My Aunt Susie is still hanging on! The doctor decided to try five radiation treatments since there were some other medications that seemed to be working somewhat when she was still in the hospital, in hopes it would make her more lucid, specifically about the children. There’s been a whole dilemma about the boys. Now, doctors at hospices do not usually “treat” their patients, but we have some extenuating circumstances here.
I wasn’t going to blog about this, but here I go. It’s one of those stories that no one would ever believe if it weren’t true, so I’m just going to start at the beginning.
My mother only had/has one sibling, my Aunt Susan. My dad was an orphan and the youngest – by far – in his family, and he was born before the Great Depression, so everyone is dead. My point? Susie was really “it.”
She had two kids, my two cousins, Allan and Lisa. I only have one sibling too, my brother Mike. Allan was a little older than Mike; Lisa was a little younger than I.
Allan became estranged from the family. No one knows why, but it’s been well over 20 years.
My aunt adopted one of Lisa’s children who is autistic. He is nine. Lisa and her husband could not take care of him.
They recently had another son a few months ago, but if you have been reading my blog posts, Lisa just died at the end of December, and her husband died a couple of weeks ago.
Susie has been taking care of the baby and the nine year old, even though she had been diagnosed with breast cancer last year and has recently gone through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and she’s 70!
My brother and I were just out there (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) in November, before Lisa had the baby, and Susie was in remission, but the Wednesday before last, she collapsed. The cancer came back and mastisized all over her brain. The doctors gave her about a week to live.
On that same day, the Department of Human Resources took the boys and called me about where to place them. I gave them my brother’s contact info, but they never contacted him. They told me they were going to have an “emergency hearing” in less than 48 hours, and we were told that a family friend would go to this hearing and take the kids until we could figure out what to do.
But this family friend did not go to the hearing and the boys were placed in a long-term foster family. Now my brother is fighting to get custody. All of this because we could not act fast enough, and because we had no idea that this family friend didn’t go to the hearing.
The state of Alabama won’t do much because they say that we are five steps of kinship away from these kids and they only allow for four (how they figure it that way, I’m not sure. I thought I was a pretty good genealogist too.), otherwise they would work on an interstate guardianship right away. Instead, they are making my brother’s family go through an intensive home study, adoption process that could take up to eight months. Meanwhile, the kids are staying with strangers in a foster home. Our highly autistic nine year old cousin has to go to a completely different school, he is off his routine, and he has no family around. He just lost both his parents and is about to lose his Nana!
The little family I have left is a little bit sad, frustrated, angry, horrified, worried and freaked out.