Thursday, June 9, 2011

Surgery, Relatives, and Court- OH MY!

We started off the week with a bang- 7am surgery for baby 4 on Monday. I had started prepping him for the hospital 4 days before. Everyday we went through, "You're going to put on pajamas and watch TV in bed while you wait for the Dr. The nurse is going to give you a poke like last time, but I'll hold your hand. Then the Dr will give you a ride in the bed to the room with big lights on ceiling. They'll do a nebulizer mask before your nap and when you wake up, I'll give you your present!".

Since 4's parents have custody of him, they have to sign all consents for medical care. I was able to get consent from Dad at last weeks visit, and didn't I leave it in the kitchen when we left for the hospital? So Brandon had to rush down to the hospital with it before they could take 4 to surgery.

Baby 4 wakes up really cranky from anesthesia, so that spurred my idea to bribe him with a new train set for after surgery. When he woke up, he was still really belligerent, but he was yelling, "Where's my train set?!" instead of trying to jump off the bed like last time.  He did so well in recovery, we were able to come home by the afternoon. After an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, he was up- playing, and eating like normal.

I was expecting 4's bio-family to come to the hospital. I had been told they would call me on Friday to find out the time and would be staying throughout 4's procedure. I wasn't thrilled about being responsible for supervising their interactions with 4, but I could understand their desire to be close while he was in surgery. I had told 4's out of state relative resource that she would need to contact one of the family members who would be present to find out how the surgery went. When no one called me or showed up on Monday, I felt bad relative resource wouldn't know what happened. I called her after 4 was tucked into bed at night. She was very indifferent about 4's medical condition and instead wanted to know if I would be shipping his stuff to her on Wednesday when he is discharged from foster care. I held myself together answered vaguely and nicely like a well-behaved foster parent.

I hung up the phone with relative resource and immediately emailed the caseworker a eloquent version of, What is going on?!? I got a response Tuesday morning that went something like relative resource has a lawyer who is working overtime to get 4 placed out of state. On Wednesday at court, we'll see what happens. Nice. No one had told me about court on Wednesday, and I have a sneaking suspicion I would have never known if I hadn't made that call. There are so many concerns I have with 4 moving anywhere right now, especially with someone who has no idea how to care for him and hasn't even seen him since his medical condition. I definitely let everyone who would listen know every single one of my objections.

Wednesday night, I got a call from the caseworker. She hadn't gone to court, but her supervisor had and told the caseworker nothing happened in court and any decision about relative resource is probably going to take a while. That was all the info we have. I know for sure relative resource wasn't happy about what happened because she didn't call on Wednesday and today she didn't say anything about court. So I got all riled up for no reason.

This is the first case where I haven't been going to court. I never missed one appearance for Babies 1,2, or 3 and their caseworkers have always been very forthcoming with information about times and dates of every hearing. Foster parents have the legal right to attend any and all court dates pertaining to a child in their home. Until the child has been in the home 12 months, foster parents just sit in the gallery. At any point, the foster parents are allowed a lawyer (that they pay out of pocket), but that lawyer would charge $225/hr to sit in the gallery with the foster parents. I like going to court because it gives me clear first hand info about the case, a little face time with the family and law guardian, and shows the judge that normal, committed people love the child. When this case came up, and I was getting resistance from the county about attending court, I thought it wouldn't hurt to step aside this time and skip court. My homefinding caseworker agreed. Was it worth it to rock the  foster care boat? I have the right to be there, but not the obligation. Another consideration was the difficulty in getting a trained babysitter for 4 so I can do anything, much less sit in court for hours. After this, though, I think it's time to start getting involved.

That's our week in foster care- never a dull moment. We also turned down two Hallelujah calls for kids over our age range, and I was offered the chance to become a foster parent trainer and co-teach the certification classes in our county. I'll be going to "train the trainer" classes in July.

Next week we're getting respite 8, a seven month old boy, and logging some training hours at a Lifebook seminar. I'm also hoping to get a blog post or two going.

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