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Any advice? UPDATE!

Posted by on Jul. 28, 2013 at 1:07 AM
  • 24 Replies
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
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Replies (1-10):
SlapItHigh
by on Jul. 28, 2013 at 1:36 AM

I have actually done a lot of research on this as a dear friend of mine went through something similar -- she adopted a son through foster care.  He had been severely neglected...I won't horrify you with the details but he suffered some ongoing medical issues from the neglect such as hypothyroidism as a 1 year old.  My advice in all the research -- follow attachment parenting principles especially cosleeping  Check out this book -- The Science of Parenting


luvmybug
by Amanda on Jul. 28, 2013 at 3:32 AM
I really have no advice, but I would like to congratulate you on the new family members, even if they may only be there temporarily. You have a big heart and it sounds like these poor children need a strong, loving family.
youdontdefineme
by on Jul. 28, 2013 at 3:01 PM

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.

MoeksieNature
by on Jul. 29, 2013 at 8:16 AM

Hey hun. I'm happy the kids have you guys. Emotionally, I'd probably look into getting the 2 year old some help from a psychiatrist or someone that can work with her through her emotions. Better deal with it now. What you can do at home is make sure that she knows that the people are playing or that she is safe and nobody is upset with her. That emotions are normal. Give her pictures with sad, happy, confused, emoticons on for her to point out what she is feeling. (Don't know if she might still be to small for that?) Then work through that with her. As for the 1 year old, I have a one year old too and I can tell you that she doesn't sleep through the night and that is normal. Some kids do and others don't until they are older. I like the idea of attachment parrenting as Slap it High suggested. Especially bed sharing. Lots of hugs and cuddles and touching, like stroking her head or squeezing her arm to show that you are paying attention or aprove of her beahviour etc. The love for these kids needs to be affirmed. Good luck. If you have a question ask away :) I'm new to parrenting, but not quite as new as you! :)

CafeMom Tickers
Janet
by Ruby Member on Jul. 29, 2013 at 1:50 PM

They are young enough I think they will be okay. Just give them lots of love and a structured environment.

Kristal_25
by Member on Jul. 29, 2013 at 2:54 PM
1 mom liked this
The 2 year old is just now starting to build her vocabulary. When we got her, she only said maybe 5 words consistently. Since then, she has built in that and is up to about 10-15. She will not copy someone or repeat words we say to her. Would a therapist be able to help her with no communication skills? I do tell her that people are playing and we have made sure everyone that is around them knows not to yell at each other and we've asked for the rough housing be kept out of her sight for now. We haven't don't the whole sleeping in the bed with us but we constantly do hugs, kisses, snuggle time, etc. They are told all the time how much we love them, how special they are, etc. I just can't help but wonder if we need to be doing more right now. Thanks for your advice! I appreciate it!


Quoting MoeksieNature:

Hey hun. I'm happy the kids have you guys. Emotionally, I'd probably look into getting the 2 year old some help from a psychiatrist or someone that can work with her through her emotions. Better deal with it now. What you can do at home is make sure that she knows that the people are playing or that she is safe and nobody is upset with her. That emotions are normal. Give her pictures with sad, happy, confused, emoticons on for her to point out what she is feeling. (Don't know if she might still be to small for that?) Then work through that with her. As for the 1 year old, I have a one year old too and I can tell you that she doesn't sleep through the night and that is normal. Some kids do and others don't until they are older. I like the idea of attachment parrenting as Slap it High suggested. Especially bed sharing. Lots of hugs and cuddles and touching, like stroking her head or squeezing her arm to show that you are paying attention or aprove of her beahviour etc. The love for these kids needs to be affirmed. Good luck. If you have a question ask away :) I'm new to parrenting, but not quite as new as you! :)


Kristal_25
by Member on Jul. 29, 2013 at 2:58 PM
That's what I'm hoping for. But I think we are still going to have problems with the 2 year old. I just recently found out that a lot of the domestic violence happened with her in the room. Or they would be chasing each other through the house and she would get knocked over or pushed out of the way. If nothing else, I think that's going to cause some issues for her later unfortunately.


Quoting Janet:

They are young enough I think they will be okay. Just give them lots of love and a structured environment.


Kristal_25
by Member on Jul. 29, 2013 at 3:03 PM
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.


Janet
by Ruby Member on Jul. 29, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Hopefully not.

Quoting Kristal_25:

That's what I'm hoping for. But I think we are still going to have problems with the 2 year old. I just recently found out that a lot of the domestic violence happened with her in the room. Or they would be chasing each other through the house and she would get knocked over or pushed out of the way. If nothing else, I think that's going to cause some issues for her later unfortunately.


Quoting Janet:

They are young enough I think they will be okay. Just give them lots of love and a structured environment.



Kristal_25
by Member on Jul. 29, 2013 at 3:31 PM
Thank you! I will have to look into that book!


Quoting SlapItHigh:

I have actually done a lot of research on this as a dear friend of mine went through something similar -- she adopted a son through foster care.  He had been severely neglected...I won't horrify you with the details but he suffered some ongoing medical issues from the neglect such as hypothyroidism as a 1 year old.  My advice in all the research -- follow attachment parenting principles especially cosleeping  Check out this book -- The Science of Parenting



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