Monday, June 09, 2008

The Story of Joseph - The First Days

I'm going to backtrack for a minute here. Last time I talked about the terrible home Joseph was in before ours but I want to talk about what it was first like when we got Joseph.

Our first few days with Joseph were a real learning experience. He never cried, even if he was hungry so we learned to feed him every three hours. We learned that in addition to never spitting up he also never burped. You could pound on his little back half an hour after giving him a bottle and you wouldn't produce a single air bubble.

We learned a lot about how Joseph came to be in foster care too. We had originally been told that both his parents were eager to get him back but that didn't exactly mesh with what we were seeing first hand.

A couple of days after we got Joseph I had to take him to his first visit with his mother. He was supposed to have one visit a week with his mother and one visit a week with his mother and his father. We were also told that his maternal grandmother would be coming to the visits sometimes. The first time I took Joseph to a visit I pulled into the visitation center (a different one than the one we used to take Daniel to) I saw a woman and a teenage girl standing in the parking lot. I wondered if it was Joseph's mother and grandmother but neither of them approached me as I was getting Joseph out of the car so I just assumed that they weren't. As I was walking in to the center I heard the woman say "I'll pick you up in an hour Julie."

Julie? That was Joseph's mothers name. I was confused about why neither of them had approached me as I walked by with Joseph. If someone walked by with my child (or grandchild) that I hadn't seen in a week I might say something or at least interested.

This visitation center was set up differently than the one I was used to. Here I just had to pass Joseph off to a visitation supervisor and then wait in the lobby for them to bring him back out at the end of the visit. I signed Joseph in and sat down to read my book. Ten minutes later the girl I had seen in that parking lot shuffled in. Her head was down and her hair hung in her face. Her clothes were large and baggy but I could see that she was very slender. I realized that I had been staring at her when I heard the visitation supervisor loudly call out "Julie! Joseph's back here waiting for you!" Julie's shuffle slowed even further.

So this was Julie. The Julie who was supposed to be so eager to get back her son looked like she would rather be anywhere else in the world than were she was. I watched her slooooowly shuffle back towards the room where Joseph was and I wondered where her mother was and why she hadn't come with.

I was curious about Joseph's grandmother. Why hadn't she come to the visit? Why wasn't she helping her daughter care for Joseph? How could she not have seen that her child was pregnant? Why didn't she look at Joseph at all when I carried him past her? Even if I had the chance to sit down and talk to her those weren't exactly the sort of questions I could have asked her. In the end I guess none of that matters. I would never again see Joseph's grandmother.

When the visit ended Julie tore out of the building leaving a visitation worker to hand Joseph off to me. Again I was confused. This just didn't seem like the way a person who was so interested in her baby would behave. I walked out to find Julie sitting on the front steps of the building and smoking a cigarette. Next to her was a man with dark hair and dark eyes. As I walked by he smiled broadly at Joseph but Julie paid him no attention. I would learn at the next visit that this dark haired man was Joseph's father Joey.*

As I drove home I thought about Julie and the way she had acted. She certainly didn't act like she was interested in Joseph. She had been late to the visit in spite of the fact that she was actually at the building before me. As soon as the visit was up she ran out of there without looking back. She didn't' look at Joseph at all when we passed by her. I thought maybe I was being to hard on her. Maybe she was just shy or embarrassed about having her child in foster care. Maybe she was angry or had been having ad day. After all, it had been stressed to me over and over that she wanted Joseph back so that had to be true, right?

Didn't it?

*Other than Joseph, Joey is the only person in this story that I am referring to by their real name. Joseph is named after him and that comes up later in the story so it would be silly for me to give him a fake name.


Cathy said...

I love this story! Keep it coming (please)!!!!

The Laundress~JJ! said...

SO sad, yet I know it all ends nicely.

I can't wait to hear more.

You are so brave for doing this.

Claudia said...

I've been following you on Twitter and am now following your blog -- love to hear as much as possible about foster care and adoption.

Alison Wonderland said...

This is better than Soap Opera Sunday.

Laggin said...

Well, yes, she SHOULD want her child but it appears nothing is as it should be in foster-care-land.

Anonymous said...

I found you from Shannon (CharmingBitch) who had posted when you went into labor with your surrogate. I kept checking back for awhile and nothing had changed so I was afraid something horrible had happened, until she linked you again with the contest. Um, I think I oh-so-brightly bookmarked the page and didn't realize it was not the HOME page so I just didn't get the updates. So now I am back and totally engrossed in your story of Joseph! :)

Sam said...

The foster care system is awesome, huh? I'm glad that you were able to take care of Joseph and give him a good home.

kik said...

You said that originally they told you both the parents were retarded...(didn't you?)

Did you notice any obvious mental delays when you saw them?

Jen said...

cathy - I'm going as quickly as I can! I'm having ahard time tying this next part all together.

jj - I'm not brave! I just enjoy telling long stories about myself.

claudia - I see that you're rather into foster care and adoption yourself. Impressive!

alison wonderland - Oh stop it, you'll make me get a big head.

laggin - Agreed. It's all very screwy.

parkingmaid - I wish I could say I had never done that exact same thing. I can't though. Because I've done it several times. I'm glad you "found" me again!

sam - It's not all bad. There are a lot of good people working in it but it can be kind of screwy at times.

kik - No, they looked pretty much normal other than the fact that Julie looked sort of unkept sometimes.

nell said...

I'm loving this, all the way along.