Friday, March 12, 2010

I hope Grandpa was right!

My grandfather used to say: Trouble comes in threes.  If that’s true, yesterday was my perfect trifecta, as we handled each problem in turn, and came out the other side!

The Girlfriend:

Ethan and Topher and the incredible GF.  Topher has been chasing GF for over a year now.  Ethan started dating her shortly before Topher moved in (could someone explain this to me!  What does it mean to date when you won't hold hands 'cuz it's yucky, you can't drive and do things together in the evenings, and you won't kiss each other because ... eeew ...).  Topher said he was OK with that, as she’d never shared his feelings.  Until Valentines day, when she said she had feelings for him.  I convinced Ethan to break up with her and let Topher have a shot.  That didn’t work.  Topher broke up with her, to let Ethan have another shot.  That didn’t work.  It was causing no end of stress in the house.  The were both behaving like little turds, and I was about to send them to the back yard to lay with the rest of the dog droppings when we came upon a solution:

They both, with some urging from me, decided to tell her she had to pick and stop playing with their emotions.  After school, they spent an eternity outside her house pacing back and forth, arguing between the three of them, and they finally left her to decide.  By the time we all got home, she had decided.  She chose: neither.  Throughout this whole thing, I was holding my breath, trying to figure out how to comfort whoever was on the “losing” side.  Turns out they both lost, and they commiserated and found comfort in each other’s company. 

Like Brothers.

I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

The Sister:

Topher’s sister is apparently missing him.  Or, if I read her texts correctly, she’s missing his SSA income.  She’s pointing at the fact that he is starting to do better and said “He’s better now.  He needs to come home”.  The advantage of fostering by voluntary power-of-attorney is not having the state involved.  The disadvantage is that his mother has the power to revoke it at any time she chooses.  Yesterday, the disadvantage began to severely outweigh the advantage.

So … DHS/DFS/CPS has been called.  I can’t say who called them, but I got the phone call from Topher’s caseworker at about 9 AM this morning.  After a brief discussion, where it came out that Topher has had an open investigation since January, that his mother had not informed his worker that she had moved him out, and that she had likewise not informed his worker that she was being evicted, the following was decided:
  • His case worker has declared the power-of-attorney non-revokable.  He has said if she revokes it, he’ll just pull Topher and place him back with us.  We are discussing what to do when it expires in August, but this is now a “permanent” placement (as permanent as foster care gets).
  • Because of the way his mom and sister have been pressuring him, we’re severing contact and all visitation arrangements are to be handled through the case worker.
  • The case worker is going to handle as much of this from his side as possible, leaving me to focus on Topher.
  • If Topher’s nephew (Topher’s 17 year old sister is 7+ months pregnant … yeah … ‘nuff said) ends up being taken by the state, we’re on the list of potential foster parents.  A baby would be a nice addition to the family, and having a blood relative would really be a boon to Topher as well.
Again, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

The Wife:

Christina is still struggling with bringing Topher into the family.  The biggest struggle is that he is very needy, and is demanding a lot of attention.  She’s feeling like she’s having to compete with him for my time, and that’s never good.  We fought Wednesday night, but Thursday morning we came to an understanding:
  • We are in this for the long haul.  As he learns to handle his troubles, he will become less and less needy, and we will be able to settle in together.
  • At this point, as she agreed to bring him into the house, we’re reduced to three options:
    1. Sacrifice the marriage to save the boy
    2. Sacrifice the boy to save the marriage
    3. Figure out how to get back to working together and save them both.
Since we both agree that neither of the first two is acceptable, that leaves the third, and we’re working on it.  The news this morning made it more obvious.  With the severing of contact with his biological mother, she is now the only mother he has, and she’s working on stepping up to the job.  It also helps that we may be getting a “bonus baby” on top of all that, and she’s doing much better today.  She made sure I offered to foster the baby, and she even mentioned that she thought it would be better for Topher if the baby was here and not randomly out in the foster care system.

Still working on this outcome, but I can see the light!

So … I hope my grandpa was right and these troubles come in threes … because I don’t know how many more of these I can survive!

        aka: goofdad


Dellilah said...

I'm a strong believer in the the "threes" theory. So I'm sure this is it... for now.

Confessions From A Working Mom said...

I also believe in the theory of "three's"... it always happens at work with celebrity deaths.

I was hoping all your problems would have been as lighthearted as your first. It sounds like you have an incredible wife, and incredible amounts of faith in the power of your marriage and your family, and I know you'll get through these all. It's not a matter of "if", only "when".

Confessions From A Working Mom

goofdad said...

LOL ... that first one may sound lighthearted, but believe me ... two angsty teenagers at each other's throats was no joy to live with!

Again ... Thanks!

emily @ mothersofbrothers said...

I honestly don't know how you handle everything that comes your way. Do you lose it evey now and then? Do you bury our head in a pillow and scream? DO you have a mantra to repeat? I am humbled by your sensibility and generosity and ENERGY to come out the other side. I get overwhelmed with one kid who doesnt have any of these issues. I'm just so fascinated and wondering if you were born cool, calm and collected or it was something that you acquired over time? And can I get some?