Visitation, Part Two


I know I’ve commented on this before but, naturally, as we go along in our journey of dealing with overinflated bureaucracy, we come across even more issues.

A month or so ago we were subjected to another family “team” meeting; all but two people traveled an average of 30 minutes in order to participate, and we were again lectured to speak without “blaming or shaming”. Blech. Seriously, must we rhyme, as well as expound so pedantically?

Seems like no one is ever at fault in these situations, but when you dig just a bit deeper it finally comes out that you, the parent, are to blame. But we mustn’t use that word, of course.

According to the assorted social workers, we are good parents, but we need to do things differently. How so, you may wonder? Well, no one has told us; most likely they don’t have a clue. Why not? Well, because they want everything to be hearts and flowers and rainbows and fuzzy teddy bears – and they wonder why, oh why, the world can’t be like that?

Ha. In their line of work, you’d think they know the answer. Which, of course, is why I so often question their collective intelligence.

They don’t know the answer because mostly all they’ve done is read. Maybe they got all As in their classes, maybe they were average students; but most have no children, no pets, some not even a spouse – in other words, they have no real life experience. Of course, they think they do, because they’ve worked with a number of families in crisis situations and that qualifies them because…? Oh, yes, probably because they think they’ve “seen it all” – and maybe they have, but they haven’t dealt with anything remotely similar on a daily basis.

Take this one comment: “Perhaps the mother and son shouldn’t communicate at all outside of therapy.”

Huh? Because I said that sometimes my son starts badgering me? How old am I, anyway, that I need someone to hold my hand? I told her that I simply get offline, or say goodbye and hang up the phone. Much easier now, since when I used these tactics at home he merely followed me around or refused to leave the room. Which is one way to deal with teenagers when they get out-of-line and you’re at the end of your conversational rope.

But she doesn’t know this, because she’s never had teenagers. All she’s done is read the hearts-and-flowers version of a textbook.

Oops – I was going to write about visitation. Okay, here’s the deal:

As per the court order, we are now allowed unsupervised visitation. Naturally, it’s at the discretion of DFS or its designated agents. Which means caseworkers. The caseworker passes the buck to the supervisor, who has determined that these visits must be scheduled in advance and approved.

Just another page in the book of overinflated bureaucracy – and overinflated self-importance.

My son happens to work within walking distance of our house, and his foster-mother’s office is nearby as well; he asked, a week ago, if he could come by and pick up some clothes and I said, sure. After numerous phone calls, I was told about the scheduling part and then I never heard back from anyone.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that he changed his mind and lied about all the confusion and permissions involved; but I did see the caseworker a few days later and she said we’d “talk about this at the meeting”. You bet we will. Similar incident over this past weekend, when he wanted to come over and was told no, that there was unsupervised visitation and that he had to do what the caseworker said.

I think they’re dealing with someone who refuses to jump through their ridiculous hoops, and they just aren’t sure how to handle this. How many of their parents are educated? How many are confident? How many retained an attorney? And last, how many are dealing with an out-of-control teenager who is on probation?

Oh, I’ve asked these questions. No one can answer. This is so typical – if there’s no answer, let’s just engage in more pop-psychology and try to throw everyone off-track. Just so very typical. They must try to control those things about which they are clueless, or they might be out of a job.

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