Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Email from Social Worker (updated)

From me to worker (yesterday)
"I imagine you have already heard the voice mail from Gary about his dad. Please give me a call so we can chat about it when you have time."

From worker to me (2 minutes ago):
"I did not receive a voice mail from Gary. I'll see you tomorrow at the staffing though."

From me to worker (1 minute ago):
"If you have a minute, please call me."

Worker called. "What's up?"

"Gary's dad told him on Sunday that he is divorcing his step mother, moving to the area, and that Gary will be able to live with him by the end of summer."

"Oh." Long pause.


"Wow." Pause.

"So I just wanted to talk to you, because I don't know what this means."

"Neither do I. I definitely got the impression from the state that Gary was going to be long term, that he would emancipate from care. I mean they said that his father has been unable to provide him with a home, that he doesn't live in the state. His livelihood is in [other state], right?"

"He told Gary he was going to find a new job and move."

She said she would call the state worker and give them a head's up about this before the big meeting. I told her how happy all this made Gary, and about what conversations we had had, that we had agreed that it would still be a good thing for him to move in here so that he wouldn't have to live for the summer at the group home and "just in case" his dad's plans fell through. Gary seemed to accept that there was a possibility that would happen. I also made it clear that if his case went to a reunification plan I still wanted to take care of Gary through it.

By this time she was getting her bearings back. We talked about it. She is definitely concerned that this is not something Dad will carry through on, that it is a shame that Gary is getting worked up about it, that even if Dad moves into the area the state won't just hand Gary over. Then she talked about our need to have a plan so that our family had safe boundaries -- that maybe Family Connections should facilitate and supervise their visits.

She reaffirmed that she would give the state worker a head's up so that they would be prepared to handle any questions about it at the meeting and we hung up.


Gary's dad spent his teenage years in the system. That may be the key to it all. He had a very bad experience with foster care and does not want a child of his in care. I get that. I think the desire to save Gary from that is sincere.

I do suspect that once he sees that Gary is safe and that no one wants to get in the way of their relationship, he will not move. On one hand it would be a dream come true for Gary to live with his dad. The very idea that his dad would choose him over spouse, younger siblings, job, everything has to be -- I don't even have a word for it. On the other hand, well, moving is complicated. He does have younger children and a good job where he is. I think that when push comes to shove, it will be difficult for him to carry through on this promise.

I'm afraid that Gary is going to be disappointed.

But this is a kid who has survived worse, we will get through this.


  1. What a situation, Yondalla. Hang in there!

  2. Poor kid. At least he's old enough -- and it sounds like mature enough -- to understand all of this. Even still, there's always that innate desire to be wanted, particularly if in care or adopted, by a family member.

    I do hope that Gary's dad understands what your role would be in Gary's life when he comes to live with you.

    Sometimes, all it takes is to meet one another. I know S's mom had some uneven times in the foster care system and was quite concerned about S being in care. The first opportunity I had to meet her, I did, so she could see I wasn't trying to steal her daughter and it allowed her to put a face with this name. She has often commented on how that helped her comfort level, letting her feel that at least one portion of her life was safe.

    Personally, from I have gotten to know about you (as much as one can through a blog), I think you and Roland would be great working with families with reunification as a goal (if Brian is comfortable with it). You understand and empathize with situations, decreasing the threat parents or relatives sometimes feel. This could be a really interesting experience for all of you.

  3. Back and forth. Geez, what a roller coaster, for all of you. Good luck with the whole thing, and mostly I just want Gary to be okay.

  4. Sad that it is up and down already- and he hasn't even moved. I hope things get ironed out soon!! for everyone's sake- esp Gary!

  5. I think the Social Worker should sit him down and explain that although this is what he wants and what he thinks his dad wants and that there are steps that need to be taken to get there so it won't be a fast thing...that anything could happen during the process so to be cautiously optimistic. There are too many "if" factors and until his dad follows through on his intentions w/ some real changes then nothing is guaranteed. I hope, for his sake, that it does work out but even if he moves the adjustment is so great that I do worry for him.

    Either way...he at least will have you as a soft place to land in ...is just that it would have been better now than later when he'll be nursing a broken heart (but that is just the pessimist in me...maybe it will all work out ok).

    Hang in there.


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