I feel like I've been living in a bad TV drama the past couple of weeks: police reports, arrest warrants, homelessness, drugs, prostitution, calls from jail, repeated calls from strange numbers, intoxicated threats, locked doors, and a relative resource.
About three weeks ago, I started getting really frustrated and worried about how Baby 9's case was being handled. I completely lost my cool with the caseworker and made her cry. She never agreed to work harder for 9, but offered an, "I'm sorry I've disappointed you.". In court she had said the county had "no concerns" with moving forward towards reunification, but I knew there were several incidents that were cause for concern. I took my concerns up to the supervisor who said the information CPS had was not enough to take action but she would be willing to address the issues with the family. This led to a decrease in the amount of visits and increase in supervision on the case.
I was so angry with the agency. I could clearly see that the situation was getting more and more unsafe for Baby 9, but they did not. They were treating me like I just didn't want to let her go because of my own attachment. The truth is I don't want to let her go, but I would. I've done it before. This was different, something was wrong here.
Literally as I was on the phone with the supervisor, the whole case started to crumble.
Baby 9's Mom essentially imploded.
She can't come to the visits at the county building because she would be arrested upon arrival. I have told her not to come here because of the threats to remove Baby 9 from my home. She was calling every 2 hours, but now hasn't called since Sunday. I am locking my doors and windows for the first time ever. Baby 9 went from 4 visits per week and heading towards overnights to having 1 visit in the past month.
I'm angry. I'm angry at addiction. How dare addiction take up residence in my child's Mother and set itself above my baby?
You see, I've watched it. I've seen addiction step back and let Mom do what she wants to do. She wants to be normal. She wants to complain about raising a toddler, and have a husband that comes home every night at 5:30 ready for dinner. She wants to be in church every Sunday and make a big pot of sauce for dinner after. She wants to be a good Mom. Then right when it looks like she may just make it, addiction steps in and reminds her it is in control. It doesn't matter what she wants . It doesn't matter who she could be. It doesn't matter that even in her lowest place, she always loves Baby 9. What matters is that addiction is more important. Addiction is stronger than she is. Addiction needs her more than her child does. I've looked 9's Mom right in the eye and listened to her tell me very articulately that she does not want addiction. She is not choosing addiction over her child. Addiction chose her.
We can look at situations like these and claim rather self righteously that this is all choice. Parents choose not to be safe for their kids. Parents choose to use drugs and alcohol. They just don't love their kids enough. They don't want their kids enough. It just isn't that simple. There's not good people and bad people when it comes to addiction.
Addiction has never chosen me. I've gone out and had wine with my friends this past week. I took diet pills in high school. I've smoked cigarettes at parties. I've used left over vicodin from my wisdom teeth extraction to settle me down after a horrible day. Then I stopped, and continued on without craving those things again. I've never counted change to buy beer. I've never asked a stranger for a light. I have never messed up so badly that I had to lie and cheat in fear of getting caught. This was not because I'm more in control than 9's Mom. It's not because I've never batted my eyes at addiction. It's because addiction didn't want me.
I want to yell until addiction doesn't want her either.
I want Baby 9 to have everything- including a healthy Mom.
I found myself praying for her Mom relentlessly this week. I took a drive down the streets where I thought she could be and I prayed the name of Jesus over my daughter's Mother. I prayed Jesus would take her from addiction and light her path to safety. I prayed that Baby 9 gets the chance to hug her Mom at Kindergarten graduation. I can't love anyone enough to save them. Baby 9's Mom is not stronger than addiction. Only Jesus can love her enough. Only Jesus can make addiction flee.
Then I got a call from the caseworker today. They are ready to start the steps of filing a termination. I'm so sad for Baby 9 and her family even though I know that this is the only way to give 9 permanency. She will not be in an environment that lets her grow and be secure if she returns home or stays in foster care. We will absolutely adopt her if that is needed. We would be so blessed to be hers forever.
But now there is a relative resource thinking about having a conversation about possibly stepping forward.
Stay tuned for the next episode.