First, I have updated the “About” section of this blog to include all of the kids’ pseudonyms in case it gets a little confusing. Make sure you check it out!
Second, let me rant some more about counseling. Soon we will have placement of our kids for four months. While Anne is two months into her trauma-based intensive counseling, our son has yet to start his counseling. The initial referral was sent in August. He had his psych evaluation for his counseling three weeks ago. That is the last piece that we were waiting for in order to have his in-home, multiple day a week counseling. He NEEDS it so badly. We are having so many issues and we just can’t get through to him. He is broken. His soul is broken. He is sad. He’s having trouble at school. He’s having trouble at home. He doesn’t listen. He seeks negative attention. He’s having toileting issues, the kind that comes from major anger and frustration and a last-ditch effort for control. He’s been broken. I don’t know how he lasted in foster care for five years without any kind of intensive counseling. I don’t know why someone didn’t help him before. But I will advocate forever so that these children and others like them have the services that they need.
Foster children (really, all children) need to have counseling EVERY time they move homes. Foster children need to have counseling as soon as termination of parental rights (TPR) occurs. These should be automatic. A referral needs to be sent and processed immediately for children who move homes or who have been through TPR. We need this in writing and it should be a rule for all agencies and counties. New foster/pre-adoptive families can only do so much. The families/parents need back up from professionals and people who have degrees in childhood development/trauma/neglect. I only wish that we had as much help on the counseling front as we did from our case manager. Our case manager came out once a week for the first month and every other week since then. The kids need someone like that who comes for THEM. Just them! I have someone that I can call and bounce things off of and ask any silly question that I can think of. But these kids have me or my husband and each other. But they have a lifetime of questions to ask. And they have a lifetime of needs that have not been met. Why is there not some regulation on the mental health front? There needs to be closer monitoring so the issues don’t get too bad and then it takes years to fix. My children need healing from their childhood. Their childhood! My childhood was fun and exciting and these children have to recover from what happened during their childhood. Does that make any sense to you? It certainly does not make sense to me. They should be healed or in the process of healing. But they haven’t even begun counseling!
We are also waiting on the referral for the adoption prep class. Our permanency specialist recommended this class. It’s particularly for kids who have just gone through TPR. It’s an attachment process and helps them work through their often hidden emotions.
When I saw my dad over the weekend he kept saying how excited the kids must be for adoption day. And I couldn’t get it through to him that no, they are not. They are not excited. They might be excited for balloons and candy or cupcakes, and they are certainly excited that they get to miss school. But they are not excited to officially leave their old world behind and join a new one that they’ve only just met! It’s bittersweet for everyone involved. The kids are old enough to have been affected by this mess, but they also aren’t old enough to remember all of the bad times. They remember seeing their parents at visits and getting to eat McDonald’s and getting new presents. They don’t remember what the home conditions looked like or how bad the youngest had diaper rash. They don’t remember how many times their water was shut off or their parents were under the influence while caring for them. I am thankful that they don’t remember specifics but I am also aware that every behavior they have is due to survival. They were badly neglected and they act like they were. I only hope that time will help to heal their deep wounds. Time, and some really good counseling.