love them the way they need to be loved.
I miss my kids. Everyday. The would be 15 and 17 today. I still have pictures that I have kept up in my home. I have jewelry with their names on it. People ask questions and I dance around them.
This is the year I stop dancing. Shay and Tay will forever be a part of our family. They will forever be our children. Forever loved and prayed over by us. I hope that I will be able to forgive her someday. She probably doesn’t even remember us. Forgiveness is about my healing it does not give her permission to abuse her job and resources for her own gain.
Side note: She didn’t get to adopt the kids. So, she got fired and lost the children…moved away in fact. Brings a bit of joy to my life. Again, I will forgive her someday but today is not that day.