Tonight I want to write about the hard things in foster care. And not the big hard things. The not-so-big ones. Or maybe, the not-so-big, but could turn really-really-big, but you don’t know for sure so it’s crazy stressful.
Yeah, that one.
Z fell Wednesday afternoon at the allergists’ office.
He doesn’t like doctor’s appointments, and we seem to have a lot of them. He is tired of being held or strapped in a stroller or car seat. He wants to climb and jump and roll and grab everything and get into every drawer and cupboard.
Books, toys? Totally not interested.
So yesterday, by the time our doctor was ready to start the exam and questions, Z was already over it. He was squirming to try to get out of my arms. I didn’t want him going all over the floor, trying to open cupboards and climb up the table, so I sat him in the chair, with me right behind him, hands inches away in case he tried to fall.
Well, as you know, trying to answer a lot of questions from the doctor and keeping your 1-year-old calm and quiet can be a challenge. You don’t really feel present with either person. Just half there for both of them. In the end, the doctor asked a question, I looked up to answer, and Z slipped through my outstretched hands onto the floor.
Well, mostly onto the floor. I caught his legs before his body hit the ground. But his head did hit.
Now most of you moms will say, this stuff happens. And you are right. It does.
But when you are a foster parent, this stuff is huge. It’s the not-so-big-of-a-deal to you that could potentially be a mega-huge-deal to foster parents.
Z acted ok the rest of the visit. I knew I would have to fill out an incident report, but I didn’t expect what happened later
The next day, while bathing Z, I saw this on his ear.
At first, I thought it had happened at his visit. But since there were no notes on the report saying there was an accident, I decided that it probably happened when he hit his head the day before.
I called our caseworker, filled out the form, and was instructed to go to the ER if we found a bump.
You guessed it … We found a bump, and off to the ER we went.
The Dr. was not concerned at all by his bump and bruise. Thankfully she did not call CPS to report is.
But we still got reported.
I had to according to Washington State law.
So here I am, already feeling like a crappy parent, beating myself up in guilt (like most moms do), and now I need to tell CPS of all people that yes, I screwed up this parenting gig and an accident happened. And it was my fault.
Again, you might be thinking, accidents happen. Surely they know this, and it’s not a big deal right?
Except it can be a very big deal. A friend of ours had her own foster son taken away, without any chance of a good-bye, had her own children pulled from school, and questioned, and had their licensed pulled for a time while the investigation was complete for — of all things — a fall at the doctor’s office.
This was the not the first report CPS has gotten on us.
If you all remember, Leyla had to go the ER three times for a fall, and once had to have a CT scan done. CPS was reported each of those times.
And each time, we were told it was a formality and never heard anything about it again.
But today was different.
Today I got a call from CPS. They were going to get more info on this accident, call the doctor’s who were involved (the allergist and the ER doctor) and also needed me to send his discharge paperwork from the hospital.
They would either just keep the referral on our license, or they would do a complete investigation.
We would know by the end of today.
Well, you can probably imagine my ball of nerves today.
There was a possibility that they could take Z from our home today. There was a possibility that I would not get the good-bye I planned for, that my family and friends would not get to say good-bye that they hoped for.
They could take my other two children in for questioning. They could get very personal, very quickly, and we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
All because of that one stupid mistake I made.
You can be an awesome parent 99% of the time, but man, that 1% is killer. That one time you don’t pay enough attention. That one time you are distracted. That one time your in-control parenting falls apart.
It just takes once.
And so today I rushed around, filling out more paperwork, trying to get the image of CPS taking Z away out of my head. Trying to keep tears at bay, and not let me stress affect my other two kids.
And then finally we got the call.
They will NOT be investigating.
The report will be on our license, my mistake forever on record. But at least right now, we have Z for another day, and things will move along as planned.
Some of you guys tell me you couldn’t do foster care. And as much as I advocate for you to be foster parents, on the one hand, I totally get it.
I hate being front and center when it comes to CPS.
I have nothing to hide. But you know, no one wants to go through that. No one.
As you guys continue to pray for us, pray that we can stay clear of accidents throughout the rest of Z’s stay.
Just this morning, I prayed that God would help me walk by faith and not fear.
And then CPS called. And I was afraid.
I just might have already failed my prayer today. But as we continue down this road, I hope and pray God can continue to help me trust in him when the scary stuff comes.
That I can trust he’s already in control.
Even as we learn to let go along the way.