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Hi! I'm sorry this is so long!

First off, let me start by telling a little about my husband and myself. We have been married 5 years and have no biological children at this time. He works in the oilfield 4 weeks on and 2 off. I babysit kids at home right now.

This is our situation and any/all advice, tips, etc. will be appreciated!

About 6 weeks ago, we were contacted by DHS and told that custody of my 2 nieces (my brothers kids) was being temporarily taken away from the parents and they wanted to know if we would be willing to take the kids. Apparently DHS had received several complaints of neglect and drug use (which unfortunately we found out is true). We both immediately said we would take the children no problem! We have had them ever since. They are both under the age of 2-- the oldest will be 2 in September and the youngest will be 1 in August.

My brother is currently in jail (went in a few weeks before we were given the kids) on drug charges and being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon. The mother seems to think the whole DHS investigation is a joke. She was given a list of classes/things she needed to do in order to try to get the kids back and she hasn't attempted any of it. She is still using drugs. Supervised visitation was set up through me-- she can come see them anytime as long as I'm present. So far, in the 6 weeks we have had them, she has only spent time with them at family outings/events. Or she shows up 1-2 times a week for 15-20 minutes each time.

Right now, the DHS investigation is ongoing. We have court in August/September (haven't gotten the actual date yet) where the case will be presented to the judge. At that time, there is a possibility of the court removing the children from them permanently. We have already stated that if that happens, we would like to keep them rather than having them uprooted and moved somewhere else or put in the system. DHS told me we would be allowed to keep them in that situation as long as we could continue to provide a stable and loving environment for them.

My husband and I both love these girls and want what's best for them. We will do anything in our power to make sure they are happy/secure/cared for. We are just worried about their mental/emotional health with everything that has happened to them, around them, etc.

There is a history of domestic violence between the parents (something else we found out after getting the kids). The oldest freaks out anytime someone gets mad and raises their voice or when 2 people start rough housing. The youngest is having trouble sleeping at night but is otherwise happy.

So basically the kids seem to be doing ok with living with us. But I was wondering if any of you have any advice to help them fully adjust? Or any advice to us as we help them and adjust to bring sudden parents? This is more or less a learning experience for us and I know we will make mistakes. I just wanted to see if anyone else has been in this situation or has any advice for us! Thanks!



UPDATE--

Hey everyone! First off, thank you a for your encouraging words and advice! I did talk to our DHS case worker and she is scheduling us a session with the First Steps program. Basically, it's an early intervention program through them where they evaluate the children and see if they have any cognitive, speech, emotional, etc. delays. Once the evaluation is complete, we will know better what kind of counseling or therapy we need to start with the oldest one. The youngest they aren't worried about since she is so young and right now there are no signs of problems with her. That may change at a later time if she does start having problems. So right now, we are just waiting for the evaluation so we can figure out what the next step is.

As far as the mom goes, I have a complete visitation log showing when she comes, how long she stays, what she says/does, etc. she is prohibited from coming to our house or anywhere near the kids if she is high or drunk. If I can smell it or see that she is "messed up" she is denied visitation and I was told to call and report it to our case worker.

When we had our meeting with the case worker, she asked about visitation, the mothers service agreement (what she was court ordered to do such as drug rehab, parenting classes, etc). I informed her that the mother has only attended 3 or 4 parenting classes and has not done anything else that was part of the agreement. She then asked us if we are prepared to have the children for an extended amount of time or possibly permanently. We told her we definitely are. After a year, she can make the recommendation for them to be legally ours. According to her, unless something changes drastically before then, she will be making that recommendation. She told us that she has seen this scenario many times and if she hasn't done some of the agreement by now, she probably won't.

So that's where we are now! Once again, thank you all!
by on Jul. 28, 2013 at 1:07 AM
Replies (11-20):
goddess99
by Michelle on Jul. 29, 2013 at 6:18 PM

I would just go off what you already know, don't raise your voice in front of the kids and don't play like you're fighting. Good luck with everything!

youdontdefineme
by on Jul. 29, 2013 at 6:26 PM

 

That is exactly what you have to do, keep in constant contact with the case workers. You can take her to a behavioralist as well. Even the youngest. Documenting is so important. Think on taking the children to a specialist for behavior though. Make sure also that the children have the healthiest of lives and I know you will. They are young yet so this is on their side as far as youth and behavior in correcting it. I wish you much luck and remember you have these children for a reason, and what ever the reason they are meant to be with you and DH.

