I arrived at the DFACS office of the neighboring county with a mix of excitement and nerves. We went back to a conference room deep in the maze of hallways within the DFACS office. In the room was myself, Elise, Nomi and briefly Elise’s supervisor. I was informed that Jesse, the foster mother would be joining us later in the meeting. Elise opened a large folder and we got started. The first thing I found out was that Mickey’s name was not what I had been told – that was his nickname and he was the third in his birth family with the same name. He went by his middle name. The rest was basically going over history – medical, family, legal and DFACS history. From the history I discovered that the birth mother used alcohol and drugs during her pregnancy with Mickey and alcohol with Minnie. Mickey also tested positive for methamphetamine at birth. The alcohol was admitted to by the birth mother. Mickey was 3 weeks premature and Minnie was full term.
Records were somewhat spotty for Mickey’s first three years, while in the care of his birth parents. He was in an early intervention program for developmental delays. There was a mention of stitches in his head, several different addresses, some mention of asthma and other basic medical information.
The DFACS paperwork showed that the kids went into care around 3.25 and 1.25 years old. Parental rights had been terminated 10 months prior to this meeting, after a 3rd relapse by the birth mother. School records for Mickey from Pre-K and the first couple of weeks of Kindergarten raised the second red flag. There were significant behaviors reported and he was rarely completing a fill day of school, yet he had been moved from a special needs pre-k to a mainstream kindergarten classroom.
While we were nearing time for Jesse’s arrival, Elise reiterated the story of the foster parent’s desire to only adopt Minnie. After nearly 3 years in their home, they only wanted her. She warned me to take everything Jesse said with that in mind.
Jesse entered the room and I could tell she had been crying. I was angry with this woman. I don’t know if it was motherly instinct or just disgust that she could discard this little boy I hadn’t even met, in favor of the pretty green eyed girl, but I disliked her and I felt no sympathy. She was asked to tell us about the kids. She provided food likes and dislikes, clothing sizes and preferences (Minnie likes sparkles and dresses but nothing tight on her arms – Mickey didn’t care much about clothes). Minnie was described as a loving and charming little girl, obsessed with baby dolld, pink and princesses. When she got to Mickey, she described a troubled child – he threw tantrums, was non verbal when he entered foster care, he slept only when medicated. He was aggressive and clingy, had no boundaries and had been sent home the previous school day for pulling down his pants in the middle of class, screaming and kicking the teacher. They were frequently kicked out of McDonald’s because of his behavior, he was disruptive at home and school and had been kicked out of several day cares. She also hinted at obsessions – teeth brushing and spiderman.
Angry, I asked if he had any good qualities. She cried when she also described him as a loving and affectionate little boy with a vivid imagination. He loved people – especially one of his much older foster sisters. He loved loud trucks and racing, spoke up a storm – though there were significant speech challenges for which he was receiving speech therapy. I could tell she loved him and my heart softened a little. I noted all the challenges she mentioned. I would be glad I did.
She seemed to be trying to talk me out of this match. I wouldn’t know why for months. She also provided a list of medications – Ritalin for ADHD, Risperdol, which she said was an absolute lifesaver and Clonodine for sleep. She noted that before the Clonodine, he would sleep maybe an hour and then wake the entire house up. This would go on for days until he would crash for 20 hours or so.
Jesse cried through most of this meeting and hugged me when she left and told me how much she loved them both. She also wished me luck with whatever I decided.
After the meeting, I was told to take some time to think about it. It wasn’t needed. I already knew that these were to be my children. If it is possible, I loved them already. My caseworker and I spoke while walking out and she told me to call in a day or two with a final answer. On Wednesday, I did and gave her the go ahead. August 24th, 2011. The first day of my journey to motherhood.
I didn’t hear anything until 8/29. Elise conference called me and Nomi to set up a time to meet Mickey and Minnie for the first time. Sept 1, was the day decided.