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Bio-Momma Drama


Okay, that title may be a little over the top but it rhymes wink

We have had our 7 1/2 year old foster son for about 14 months. Reunification with bio-mom (dad is long out of the picture) is the current plan and next court date is in March, although at very most I expect them to start a longggg transition home and him to be with us until at least the end of the school year, and even that is doubtful. The situation is complicated and 3 involves siblings that are placed elsewhere AND a newborn who isn’t in care (but that is a story for another day) and it just feels like one of those cases that will likely drag out for years while mom does *just enough* to keep it from TPR. 

That says, he is VERY bonded to us, there is no doubt about it. He calls us ‘momma’ and ‘dadda’ about half of the time which seems to be a distinct intentional separation from ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ (what he calls his bioparents) and has told us many times that he wants to stay forever, wants to be adopted, even what he wants his new name to be.  We don’t push him to any of this, its all on his own, but he knows adopted children through our support group so the concept has been discussed. Bio-mom even told us SHE wants us to stay a part of his life always even after he returns home because he is so bonded and my husband is the one of the only good male role-models hes ever had.

When his therapist asked him where he saw himself living he said with us. Second choice was MY parents, third choice was bio-mom. 

Friday, randomly, he told me “I love you too much to ever leave” and said he didn’t want to ever go home to bio-mom. I mentioned it to the GAL on Saturday morning (scheduled visit) and so she had a chat with him.  He told her as well that he didn’t want to leave us or his current school. Sunday morning during a scheduled call with bio-mom she, for some reason, decided to go on this whole long “I can’t wait until we’re all living together again” spiel. Shes done it once before and we saw big an increase in bad behavior afterwards.

Sure enough, Sunday night he started acting out again. Monday he also lied - which he doesn’t usually do - and told this whole story about a bully at school hurting him (total fabrication, easy to disprove) and that the food at school that he normally eats was terrible and he didn’t eat lunch. He also got in trouble Monday and Tuesday at school, which is pretty rare.  I think he’s confused now and trying to not get hurt, so hes acting like he hates everything here and its no good and he’ll be happy to leave. Last night/this morning he was pretty much back to being okay, but not fully back to himself and I expect more issues in the coming days. 

How do I politely ask bio-mom not to make these sort of comments? I get that reunification is the goal and hes still her son, but how do I tell her that pointing that out really messes with his head? Or should I not say anything because he will eventually (in theory) go home and we just suck it up for the days/weeks it takes for him to bounce from the reality check. I don’t want him to be ill-prepared if/when he goes home, but I also don’t want him to not feel stable while he sits in limbo.

Replies

I’m scratching my head why the caseworker is promoting reunification. What does the child’s attorney think? The CASA worker? It’s their job to keep track of everything going on and advocate for the child in court. Foster parents are rarely allowed to beause they’re considered biased. I would suggest NOT coaching bio-mom in any way, and documenting everything. What she says, how he acts before and after visits, what happens at school after visits, everything.  With multiple previous removals and slow progress working her plan, don’t be so sure the child will be returned.  Is there a CASA rep involved that’s documenting all this? At some point, further delays may be the right thing for the parent, but detrimental to the child, being left in limbo for an extended period of time. To me it looks like mom will eventually leave the child with you, but if it happens outside of child welfare, the child may not qualify for all the services he would normally receive, and you won’t have any legal protections nor financial assistance. Our experience is that few moms willingly relinquish even if they know they can’t care for the child. They fight every step of the way primarily so they can rationalize they lost the child because the state took them away, not because of their parenting.  Understand I’m not saying to be adversarial with her but simply to document mom’s actions and the child’s state of mind, and let the court handle it from there. Best wishes.

Posted by hdctx on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:58pm

Hi toinfinityandbiond,

I am so sorry you and the child you are fostering are going thru this very very hard time. I feel kind of compelled to answer though I really don’t have any experience with this, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

First I’d think how (in specifics) you, and your family would ideally like to continue the relationship with him after he goes back, assuming he does. Then, I’d contact his mom.Tell her how much you care for her child, and how you will miss him when he moves home to her, but you want to help make this as painless and successful a move home for him as possible.

Talk about specifics of how you might be a part of his life after he moves home. What is she envisioning? How could you help her thru the process? Then you might suggest that you all hold off from talking about this in any way with him till there is a set date because right now it is just very scary and upsetting to him, and there is no clear cut information to give him.

