I was going to start this post out with something cutesy like "when life hands you a lemon, you make lemonade!" But we all know I'm way too cynical for that sort of optimism, and that's on a good day. This is obviously not a good day, or I wouldn't even be writing. I've had a slew of good days, which is why I've gone over a month without writing. This blog is my therapy and fortunately I haven't needed it lately. That's all changed in the past week. When we last left, Mannah and Mr J had just decided to start pursuing foster care options. The fostering has been a depressing train wreck and I'll explain why. I'll also say that this is going to be a very hard post for me to write because I'll have to admit certain things I'd rather not, but I've made peace with the past and if you choose to judge me for them, then that's your own problem.
So let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. I was so excited to get started so I got my paperwork all in order very quickly, in fact the woman who did our house assessment even commented on how organized I was and how I made her job easier. Yes, I am anal-retentive when it comes to paperwork, just ask anyone I work with. We got off on a good start, the house assessment went well, but then they figured out we have rats (Who, by the way, are being adorable right now. I bought them new treats last night and it is like the second coming of Christ for them.). The case worker, for some reason, is not keen on us having rats and she was giving us ever excuse she could think of against the rats. They could have rabies, or some other disease, they could bite children, the children could be allergic, just ridiculous stuff. I think she honestly did not know the difference between wild and tame rats. I was tempted to ask her if there is a difference between wolves and tame dogs because that's more or less the same comparison. Anyway, I ended up getting an official letter from my veterinarian explaining that rats are safe and do not spread diseases to children and are, in fact, great pets to have around small children. The problem is, I don't even know if she ever read this letter because the day after she received it, everything went to hell in a hand basket.
Last week, I called the case worker at 10am and left her a voice mail asking if she has received all my paperwork and if there was anything else I needed to mail in. She didn't call me back until 4:30pm and left me a voice mail asking me to call her back before 5pm. Nice, right? Fortunately, I managed to get off work before 5 and called her back and she informed me that our application for foster care had been denied. I was in complete shock and to be honest, for a split second I thought it was because of our rats. She explained it was because of an old DHS investigation against me. I don't want to explain too much of this, because it is confidential (and horrible) but yes, I was the subject of an investigation almost 3 years ago. It was when I was working at a daycare and a parent thought she saw something that didn't happen so she called DHS and filled out a false report. There was video surveillance in the classrooms at the time, which my director watched and determined I was not at fault so she didn't do anything. But since there was a report filed, DHS was forced to come out and interview everyone. I guess this parent was really pushy because DHS felt obligated to tell the daycare to fire me and they fined my director. She started crying because she really didn't want to let me go, of course I was crying too because I was suddenly out of a job and I knew I hadn't done anything wrong! The DHS worker never even bothered watching the tape, just took everyone's statements.
Anyway, what ended up happening is I was able to file a rebuttal, which I did, and then I never heard back from them. This summer when I decided I wanted to work in daycare again, Mr J looked up the Joshua's List on the DHS website (which is basically the do-not-hire list and I would have been on it if the investigation had gone through) but I wasn't on it so I went ahead and applied and obviously got a job. I told my director before getting hired about the investigation, just in case anything showed up in my background check, and because I believe in full disclosure. I'm now wondering if that is the best policy. So I told my director about not getting approved because all this crap is showing up again and she was livid. She offered to call my case worker and explain that if the investigation was still open, she wouldn't have been allowed to hire me. Which is exactly what I already told the case worker, but she didn't seem to understand that, but I suppose it would sound better coming from someone official like my boss. So she called and left a voice mail on Thursday morning and of course has not gotten a reply yet.
I just don't even know what to do now, should I just pack it in? Fortunately we haven't put any money into this endeavor, only man hours. When we were getting so frustrated with the fertility treatments, it was because we had spent thousands of dollars. I talked to my husband over the weekend and we decided maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea to try again to get pregnant. I'm beginning to think the tiny chance we have of getting pregnant is bigger than the miniscule chance we have of DHS changing their minds about us fostering. The situation just sucks all around, and it is completely depressing. Mr J commented last night about how well I'm handling all this and I told him I'm hanging on by a thread, one that could break at any given time. It is true. I'm having to compartmentalize my brain and only focus on one thing at a time, because if I start thinking about too many things, it might just explode and I'll lose it.
On another note, did anyone else watch the season premiere of The Simpsons last night? It really pissed me off. I love Homeland (which also wasn't that good last night), so I was interested to see their take on it. But the characters were horribly written, as they have been for several years now. The story was just stupid, again as it has been for awhile. And the worst part was the stereotyping of race and mental illness. It was like I was watching Family Guy or something. I never thought I'd say this, but I think I'm about done with this show. I'll just have to console myself with the old DVDs.