Quite frequently I have people tell me that they couldn't do foster care because they couldn't love the kids and then let them go. I think that they aren't implying that I am heartless so therefore it doesn't bother me to let them go but it feels that way. Honestly, some kids I am ready to let go. Some kids are just hard. However, we have had kids who were hard to let go. Some kids you just love so much and you know that their home situation hasn't really improved that much. The two that I worry about the most are the baby we got from the burn clinic with an iron imprint on his face (at 6 weeks old) and the little one who came into care the baby of the family and went home to a newer baby (her mom later signed her back into care). I still communicate with some of our former foster children parents, I celebrate their growth and see that the kids are doing well.
Then there are the kids who come and stay. Who become our children. We didn't know that they would one day become our children. That process is slow. That process takes years. There comes a moment when you realize that it is a possibility. You try to keep your hope in check because you know that until you are in court for the adoption anything could happen.
If you have been fostering long enough you have seen the horror stories. The relative that steps forward after years and the judge that decides to send the child to them even though the child doesn't know them. The parent who does the minimum to keep that case going for years, will they actually ever get it together? You think not but there is always that possibility. Some small legal issue that puts the case back. A father that suddenly comes forward, where was he all this time? A social worker who decides that siblings need to be together and decides to move the child after a long time in your home (why didn't they do it sooner?), a social worker with an agenda that you aren't aware of and moves the child.
I do think that if there is an appropriate family member then the kids should go with them. However, I also think that they should come forward sooner rather than later. I have had family members tell me that they didn't want to come forward because they wanted the parent to have the chance to make the changes needed. They feel that they won't do anything if the kids are with a family member. I can understand that to a certain degree. If that is the case then they should come forward and tell everyone that. Request visits with the child(ren). At some point determine that the case isn't moving forward and request placement. Stepping in at the last moment may give you placement and then again it may not. That is determined by the judge.
We had some excitement on our case this week. The pretrial hearing was this week. This is the hearing leading up to the TPR hearing. They meet and determine if everything is done for the TPR hearing, have publishing's been done, who needs to be at the hearing and such. The parents also have the opportunity to request a lawyer at this hearing.
We were told by Little Man's family that his mom was in town and was going to court to fight for him. Apparently she had taken a prescriptive drug when pregnant and now there is a lawsuit because it can cause heart defects in babies. She wants to be a party of the action and sue because of his heart issues. She has to have the baby to do that.
Yes, this sent me into a panic. Although she hasn't seen him in 10 months, some judges in our county would give her a second chance if she suddenly came forward and said all the right things. Her family was concerned enough that his aunt said she would testify that his mom just wanted the money from the lawsuit. They do not want him to go with her.
I worried all day. I didn't know what time the hearing was because foster parents don't typically go to these. I couldn't reach his social worker so I assumed that she was at court. I finally heard from the GAL at 5:30. The mom didn't show up. I don't know why, she came from out of town to go. I know that the family told her that they wouldn't support her. I don't know if that was why she changed her mind or not. I just know that she didn't show and the TPR trial is in June.
That feeling of panic is felt by many foster parents. There is a certain heart sinking feeling you get when you are reminded that until you are standing in court giving your foster child your last name, they aren't yours. Little Man has our hearts, I pray for the day he has our name.
Loving on Larissa....
One day I hope to post real pictures!