School starts next week. I’m looking forward to it, even though it’s been a really nice summer. Both of us have pretty much gone with the flow. I let him sleep mostly as long and as much as he wanted, unless we had something to do. I’ve tried to sleep more myself, and you all know that’s a struggle. I finally just broke down and put up blackout curtains last week, which work pretty well, except I bought curtains that were too short (they cover the window fine, but they really need to go all the way to the floor) and I should have bought tab-top panels so I could fit them around the sides of the existing blind rod. So, I’ll get another set shortly and the experiment will continue. I used the existing set of holes for the curtain rod, because I don’t have a drill and I didn’t want to put more holes in the apartment wall. It works. The room is a lot darker…I tossed up one of my sarongs on top to block that light and I can push open the curtains in the middle to get some daylight when I’m not working or sleeping. It’s fine. But for once, I’m not writing about my sleep problems.
Last fall, when the marijuana fiasco happened, we called social services and opened a voluntary case with them. Truthfully, they haven’t done a whole lot…the caseworker makes a home visit and he did help get me some furniture when we moved, and helped with paying for E’s football camp this summer. I can’t complain. Then, several weeks, ago my caseworker told me that if I was “certified” and got custody of E, I could receive what they call “kinship” assistance, which can be a substantial sum, as they pay the relatives as if they were foster parents. Yes, foster parents get paid to take care of children that aren’t theirs but relatives who step up don’t get anything.
Anyway, I thought, well, great. I had been playing with the idea of getting custody anyway because right now I just have a power of attorney, which works all right, but I’d like to get him a passport, and travel, and I’m not sure how well that would work in that situation. So I said, okay, let’s go forward. So I had to meet with the kinship person, who it turns out I knew from my days as a paralegal. We had a nice meeting but at the end, she asked me about a case number or something and I said, well there’s no case number because none of this went through the courts. E. has a court case, but the DSS never had custody of him as an abandoned child or whatever. Ooops, grind that bus to a halt. Nope. No DSS case, no help. Well, she did help me get a small amount of help with TANF for him only, and trust me, I am grateful for that…every little bit helps. But nothing else.
So, I tell my other caseworker and he’s apologetic, etc,. and then says, well we need to have this Family Engagement Meeting which we never did and maybe we can work it out there. So, I said fine. That was yesterday. And the caseworker and his supervisor was there, but the kinship worker wasn’t, so they brought in this other guy and I was pretty specific about saying, this was a VOLUNTARY case and there was no case in the court, and he said, oh, we’ll get you certified and get you a provider number or whatever and yes, you can get assistance. So we left quite hopeful.
So, TODAY, you guessed it. Other guy calls back and says, I need more details, and I tell him, I TOLD you and everyone yesterday there is no case in court that DSS initiated. This was voluntary and the court was never involved. Oh, well, then we can’t help you. And I confess I got a little “verbal” with him and he was like, well this isn’t a business, we don’t just pay you to take care of kids. And I said, It’s not that…I didn’t ASK about this assistance. I was TOLD about it out of the blue and now I feel like I have really been jerked around and had my hopes up for thinking maybe I could pay some bills and save some money for E for when he graduates, etc. And THEN, he asks me if I would consider being a foster parent. I was like HELL no, are you crazy?
So, after that, I called the kinship worker back, who I really do like and who has been the most clear about everything and she was really upset about everything that had gone down. She told me that pretty much the only way I might get anything was just to say I was done taking care of E. and just turn him over to DSS, and then THEY would have to start all those processes. Well, I don’t want to do that. I don’t even want to joke about it. So we ended the conversation and I was not in a very good place.
Because I had got my hopes up. I don’t get my hopes up too much anymore. Right now, and for the next three years, I’m just looking at doing the best I can to get through getting E to 18 and having some decent skills to take care of himself. I try not to focus on the fact that right now all he wants to do is sleep, eat chips and play Madden Mobile on his phone. I understand that he’s 15. But soon that will be 16, then 17, then…..
Then I remembered that I’ve been listening to my Abraham CDs in the car recently. I realized I had to let go of all this crap about the DSS money. All this is is circumstances. I realized I have to quit looking at the circumstances that are right in front of me, because that turns me right upstream. Nothing I want is upstream. I don’t have the upper body strength to paddle upstream for more than a short period of time. So, I started thinking about what we already have. I started being grateful for the help I’ve already gotten. I started realizing that we’ve gotten 4 new accounts on my jobs recently and there’s going to be extra work, so I can make that up. I realized that October is a month in which I get three paychecks, so that extra will go back into my savings. I started realizing that some hypothetical sum of money that isn’t going to show up won’t change anything in this now. I started realizing that I’ve always taken care of things that popped up in my life and I’ll keep on doing it now. I printed out a calendar for next week and I’m going to start using it to schedule my time once E starts to school. Summer is over and now it’s time to get back in the groove. It’s not going to be all about the rat race, either, but if I can put something down on paper, it feels more real, so I can schedule sleep time, exercise time, extra work time, etc. I can see it. I can follow it. Otherwise, I get here and find myself lost in Sherlock or Game of Thrones. Not that I can’t do that, too, but right now, these other actions are calling me as well. I’ve enjoyed the pool here at the flat, but that’s closing on Labor Day and it’s time to get back to real swimming and start planning another swim.
So, fine DSS, you go your way and I’ll go mine. I’m still headed downstream and everything I want is there and nothing is in the place where I worry about getting money that would likely have more strings than I want attached to it any way. I’ll just do it myself, thank you.