Thursday, December 10, 2009

That was interesting

Sabrina hit her social worker.

Need I say more? Analyze it? I feel better knowing that it isn't just me. It isn't just the color of my skin. It really is setting limits that sets Sabrina off. The social worker said the same things I say, with the same calmness and persistence but I think a little more forcefulness.

And Sabrina hit her in the nose.

Now: a fuller update.

Sabrina had a visit with her mom this afternoon and brought home cookies and donuts. She refused to put them away: "I want to hold them!!!" It was putting them away (the second time, actually, after she had choked down some turkey and taken her inhalers without holding her breath so I let her have one donut) that resulted in her hitting the social worker. (Oh yes, the SW picked Sabrina up at school and brought her back to my house after the visit. I like this schedule.)

Sabrina was extremely defiant (look, she's a cute kid but she absolutely refuses to do anything suggested by another person--I know of no word for that other than defiance) and also screamed a lot. She called the social worker and me mean. She cried, she hit the social worker, the social worker made her go to her room, and then...

She threw up. On my cute sheep blanket. And her clothes. And then blamed the social worker and me for letting her throw up. She is old enough to know that she should go into the bathroom if she feels like throwing up. At least since it's not like she has a stomach bug and is just vomiting all night long. This was tantrum-created vomit. (I know this well from my childhood.)

So one more parental milestone reached. And how do I know from above that she really did just choke down the turkey instead of chewing it? Because her vomit was nothing but undigested chunks of turkey and donut crumbs. And after she threw up, guess what Sabrina wanted to wear to bed? Her clothes. That she had just vomited on. It took two grown ups to convince her that she needed to take her clothes off and put pajamas on.

So no bath for her, even though her last bath was at her Daddy's house on Sunday. (Am I a bad parent for not having her bathe every day? I didn't take a bath every day when I was 4.) So I really wanted to make sure to give her a bath tonight, even if just so that my bathing negligence doesn't get revealed to dad tomorrow. Oh well.

She's now asleep, in her bedroom. Can you believe (I'm sure you can) that she tried to direct where exactly in her room I sat while she fell asleep? I didn't want to sit on the floor so I pulled a chair over to where she could see me, but that wasn't good enough for her. She wanted me to sit on the carpet. "Sabrina, this is not a subject of negotiation." (Too big a word for a 4 year old? Well, she'll learn, even if it is.) "Sit on the floor!" "Sabrina, this is not a subject of negotiation. You need to be quiet. If you complain, I am leaving." "Sit on the floor!" At which point, I left and started writing a post about how I felt awful about leaving her because she was still crying about being scared. I got one sentence in before I gave in, but we then repeated the conversation about where I should sit. Anyway, as I type this, I'm still sitting in the chair.

Next up: taking her bookbag out of her room, seeing if we missed any homework, and most importantly, taking out the vomit-covered Hello Kitty sweatshirt.


  1. Did you ever consider the fact she may miss her mother? Would you be defiant if you were taken away from your mother?

    Think about it.

  2. Oh, she definitely misses her mother! And today she saw her, which certainly made it even more difficult for her to then have to come to my house afterwards, instead of going to her home.

    When I say that she is defiant, I mean things like, if I say "May I help you zip your coat?" she screams "Don't tell me what to do! I know what to do!" Or when she takes her inhaler she holds her breath or hits my hand away. (Or both!)

  3. Oh, Ima, I know this is tough but I'm glad you now know for sure that it's not just you and is definitely the situation making Sabrina so upset. I can tell how much you care about Sabrina and are sympathetic to how much pain she's in while at the same time being frustrated by her behavior.

    Lee remembers baths as being a once-a-week thing when she was young, then eventually transitioned to a Wednesday and Saturday thing. I think under the circumstances as long as you're keeping her clean and lotioned you're doing fine.

  4. Is it possible to help her and her mother reunite?

  5. @beverly, you know, I don't actually know the situation that caused Sabrina to be brought into care, and I don't know what the Agency is planning long-term for her. The short-term plan at least is for Sabrina to go to live with her Daddy; she has unsupervised visits with him every weekend, but because he lives in a different state, there are some legal/bureaucratic hurdles (I don't know what they are) that have to be jumped. And I don't think that the agency is working fast enough to do that. It would be so much better for their whole family if Sabrina could go to her dad's more long-term.

    In the meantime, since I can't control any of those factors, Sabrina gets to call her Mommy every day, as well as her Auntie and her Daddy.

  6. Outside of Sabrina's challenges, you are going through challenges of your own.

    I am a very strong advocate on transparency and accountability. What that means is you should, and rightfully so, be included in the informative process.

    The child placing agency is leaving you in limbo, causing great strain upon your abilities to care for Sabrina.

    What the agency is attempting to do, and from what little you have told me is doing it very poorly, is what is called an Interstate Compact on the Placement of a Child (ICPC).

    Unfortunately, many states do not have policy established to properly execute the placement in another state. Even more saddening is the fact that there are financial incentives for the child placing agency to prolong the process.

    To sum up the ICPC in a nutshell, it goes like this:

    The child placing agency asks for the family member in another state to get approved for the placement.

    The family member in another state gets approved for placement by that state.

    The family member's state compact administrator sends the approval to the state compact administrator of the state the child is in.

    The child is, then, immediately sent to the family member's state and the case is then transferred for formal permanency placement.

    Everyone involved should know what is going on, but, too many times, the child placing agencies and state administrators are lacking basic knowledge of policies, causing frustration for all parties, including Sabrina, her father and you.

  7. Ugh, between state moves are really really annoying. Something called the ICPC comes into effect (Interstate Child Protection Compact?) and it's lots of paperwork. From my experience, it's at least six months of bureaucratic (non)effort before the wheels start turning. Sorry to be the bearer.

    And knowing where dad is now, I'm surprised they allowed unsup. weekend visits. I don't think our judges would've let that happen. Maybe your judge knows more than we do. Ooh, maybe her dad is a hot-shot Mafia-connected big-man-on-campus and pulled some strings. THAT would be interesting.

    Anyway, poor Sabrina. Have you been able to pick up on anything she likes? Certain food, music artist, etc, something you could surreptitiously bring into the day to brighten it, w/o her thinking it was your 'idea'. (You know, if she likes Beyonce, you could just play some at home without really talking about it.) Maybe CW would ask mom or dad?

  8. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of a Child deals strictly with placement and is not exclusive to abuse and neglect.

    The Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA) is what is traditionally used in foster care and adoption cases as the largest funding segment is Targeted Case Management (a.k.a. Medicaid).

    Either way it goes, it should not take six months to comply with the ICPC or the ICAMA.

    I will examine these compacts at length in my future posts.

    Beverly Tran

  9. Keep up the great job Ima! While I assume that you blog just to vent - if you'd like someone to bounce ideas for discipline off of, feel free to email me ANY time. I hope you get some sleep tonight!

  10. OMG!! You CRUEL monsters.

    This will go well before my jury.

    HOW could you EVER deal with a FOUR
    year old like this and NOT go DIRECTLY
    to jail.

    You HORRIBLE PEOPLE. UNbelievable.

    WHAT is you're physical address? im
    sending the cops out there the moment
    I find out.


    Marilyn Lois Trevino
    Pls. call (53)0 459-1839