Just another Minnesota Mom blog.

My short journey through "parenthood".

Posted: February 15th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Parenting | 1 Comment »

Actually, it was a very short journey and it wasn’t just mine.

In June of 2004 my husband and I moved back to Minnesota from Missouri. Within two weeks of his job offer we were back here, we had been waiting for this day for a long time and although he took a huge cut in pay it was more than made up for by the fact that we were back in Minnesota. To make up for this, we moved in with my Mom. She was recently divorced and had a big house, we needed someplace to start on such short notice and so there we were, 18 months into our marriage, living in my sister’s bedroom.

In February of 2005 we started getting my cousins kids for weekends. By April my Mom was going through all the screening and paperwork to be an Emergency Kinship Foster Parent. Still living with my Mom, we of course went through this as well. Our lives were turned upside down.

All of a sudden we had a baby and a 5 year old. All of a sudden we were dealing with court dates and social workers and night terrors. My husband drove the 5 year old to Head Start 30 miles in the opposite direction of his job every morning to keep some sort of stability in his life. Each day after work I raced to daycare to pick up the baby and then pick up the 5 year old at his grandpa’s office so I could get home and make dinner and get everyone to bed at a reasonable hour.

Their mother filed a restraining order against the father. This was a waste of time considering she didn’t honor it herself. Each week the social worker granted more and more time to the mother, which would have been good if she had been following through on her drug tests and making progress, but she wasn’t even taking her drug tests. First there were Sunday’s, then weekends, then it was picking up the kids on Thursday’s and getting them back at 9 on Sunday nights.

All the while the grandparents are telling the social workers to check up on the kids, there are drugs (meth) in the house, paraphernalia on the coffee table, it is not safe for them to be with their parents (dad is out of jail now) and the kids are not doing well. Our social worker is promoted and we get a new one. The new social worker is determined to keep the kids with their mother.

By July we are all exhausted by this process. Their mother is still using, their father is still using, the kids are being exposed and there is no sign that the system is trying to protect the kids. The Guardian ad Lidem tells every judge they should not be with the parents and the social worker counters this and the mother continues to get more and more privileges.

In July we decide that emotionally we cannot do it anymore. Three days on and four days off is no good. The three days we spend with the kids is spent recovering from the four days they are with their parents. When my Mom informs the social worker that we will no longer be able to participate the parents are given until August 4th to clean up because they will be getting their kids back. I helped my Mom move the kids’ things into the apartment they rented; it did not feel good to me.

The next few months were not good. The kids were often left alone in the apartment, there were drugs lying around, their parents still using. The social worker promised that they would be more involved now than they ever were before. This didn’t seem to be the case. By December the kids were again in Foster care and this time with a family that wanted to adopt. Their Dad was in jail awaiting trail and eventually would go to prison (manufacturing meth). Their Mom relinquished her rights that spring. In January of 2007 the adoption was final; a huge sigh of relief was had by all.

Their mother had another baby in March. So far she is doing well; staying away from their father seems to do the trick. She has kept a job and is living on her own now. It makes me nervous to think what will happen when he gets out on probation in March.

After all of this I swore I would never have kids. People told me I would change my mind- it’s different when they are your own! How do you know? What if it’s not? It took a long time for me to get back on board with the idea of having kids. Our experience was full of stress; parenthood does not usually contain court dates and drug tests and the constant threat of filing an Amber Alert. It took a long time to come to this conclusion. It took a good friend who is an adoption coordinator for kids in foster care to help me realize this. What I did was not normal parenting and it is ok if that didn’t sit well with us. She is the one person I listened to when those words were said to me- It will be different when you have your own kids.

The thing is, I saw their mother at the funeral yesterday, it was her Grandma’s funeral. I am able to see her in a different light now. With space and time she has changed a bit, I hope. I felt very bad for her when her children’s new sister’s arrived with their Dad. I can only imagine how hard that was for her, to see them, there. To know that they know all of the worst about her.

I haven’t talked to her since all of this went down, she resented us when we had the kids and I was very judgmental of her and I didn’t ever think I would speak to her again. Yesterday I wished there was something I could say to her. I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t end up seeming like it was fake or too much.

After the service was over as we were walking out I caught her eye. She had done a reading and I know she was nervous. I told her she did a nice job. She asked if she turned red while she was up there. I said no, she had done well. She thanked me.

It’s a start.

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One Comment on “My short journey through "parenthood".”

  1. 1 Mary Ellen said at 12:43 pm on February 15th, 2008:

    That must have been a really horrific time. And exhausting too. Ugh. (My opinion is that parenting your own children is often the latter, but not so much the former…which is good.)
    thanks for the update on the worst date ever!


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