From 'emeritus' back to active parenting? Or not?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, May 10, 2016.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Or hopefully decision we do not need to make. But right now it is a possibility.

    It is about our respite kids. We have had them few days a month some years now. 11-year-old neurotypical girl with her own challenges and 8-year-old high functioning aspie boy. They and their siblings were taken into the care little over a week ago because of domestic disturbance. Mother's boyfriend was violent towards her and has been before, and mother has failed to take necessary steps to get rid off him. CPS has ruled that she can't have children back, before that guy is out of their life.

    Youngest two are with their dads, our respite kids are temporarily in our care and the sibling with severe special needs is at the institutional placement. The mother has three months before there needs to be a court ruling for more permanent arrangement and will get kids back, if she can prove the guy is out by then. We very much hope that is what will happen. She is a good mom, though his taste in men is bad. Father of our respite kids and high special needs kid only used her and the kids for permanent residence visa. With younger kids other father was married (and still is) and other is a decent bloke she dumped because he was boring. After that there has been a drunk boyfriend and this violent guy.

    We very much hope, she is able to get rid of this violent guy and have her kids back, but if not, we have tough decisions to make. We are attached to these two kids and because their age, it would be likely they would end up into the professional group home in foster care, if we are not willing (and accepted) into fostering them. We however are quite comfortable being at emeritus status in parenting. We are not too old nor too tired, only mid forties, but we have both taken more challenging offers at work and currently work long hours, though now that kids are here, we try to keep office hours short and take work home.

    Girlie will very possibly have quite the teen years in front of her. She has been very parentified child and can be challenging already. And the Boyo is double minority (like also Girlie) and aspie on the top of that. He is rule orientated in the way that makes him easier to manage now, but I assume that he will also struggle mightily in his teens. In other words, these will not be easy kids to parent.

    While we very much hope it doesn't come to it, I know there are many in these boards, who have ended up parenting their grandkids etc. I would appreciate your viewpoints greatly.
  2. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Suz. A troubling consideration, at best.
    With the ages of your present kids, in reality, you may still be "only approaching parent emeritus for a long time" depending on many factors at this point. If there is one thing hubs and I have felt, it was that we parented for soooo long due to adopting our fosters. We had someone under our care for 35+ yrs. It's craaazy to acknowledge that. We still believe we were the best home for them all but we honestly grieve those years without the freedom of empty nest.

    Is there a way to remain their respite? To provide that stability? A tough decision, it's good you're considering the options ahead of time. So much clearer thinking when you are not pressured, isn't there? Continue to weigh your choices carefully as it seems you are doing. Hopefully, their mom will step up. Prayers.
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Su Zir, would there be an opportunity for respite care for you if you take the children? Will you and D H be able to travel without the children, if you like?

  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Suzir

    I am glad you are back. It is about your priorities for yourselves. I will assume here that you will be able to stay in the children's lives as respite even if the worst happens, that they go to group homes. Would they be together or separate, should that occur? That is a difficult thought.
    There were a few years in my life where I really did what I wanted. I loved it. While my son was with me through all of it, my needs took precedence. Some were very judgmental of me. But these years define me as much or more than any of the other stuff I have done.

    So I do not minimize the importance of liberty to follow ones dreams.

    Yet at the end of the day, each of us by this stage of life, knows who we are and what defines us. Knows what in ourselves, what we need to live from. And to protect. Like when my mother fell ill.

    I could not still be myself and not take care of her. Even though doing so and its aftermath altered my life course and changed me into a different person. I have not worked for over 3 and a half years. I have a profession. Yet I have lived as a recluse, since that choice. Because I had to do something (or betray the person I was and knew myself to be), my life changed, perhaps irremediably.
    So ready to live and Cedar, here, make the same point. Choosing one thing, maintaining part of the other. Take the kids, and get the travel and freedom, a little bit. SRTL, keep the respite but get the free life.

