Monday, May 01, 2006


Ahhh, siblings. I could write a book on this topic alone. This will be a long one, you may want to read this another time! :)

We'll start with B's side. As you may remember, B has a slightly older brother and sister who are with a friend of mine as foster children. They are going through the termination/adoption process at the same time as B. Since my friend has them, we see each other on occasion. She moved a bit farther north this past year which, when added to their incredibly busy lifestyle, has made it more difficult to see each other, but we do. In fact, we were just at their home yesterday. B's brother (J) turned five!!! I can't believe it! He was just this little 19 month old when she first got them. His sister (L) is now three!

I always knew that nature and nurture were both extremely important in personality development, but now I have witnessed first hand some interesting tidbits. As B has gotten into those perverbial "terrible twos" he has become quite strong-willed. You may giggle, but those who have been around him much know what I'm talking about. A friend and her husband came by with their one year old a few months ago to help plane the bottom of a couple doors in my house. B isn't used to other children in "his" home I guess, first thing he did was bite his nose!!! I couldn't believe it. He also hits, a lot. Now, I kept thinking, I know there are some pretty aggressive kids in his day care class, the pros and cons of day care, but what am I doing wrong??? Besides this one incident, if B does not get his way, right away, he looks you in the eye and hits the nearest thing, be it book, table, curtains, whatever. He has also been known to yell "Don't want it" if he is mad about a time out or having to give up on banging his horse into the very breakable glass window. I thought, what am I doing wrong???

Then we spent an afternoon a couple weeks ago with his brother and sister, J and L. :) Let me tell you, B has nothing on L! Whew! That girl gave me a run for my money and I wasn't even disciplining her! I really hope that we are able to head off a lot of what we saw out of her! Wow! Talk about a battle of wills! :) They sure do LOVE their little brother though! And although B does not truly understand that they are his siblings, he will. And hopefully we will continue with our friendship and ability to get the kids together.

NOW - J is a whole different story. You may remember she came to me with her older brother, J2. J2 had a lot of problems that really came out about two months into his placement. Bio mom had decided to come back to town and take up visits again after almost a year. We saw LOTS of acting out, in some pretty major ways, especially considering there was a 3 and 1 year old in home as well. As much as I understood this, I teach special education and deal with some pretty raw behaviors there too, it was difficult to deal with behaviors at school, and then also at home. With B becoming very scared and J being practically neglected of attention at times, it was not working. I unfortunately had to give notice, but did convey that J was doing well with us. I felt that if this was going to become a pattern for him it was unfair to place her in a position of losing placements due to his actions. At his second hospitalization, with notice turned in, they agreed, and made him specialized. He was then placed in July with a family almost three hours away.

We were all made aware that J and J2 would need lots of visits, probably two each month, since they were all each other had had for so very long. I was more than willing. This other family turned out to be just what he needed. Two parents, a male role model, three older siblings, and one his age. The first time we talked, that foster mom seemed great. She wanted them to keep in contact, even after the adoptions, etc.

The very first visit we scheduled, things started to unravel. At the beginning of August, we scheduled a visit for a Sat at the end of Aug. She had told me that she doesn't drive and that we would have to do them on weekends around her husband's schedule. I said that was perfect. The week before the visit I asked about plans for the visit and meeting halfway, which is a suburb of Chicago. She said that her husband was working and couldn't do it, but she would work something out. She then told her agency that I had cancelled at the last minute and the visit had changed and he needed transportation! Ended up her sister was coming even further south and we scheduled the visit at a McDonald's about 45 min from us. We drove there that day, waiting another 45 min and they never showed!!! I got home to two messages that they were running late and stuck in traffic. She hadn't called my cell and then didn't call back again.

Our agency had to step in. Long story short, we have had 3 visits since July!!! I sometimes have called with dates to be told she'll check the calendar and get back to me, with no return call, etc. I put together an entire packet of ideas for things to do halfway between us. Nothing. I finally drove the kids the whole 3 hours there and back for 1 visit and J's caseworker picked him up there for another. She then has told her agency a few times that she has left me messages and I don't return her calls!!!

So, now J2's agency is stepping in. We are doing two visits a month where I drive halfway and a transporter drives J2 halfway, the other foster family isn't doing anything. One Fri a month I will leave school, pick up my kids, drive 1 1/2 hours to pick up J2, go out to eat, and drive 1 1/2 hours back home. Only to then practically put them all to bed, have a visit the next day, and then drive him back 1 1/2 hours and then back home. So, 6 hours driving and - on a toll road - 12 tolls! Then the other weekend in the month we will just go up there for a few hours visit and come back, 3 hours and 6 tolls of driving. With gas prices and all... wow.

BUT - I have had people say I don't HAVE to do this, I'm letting them WALK all over me, etc. I guess some may look at it that way. BUT, J NEEDS to see J2. And I will do whatever I need to to be sure that happens. If visits right now are mandated and they're not happening, what on earth will happen when the adoptions go through???? She loves her brother. She needs to be connected to him however we can accomplish that.


Lisa said...

Thank you for making such an unselfish decision.

It shows a lot of motherly love.

Tamara said...

I admire your perseverance and your putting the children's needs at a priority. We are worried about similar questions Sugar Cookie will ask when she finds out she has a brother and sister she doesn't know (that adoption was closed and the family so far wants nothing to do with us/her - it is their right). It is too bad. I understand families "just wanting to move on", but these are the last remaining sane remnants of a birth family for some of these kids. I'm glad you are trying so hard to make it work.

Julie said...

That is tough- all that driving- it is hard but well worth it for her to be connected- It is too bad they couldn't be placed closer or that the other foster mom isn't more concerned that the brother see his sister. :(

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I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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