This way you would also be able to share some info with him if he does ask, as in “your mom has said she wants us to visit you weekly” (or whatever) etc. And she might not feel threatened and think about with you how best to help him. Really hope that this works out for the best for this child.

Posted by Happy Camper on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:06pm
Posted by Happy Camper on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:06pm

Our BM wanted it to look like she gave her children a better life by signing TPR verses being terminated on.  She continually says she gave them up so they would have a better life, no one took her children.  LOL cause we all know it was happening anyways but each BM likes to create her own little story.

Posted by C3 on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:13pm

hdctx - In our area the CASA is called the GAL (Guardian ad Litem) but its the same role. We’re very lucky to have the one he has, she is WAY more involved than the ones assigned to some of my friends’ foster kids. She is documenting everything, including how he feels about moving. I don’t know if HE fully understands things and the roles people play sometimes, because when she asked him Saturday if there was anything else he wanted her to tell/ask the judge he asked for a go-kart, hahaha. (Apparently the judge = Santa!)  The problem is both the GAL and the county SW keep their lips pretty zipped and don’t tell me much about moms progress. SO FRUSTRATING.

I also keep a log of all the weekly calls he has with her for the GAL - how if she actually answers (about half the time) and how she is on the phone (positive, coherent, etc.), how long they last, and how he is before/ during/ after (regardless of if she answers or not) and the GAL checks in very frequently, especially after their bi-weekly visits, which she supervises, so there is tons of documentation. I also pass along anything I get from a woman I know who goes to church with mom and can sometimes fill me in on things.  I’m getting it all second hand so it can’t hold up on court but I find bringing it up during our monthly team meetings where everyone is together at least lets me some hint of a reaction from the SW. 

Part of our dragged out time line is because they lumped her last court date into a hearing for jerkface’s custody of the half-sibling, which was about to TPR and they gave him another chance.  They literally didn’t address him or his older sisters except for asking mom if she had a safety plan to keep jerkface away from the other kids who are afraid of him if he didn’t lose custody, and because it hadn’t quite been a year, their future wasn’t discussed.  I don’t believe for a second that she will keep him out of their lives despite what she promised the court - she told me at the very first court hearing, when the kids all came into care and I met her for the first time, she was going to get a restraining order and finally get away from him. Then ~2 months later she obviously did, and for more than a cup of coffee, because the baby conceived and neither denied paternity. Now they’ve gone from him being dad of 1/4ths of her kids to 2/5ths and I don’t believe for a second shes going to do enough to keep him away. Its so frustrating because this guy is so awful and she kept in him in their lives for years. I told the SW I wouldn’t even take the baby if he came into care because I wanted to protect our dude from jerkface and taking the baby would mean him being intertwined in our lives. 

I just want March to get here so we can hopefully have some sort of answer. I used to have a lot of faith in mom but when I found out over the summer that she was pregnant again - and that she’d fallen back into some old habits, even pregnant - I lost it all. If someone can’t stay clean when they are pregnant AND trying to get their kids back AND being held accountable, I have no hope anything will ever be enough. I don’t doubt that she loves them. But that isn’t enough.

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Jan 15, 2016 at 6:40pm

double post

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Jan 15, 2016 at 6:40pm

Mrs C—I did not understand your last post

Posted by Annab on Jan 16, 2016 at 12:14am

Mrs. C, I’m not sure what you are getting at… 

I report the things I hear to the social worker and GAL, even if it comes second hand, and I tell the source every time. I owe it to HIM to do so. They can both can do what they want with that information, and me telling them can’t hold up but they can choose to look into it and get statements from the people involved. His sisters were originally placed with this woman from church before officially coming into care (almost like emergency kinship) because of the relationship she has with the mom and DSS is well aware of who she is and has talked to her before based on what I’ve told them, so yes, if I hear that mom is acting strange and possibly is using again, etc, I pass it along. 

What I mean by reaction is that the social worker and GAL do not tell us how mom is doing, even when we ask for some sort of indication we just get canned answers. While I understand that they don’t ‘need’ to tell us, as his foster parent its frustrating to not even have so much as a hint as to what his future looks like after 14 months and living in 5-6 month windows between court dates, without barely a clue how they will go is exhausting for everyone involved. When I tell them something I hear, regardless of what it is, it creates a tiny bit of dialog that gives me a tiny peek into that window at least, because if I already know about something that they know about they are a little more willing to discuss.

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Jan 19, 2016 at 3:08pm

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