There was finally a meeting at which some decisions were made.
Ann needed to be in a home where there were fewer children and no children with severe behavior problems. Mandy and John were doing everything they could to fight that recommendation. I did not know until later, but the supervising social worker at our agency, who knew me well, did not think that Ann was going to last long-term at my house. So it was decided that Ann would remain with me but without a permanency agreement while the process with Mandy and John concluded.
The social worker came to talk to Ann. I had promised my friend an email telling her what happened. For me it was very short.
Jan. 15, 2003
Ruby told Ann at lunch yesterday that she was not moving home for at least a while. Ann cried and pouted and threatened and then recovered. The rapidity with which she went through this process is amazing. Of course she has been processing it a lot this week. She has been figuring out that she is not going back and has been crying with me about it some.
She has threatened to run away, refuse to do go to school or to do her work. Ruby has told her that if she carries out all that she will end up in a "secure facility." So I am taking a deep breath...we may jump right back into "honeymoon" stage or Ann may start to display her obnoxious side.
The evening after Ann was told that her current living relationship was indefinite, Mandy and John brought over her things. I emailed the social worker late in the night before I went to bed.
Jan. 15, 2003
Mandy called tonight about 8:00 and wanted to know if John could bring over some boxes of Ann's things. I said yes and he showed up at 8:30 with 10 large boxes and 8 small ones. Ann was upset because it made it look like she was moving out forever...which was not what she planned. She asked John if they were giving her room away. He was gentle about it, but said that J would be moving into her room and that the next new girl would get J’s old space.
Ann could not sleep without looking in each of the boxes. Clothing and objects were all thrown in together. Clothes that fit and clothes that were obviously too small were all there. A couple pieces of clothing were torn and a couple of ceramic items were chipped. I did not try to convince her that they might have been that way before they were packed. She kept saying that it looked like they thought she was not coming back, and that they obviously did not care about her if they would just throw her things in boxes like this. I kept saying that the girls must have packed it. (The things were not packed with any consideration.) Some of the things she identifies as belonging to someone else, including a toy that belongs to her niece.
She told me that she was not happy about J moving into her room; she did not want J to sleep in her bed. "I don't go around sleeping in other people's beds." I did not point out that the bed she is sleeping in now used to be Carl’s.
When she finished looking in each box she realized that some of her belongings are not there, this made her decide that maybe they were not trying to get rid of her forever. On Friday when she goes to visit with Mandy she will return some things to them and, she hopes, bring some storage units that she says she bought herself. I told her that we would sort through her things, decide what to take to Salvation Army and what to keep. Once we knew just what she had we would buy more hangers and maybe a storage box.
I found her reaction to all the boxes to be quite reasonable. When she said that it made her angry I told her that I understood, that I would be angry if my things were packed like that too. I was angry on her behalf. It did look like nothing mattered more to Mandy than getting her moved out. I don't think that is the message they intended to send, but that is how it looked.
It was an emotionally difficult time.
I know now that Mandy was heartbroken that Ann was not coming back. When she packed those boxes, and she did pack them, she was trying not to cry and was putting everything in them that she thought Ann might possibly want. She was too upset to be organized and what she sent was only a fraction of the stuff Ann had accumulated in 7 years at her house.
I look back now at the things I thought about Mandy and John and I realize that I needed them to be the bad guys. If they were good and loving parents, and Ann behaved the way she did with them, then she might behave the same way with me.