Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The latest in the Odessa saga

Odessa spent the night last night in an emergency home because I wasn't yet licensed for a teenager. (Keep in mind that I called everyone I could think of on Wednesday AS SOON AS I KNEW I NEEDED MY LICENSE EXPANDED.)

I was told that a licensing worker needed to come see my apartment. Fine, whatever. I offered for the licensing worker to come yesterday afternoon. No, they thought this morning would be better. Because of course Odessa, who has been in more than three homes in the past year, isn't being inconvenienced at all.

Wendy (the GAL, remember) and I spoke last night when she called to tell me how much she hates the Agency. She was told 1. that I didn't have a bed available and 2. they were meeting with me at that moment. "Foster Ima, they flat out lied to me!" (Not that she was surprised.)

So this morning the licensing worker came. She was 45 minutes late. She called from the lobby of my building at 35 minutes late, then had to move her car in the parking lot, and that took ten minutes. Don't ask me how. She did tell me that she "was on the wrong 5th St." (I don't live on "5th St." but that's kind of the parallel.) Brilliant.

The first comment she made about my apartment was "you have a lot of stuff. We don't like a lot of stuff."

She looked at the room-that-will-be-Odessa's, went to the bathroom, and then looked at the room again. At which point she told me "this room is stark and uninviting. This is a teenager we're talking about. We don't want her falling into a depression because the room isn't welcoming." Because I should have the room decorated already for a teenager who I don't know and who probably has pretty set preferences? I was a bit indignant because of the worker's tone, and explained that we would be going to the store together to get things for her. At which point the worker's negative attitude changed 100% to how wonderful I am. What the heck.

So Odessa should be coming tonight, at last, but I haven't heard anything back from her worker yet today, which she told me yesterday I would.

I typed up the house rules; there are only five, though there are an additional two about food and an additional three (one plus specifics) about having friends over. The first rule is my favorite: don't do anything illegal. I think that pretty much sums it up, right? ;-)

OH! Related to house rules, a quick request for more advice: Odessa has a pay-as-you-go cell phone. While at her group home, she has gotten a few dollars here and there for various things--that is, not enough to keep her phone paid for. I want her to be able to call or text me (and to be able to call or text her) reliably. I don't know what company her phone is through, but do any of you have recommendations for the most economical but reliable way to make sure that she is able to use her phone to reach me but I don't end up spending a ridiculous amount on her calling/texting friends? (To clarify: she can call or text her friends, but some pay-as-you-go "plans" have per-minute, per-text charges, and I've heard rumors that teenagers can really rack up the minutes. I don't mind paying for reasonable usage, but...) Any tips on navigating this?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Odessa update

Odessa should be joining the family this evening. (Still waiting to hear from her social worker, so it could still be tomorrow, but the GAL* and I agree that tonight makes more sense.)

Her bedroom still looks like bubble gum vomited, but I put a blue blanket on the bed, so that tempers the pink-ness a bit. The play kitchen is still in the room, too. I just don't know what else to do with it.

In taking down the letters to Sabrina's name from the wall, it occurred to me that a better blog name for Odessa would have been "Gabri." That is, four of the letters in their names are the same. Anyone who knows Sabrina's real name is invited to guess Odessa's real name. Just not in the comments :-)

Last night's panic while finishing getting Odessa's room minimally ready for her? I only have kid-sized hangers in her closet. Add that to the Tar-jay list.

Trying to decide on a real tree or a fake tree for Christmas. I've never in my life dealt with a real tree, but the problem with a fake tree is storage. (Anyone have thoughts on self-storage places? This might help with the play kitchen, stroller, and passover dishes...) I'm wondering how it is that Sabrina and I never decorated last year. I had been so excited about having a reason to decorate, and then we didn't. Huh.

Thanks for the advice on house rules. I think I've got at least that small piece of things under control. (The ONLY thing I think I have under control.)

*I don't think I've ever given the GAL a blog name, but since it may end up that she and I have a longer partnership--that is, I might get all of my placements through her!--I should give her a name. Let's call her Wendy. (A name that really doesn't suit her, but follows my pattern of word association.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It is quite possible that sometime this weekend (I assume Sunday), a 17 year old whose blog name will be Odessa will come to stay with me for a while.

I am nervous for the following reasons:
1. I haven't really contemplated the possibility of parenting a teenager. At all. So I am starting from ground zero in terms of coming up with house rules appropriate for a 17 year old. Any recommendations are very welcome.
2. My apartment is a complete disaster area. Not kidding. My depression has been in full swing for the last few weeks and so there are dirty dishes EVERYWHERE and a dead fish on the dining room table and just STUFF. I've just begged on facebook for a friend or two to come over on Friday to help me clean. I've promised money, food, and alcohol. I sure hope my plea works.
3. The bedroom is really decorated for a 5 year old girl. I should at least take the fabric letters of Sabrina's name off the wall. And maybe find something to do with the play kitchen.
4. Uh, I really was going to take a break until I got my life more together. (Yeah right, when does that ever happen?) And I only started to pull out of feeling terrible on Sunday. So what am I doing agreeing to take another kid?
5. Odessa apparently has a habit of absconding on weekends. She always (*cough* almost always) comes back for school on Monday morning, but I do worry about this piece.

Anyway, I got a bunch of details from her GAL who is the one who asked me if I could take her. (Her GAL is Sabrina's GAL, hence the connection.) It ought to be a short-term placement; there is another woman who is interested in being her foster mom--they know each other already but I didn't catch the details when the GAL told them to me--but that woman isn't licensed yet. In the meantime, Odessa's group home is closing at the end of the month.

So here we are. I'll let you all know if Odessa ends up coming to me!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Personal advice requested

I want to break up with my therapist. (Needing to switch to another in the same practice due to my insurance--i.e., Kaiser.) Do I this by:
1. Sending her an email asking her to recommend someone else, or
2. Making an appointment and asking her then?

(Relatedly, my therapist's next available appointment is Dec. 2--I had to cancel an appointment back in August, then in September, and didn't make another appointment right away. Because I don't find her helpful.)

Thanks for the advice!