"Begin today and write in it your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to you, each other, your children, your grand-children and others throughout the generations. Remember, the Savior chastised those who failed to record important events." --President Spencer W. Kimball

May 3, 2010

Ashlee...

Something recently just happened that really bothered me, so I thought I'd blog about it.....to vent my feelings.  We have a foster-daughter named Ashlee, she's been with us since July '09.  She turned 19 years old last November.  Yes, usually they leave the state's custody when they turn 18, but she's a special case because her mom lives here locally and because of the things that happened to her when she was in her mother's care, the state doesn't want her to go back.  Ashlee is a very tall (as tall as Ova) African-American girl with the sweetest personality.  She's mentally the age of a 10 or 11 year old, which I think is due to her upbringing.  It's not that she's dumb, it's that she lacks common sense because she wasn't taught it when she was younger.  Because she thinks like a child, she plays very well with all the kids.  She's not on any medication....she just needed some guidance and love, something that every single child should have, but she hasn't.    When we first got her, she had some hygeine problems (as most children in state custody do) but Tea taught her how to take a shower.  I've never really taken notice of how by doing everyday things like taking a bath, brushing our teeth, cleaning....and things like that, that we are teaching our children.  Ashlee didn't have that example when she was young, so just now, at age 19 she was taught how to correctly take a shower.  Before, she thought if you just got in the water....that was good enough.   Tea had her put her swimming suit on and got her a sponge and some nice smelling body wash and she told her, starting from her head down to her feet to scrub every part of her body....ever since then she's been taking a shower every single day.  At her therapy session, her counselor noted a substancial improvement on her hygeine.  All it took was a little patience and love from Tea.  We had a meeting at our house, a very intimidating meeting I might say, with all of Ashlee's state people....our living room was full of people, Ashlee's counselor, her caseworker, her therapist, her tracker, someone from the agency that placed her, two people from the state, and Tea and me.  The meeting was to discuss Ashlee's progress and to determine weather she would be capable (because of her age) to leave the program and get her own apartment.  I didn't agree with how the meeting was held.  At first it was okay because they were asking Ashlee how she felt she was doing and so on....but then they got into the part where they pointed out to me and Tea all her short-comings and problems....and they weren't nice about it.  Her caseworker would point at her and tell us that she has a problem with hygeine, but instead of wording it like that, he would point at her and say she stinks.  They talked about and bashed her mother, they put her down, they basically said she was too dumb to live on her own.....it really irritated me.  The things they said were true, but there is a more tactful way to say it, especially when she's sitting right there listening.  I understand that these things needed to be talked about, but why did they have to say all those negative things in front of her?  With no thought of her feelings?   I don't even know if it bothered her, but it sure did bother me.
 
That was just one incidence.... this 2nd incidence just pushed me over the edge....
Her caseworker came over one morning a few weeks ago.  We were making omlets for breakfast and so we made him one and he joined us for breakfast.  As we were sitting there eating, he very bluntly tells Ashlee that he spoke with her mother and that her mother didn't want to have anything to do with her anymore because she's slow.  He said "your mom wants your little sister Alexia, because she's normal, but she doesn't want and will never want you because you're too slow."  I felt a stab in my heart just hearing him say that to her.  She burst into tears...Tea and I did too.  She was crying uncontrollabley.  How could someone be so heartless?  If that was something that needed to be said, why couldn't he find a better way to say it?  Ashlee loves her mom, and has always had the hope of one day being able to live with her again (In her mind, that would happen even though we all know it will never happen) so hearing such harsh news must have been so painful.  Her mom is retarded, and such a horrible mother.... the things that happened to her children while they were in her custody, and while she knew about it just makes me cringe.  I never understood why people like that are blessed with kids, when there are so many other women out there that would kill to be able to have children.  After he finished his breakfast and told her the news, he left.  Ashlee was left sitting there on the couch crying, feeling unwanted and unloved.  Bless Tea's heart!  As you know from my other posts, she's got such a kind and giving heart... her heart ached just as much as Ashlee's did.  She gave Ashlee a big hug and told her not to worry about it, she could stay with us for as long as she wanted.  Later on that night when Ova got home, we told him what had happened.  He felt so faka'ofa for her and told her that we loved her and told her again that she could stay with us for as long as she wants.  I just don't understand how some people can have absolutely no regard for other people's feelings.  Especially kids that already feel unwanted by their parents because they are in the state's custody.  I can't stand her caseworker!

4 comments:

Heather and Kevin said...

WOW...that is terrible. I always thought about going in to social work...maybe being a counselor, but I would hope that I wouldn't become jaded from the day to day and become like that. I think they underestimated her intelligence and capacity to comprehend what they were saying about her. They felt that they had to be blunt and to the point..not thinking that she would understand if they sugar coated it. That or they just deal with crappy situations all they time and it makes them a little cold. I think it is great that you are taking such good care of her. I think you can totally change her life for the better and no matter where she is later in life she will look back at the time she spent with your family as the first time she really felt loved. What a great gift to give someone.

Melissa said...

I can't believe how heartless some people can be. Especially case workers who are the ones that are suppose to help people out positively in these cases. I had no idea that you are foster parents. My hat goes off to you for doing that. It is not an easy job I am sure. Someone who has such a huge heart and plenty of room to let them in, and that would be you and Ova. I hope that it will get better. Sounds like Tea is an angel sent straight from Heavenly Father. Could you send another one just like her our way?
Love ya!

shaunita said...

That is so terrible!! I know there are some really good caseworkers out there, but this sure highlights the lack that still clearly exists in the system.

I took a class in grad school on attachment theory--most of the other students were DCFS workers getting their master's degree while working for the state--and I was astonished at their lack of sense in basic matters.

Like the fact that kids still love their parents, and don't like to hear bad things about them, even if the parents have hurt them. That was a total shock to most.

I'm so glad she has you and your family to be positive supports in her life. it sounds like she needs all the loving, sensative people she can get!

ANNA BANANA said...

I use to work with all the DCFS people and really a lot of them are sooo uncaring, and hate their jobs! So if I were you I would request another case worker...and if they don't accommodate you, take it to the main office and ask to speak to the Director! That's so sad and irritating! I'm so surprised you didn't say anything, I would've kicked him outta my house and shoved his omelet in his face! ughhhh people can really be sooo rude! I'm glad she has you, Tea and Ova showing her love and affection, you guys will truly be blessed :)