Monday, December 21, 2009

Foster Baby Update

Originally Posted on MEM's MEMOS on December 8, 2009

We've had the baby for over a week now. When we saw him for the first time at the DCFS Office I was a bit heartbroken because he looked more like a helpless, tiny old man (think Benjamin Button) instead of a regular, chubby baby. He is 2 ½ months old but only weighs 9 pounds- (which is 8 ounces less than what my husband weighed when he was born, incidentally!) That puts him below the 5th percentile for weight. Our goal is to give him lots of love and fatten him up. I have no idea how much he weighed when he was born so I don't know how much he's grown since birth.


Other than his small size he's in relatively good health. He does have some problems with reflux and a bit of thrush in his mouth which seems to be clearing up. Whenever we would feed him the first couple of days he was here he would gulp down the bottle like he was starving, which made his reflux worse or went right through him and gave him diahrhea. Fortunately, he's learned to relax and slow down when he eats which has helped to reduce so much spit-up (and laundry I might add- it's amazing how much more laundry a little person can add to a household).

Despite spitting up almost everytime he eats he seems to be getting the nutrition he needs as his hair and eyelashes seem to be growing a little longer every day and his little cheeks are starting to fatten up!

As of his 2 month check-up just a couple of weeks ago he's up to date on all of his vaccinations. I will be eager to see how much he's grown at his 4 month check-up (if we have him that long).


As with our other foster placements I won’t be using his real name to respect confidentiality issues, but I will be referring to him in my posts as “Christian” (which sounds somewhat similar to his real name and seems appropriate since he has come into our lives at Christmastime.)

I won't be posting pictures of him either because of confidentiality issues.


At this point in time, Christian's birthmother is not interested in having visits with her baby and since Christian's birthfather moved out of state there obviously won't be visits with him.

I won't lie when I tell you that I was extremely relieved to hear that there will be no weekly supervised visits with this placement. The thought of driving up to the Ogden DCFS Office in the middle of winter (which, I might add, is located in between not one, not two, but THREE different gang territories!) and being in a waiting room full of parents who have lost their children to drug addiction or abuse is NOT an uplifting experience.

It's even worse when your foster child's parents can find no good about you whatsoever and use weekly visits as a time to express their complaints to the caseworker.


The soonest Christian would go back to his birthfather would be in six months when the Permanency Hearing is scheduled. It will be decided at that hearing whether Christian can safely be returned to his parent's care or if he needs to remain in foster care. If Christian's father can prove that he has kept a steady job and has housing appropriate for a baby then he can regain custody and/or guardianship of his baby. Of course, one thing I have learned regarding the legal system is that there can always be extensions or appeals. Depending on the judge, an extension (usually 3 months) may be given to the birthfather if he isn't sufficiently prepared at that time.

Until then, however, any of the birthfather's relatives who are interested in having guardianship of Christian can apply to have him placed in their home as a kinship placement, granted they can pass background checks and health & safety checks in their home and be approved by caseworkers first. After all, most parents with children in foster care would prefer to have their children placed with relatives instead of complete strangers.

As far as we know, Christian's birthmother's relatives aren't interested or are not good candidates for a kinship placement. Christian's birthfather has expressed a desire for his relatives to care for Christian, but since these relatives live out of state an Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) will have to be done which is basically a legal procedure giving permission to transfer the custody of children in one state into the custody of another state. This process varies from state to state and I have no idea how long it will take for the state Christian's relatives live in - it could take a month or it could take several months.

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