We had a visitor.
The Attorney ad Litem (AAL) on Baby Brother’s case did a home visit.
I have been quite nervous about this visit.
Primarily because this attorney was instrumental in having Arryn’s other little brother removed and sent to live with another family member. Not that kids, living with bio family is a bad thing. Because in most cases, it’s a GREAT thing for kids and families. It was this particular case that was concerning for everyone else involved in the case. He’s been with this family member for the past 1 1/2 years and from everything I’ve heard, he’s doing fine.
The AAL and I had a really good chat about Arryn, Baby Brother, their bio mom, other siblings and the current foster family.
During the visit, Arryn said to the AAL, “My baby brother is going to come live with me.” Keep in mind, the AAL is a major decision maker in this process. Her signature is required before this can happen, and we have told Arryn from the beginning that we have to wait until the case worker, attorney and judge say yes. Fortunately, the AAL seemed to be happy to hear how excited Arryn is about having her Baby Brother become part of our family.
I had wondered why the AAL hadn’t spoken up about Arryn being Baby Brother’s sister earlier in this process. She was not the AAL on Arryn’s case but was the AAL on the other little brother’s case. He has a different last name from Baby Brother and Arryn’s last name changed with adoption so none of the names matched. The case worker told her they had found us and then the AAL was given our home study. Once she had all the necessary information and was preparing to call me to set up the home visit, my name came up in her contacts as the foster parent of the other little brother. That is the moment she connected the dots.
Unless an AAL has an exceptional memory, there is no way they could ever remember every single case. They get 100’s of cases every year and once a case is closed, they move on. It makes more sense to me now.
During our conversations, the AAL asked how we learned about Baby Brother being in care. I shared how mom had sent me a photo of him, but I had no idea if mom still had him or if he was in CPS care. It wasn’t until the case worker contacted us that I knew what happened to him and then later discovered it was the CASA worker who had given CPS information about Arryn and our family.
Honestly, to learn that CPS doesn’t have a system in place that allows them to have all those important family connections more easily accessible is a bit upsetting.
If there hadn’t been a CASA on the case or if there had been another CASA that wasn’t familiar with the case, we may have never been contacted. Thankfully, the right people were involved, and the connection was made. I wonder though, how many other siblings were separated because CPS didn’t have the right people involved to provide them information?
One day I may do a post about the emotional roller coaster foster parents go on.
For this post, I will simply say that some foster parents may become so emotionally distraught in learning that a child in their care is likely leaving, that they may say or do things they shouldn’t.
Baby Brother’s foster parents are feeling the pain of learning that this baby, who they’ve been caring for since he was released from the hospital, will be leaving. Just like we were caught a bit off guard by the call from the case worker asking us to take Baby Brother, the foster parents were caught a lot off guard. They truly believed they would be making him a permanent part of their family. I know that pain first-hand. My heart breaks for them because I do understand how it feels. At the same time, one of the biggest jobs a foster parent has, is supporting family reunification. In this case, it’s supporting the reunification of siblings. Attempting to hold on to a child by making unfounded accusations is not supporting reunification. You only end up hurting your reputation as a foster parent.
I’m happy to say that the AAL approves of Baby Brother being moved to our care to be with his sister.
We have jumped a big hurdle in this process, and I feel a huge sense of relief.
Now it’s time to get Baby Brother’s room set up because I’m happy to announce . . .
Baby Brother will be brought to us on Sunday morning!
I know of one little girl who is going to be beyond excited when he is here, and I couldn’t be happier that they will finally be together.