Too Many Cooks

My last post on the foster kiddies we have was one written in frustration at social services who can’t seem to communicate or even make logical decisions. Until we discovered the true extent of the issues with the court hearing and how everyone involved had been mislead (because the grandparents, parents and us as the foster carers believed the case would be over and done with by now), the majority of my frustration on the matter was actually with the grandparents.

They are the prosepective soon-to-be special guardians of the two youngest children, the two that my family foster. Now, the children’s family is kinda complicated. There are three children, all under the age of 6 and each with different fathers. The eldest, 6 year’s old, is going to be allowed to move in with her father with whom increasing contact has been occurring in the past year and contact with the mother is agreed upon; I’m not privy to the frequency, but both parties (parents) have agreed. Nothing has been decided about contact between this eldest child and the two younger siblings. Which is something I find frankly disgusting of social services.

Meanwhile the two youngest, 5 and 3, are being considered to live with the youngest’s grandparents. Of course, them having different fathers means that the grandparents are not related to both children. I’m sure lots of you think that its fine because it happens a lot in step-families, but it’s not that simple at all.

For ease, I’m going to refer to the two kiddies as Cat and Dog. I mean nothing disrespectful to either, but Dog is cuddly and loyal, loves eating and has the biggest, wettest, soppiest kisses ever. Cat, on the other hand, can function fully on their own, doesn’t form attachments and can perform to the crowd to seem completely different and lovable, but will scratch you at the first chance. So, Cat’s older and the grandparents involved are not Cat’s, they are Dog’s. I repeat though, that it doesn’t necessarily matter that there’s no blood linking them because it happens all the time in the modern step-family. As long as everyone involved loves the children, that’s all that matters.

Until you realise that ever since Cat’s father arrived back on the scene (he’d been absent Cat’s whole life and Dog’s father was the active father for both), Dog’s father said he was only interested in Dog. Some might find this harsh, that for 3-4 years this man had been the one and only father both children knew and now he’s turning his back on the one that isn’t biologically his. In his favour, he knew that the biological father was on the scene and wanted to get to know Cat. He also knew that his chances of getting custody of his child was easier than custody of both. It may not have had anything to do with not loving Cat, at least that’s how I see it – he did it *for* Cat.

Yet Dog’s grandparents are still seeking Special Guardian status of Cat. Every other day the grandparents get both kiddies for 7 to 8 hours where all they seem to do is take them out and visit cousins and other family members. There are two main problems I can see with this. Firstly, there’s no guarentee that the grandparents will get guardianship, so all these people they’re spending days with, they might net ever see again. Obviously, they’re also not even related to Cat and most of them aren’t biologically related to Dog because grandmother is his step-grandmother and the “cousins” are hers biologically. This just leads to complete confusion and exhaustion for the kiddies, being paraded around 101 people every other day.

The second main problem with this is that the grandparents are spending the days acting as grandparents and having fun with the kiddies. How are they getting to know them in normal circumstances, mundane day-to-day routines if the grandparents are being fun? As Special Guardians, they cannot be grandparents, they have to be parents and at some point they have to face this reality and not just spend 8 hours a day treating them to family day trips.

Last week, Cat was finally able to have a second visit with their father, because social services keep failing to arrange the meetings which is awful given that Dog’s dad no longer “wants” Cat (I say “want” because I honestly believe he’s doing it for virtuous reasons and if Cat’s father were not on the scene, he’d still “want” her). We informed the grandparents of this and they were totally shocked. They had no idea that Cat’s father was involved, that if they get Guardianship he’ll be involved along with the mother. They had no idea that their own son did not “want” Cat. Will they still want Cat if their own son doesn’t? Why should they try and keep their son’s family together by having both of his children when, as far as he’s concerned, his family is only Dog?

And his new child that Dog isn’t even allowed to know about as per the Word of Social Service Gods, yet they can be introduced to a different “cousin” every day, but not Dog’s own half-sibling. I have no idea how the grandparents are keeping that to themselves, perhaps because they have nothing to do with their son (there’s clearly little communication) and maybe the only reason they want Guardianship of Dog (and Cat) is to get one over on their son.

I fear that if they decide they don’t “want” Cat, because their son doesn’t, that Cat will be heartbroken upon losing Grandmother, Pop and all the new cousins. Especially if the grandparents are successful in getting Guardianship of Dog because then Cat will lose Dog, too.

The Social Service Gods should really have placed more rules and guidelines on everyone involved so that even more people didn’t get involved. These two kiddies are going to become even more scarred by all of this.

~ Persephone M

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