Monday, July 23, 2012

This is how it's supposed to work

I think I finally found my answer to the people who respond to the news that L and O are leaving us with a concerned look, a gentle hand on my arm and a soft-spoken, "but how are YOU doing?"

This is how it's supposed to work.

These two children spent over a year in my home. I've taken them to school, I've scheduled their appointments, I've soothed their fears, I've cleaned up their vomit. I've documented and reported every nightmare, every difficult question, every inappropriate comment made on a phone call. I've raised them for over a quarter of O's life. And I will miss them when they go.

But, from the beginning, I have known that there was family out there that loved them, that wanted them, that was fighting for them. This was never a potential foster-to-adopt case, no matter how frustrated I (and the court) sometimes got with the family. 

Is BioMom a perfect parent? No. But if children only stayed with perfect parents, there wouldn't be an intact family in the world.

Will she continue the work we've done to teach L that she's not O's parent? Probably not. I suspect that L will spend the next ten years or so of her life being Mom's babysitter. She won't be the first oldest-child to do so.

Can BioMom and BioDad continue to work together to provide their kids with everything they need once they know that DFCS isn't watching every move and hearing everything they say to the kids? I don't know.

But none of that is appropriate for me to share with the well-intentioned souls who have loved these children as members of my family and who are now questioning how I will feel about "letting them go." And they will be safe. And loved.

This is how it's supposed to work.

At the root of it all, I am at peace with their return home. I hope and pray that this year of not having her kids with her have helped BioMom grow up some and get her feet under her more firmly. I trust that God has a plan for these kids and their extended family and I try to be confident that I have fulfilled the role He had for me in their lives. I wonder, somewhat wistfully, whether the image of the relationship Mr D and I have will ever surface in L's teenage or young adult mind when she's faced with choices about what kind of man she wants in her life; I'd like to think that, somewhere, she will decide that she wants what we have -- stability, respect, support -- rather than what her mother has had to struggle through on her own. I want that for her.

But what I want is not at issue here. What is "best" for the kids may not even be at issue here, depending on how you define "best." As arrogant as it sounds, they would get better parenting with us. They might have more opportunities for extra activities that cost money and take time with us. But those are not reasons to remove children from their families. BioMom has worked hard to fix the parts of her life that were reasons to remove them, and she has succeeded. It's time for them to go home.

This is how it's supposed to work.

The case isn't over. They are returning home, but the case will remain open. County CW will be dropping by their home unannounced, as will the CASA. There are provisions in the court order that will make it easy for CW to pull them back into care if certain changes BioMom has made are not maintained. If that happens, I am certain they will call us to take them back. I don't yet know what we will say, but that's another post for another day. For now, I am thinking positive, cheering BioMom on to continue the improvements she's made in her life for their sake, and only saying one thing:

This is how it's supposed to work.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Successful Hurdle Leaping!

A few hours after my last post, I got a phone call. It's not all the answers, but it did tell me that BioMom has successfully crossed the last "t". It was safe to tell the kids the transition plan.

And it was safe to begin transitioning their possessions back to BioMom's house with each visit.  (They have a lot of possessions, so knowing we'll have 4 or 5 trips to get everything moved is reassuring.)

Doing the Happy Dance.

Everyone asks me if it isn't going to be "so hard" to "let them go."

Maybe it will be when the real day comes.

But, right now? Right now, I am so excited for their BioMom, who has worked her rear end off for months and never missed a chance to visit with her kids. Right now, I am thrilled for these children who have wanted this whole year to "go home" even though "home" was never a place to them--it was a person. Right now, I am ecstatic for my own biological family, which has been wearing thin and needing a prolonged break from the behaviors of L and O.

Right now, I am dancing in the streets.

"A few days"


It's been a week since they said "a few days". Now they're saying "maybe by the end of the week."

And I still can't tell the kids anything.

And I still can't plan for anything either as a foster family or as a biological one since I don't know exactly when these transitional visits will be.

And I still have kids jumping out of their skin because they don't know what's going to happen when and I can't tell them.

And the caseworker is ignoring me when I ask for status updates of how that last thing BioMom had to do is going.

And I'm exhausted and overwhelmed and HATING THIS SYSTEM!!!