Monday, December 21, 2009

Difficult Birthparent Visits

(A continuation of thoughts from the previous post regarding difficult birthparent visits)

. . . It's even worse when your foster child's parents can find no good about you whatsoever and look for any reason to complain to the caseworker about what you're doing wrong with their child.

In the case of our last placement, "Molly" the weekly complaints varied from week to week:

One week they complained that Molly's diaper was too tight. So I loosened it.

And of course, the following week they complained about it being too loose.

One week they were suspicious of a scratch on her face-"Do you have a dog or cat in your home?" they immediately asked me.

"No," I calmly answered, leaving less room for their interrogation.

I'm 100% sure the scratch was from her scratching her face with her little nails so to prevent any further incidences in the future I cut her nails a day or two before the next visit before they had a chance to get long. The next visit their complaint was that I cut her nails too short.

Sometimes you just can't win.

Molly's birthparents would also come to all of her doctors visits- regular well baby check-ups as well as appointments with her pediatric cardiologist since she had a heart murmur.

This was also a time to complain or at least insinuate that I wasn't doing a good job parenting their child. At one of the first doctor's appointments her birthfather said to the doctor, "She seems to be especially fussy since she's been placed in foster care- sometimes at visits she just cries for no reason."

I have to admit that I really liked this doctor- I could tell that he could sense that Molly's BF was, well- how do I put it nicely- "full of crap" yet this pediatrician was always very diplomatic and validating to any of Molly's father's concerns- real or imaginary. I can't remember the explanation he gave for that particular complaint, but I do remember that right afterwards I couldn't help myself when I piped up and said (probably with a little too much sarcasm) "Evidently babies are known to cry from time to time".

Yes, it's very frustrating to voluntarily take a child into your home, love her like she was "your own" and instead of being thanked be treated with resentment. But a couple of months later at a training that exact topic came up (of birthparents resenting foster parents) and our trainer tried to explain that we shouldn't take it personally as it isn't so much a reflection on us as it is the birthparents dealing with a loss of control.

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