1. Is Sprout being kept up to date on these developments, or how/when will you share with him?
No, we have never shared the background details of the case with him and we won’t start now. At this point nothing has actually changed, it just may and there is no need to string him along on the emotional roller-coaster. Not to mention, he simply won’t be able to understand the details of it all (I barely do!). He knows, as he always has, that one day a judge will make a decision regarding his permanency. He knows (and frankly hopes) that he may not live with his mom again. We’ve also started introducing the term ‘adopted’ to him in a general sense so it won’t be a foreign concept to him if it happens.
2. I am wondering how/if Rosebud understands this whole process. Does she call bio mom Mommy T (same as Sprout?) or something else? Has she been able to verbalize anything about this whole process yet?
Rosebud knows nothing about the ‘process’ per se. She’s too young to understand what it means to be a foster child or even realize that every kid doesn’t live a life exactly like hers. She does call mom ‘Mommy T__’ but not because she feels any motherly bond towards her, it’s just because that’s what we call her. The sad truth is that she really doesn’t enjoy visits. She never has and now that she can talk, we realize how much she thinks about it (ie: every day, multiple times a day, she will tell us, “no visit. no want visit Mommy T”).
It has nothing to do with mom, but the fact that Rosebud has always been adverse to separating from her caregivers and has had strong stranger anxiety – so, being picked up at daycare and taken from teachers she loves by a social worker she barely knows to visit with a woman she sees 3-4 hours a month? Not exactly her cup of tea.
Of course her reaction to the ordeal (crying, lots of crying) is difficult on mom and has further impacted the creation of a bond between the two of them. Its getting better, but it’s certainly not close to the relationship Sprout and mom share.
3. How can you feel good about trying to take advantage of their mom during a vulnerable time and asking her to sign away her rights before she’s been given a fair trial?
Okay, well that wasn’t exactly the email I got, but I think that was essentially the boiled down question in it. And though it could have come from a more respectful place, I understand the question. I’m not blind to the injustices and misuse of power that has happened in departments like DSS/DCF and though I love these children to death and do wish to adopt them, I also have a love and respect for their mother and would never knowingly participate in such a situation.
Here’s the thing…
- Mom is an intelligent person who is able to be in a clear state of mind and capable of not only understanding the proposal, but also making an informed decision. If she wasn’t, we would never take such a step.
- If she isn’t comfortable with the process (doesn’t like talking to lawyers, reading contracts, ect) we’ve made it clear that we are happy to sit down and talk it out. Getting real, face to face.
- She isn’t being force-fed an arrangement. It’s entirely negotiable and if you’ve read this blog any amount of time you’d know that we’d be open to pretty much any reasonable request. We want her to continue contact with the kids just as much as she does. Maybe more.
- As to the ‘before she’s had a fair trial’ point – oh man, where do I even begin?? Well, I guess it’s as simple as this: she has had the opportunity to parent. 14 years of an open case with the department and this is the first time they’ve sought a TPR. The chance was most definitely there.
- But most importantly, this is her chance to regain control. To be the one making the decision instead of having it decided for her. This is not something we had to do – rather, an opportunity we want her to have because of the respect we have for her.