Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ann's Story Part 9: My Hopes and Expectations

When I tell people the story of Ann I often lie. I tell them that the placement was supposed to be temporary. It wasn't. At the beginning of January the plan was for it to be at least indefinite. I expected to be sharing her with Mandy and John, but I also expected her to stay with me.

Note: most of the emails used in these posts are either to the social worker or to my friend Mary, who has no kids, does not understand why I would want to, and has known me since high school.

Jan 6, 2003
To Mary:

It was a busy Christmas break. Carl has been home and of course we have had Ann. I have a station wagon with a jump seat, but we are pretty packed in it. Ann has been volunteering to sit in the "way back". The car was quite weighted down and scraped bottom quite a bit. So we are now talking about mini-vans. By the time you get to 4 children (only one of whom is under 5 feet tall) it becomes difficult to resist.
Ruby (Ann's social worker) came over today. She had a long conversation with “Robin” (Ruby's supervisor) and they definitely want to move Ann here, officially and indefinitely. They are going to wait until they get the psychologist report though. It is supposed to state that she should be moved to a different home. They are legally obligated to follow those recommendations. Having them will give them a way to set up the discussion with Mandy and John. So right now we wait.
Jan. 11, 2003
Ann has been experimenting with her bad behaviors. You know that she throws temper tantrums at home. We figure that even if Mandy does not give her attention for it the girls do. Two nights ago she was rolled over on the floor and hit her head on a stool. I am certain it hurt, but she pulled the afgan over her head and starting loud, artificial whimpering. I imagine that if she were home one of the other girls would tell her that it couldn't hurt that bad and to shut up. This would allow her to start yelling that it did hurt and no one cared about her. If she could get it all loud enough Mandy would intervene. Ta-da! Ann center of attention.

I stood up and mentioned quietly to Roland that I really needed to get the dishwasher unloaded. When I came back later she had uncovered her head and she asked if I would give her a hug...which of course I did. I also asked her if she wanted an ice pack for her head.

Last night she was not going to bed. She just lay in the middle of the living room floor humming waiting to see what I would do. I turned off all the lights, said goodnight and went to bed. She got up a minute later and went to bed herself.
This morning she did not want to go to her art class. She said that her mom did not make her go. I told her that I was not told that it was optional and if she did not get up and go she could not go to the movies this afternoon (this is a quiet, matter-of-fact voice). I left the room and she got up.

Wednesday morning she meets with her counselor, Ruby, Tom and Mandy and that is when she will find out that she is not going home. We will then be the permanent place. She will then have to test us for real. Knowing what will happen if she flatly refuses to do something or throws a major fit is important. I am not looking forward to it, but hopefully we can move through the worst of it quickly.

Wish me luck!

Part 10

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