Big Sister and Little Sister spent 3 months with us last summer (May – August). When they left to live with a family member, we were broken-hearted and at the same time we were happy for them. They had been separated from their 3 older siblings during those three months and we had always hoped they were doing well.
When their case worker called to give us an update a couple of weeks ago, we discovered that they weren’t doing as well as we had hoped.
Their time away wasn’t the best. Then the judge granted a monitored return to mom and dad. This meant that for six months, CPS would continue to monitor how mom, dad and kids were doing. Five weeks later, they were removed again and young hearts who had hoped their family would be back together permanently, were once again torn apart. Sadly, this is a normal part of foster care and I hate it!
We do feel fortunate that we could say yes when we got the call asking if we could take them and now we have a different perspective.
In the past, all the children who had come into our home were either new to the foster care system or were back in the system, but new to our home and family. This means there is an adjustment period and it can, and typically does take months for everyone to find their comfort level. In this case, there is still an adjustment period, but it is shortened due to the fact that we are familiar. We were their family for 3 months and that makes things easier. Not that there aren’t challenges, but the familiar certainly helps.
While I’m happy things are easier because of the familiar, it doesn’t mean that I’m not angry.
I’m angry that the judge ruled against the recommendation of the case worker, CASA and Guardian ad litem and ruled that they be moved to a family member that was not in a position to adequately care for the children.
I’m angry that there is so much emphasis put on biology and as such, what’s best for the children is pushed aside to place them with biological family.
I’m angry that each move, whether with biological family or not, makes it more difficult for children to feel safe and trust their caregivers.
Most of all, I’m angry at the parents and the reasons are too many to list right now.
So we start all over again and go thru the steps with the primary goal being reunification. It doesn’t matter that this is mom and dad’s 4th time having their children removed, reunification remains the goal.
Then we wait to see if there are other family members who will take the kids while parents work their services. In other words, we wait to see if we say good-bye yet again.
Then we wait to see if the courts will return them to mom and dad or terminate their rights.
We wait to see if the decision will be in the hands of a judge or jury.
We wait to see what happens if they do go back to mom and dad. Will they get it right next time or will the kids are removed a 5th time?
In a nutshell, I’m angry with the system and with the parents. How many times do these children have to be tossed around in the name of reunification?
Having a different perspective hasn’t changed my feelings, but it has certainly caused some of those feeling to become more intense.
We love these little girls and only want what is best for them, but how can this possibly be good for them?
How can it be good for any child to spend half of their life in the foster care system? Yes, Big Sister has spent that much time in the system. Little Sister has spent over half of her life in the system. Now there is a new baby on the way who will enter this world into the system. How can it be good for them that this is normal?
At the same time, this is what we signed up for. We willingly stepped into this world of foster care and we have to be on board with the decisions made. It doesn’t mean we have to like them and we don’t.
For now, we are their family unit and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to make sure they live in a safe, loving, nurturing and normal family environment. We’re doing the best we can and sometimes our best doesn’t feel like enough. We just have to hope it is and that no matter how much longer they are with us, they walk away with a different perspective for their lives. A happier and more positive perspective for their futures.