Friday, January 17, 2014

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Since it's been awhile since I've posted anything other than sporadic reviews, I think it's time to give an update.
   Everything has been so crazy here this past month! On the 18th of December, we accepted 2 new kids into the house. They were a sibling set, both girls, 13 and 12. This was their first time in care, so the social workers didn't know their...quriks.
   The first week was fine, because they were new and scared. The second week was tough because it was Christmas, and everyone was away from their family. The Friday after Christmas, the new girls and I had a case planning meeting with their social workers. The girls were told that they would be in care for a lot longer than they though. After that meeting, the younger girl started being truly awful to the set of kids we've had since October.
   Let me give you some examples of awful. First, she hid some of her sister's Justin Bieber stuff under the other girl's bed. The sister was freaking out because she couldn't find her stuff. Then the younger one "found" the items and claimed that the 10 year-old stole them. My husband and I knew this wasn't true because: we've never had problems with the girl stealing before, she hates Justin Bieber, and she hates books. We called the 12yo out on lying and stealing.
   The next bit of drama came that night. The 10 year old came sobbing downstairs a few hours after bedtime. She was clutching her favourite shirt, which was ripped. By ripped, I mean there were 4 tears from hem to nearly collar. I had just washed it, so I knew it was OK when it went upstairs. The 10yo had put it away recently, and knew it was fine then. I called the 12yo down and asked her why she ripped it. "I didn't!" She yelled. Since there was no proof, we couldn't do anything.
   The next day, was more excitement. The 12 yo came downstairs holding index cards. On these index cards were notes. "I hate my brother [name]." "I think [12 yo's sister] is ugly." "[My husband] is mean and Ashley is a bitch." and "[12 yo] is a fucking whore." All of these were "signed" with the 10 year old's name. It was obvious the 10yo didn't do it. She was hysterical. "I would never say things like that about Ashley. She knows I love her, right? I wouldn't say it!" (Plus who would sign something like that??)   We took handwriting samples from everyone, and surprise. It was the 12yo. So I called her downstairs and talked to her. I said "I know you wrote those cards." "I would never say those things!" I stared at her. "Well, you didn't say them. You wrote them. Clearly you have no qualms about writing those things." She protested again that she didn't do it. I showed her her paper and the notecards. I pointed out the w's, t's, s's, and y's. I told her that I wasn't stupid, and whatever tricks she did at home would not fly here.

   After that, we asked their worker to find them a new home. We had to give a 14 day notice. Honestly, I was ready to drive them to the foster office and drop them off.
   In those two weeks, there was lying, more stealing, punching, crying, arguing, screaming, and everything else you can imagine. Every night there was some new drama; some new torture; some new fight. Every day, my husband and I counted down until the 2 weeks were up.

    During that time, I started school. I was taking an automotive technology class. I had the idea that I would become a mechanic and fix cars on the side to make pocket money. I know nothing about cars, and I had no idea what anything was. I would come home with hours worth of homework and studying, just to get on base level. However, it was still my responsibility to cook, clean, and help with homework. Plus, once the kids got home, I was in charge of dealing with them until my husband got home from work, and then a good deal after as well. (He doesn't make a very good bad cop...I'm the one that has to enforce). In the first week of class, I failed a test, and the program director asked me if I was sure this was what I wanted to do.
   I thought about it. I have no idea anything about cars, anything mechanical. I don't have the time or energy (emotional or otherwise) to study the way I need to. So I could either stress myself out and maybe pass, or drop my course load and take a few months to re-evaluate. I chose the latter, but feel like I've failed again.

   On a high note, we are starting to get the ball rolling with a sibling set we are interested in adopting! I just wish things would go faster and that social workers could communicate better.

   The girl's worker told them on their family visit Sunday that they would be leaving our house on Friday. Totally unprofessional! Because, of course, they burned every bridge. The 12yo said on numerous occasions "I don't care what I do, because I'm leaving in X days." Her behaviour also got way worse, because she knew there was a countdown.
   The day before they were going to leave, I tried to cement a time frame with their case worker. Remember, she's had the past 2 weeks to find a new place. She acted super surprised that the girls were leaving! And Friday, the day they were told they would be gone? By 2 o'clock, there were no placements. She called to ask if we could keep them over the weekend. I said she's had her 2 weeks, and that I didn't want to deal with the behaviours that would occur if they didn't leave when their worker said they would.
   Their worker called back 2 hours later asking if we could please, please, please keep the 12 yo. She found placement for the older girl, but nobody wanted the younger because of her behaviour. I refused again. Eventually, my husband wound up taking the older one to her new placement, and the younger one was to stay there for a few hours until the worker could find a home for her.
   I don't know if she found a place. I don't care, either.

  This experience has taught me that I will not let people push me around. Even if I yell, threaten, sometimes mock, and sometimes swear at the kids, I will do everything in my power to protect them. I will not tolerate abuse, mind games, or unhealthy environments. It is my job to keep the kids in my custody safe, and I do a pretty good job of that.
  I just wish sometimes that keeping kids safe didn't require so much energy!

6 comments:

  1. I'm sorry that things have been so rough. I feel bad for the kids but it's a good thing that you recognized your limits. It sounds as if their problems were beyond your ability to help and that it was interfering with your ability to help the kids that you'd already taken on.

    As far as school goes it's definitely not failing to take a little time to decide for sure what you want. I will say though that when a friend of mine went to school to be a motorcycle mechanic she had a lot of (male) instructors try to discourage her. She was the only female student and while the instructor was really encouraging to the male students who were struggling he was constantly encouraging her to question whether she was in the right field. Where we live the school district occasionally offers basic automotive courses for lay people for a fairly nominal cost. Sometimes community colleges will offer this as well. If there's something similar near you that could be a way to test your interest and get a few of the basics under your belt. Good luck. I hope things settle down for you a little now.

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    1. Good ideas, thanks! I think I'll just wait a bit longer to figure out what I want to do.

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  2. 12 is such a hard age to be a person but there is NO reason to be so mean. I agree with Angela (surprise, lol) that recognizing your limits is a positive thing but even more so when you're responsible for the kids you've had since October. That poor 10yr old! Glad you made it through!

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    1. Thanks! It was pretty touch and go for awhile.

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  3. I'm really glad you made such positive decisions. Going back to school is stressful. It's not worth driving yourself crazy by trying to make school work while also trying to juggle a household of teenagers with their own needs.

    It sounds like the pair of sisters needed a different placement in the worst possible way. The 12 year-old clearly can't be in a house with a younger female placement. (And setting up a 10 year-old that she's never met before - repeatedly - isn't normal behavior.) You were protecting your previous kiddos, but honestly, you were also protecting the 12 year-old, too. She needs to be somewhere safe - and non-triggering - until she can return to her bio family or receive a permanent placement.

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    1. Thank you. It's been a challenge reframing my thinking to be more positive.
      (And I didn't think setting up other kids was normal behaviour, but I wasn't sure. I'm glad to know my instincts were right!)

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