This next chapter of the saga is tough to write about. Partly because it's so frustrating and emotionally draining and partly because it's so involved.
When I met Jazmin (the boys' worker) on the Monday before Thanksgiving at the halfway pickup spot to give her back the boys after our visit, she explained that Max couldn't go back to the same foster home where he'd been staying with Charlie. The family had given two weeks notice ON HIM ALONE, two weeks ago.
RED FLAG/PULL MY HAIR OUT MOMENT: Why, if they'd given 2 weeks, had Jazmin waited 10 days to reach out to us? If we'd had a visit right when they gave notice, he could've returned to that house while they arranged the next place for him, or while we decided whether or not to move forward. This lack of response on her part impacted everything.
Max had to go hang out at her office while she looked for another emergency placement for him - after she dropped Charlie back off with the foster family who only wanted to keep him. I went home to talk everything over and make a decision. It was a few days before Thanksgiving. Remember, the girls and I were driving to Indianapolis for the Midwest championships of Irish dancing? It was a hectic week.
On Tuesday (after Thanksgiving) I told Coach we HAVE to let Jaz know our plan. We reached out to her.
COULD THE BOYS COME FOR AN EXTENDED VISIT OVER CHRISTMAS BREAK SO WE COULD SEE HOW THINGS WENT FOR A LONGER VISIT?
Jazmin: OH, I DON'T KNOW. THE EMERGENCY PLACEMENT WHERE WE PUT MAX MIGHT WANT TO ADOPT HIM.
Me: HUH? BUT THEY STAYED WITH US? YOU ASKED US IF WE WANTED BOTH BOYS. WHY WOULD YOU SPLIT THEM UP WHEN OUR FAMILY WOULD TAKE THEM BOTH?
Jazmin: WELL THE OTHER FAMILY STILL REALLY WANTS CHARLIE.
Me: BULLY FOR THEM, THEY TOSSED OUT HIS BROTHER AND THEY GO TOGEHTER. WE SAW THEM TOGETHER. THEY ARE BONDED. WHY WOULD YOU SPLIT THEM UP?
Jazmin: LET ME TALK TO MY SUPERVISOR. SHE'S NEW (or temporary because her boss just quit or something that screamed horrible situation). OH, AND MY LAST DAY IN THIS POSITION IS DECEMBER 20TH. I'LL BE MOVING TO ANOTHER DEPARTMENT.
Coach and I were using speaker phone. I grabbed his arm and made an alarmed face at him. I was like WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?
A few days or a week later (it all runs together), there was a conference phone call. Jaz, her new/temporary boss, our worker, Coach and I.
Jazmin: I don't know now if the placement wants to adopt Max after all. They say his behavior is terrible. They are really struggling with him. The other family also said Max had terrible behavior.
Me: Interesting, because we didn't see ANY bad behavior while he was with us - granted it was just 3 and a half days. Still, what you're describing doesn't sound like the same kid. And Max didn't want to go back to the foster family's house and neither did Charlie. They both wanted to stay here, again I get the novelty factor and all that. They said the biological kid at the foster house wasn't nice to Charlie - wouldn't share and yelled at Max a lot. (Charlie expressed this to me by acting it out and it broke my heart).
*as an aside, when Charlie went back to his foster family in Libertytown the mom texted Jazmin: "Why did Charlie have a mark on his face?" When Jaz texted me this, I was outraged. I washed all of the kid's clothes before I sent him back - trying to do his foster mom a solid. He had a speck of a red dot under one eye - size of a pinprick. No idea from what, but he was in constant motion and never cried once. He's four, they get bumped and scratched. Even Jazmin admitted that she couldn't see anything in the photo that the mom texted to her. This woman - was she trying to make me look bad? Well, she was rubbing me the wrong way.
The call started with the team wanting to separate the boys. We were shocked. It was a speaker phone call so Coach and I were facing each other while leaning over my phone. I promise you there were many arm swinging, hand motions flying around in our study as we tried to communicate with each other - um, grateful for no video button here.
By the end of the call, they agreed to give us the option of trying an extended visit for a few weeks over Christmas. The couple who now had Max was considering traveling to the east coast over break, and they weren't sure they wanted to take Max.
The ball was in our court. Coach and I had to decide if we'd take them for this extended visit. (sorry, still a cliffhanger. The end is in sight. Promise.)