The next call came a few months later, after school was out for the summer. I had come to terms with the quick departure of R and A by reminding myself that we had given them a really good day. Maybe that was all we were allowed to offer them; hopefully it was all they needed. If a child returns to the foster system, their former foster parents are called; if they'd been taken into care again, we would know.
This time, there were 3 of them, ages 4, 2 and 1.5. Their father was incarcerated; their mother had surrendered the children into care, stating that she "couldn't cope." Both parents were former foster children themselves and there was no extended family to step in to help. This case was already looking for a family that would ultimately adopt the children. Was that us?
Big deep breath again. OK, we said. If it does turn into an adoption, we will have 6 children of our own and will be done with foster care. But we'll do it.
The three children were already in foster care, but split across 2 homes. The county DFCS office was looking for a permanent family willing to reunite them. Since the children were already in a safe place, we would have a slow transition process in order to make sure it was the best fit. The last thing anybody wanted was for these children to have to be moved any more times than absolutely necessary. We sent off our available dates and times for a "neutral site" initial meeting with the children and waited.
And called to follow up only to be told that no one in the county office is returning phone calls, although they said via email that they wanted to set up a meeting with us.
So we were still waiting . . . a month later. When the next call came.