If you follow Foster2Forever on Facebook and/or Twitter, you know that our 22-month-old foster boy, Lil Bit, broke his arm last week. We have been engrossed in all the follow-up appointments and investigations that come with a serious injury, such as a broken bone. So today, I am thrilled that we have Tammy of “I Must Be Trippin‘” guest posting about the crazy schedule of appointments in foster care, while we attend to Lil Bit’s needs…
You Want Him to Go to the Dentist? He Has No Teeth!!!
When I entered the crazy world of Foster/Adopt Land as a single, full-time working foster mom nearly three years ago, I was blissfully unaware of what I was getting myself into. I think the foster care trainers deliberately lull you into a false sense of security during the initially training classes. They scare the poo out of you when it comes to potential behaviors of your soon-to-be children, but sort of fail to mention the extent to which your life will be completely taken over by foster care-related appointments.
I remember the trainers telling us that children in foster care are required to see a doctor within two weeks of placement and a dentist within 60 days. “No problem! I can handle that,” I thought. Have you ever tried to find a pediatrician who would actually accept new Medicaid patients and get them in for their initial appointment within 14 days?!? Good luck with that! Six placements later, and I have yet to meet that 2-week deadline. And have you ever taken a 7-month-old with a grand total of two teeth to the dentist? I have!!! The man looked at me as if I had sprouted a third eyeball from my chin.
I went into my first placement expecting to do those couple of initial medical appointments and for my agency worker to “come out to the house periodically.”
I remember the first time I wrote about all of the appointments that were taking over our lives and how I desperately needed advice on what I could do to make it better. At the time, I had a baby boy and his 16-year-old mom. Their case was a little extreme in terms of the number of regular appointments and random people requesting access to our home, but it definitely gave me a good idea of how insane Foster/Adopt Land can be. On any given day, we had AT LEAST two CPS-related appointments (ex. therapy, medication monitoring, visitations, parenting classes, training classes, home visits with caseworkers, CASAs for each child, attorneys, court dates, etc.).
We tried to cram in all of the mandatory doctor and dental visits as well as our routine visits that we would have regardless of CPS on the two days a week that we didn’t have standing appointments. My 13-month-old had his own dayplanner for crying out loud!!! And it was full!!! I remember my teenage daughter’s caseworker actually having the nerve to ask us what kinds of extracurricular activities she was involved in. “Extracurricular activities?!?!? Well, let’s see… She has therapy every Monday. Visitation with her parents every Tuesday. Parenting classes every Wednesday… You’re here today… Extracurricular activities??? ”
Just to give your poor, unsuspecting, potential and first-time foster parents an idea of what you might be dealing with, let me frighten you with:
In the two and half years that I’ve been fostering, I have had monthly home visits from:
* My agency’s Family Specialist
* The children’s Caseworkers
* Each child’s CASA
Also requesting occassional access inside my home have been:
* My agency’s Director
* The children’s attorneys
* A CPS Investigator (investigating a prior foster home of one of the kids)
* State Licensing Staff
* ECI workers
* Physical therapist
* Multiple Case Aids providing transportation
* Fire Department for the annual inspection (Although I don’t really mind that one so much. 😉
Outside appointments have included:
*Regular physicals and well-baby checks
*Medication monitoring for children on psychotropic meds
*Dental visits (every 6 months beginning at 7-months-old)
*Annual eye exams
*Annual TB testing for children over the age of 12-months-old and myself
*Visitations with birth parents and occassional other family members
*Parenting classes for my teen mom
*Other classes for teens aging out of care
*Agency meetings discussing my children’s cases
*And of course, 50 hours worth of annual continuing foster parent training for me (because I clearly have nothing else to do).
Have I mentioned that I am a SINGLE, full-time working foster mom?
“What have you done to make things easier for yourself and your kids,” you might ask?
Come back next Monday, as I detail the ways I’ve managed this crazy schedule of foster care appointments.
Feel free to follow my foster/adopt journey at “I Must Be Trippin’,” and join us every other week for “Foster Friday” when our panel of foster/adopt moms and family members discuss various topics related to this crazy and wonderful world we have chosen to live in known as Foster/Adopt Land.