Monday, May 26, 2008

Slowly Recovering

I'm beginning to feel a bit better. Still sad, but not as overwhelmed as I did yesterday.

Thanks to all of your kind words about Carl. A couple of you helped me see it a bit differently -- it might not be that he just hasn't grown up but that he really needed/wanted to slide back into the little kid being taken care of roll. That is easier to accept.

And as for Gary, well, I'm still sad. There is part of me that wants to insist that Gary's dad can't just come and take him back. He said he didn't want Gary and now he can't just change his mind. And there is another part of me that gives the first part a stern Talking To. Foster care is for kids whose parents can't take care of them. It does not exist to provide me with anything.

I still don't know what will happen officially. I don't think that his dad can simply pick him up. He will have to go to court and make his case. Gary knows that he will have to show that he has work in the area, a place to live, etc. The father thinks that will happen by the end of summer.

Brian by the way is a mensch. When I told the boys months ago that the agency was considering doing reunification care he said he really did not want to do that. He thought it would just be too painful. He doesn't like it when his brothers grow up and leave. Having kids come in for a few months and go would just be too much. When I told him about Gary's situation I said, "now, I know we said we wouldn't do reunification care..." Brian interrupted and said, "Mom, we have to make an exception for Gary."

But we will see what will happen. Though the agency in general is moving towards doing some reunification care, as far as I know, my division is not. But I don't know if anyone will want to change plans based upon the fact that Gary's dad told Gary he was going to move and provide a home for him. Part of me thinks that they will probably just put that information to the side to deal with when and if it becomes a reality and not a merely promise.

We will see.

And I will let you know.


  1. Oh wow. I'm sorry, Yondalla. I think it's amazing that he has been so integrated with your family. If it doesn't work out with his dad, I am so happy that Gary will have a soft place to land.


  2. There is another possibility, too, Yondalla. One I've been thinking since your first post about Gary's dad but have been biting my tongue because I really don't know Gary's dad's character or enough of the story. But I've had a rough day today and have ceased caring about opening my fat mouth, so here goes...

    Is there a chance that Gary's dad is bothered/threatened by Gary moving to a new foster home? Residential care is very different and just can't fill that family role. Is there a chance that hearing about a family situation for Gary -- even though it wouldn't usurp his position as the father -- made Gary's dad feel threatened? Is Divorce, a new job, moving cities, and having his son move back home are VERY major changes to make so suddenly. Is there a chance that he is divorcing and feeling bad about Gary moving in with you so these other promises flowed out of him? It would be a very human and understandable thing to do. (Though I hope it's not the case because that would be heartbreaking for Gary.)

  3. No matter how wonderful or normal Gary's father may be, he has elected to not care for his son for the past several years. Essentially he chose his wife over his child.

    Even with reunification as a goal, Gary's dad is going to have to do more than just say he wants him, move and get a job. He's going to really have to prove that he will be there for his son, no matter what. And that takes time.

    Gary could -- and would -- be with you for quite a long time.

    It is a unique position to be helping with the transition between parent and child, getting to know one another again, focusing on strengths, but all the while knowing that at any minute it could all fall apart between them.

    It's definitely a different role than what you initially envisioned, but it's not necessarily a bad thing.

    There's no words to take away the pain, uncertainty, and mixed feelings. Just know we're all here for you.

  4. Mary, I do see your (first) point, but we don't know the whole story and it seems to me it could be more complicated than that. How long had Gary's father and stepmother been married when Gary moved out? Are there other children in this family? Because I can imagine scenarios in which I would think that Gary's father was unreasonable to not allow him to come home, but I can also imagine scenarios in which I would think that Gary's father made an agonizingly difficult choice between multiple people he loved and was committed to keeping safe. I certainly understand why Yondalla isn't sharing details, but without them it's hard for me to tell which scenario is closer to the truth.

    Of course that doesn't change the truth of your second point, about him likely having to prove that he is now in a position to be a good home for Gary (and about how long that could potentially take).

    I'm sorry, Yondalla. I hope it works out well for everyone involved.

  5. It is complicated, or difficult maybe, to decide what to tell you given that I have to protect his privacy -- want to protect it so that Gary can have a fresh start.

    Sarsmile is not wrong though. Gary's dad and step mom have at least six kids: His (2); Hers (2); and Theirs (2 or 3). Gary is the oldest, and the behavior that started all this did put the younger kids at risk.

  6. I was guessing as much. I know another family to which this happened. The oldest child has essentially been disowned by his Mom and his stepdad. The safety of the other two children was more important than keeping the oldest child in the family. Definitely, the way it's been portrayed to me--via the Mom--is that Dad refuses to let the child live with them. But you can also tell it's her decision as well. If she moved out on her own without the other two children, would she take him back? Maybe--I have no idea just how much pain he has caused the family but it sure looks like a lot. On the other hand, being without the other children would make her home safer for the kids AND for the oldest child as well. (Oddly enough, this kid, too, was taken in my one of his aunts.)

    Anyway, just saying I can understand the dynamics to some extent as I've seen it elsewhere. And I know how much this Mom adored her son and fought hard for him despite some issues he had. But she had to choose between one child--who had also hurt her deeply--and the rest of her family.

  7. I guess I'm just a little sensitive to this issue because there are some other foster/adoptive parent bloggers out there who have refused to let older kids come home even when the residential center/social workers said they were ready, because they had younger kids who they believed would be adversely affected. To the point where DFS got involved and the older kid ended up in foster care, even. And in general they were applauded by commenters for keeping the other kids safe, whereas most people seem to be assuming that Gary's father abandoned him. And maybe he did - obviously I don't know the whole story, and maybe he could have made it work and just didn't bother. I just want to be careful that I'm not judging him by different standards because he's a bio parent (and not a blogger, therefore I don't know his side of the story).

    Because of course it matters deeply what some people he has no idea exists might think of him ;)

    Anyway, I am glad that Gary will get a fresh start. He sounds like he's earned it.


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