Since the adoptions were finalized last year we have had virtually NO contact with the foster care system. Our house was automatically put on hold for fostering as it is with all families who adopt. When the six months "freeze" was over I tried to contact the foster care worker to get our home open again and basically that went no-where. Then they were in need of an emergency placement so they called us and needed to open the house "IMMEDIATELY" so in the space of three or four days we were running around like chickens with our heads chopped off but apparently they placed those kids elsewhere because the communication all of a sudden completely died off again and we haven't heard from them since - haven't even heard if our home is open or not again...
In the year or so it has been since we have had social services involved with our family it has been an amazing thing. We have just "lived" without anyone looking over our shoulder, and it has been wonderful! I didn't realize how wonderful until the foster worker was back in our home to being the paperwork for reopening our home and she was taking notes on everything we said.
Yup. That again. I guess we had become accustomed to having everything we said - in person or on the phone - being written down and filed and I just forgot what an annoyance it is.
This time as our worker was asking us how the boys were doing and taking notes I thought to myself "HEY THERE! These boys are OURS now and there is no reason for you to be documenting every single thing that I say about their progress because now it is none of your business!" I mean sure, ask me how they are doing if you care to know, but there is no reason to be taking notes on their progress and filing those notes away somewhere. We are DONE with that process for these boys - and it was not an easy process by ANY stretch of the imagination.
So here is where I wonder if I am in denial or not: The foster care worked always asks how Max is doing and I always reply - "Max is doing as well as Max can do." She follows up this comment EVERY time by saying that soon Max with reach his "thresh hold" of intellectual ability and that we must be prepared for him to continue through his life at the mental ability of a 5 or 6 or 7 year old. I know she is trying to be supportive (in her way) but part of me wants to tell her to shut up already.
In the back of my mind I have believed this and in a way I think I have been making allowances for him because I believe he "cannot" do certain things and it is just because of the circumstances of his prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. It's a tightrope walk for me though. I wonder if my BELIEF that he will stop progressing actually limits his progression. Then when I think - no - he will keep developing over his lifespan I wonder if I am deluding myself and setting myself up for disappointment.
One of the things we do know is that he struggles with communication. He has the ideas but somehow accessing them and then getting them out is hard. In spite of that I am constantly amazed by the things he does. He has a great memory but it has to be "triggered". For instance, the other day we were parked on main street to pick up the mail. An ambulance drove by with the siren on. He asked if I remembered when mom went in the ambulance because her nose was bleeding. That was over a year ago. I was pretty impressed by his recollection and we had quite a talk about it.
Today I had to take him to a doctors appointment. After the appointment we were sitting in the truck eating lunch together and a boy walked by and waved. I asked him if he knew the boy and he said he didn't, it was just a nice boy who waved, but did I know that the shoes he was wearing meant he was a skateboarder?
Just these little things that he comes up with give me hope that he will continue to grow and learn. I just hope I can balance my realistic expectations with my hope - and not sell him short one way or another.