    Still, there is the necessity to choose. It is really not just a question of the life you want to have, but the person you are and want to be. And the reality is that we have no way of knowing how the choice will affect us. In my case, I did not come out the way I could have or would have intended to be. I wanted these years to be filled with productivity and fun and achievement. Not like this.

    But that could have happened anyway. The lesson sometimes is that we do not control life. We can just control what we decide in that moment. There is no guarantee that even if you intend freedom, that you will get it.

    It comes down to who you are and who you want to be.
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    First thing worth mentioning is, that our child protection laws are different from USA. We don't have a concept of terminating parental rights. If a child needs to be taken into the care (either because of parents' actions or lack of, or because of child's own actions, in other words, kids who would end up to juvenile detention in your system end up to CPS care in ours) that doesn't cut parental rights, but court can rule that some custodial rights are temporarily on hands of CPS. And parents have a right to have a court to review a case every year. Parents also will have visitation rights and goal is always reunification even if kid has been in care for ten years.

    Because of all that, our foster care is more institutional than average. Most common are smallish, but professional group homes, with usually 5 kids and many are quite specialised to certain type of kids. Our respite kids would be hard to place. They would be placed together but not with other siblings; severe special need sibling needs high level of care and will need rest of his life and younger ones would end up to their dads. Girlie and Boyo have somewhat different needs and there are not that many places, that would take both of them. They are also minority and have a right to be placed among that same heritage. Because of all that, it is very possible they would be placed to some distance from us, and that with mother's visiting rights, it is very possible visiting us would not be possible anymore even though law requires that CPS would do their best to uphold relationships like ours.

    If we would become their longer term foster parents (technically we already are their foster parents, because they are now in the care and placed to us), we would have right to respite care if visits with mom would not be enough.

    I see lots of hard time ahead of these kids, especially if they end up being removed from their mom, so it would be like parenting Ache time two all over again. That is exhausting idea. But we love these kids. We also do have resources and support network. But it would be quite a change for next 15 years from what we have planned.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My youngest turned 18 when I turned 60 and I loved every minute of giving up an empty nest to Sonic and Jumper. I still find my best times either my kids or grandson. Being a mom was my #1 identity and career. The part time jobs I took meant little to me beside my family. If I had bern career oriented I'm not sure this would have worked. Sonic required a lot of intervention.

    You know yourselves better than us. Trust me when I say what my mother told me, but I did not change as you age, and it is more than personal health has been good all along.

    If you love having kids around and don't mind not having an empty nest maybe for a long time, go for it. If you have strong wishes to do things without young kids, that will make it harder.

    Good luck. You are doing a very necessary and positive thing for these kids.
  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Juvenile detention in the US is for kids who violate the laws, not for kids who are taken by CPS because of the parent' actions.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yes, I know. And around here we consider those kids "risking their healthy physical, mental and emotional development" by their own actions. Around here kid under 15 is not legally liable for any criminal action they may commit and even after that they need to literally kill someone to end up in prison, for others it is fines or probation at most. So all under 15 and older kids with lesser crimes are CPS's turf.

    However there are Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s for very challenging CPS clients that in practise are very much like detention centres you have. And there are places for kids whose main problem in substance abuse and so on. In fact majority of kids in care around here are not in care because of their parents but because of what they have done themselves. It may be drinking, drugs, truancy, parents needing break from their difficult teenager (who may have neurological or mental health issues), committing several petty crimes etc. And as said, places taking care of these kids tend to specialise to something. There are places for those extremely difficult and criminal kids, kids with severe mental health issues, kids just having the more volatile teen years and not getting along with parents and everything between. Most kids who end up in the care due parents do so when still very young and those are more likely to end up to foster families.
  9. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    We used to have much more lenient laws for juveniles in the US, but in the 1970s drugs and gangs took hold and the crime stats exploded. Gangs are so entrenched in our society now, they say that there is an organized presence in almost every city of more than 25K people. It is very sad.
  10. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    No truer or wiser words have been spoken. Your depth and insight are much appreciated - I know it comes from a path paved with hard lessons learned, but you my dear still remain in grace. Thanks.