It seems like it has become trendy to complain about social services. You’ve probably seen the stories of parents ending up in the crosshairs of CPS because their 11 year old was playing outside by himself for an hour and a half while his parents were caught in traffic or heard of the case in Massachusetts where the state took custody of a teenager. Doctors at one hospital disagreed with the diagnosis of doctors at another hospital and alleged abuse…
I made the mistake of reading the comments on some of these articles and it was… ugly. Hideous. Wrong.
People were left and right on multiple threads bashing the work that child protective services does, saying they are just causing trauma by taking kids and they shouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore… and this is the tame version I am repeating here. People were asking why isn’t CPS commenting on cases and why aren’t they answerable for cases gone wrong and insisting that the whole system needs to be done away with.
I’m sure you’ve heard the sentiment. Maybe even felt it yourself.
There are two competing narratives going on right now regarding the work of CPS and foster care.
Last summer, of course at the very beginning, Luke had an accident and broke his foot. We went from, “I really hope that isn’t broken,” to “I think that might be broken,” and then finally, “I’ll be surprised if it isn’t broken” over the course of hours as it started to bruise and swell up. The x-rays the next morning were sickening. It is definitely bad when even I can tell that it’s broken since my expertise in radiology is limited to, “yep, that’s a foot”- it was really broken.
This week didn’t turn out quite like I thought it would be. Last week was an emotional high since we are now officially adopting our precious foster daughter (if you missed it, you can read it here). I think I had expected that feeling of walking on cloud nine to continue… and it didn’t.
I’m late in posting this because I feel like I am still processing what has happened.
Friday was a profound day: my foster daughter had a court hearing to make some decisions for her case. I’ve always hated court dates because they are such a poignant reminder of how broken everything is. It’s heartbreaking that a situation could go so off the rails that it ends up being debated and decisions made by outside parties in a court of law. Nobody wins. Ever. It is simply about mitigating the damages.
I’m feeling the strangest mix of emotions as I’m absolutely elated and wretchedly heartbroken. My foster daughter’s biological mom had her parental rights terminated on Friday.
We are going to adopt her.
I had a completely unexpected and hilarious conversation with my seven-year old this week. For some reason, he was really interested in the photos that are on our refrigerator.
Luke was looking at them and asking questions about when they were taken and he came to the photo of Ethan and him holding Jackson about two weeks after I had him.
Luke looked at me in utter surprise:
I feel like I am still processing what happened. It is the strangest mix of emotions I’ve ever dealt with: I’m ecstatic, heartbroken, thankful, worried, peaceful, and probably still a bit in shock.
My foster daughter’s bio dad made the decision to relinquish her to us.
Let that sink in for a minute.
When I was a little kid, I loved to swim. Before I swam competitively though, there was a certain amount of fear mixed in. My parents did a good job of teaching me to have a healthy fear and respect water. I had a near drowning experience that made me realize the fine line between fun and danger (just so you know, it is never a good idea to fall asleep while hanging on the pool wall during your swim lessons as a 4 year old).
Some fear is healthy. Living in fear is not nor is the absence of fear.
The past two weeks have been tough. I mean really tough.
It started when our two-year old began coughing on a Tuesday. Jack was doing okay, but by Friday, Ethan was coughing so hard he was crying begging to stay home from school. He is the kind of kid who is so tough that when he sliced open his foot playing barefoot basketball (a not good idea, as he now understands) at the neighbors, he had to be carried home. He left a trail of blood behind and never once cried.
I’ve had something on my chest for a long time. A really long time. And I was once guilty of it too.
Judgment of people whose kids are in foster care.
I used to think, “Seriously? How could you let stuff get that bad that someone had to come take your kids for their safety? Don’t you even care?”