I am furious. I am livid.
I actually had no idea what to write about today, I’m pretty much fluctuating between being mad and being depressed. Oh, and in between I’m being a little bit productive.
Back to the irate part.
Let’s start with “the juvenile”, which is how he introduced himself at yesterday’s meeting. If you’ll recall, at about 12:30 in the morning, Thursday night that is, he called from detention and asked me to pick him up – he was worried that missing work in the morning would cause him to lose his job. Now, an “abused child” surely would be more frightened about returning home, yes? Not necessarily concerned about his job? Likewise, a kid with any conscience might actually apologize to his mother for what he said, and to the rest of his family, certainly before asking for a favor, yes?
This morning, he texted me. He wanted me to bring a pair of shoes up to his work; now, he has a pair of shoes, he’s been wearing them, and he was just brought over here yesterday to pick up some clothes and things. Furthermore, apparently I’m only allowed supervised visitation – that’s the state’s penalty when your kid verbally abuses you, you see.
So I guess my hands are tied. Not only that, I’m surely not inclined to do him any favors right now. He lied about his dad, and me, and he stated that he did not want to live here – and I had to deposit $350 in his checking account yesterday because he overdrew it, severely.
I was told he would be participating in the Chafee program, a program whereby teens are prepared for the “real world”, or aftercare. So I looked it up.
The brochure given to the kids is entitled: “What’s It All About? It’s All About Me!”
That makes me ill.
I’d hazard a guess that many of these kids landed in foster care due to bullheaded, stubborn, refusal to follow the rules, or worse – criminal behavior. Sure, there are many who are abused and neglected, but I imagine most teens, especially those, say, 15 years and older, have ways and means of calling 911, running away to the authorities, and so forth. Some don’t, of course, and some are unable, and I’m not doubting at all that these things happen.
Kids are born with self-esteem. It’s a fact that most prisons are filled with those who have almost abnormally high self-esteem – they think they’re smarter, bigger, better than everyone, and that’s why they’re incarcerated. Duh.
Kids don’t need MORE self-esteem, they need to retain some of what they have, and they need to develop sympathy and empathy and a conscience. They certainly don’t need more “ammunition” to work the system or, most importantly, their parents.
Yesterday we went to court. The state said that my son needs to remain in protective custody; I agreed, but stipulated that my reasons for foster care were certainly different. It’s hard to tell what a judge is thinking, but it sure seemed as though he, at the very least, was not happy to have my son back in court within two weeks of his release from detention.
Afterwards we had a meeting about steps to take towards “reunification of the family unit” – it seems to be merely a fancy term for “let’s give the kid whatever he wants so he can return home and terrorize you all some more.”
Five people in that room were “concerned about the child” – only two were concerned about the family as a whole. For example, to begin, we were instructed to say “something positive about the family” – five comments were about my son; one was about the family. Me, I had nothing to say at all.
I finally said:
You know what? First, this is not about a “child” – this is about a young man who is taller and stronger than I, almost as big as his dad; this is about a young man who needs to learn to control his mouth and his actions and his apparent anger. This is about a young man who refuses to follow the rules, a young man who is in serious need of help in dealing with HIS issues. The issues are not of the family – we are a normal, law-abiding, church-going family who has ONE kid out of several who believes he is the be-all and end-all of every situation, every decision, and every moment of every day.
HE is the one who needs assistance. Our family is just fine, thankyouverymuch, and the problems that arise do so because of HIS unwillingness to be a part of the family, and his constant arguing and fighting and breaking the rules – and not just ours, but the rules ordered by a judge as conditions of his probation.
That’s the bottom line.
The state claims there is a pattern of abuse. The state is wrong. There were two calls, a year and a half ago, in which my son claimed abuse; they were investigated and found to be unsubstantiated. The most recent claim was last Friday. This, they consider a pattern.
They don’t consider my son’s running away numerous times as a pattern; they don’t consider his lying and manipulation of his family, as well as the system itself, a pattern; they don’t consider the number of police calls to our home as a pattern. They also don’t consider all his probation violations, over less than two weeks upon his release, as a pattern.
Methinks they need to return to second grade to learn about patterns.