Possible Entrees for the Week (served with veggies, of course):
- beef bbq sandwiches
- chicken fajitas with whole wheat tortillas
- shredded chicken tacos
- grilled London broil
Well, this is a crazy week—two weeks til school starts back for me and the kids are taking swimming lessons and we have Bible School. Ah, the joys of summertime. It’ll be over all too soon… Here’s the proposed plan for the week…
Monday—kids eat at Bible School, parents ??
Tuesday—kids eat at Bible School, parents??
Wednesday—kids eat at Bible School, parents??
Thursday—chicken fajitas, black beans
Friday—beef bbq sandwiches, bbq beans
Saturday—grilled chicken wraps in whole wheat tortillas, grilled zucchini
Sunday—shredded chicken tacos, corn
**By the way, all of the meat on the menu is either prepared and ready to cook or already cooked and in the freezer !!
Well, we moved on with life after the kids left but it just wasn’t the same. We had gotten used to having a household of five. It seemed so quiet-and our daughter seemed lonely. The kids went on to live with a great family just down the road from us-another kinship placement of sorts. Then they went back to the parents, then back to the great family, then back to the parents. The first time we saw them after they left our home, they were on an unsupervised visit with the parents. When the girl saw me, she came to me and said, “pick me up Mommy”. (We were always so amazed at the way that we were “Mommy and Daddy” and the parents were “Mom and Dad” and they kept it straight.) I picked her up and just held her tight. Her mom got so mad that she had to go to another room. We saw them ever so often but over time they forgot who I was. I told my husband that I’d rather not see them anymore because it was too painful-they remembered him and had no problem playing with our daughter (I think it was a spite thing with the parents as to why they didn’t act as if I were there and still knew my husband’s name).
A year and a half went by. We prayed for the kids’ safety because we knew that they had been back and forth with the parents and knew that it wasn’t the best of situations. I don’t even remember what day of the week it was or anything when it happened; I just remember that I had been going to walk around the high school track with a friend each evening and I was getting ready to leave. My husband was at work; he called home to tell me what was going on—the parents had been caught in a drug buy and the kids were with them. (That’s all I really say about that.) DSS wanted to know if we would take them back. I immediately said yes. This was the answer to our prayers—this is the way that God was telling us that the kids would be okay. I talked to the social worker on the phone and within 30 minutes the kids were at our home.
We were in a much better shape to take them this time. We owned our home by this time—a bigger place than the tiny two bedroom apartment we lived in when they had been with us the first time. We had a big yard to play in. I worked in the county where we lived—just a couple of minutes from home, too. We were also older and knew how things worked with DSS a little better.
The kids broke my heart when they came in the house. They were filthy and stank. Their clothes were in awful shape. They had been at daycare that day and I knew from experience that kids who have been at daycare all day aren’t going to be the cleanest kids—they’ve played all day-- but this was ridiculous! Their faces were filthy too. The trash bag full of clothes that the social worker brought stank and had to immediately be washed and gone through. They were torn and stained and mostly didn’t match. That first night, after supper and baths, the kids had a little sleepover in our daughter’s bedroom. We didn’t have enough beds for everyone. I remember staying up late washing clothes and trying to find some that matched.
We didn’t know how long the kids would be with us this time but we were ready for the journey.
The previous parts of this story can be found in archives.
Well, about a month after the first supervised visit, the children went for another visit with their parents. This turned into sporadic supervised visits. There was no rhyme or reason to when the visits occurred-the social worker would contact my husband, who would play phone tag with me because the children and I were in a completely different county and it was up to me to bring them back in time for a visit. We begged for a schedule since most of the visits were coordinated on the day that they were to occur. Our requests were ignored.
During this time, our family went through a whole range of emotions. Our daughter thought that her cousins were going back home each and every they went for a visit. She would get upset. We would get upset because we didn’t really know what to tell her or really what was going on ourselves. It is DSS’s role to preserve the family. We wanted the parents to step up and take responsibility but at the same time, we had learned a lot about the situation and really didn’t want them to go back. It was an agonizing time. Stressful doesn’t even begin to describe it. My husband was in school completing certification for his job during this time, we had just moved into an apartment, I worked in a different county as a teacher, I drove the children to and from daycare on a long commute each day, and it was pretty much just me at home with the kids each evening, Monday thru Thursday because of my husband being in school. To top it off, our social worker was very unsympathetic to any of our requests. It felt like nothing we said or did meant anything. We felt helpless to take care of these children and then watch them be put right back into the same situation.
We wanted so much to be strong and do the “right thing”, but when I started having excruciating headaches that wouldn’t go away and was having to go to the ER, it was all clearly too much. Our three-year-old daughter knew what DSS was and that they could take you away from your parents. We did what we thought was the right thing to do for our family (us and our daughter)-we made the call to the social worker and had the children moved from our home. If was the hardest thing we have ever done as husband and wife. We felt awful for it, but we knew that we couldn’t continue to jeopardize my health and our daughter’s emotional well-being. I’d like to say that we prayed about our decision, but I honestly don’t remember doing it. We did pray after they left-a lot-for their safety.
The previous parts to this story can be found in the archives.
|family day--in front of a portion of the Berlin Wall|
|DD9 did not want to let her daddy go!|
|Our family at Boone Hall Plantation|