Sunday, June 28, 2015

It's Quiet Around Here

Friday morning, we went to court and the judge ordered Evie and her brother be returned home, with a review hearing to be held in three months.  There were lots of conditions, including that mom would keep up with the kids' medical and counseling appointments, as well as counseling for herself.  Court lasted about 5-10 minutes, and then the judge said, "So be it" after the DSS lawyer, the Guardian ad Litem, and the mom agreed to all the conditions. 

I came home and packed Evie's things (with TT's help!).  I had been organizing all week, but didn't want to pack her things - one, because she would know that something was going on; and two, because if I packed her things, it was me saying that she was going home - and I couldn't handle deciding that, and then have her NOT leave.  I originally had in my head that I would have at least several hours to get the packing done, but then they said that the transport worker would come get Evie after she picked up her brother and his stuff and got him to their mom.  I panicked because that meant I had to get things together quickly, and thank goodness TT was available to help. 

Then I went to pick Evie up from daycare.  When I told her she would be going back to her mom that day, she said a pretty unenthusiastic, "Yay!"  (I think it just didn't sink in right then, because later she told me, "I thought you meant I was going to see my mom today.")  She said she thought she might be going to cry, and I told her that it was okay to cry and that it was okay to be happy and sad at the same time. 

When all was said and done, the van was almost completely filled with Evie's stuff and she left to go be with her mom.  It was definitely a bittersweet moment.  I was so happy for Evie and her family that she would be able to go back to live with her mom; but also worried that they might not stay there forever.  It was time for her to leave, but I was sad to have my first child, the one who had lived with me for the last thirteen months, leave my home.  But it definitely is what's best for all of us right now. 

I have been out of town this weekend, so it's just been tonight that things are "back to normal" without Evie here.  It's definitely quiet in the house!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Three Little Words - A Review

 
 
One of my foster mom friends let me borrow this book.  It is a memoir of Ashley Rhodes-Courter, who was in fourteen different foster homes over the course of nine years. 
 
This is an almost unbelievable account of all of the terrible things that happened to this girl in foster care.  It tears my heart apart that a child who is already in turmoil from being removed from her home and family, has to endure the kind of abuse and humiliation from the people who supposedly were keeping her safe from what she was removed from.  It is sad to me that the place she seemed happiest while she was in care was in a group home (in my mind, the last place a child in foster care should be; for her, it was a haven).  It is also really sad to me that the foster care system failed her in so many ways. 
 
Despite all of this, Ashley moves into adulthood as an inspiring and positive member of society. 
 
The book is very well-written and captivating.  At times, the content was difficult to read - not because of how she was writing it, but rather because it was so hard to fathom that the things she was describing could have actually been happening in the 1980's and 1990's. 
 
Highly recommend this book!

Tank Update

I texted with Tank's aunt the other day.  She said they went to court a couple of weeks ago, and DSS turned custody over to her.  In her words, "He is no longer a foster baby."  She said Tank's mom will have to hire a private lawyer to get custody of him back after she finishes all the things she needs to do.  When I was talking with her a few weeks ago, she said she had told mom she would help her, as long as mom was doing the right things.  He's in a great place right now, and I'm glad he's not part of the system anymore. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Profound


Roller Skating

Here is Evie roller skating.  She is in the one in the polka dot skirt.
 
video

Hairstyles

I ended up putting the side ponytails into twists the second week.












I took Evie to the local cosmetology school, and for $20 and less than two hours, her hair was washed, combed, and in this style that I'm hoping will still last another week or so.  I think it might be the best $20 I have spent on her!  Although my styles end up coming out looking good most of the time, I do get frustrated and fuss more than I would like, and it is a very time-consuming process.  


