Steve and I walked into the house from the orchard where he was pruning... past the homework helper with Anna-Joy at the table under the tree, past Buddie's Dad's car (- he'd come to play with his kids) and onto the front porch were we could see nearly a dozen children (ahem!) jumping on our trampoline with the garden hose (we did take a minute to lay down the law... 3 kids max seeing Steve recently took care of a trampoline accident in the ER)... We looked at each other and wondered how we ever got to this place where our house has become Grand Central. Steve's comment, "We sure live an interesting life! From one day to the next we don't know what to expect". I responded that perhaps one day I would like to live in a little white cottage on a deserted island. Brianna laughed at me and said that would be boring.
Boring doesn't sound too bad when you're burning up with fever.
The events of the last few days was stressful. As we drove up to the FTDM with Buddy's mom in the back seat of our car, Steve turned and asked her for the truth. I heard a deep sigh.... and it all came bubbling out. I wish I could tell you the whole story. There is much to be learned about honesty... trusting attorneys who insist on their client lying, the clinic who gave her the "right" words to use, etc....... It was an FTDM for the record!! The evidence was trace... barely recognizable.... easily explained away and the attorney wanted to do just that, but healing cannot take place when a person does not recognize their need. She'd look to me and I'd mouth for her to tell the truth, she'd look at her mom and she'd mouth for her to go with the attorney's advice. FEAR is an awful thing. The attorney had told her if she told the truth she'd lose her four children... the SW was saying if she told the truth they could help her keep her kids. Fear kept her from hearing the SW.
It was clear we would have more children sleeping in our house than we had the night before. What was unclear was how many.... Steve put his RN Patient Advocate hat on and went to bat for her. HA! I was very proud and terrified at the same time. He left no stone unturned. He questioned everything and had to understand completely... no assumptions made. I actually mouthed for him to stop!! If the children were removed I would be the foster mom that would have to work with that Social Worker!!! He didn't listen to me... I guess he knows what he's doing. The majority of the people testified that the children were well cared for and the damage done by removal, especially to the older children, was potentially huge. I think, if he hadn't gone to bat for her I would have 4 foster children today... but as it stands I have only the babies and the older children stayed home. The older children will spend time here every day while mom goes to her appointments and they have to ride their bike or walk, because she isn't allowed to drive them.
As we walked out I felt like she had to know what the dishonesty had cost her. If I had wanted to protect her feelings I would not have said a word, but this is life and death, this is a family whole, or destroyed by dishonesty. I told her that she had lost the babies because she had not told the truth. The grief was enormous. I encouraged her to come clean with the SW as soon as possible. And she did - even knowing she was too late... and the weight of the world was lifted. Her heaviness gone. Truly if your kids have to be in foster care then having them on the same street at a friend's house, where you are free to come and go, is the best case scenario. The SW was thankful she came through... and the whole decision to remove the babies could be reversed as soon as next week as a result. That would be the department's recommendation, but the judge ultimately decides.
The department probably hasn't seen this level of foster parent involvement. They commented on it and told us it was appreciated. They said to Steve's face that they were quite impressed with his advocacy hat!! HA! I was glad that he had explained that's what he does for a living before he had launched into his drill..
I came home from the meeting and I immediately came down with fever. And the duckling was sick and wouldn't sleep in the crib... a truly rough first night. I think he's a little, or maybe a lot, spoiled. I think he must sleep with mom a lot.
My prayer for TRUTH to prevail was answered. I hadn't expected it to go quite like this. As I prayed in the meeting for truth to be known it was as though the attorney was the devil's advocate that I was praying against. He was so adamant that she not speak up that it was obvious to every person there why and truth was known regardless.