*Side note to our arm faliling conference call: Jazmin was suddenly saying the parents might regain custody. The next court dates was in Feb (this was mid December-ish). "One just never knew." Prior to this she'd been 99% sure the judge wouldn't return the kids to them. The dad was in jail and the mom hadn't been caught yet. If she showed up to the boys' hearing, she'd be arrested and thrown in jail.
My theory: Jazmin had bonded with the foster family (the people who were upset about the pinprick of a red dot under Charlie's eye) who wanted to adopt Charlie ONLY and she was trying to get things to work in their favor.
Coach and I told them we'd let them know if we wanted to do the extended visit. We sat in our kitchen and couldn't decide what to do. What if Max was THAT bad and disruptive? This made us uneasy. Parental rights hadn't been terminated. We went back and forth. It was impossible.
Coach: OK, we've got to decide. Let's do rock, paper, scissors.
Coach: Yeah, on the count of three we hold up our fingers based on what we want to do. 1 for we get them for the long visit and 2 we move on. On 3, ready? 1, 2, 3.
He held up 1 finger and I held up 2 fingers.
Me: Oh, you want to give them a try even though the parental rights aren't terminated and the supposed bad behavior?
Coach: Oh. No. I guess I got the numbers mixed up. I'm a 2. Let's just take a pass.
When we stopped laughing at the game plan Coach created and then messed up and how goofy we were at our way of handling a serious matter such as this, we called Jazmin and put her on speaker phone. This was when things got nuts. She shared information that would've been REALLY interesting had she shared it during the staffing/ phone call that we'd JUST had with HER boss and our worker an hour earlier.
I started to tell her that we were going to take a pass on the boys, but first . . .
Jazmin: Yeah, Max is placed with a couple who have no experience with kids. This was their first placement. They keep going back and forth about whether or not they want to keep him. They have no toys. They're really into electronics that they won't let him touch. He's figured out their passwords. They get upset when he sneaks onto their computers.
Me: (after staring off into space for a moment in disbelief about the new info that was PARAMOUNT to the boys' future) Jazmin, he's not misbehaving - he's BORED. I hate to have these boys split up because Max is mischaracterized as bored.
Jazmin: Yeah, the first emergency placement Max went to saw no behavior issues. That placement said she'd take him back any time. Oh, the biological mom called recently. She said she can't go to the court date because she'll be arrested but she made me promise not to separate her boys. She wanted them to stay together.
Me: (more shock) We want to keep the boys over break and see how it goes.
Coach, head swivels: Wait, we do?
Me: (nodding at Coach with an eyeroll) Yes, Coach we do. This isn't Max's fault. He's bored.
Coach: OK, then.
Jazmin: Let me reach out to the couple. I'll get back to you.
We wait in limbo for a few days. Am I shopping for Christmas gifts for them? What's happening?
|No photos that would|
make sense here,
but please enjoy this
face that I snapped
in my kitchen
months ago. It
is often how I
felt during the process.
I'm in Costco. It's Jazmin's last day in this position. I'd left her messages and hadn't heard anything.
Jaz calls me while I'm in the cereal isle wearing a mask: Hi. Yeah, so the couple want to see how things go. They hope to adopt Max and the other family wants Charlie. So, sorry. We're going to move in that direction.
I bent over my cart in Costco, like the wind had been knocked out of me. I told Jazmin how lousy I thought this was and how it was a disservice to the boys. She essentially shrugged (but more of a verbal, OH WELL) over the phone.
Coach was at work. When I got home from Costco, five kids were there waiting to eat (because some things never change). Ed was still home for an extended covid break and Lad was still out in the world not communicating with us. I was throwing the boxes of cereal, and protein bars into the kitchen. Unable to speak.
Kids: WHOA, WHO PISSED YOU OFF AT COSTCO? WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM?
When we sat down to eat, I finally explained the Jazmin phone call. My kids are never quiet. You could've heard a pin drop. They hung their heads. Pushed food around their plates. Mini wiped away tears.
Early on when we had a family meeting to discuss how everyone felt about us possibly taking the boys,
Mini had said: CAN YOU SEE IF SOMEONE ELSE WANTS THEM AND JUST TELL THEM THAT WE'LL TAKE THEM IF THEY ARE CONSIDERING SPLITTING THEM UP. I'M NOT SURE IF WE CAN HANDLE THEM, BUT I THINK IT WOULD BE AWFUL IF THEY SPLIT THEM UP.
Me: IT DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY, MINI.
Whether we got the boys or not, our kids were crushed imagining the two of them not growing up together. We'd watched them roll around on the family room couch watching cartoons in the jammies Saturday morning. We'd been undecided and up and down and all over the place. Coach was like OUT OF OUR HANDS. I wanted to fight for them.
At the same time, my friend Bethany who'd successfully adopted 2 kids just last year- the one whose worker we'd switched to after we sat behind her family at church on Christmas Eve, anyway - she told me that she'd stay far away from kids who hadn't had their rights terminated. Too risky.
Regardless of everything, I felt like this was the perfect example of the system failing. Jazmin allowing the 2 weeks to lapse and not giving accurate information in that conference call -well, it seemed she wanted to wash her hands of this and move to her next position.
I still think of Max and Charlie and wonder what happened to them. Mini shared recently that she wonders about them too. Did rights get terminated? Did they get adopted? Do they see each other often? I have some incredibly cute video of them with Curly and Reggie. They built a train track with a ramp - rigged it up with some Legos underneath it. Then they raced Lego cars and trains down it to see how far they'd go once launched by the ramp. Max just sat and bounced on his butt and clapped and yipped and Charlie kept stopping cars to put his car on there. I couldn't remember the last time I saw Reg and Curly laugh so hard.
See, this is why it took me so long to post. Heart breaking. I wanted this all written in case you were all on the edge of your seats and I couldn't find the time to write the next installment. The next part will pop up here in a few days, unless I can edit it and double check that it's ready to go earlier. Monday nights are busy for me though. And I babysit for 6 little ones during the day, one of whom is a brand new baby. So, no promises. Just drove home 6.5 hours after we all visited Tank and my house looks like a bomb went off - but I do hate to disappoint.