So, on Friday just passed I had the CYFS(child, youth & family) FGC(family group conference) review for my oldest daughter. It was stressful, intimidating, distressing and emotional.

The days leading up to it most definitely had a lot of negative effect on my sleep. With me often not getting to sleep til 1am – 1:30am.

Thankfully my BFF in Wellington was available in the end and I was able to stay with her and spend some time with her and she was also able to come as my support person.

The FGC was not a fun process. There was a lot of stress throughout it. And it is really quite horrible how certain participants in the review put across that they support you and then they turn around and get nasty. I would even call some of the behaviour, especially from my daughters carers, bullying tactics. The whole process brought a lot of things to light and not pleasant things. One of the most hurtful twists was when my own Mother went from being one of my biggest supporters and completely on the same page as me, to turning around and pretty much going with the view of all my opposers. Which was that, my daughter would be bette off staying in Wellington. That hurt more then anything else ever! After she had turned around and agreed with them, I could no longer keep strong and hold my composure and I had to walk out of the meeting for a time. I was SO upset by that. I felt like, yet again, the people who were supposed to be my biggest supporters had turned on me and that hurts like a bitch! My younger sister however continued to support me and battle for me, which I am SO grateful for. I was a bit shocked that my older sister appeared to still be holding on to the past and she even brought up my blog and how she had read some of it and been quite hurt by my posts. Which, granted, she is entitled to feel that way. But I did not feel it needed to be brought up in the meeting. Pretty much everything the CYFS social worker put across that my sister had said, was negative. Saying I still appear to have communication problems and our relationship as sisters was still strained. Which was quite a shock to me. As in my mind we had made amends when I went and apologized to her for the unkind things I had written in my blog about her. And as for me not going to see her much, I was respecting the fact that she is going through her own stuff at the moment. My daughters grandparents on her father’s side were still making out that I was some kind pariah. His wife going as far as bursting into tears when describing how she felt my daughter was neglected by me. Clearly her husband had done a damn fine job of putting me across as some kind of fuck up of a parent. He threatened that if my daughter went backwards in all the areas she has made gains in, he would not hesitate to take legal action to gain custody of her, like he did with her aunties daughter. Like what the hell?! How can he even put me in the same category as her! She had an abusive boyfriend and they bolted from the hospital down south with their newborn. I was so glad to have my BFF there to support me. As she knows me and my family well and everything I have been through. Throughout the whole review, it very much looked like it was never going to go in my favour. So it was quite a shock when it did. I guess it shows just how strong I am, even though I did not realise I was that strong. As this whole process had damn near broken me. It seems very much that everybody opposing me seemed very focussed on the negative and the failures and this was blinding them to all the gains, growth and positives. I pretty much took any opportunity to squash their concerns and reassure them I have changed and I am a better parent for it and that I deserve the chance to show this. I felt quite disgusted about how my daughters carers turned on me at the end, just as they were about to leave. The husband gave me a nasty look and pointed directly at me and said “get this right!” and his wife said “bloody hell, the CYFS file is already this thick(motioning with her fingers the thickness), don’t go making it any thicker”. I am happy with the result. And when I told my fiance and he told our younger daughter and she was so excited, that made me even happier. As my children being together is the most important thing and their happiness makes me happy.

I did not expect my mood to dip down a bit after Friday, but I guess it is understandable. As all that was so emotionally taxing. By Friday evening I got home and wanted to just fall asleep on the lounge floor.

You just do not realise at the time, how hard it is to sit through a meeting from 10:30am – 3pm trying to keep it together and feeling like you are singlehandedly arguing your case and quite heavily responsible for the outcome. I am so glad that day is behind me.

I am aware this by no means does not mean CYFS are out of my life. I am quite sure they will be keeping a close eye on me.

My Nelson CYFS social worker and Family Start worker did a great job though of supporting me and putting across their faith in me and my capabilities. I think that helped a great deal too.

It was quite hard reading what my older daughter wrote about what she wanted and how she in fact wanted to stay living with her carers. Being told that by her on the Thursday night and reading that at the start of the meeting made me feel quite disheartened and was some of the reason I feared the outcome would not go in my favour.

I am SO glad that day is behind me and that I can finally feel hopeful and get excited that my daughter is coming home.

I have managed to be able to drop my Quetiapine back down to 50mgs, so I am happy about that.

That is all for now. It has been quite hard being able to get a decent blog post written without the internet at home. So thankfully the Nelson Library has free 60 minutes internet access for all members.

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