Photo Journal

More swimming lessons.  At the end, Evie was able to swim about 5 feet (with her head underwater) and float on her back by herself (but only if someone put her there)

 
Evie's brother had his birthday, and this is what EVIE came home with that day.  I said, "But it was J's birthday."  Evie responded, "But my mom gave me stuff, too.  She gave him stuff when it was MY birthday."  Then when I asked her what he got for his birthday, she said he got some water squirters (I knew these were a gift from the dollar store, and also knew he got other gifts that were much more significant, based on what Evie brought home on her birthday as well as that day).  So I asked her what else he got.  She said, "I don't know.  I didn't see because I was opening my presents."  Mom could be doing this because she is trying to buy the kids' love because they are in foster care.  But I would hazard a guess that this kind of thing happened even before they came into care.  The mentality in that household seemed to be "cater to the kids."  I think Evie's attitude that the entire world truly revolves around her, without any attention to what is going on with others around her, started LONG before I met her, owing to that mentality.  
 
 
 This is Evie's first independent sentence she wrote.  One of our neighbors came over while we were in the front yard, saying that she had left her pool key inside the pool gates so she couldn't get it.  I told her we would drive up there when we finished what we were doing, and asked what unit she lived in so I could bring it to her.  Before we left, completely on her own and without asking ANY questions (surprising!), Evie wrote this reminder for us so that we would know what to do.  I asked what the 100 was, and she responded, "That's the number of her house."  (I'm not sure what the "I" at the beginning is.)

Evie's brother stayed with us one weekend, and we went to the Children's Museum and to Twin's first birthday party.


 
 The last day of school.  This was prior to the actual program, and the song here was "counting to 100 by 1's" - with 10 reps of each exercise for each set of 10. 
 
I took Evie to Chuck E. Cheese that weekend to celebrate getting all good behavior marks all year.  I told her that it was a special day so she could eat and drink whatever she wanted that day - of course she chose soda (I very rarely let her have it).  And now she has asked me every time we have been out to eat since then - three weeks - if she could have soda.  Give an inch, they take a mile!  The answer has always been no, though!

 Re-potting a lima bean plant she brought home from school
 
 
Evie's loose tooth kept getting looser, until one day when I picked her up at daycare and she showed me that there was a space between the tooth and the gum.  When we got home and I was fixing dinner, she declared she was going to pull her tooth out.  In my head, I said there is no way she is going to pull it out because it's still hanging on by much more than just a thread, and she is so dramatic about the pain of any little scratch or bump that she won't go through with it.  Well, about five minutes later, she walked out with her tooth in hand!

We went bowling with some friends, and Evie often sat on the floor at the end of the lane watching to see if her ball knocked down the pins.  I never was quick enough to get a picture of that, though.  
 
 Evie went roller skating with her best bud from her elementary school and daycare (who no longer goes to the daycare).  This is them all huddled together. 

And then we went to the aquarium with TT, Twin, and my sister and nephew.  (Okay, it's time for them to get blog names, too.... My sister is Red - she has red hair like me.  My nephew is Bop - he is always on the go.)

We were supposed to go to the upstate to see some friends of mine and to visit the camp where I volunteered for 17 years, but Evie ended up with a stomach virus so we are just hanging here in town this week before court on Friday.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Music Monday: What Makes You Beautiful

From the first month, this was a song that Evie and I would belt out in the car.  It still is, and has come on several times in the last week to remind me of this.  It's fun that we can come together over music. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Contact = Stirred Emotions

Here's a rundown of how things have gone with Evie's contact with mom since the beginning of May:
3 visits with mom - cried in her sleep that night for 2 of the 3 visits
talked to mom on phone - woke up that night crying with a "bad dream"
2 nights talked to mom on phone - wet the bed that night (she hasn't wet the bed in many many months); these times were ten days apart from each other
3 conversations on the phone with no bad results

Visits/contact pull the scab off of a healing wound and make it raw over and over again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Court Date

I found out today that court for Evie's family is set for June 26.  So we are basically at the same point where we were in January before the new issue came up - where everyone was recommending the kids go home, and we were just waiting on the court date and the judge to say that was ok.  The difference is that in January, I was mentally and physically planning for Evie to leave; now, I will believe she's going when the judge makes that decree.  Hopefully her mom can hold it together for the sake of her kids!