Quoting Kristal_25:

Thank you! I have been keeping in close contact with our case worker on everything. I've talked to her about some of the behaviors of the two year old. She suggested the same thing about documenting her behaviors to see if there is a pattern, trigger, etc. for some of them. Unfortunately, they can't guarantee right now if the kids will be taken from us later. It all depends on what the parents do and whether or not they do the court ordered classes/therapy.


Quoting youdontdefineme:

I had tears running down my face reading this. YOU both have huge hearts, bless you. I'd do the same thing in your shoes. Couldn't see those kids going into foster care since you both are able to intervene and help. These kids will be so confused at first, they need to learn they are safe considering what their parents put them through. Document all behaviors will help in the future esp with DHS. If any accidents occur and they get hurt just in case. DHS pulls kids for nothing sometimes. In this case they did the right thing for these babies. You are special I see that. Big hearted and such a loving caring person. Not many like you guys. I suggest talking with DHS and a lawyer making sure once you bond with these babies that they aren't stripped from you in the future. They are confused of course right now. No mom now, no dad and they don't understand. Kids tend to blame themselves when adults make poor decisions which is sad. I wish you all the best. Search the internet, get all advice you can and learn from it for the sake of the children. Overall, you guys did the right thing.



 

splatz
by Sarah on Jul. 29, 2013 at 10:44 PM

I would call DHS and see what sort of services/programs they offer as far as therapy/counseling. I'm sure they could help you connect with a great child therapis;t.

Things got really bad before I left my ex husband and went to a dv shelter. It took my son a few years to not startle easy when someone was loud/yelled. He was very timid until he finally just came out of his shell. I'm sure it will be a slow experience, but things will get better for her. 

imultracool
by on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:33 AM
1 mom liked this

I have never been in this situation but Id say the best thing you can do is be patient and give them time.

ss_mom_of_four
by on Jul. 30, 2013 at 9:46 AM

This is a tragic situation but you are amazing people :) Just have patience and treat them like they are yours. Love them with everything you have and make adjustments to anything (like the oldest getting upset at certain things) that makes them uncomfortable. When they are old enough and start asking questions, just remember you don't have to answer specifically, just reassure them that you love them and will never let anything bad happen to them and they and you will be fine :)

Mom to four crazy wonderful kids family in the van 

Kristal_25
by Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Thanks! I hadn't thought about them having anything like that-- you would think they would tell you about programs like that from the start! I will be calling our case worker to see if they offer stuff like that or can at least give me a starting point on where to look.




Quoting splatz:

I would call DHS and see what sort of services/programs they offer as far as therapy/counseling. I'm sure they could help you connect with a great child therapis;t.

Things got really bad before I left my ex husband and went to a dv shelter. It took my son a few years to not startle easy when someone was loud/yelled. He was very timid until he finally just came out of his shell. I'm sure it will be a slow experience, but things will get better for her. 


Kristal_25
by Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 10:58 AM
We are definitely trying to do that! It's hard at times since our family has always been big on rough housing/playing around. But we are definitely trying our best not to in front of them! The yelling is the easy part lol. We've always been good about not doing that-- it's been other adults we've come in contact with that we are having problems with.


Quoting goddess99:

I would just go off what you already know, don't raise your voice in front of the kids and don't play like you're fighting. Good luck with everything!


Jinxed8
by Silver Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 11:01 AM
1 mom liked this

I think they are young enough to adjust well should you keep them permanently.    These poor babies need to relax and be in a normal home where they will be loved and cared for. 

splatz
by Sarah on Jul. 31, 2013 at 1:40 PM

It may differ by area. But, its worth a shot to see if they do offer anything. Also see if there are domestic violence shelters around you. Call them and ask if they can recommend a child therapist. I know some of them here have child therapists on site & offer their services for free. 

Quoting Kristal_25:

Thanks! I hadn't thought about them having anything like that-- you would think they would tell you about programs like that from the start! I will be calling our case worker to see if they offer stuff like that or can at least give me a starting point on where to look.




Quoting splatz:

I would call DHS and see what sort of services/programs they offer as far as therapy/counseling. I'm sure they could help you connect with a great child therapis;t.

Things got really bad before I left my ex husband and went to a dv shelter. It took my son a few years to not startle easy when someone was loud/yelled. He was very timid until he finally just came out of his shell. I'm sure it will be a slow experience, but things will get better for her. 



MoeksieNature
by on Aug. 6, 2013 at 8:29 AM

I know this is a really late reply to your questions on my suggestions, however I did finally read them and I would just like to say that Splatz actually made some really good comments. I was going to say a child therapist or psychologist that specializes in children work through playing and drawing. It would be worth your time to find out like Splatz already said. Hope by this time you have made some calls. Please let us know if there is anything you could find out. All the best to you guys!

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