Foster Parenting - Log #11


As I mentioned in Log #10, a foster parent’s life can change in an instant. That was the case on Monday when we got “the call” that ended in two young boys becoming our first foster siblings.

And then a phone call changed things again on Wednesday evening.

There had been a court hearing on Wednesday afternoon. The judge decided to grant custody of all 4 children (the 2 boys staying with us and the 2 sisters who were with another foster family) to a grandparent. We were informed of this later on Wednesday. The children would be picked up at 11:00 am on Thursday morning.

We spent Thursday morning preparing the boys for this move (as much as possible for a 4-year-old and 1-year-old). We packed up their clothes and included a few extras for them – books they enjoyed while with us, some pictures they’d colored, etc. And at 11:00 we waved good-bye to them as they were off.

Their visit was very short. The judge’s decision even surprised the caseworker, who anticipated the kids being in foster care for a minimum of 2 weeks. However, the judge did what he felt was in the best interest of the children, based on their current situation and that of their parents and grandparents. Our role and the caseworker’s role is to help carry out the judge’s orders.

I certainly hope that the boys are going to a safe, healthy environment with their grandparent. Being with family is the ideal situation.

My daughter was sad to see them go. She asked many questions about why they had to leave and why they had been in foster care at all. But once I explained to her how much more comfortable they will be with a grandparent versus complete strangers (us), she could understand.

But if our "Chase" and "Davey" ever end up in foster care again, we wouldn’t have to think twice about taking them in.

Monday evening through Thursday morning. A very short time.

But we are foster parents. We are listed as both traditional and emergency foster parents. That means that we will take in kids who need long-term care, short-term care or anything in between. It means that we say yes to those who need a place to stay tonight but might be somewhere else tomorrow night as well as those who may be with us for days, weeks or even months.

Foster care is a crazy system. It’s hard to anticipate what might happen with foster kids from day to day, from a judicial case perspective. Judge’s can give grace to parents who have failed many times but still want to fight for their kids or they can terminate parental rights when they think that is in the best interest of the children. Parents may initially try to fight, but later give up or appear to not want to fight for their kids only to decide at the last minute that they want to do what is necessary to win them back. Or an extended family member steps in and is willing to be a guardian for the children. Cases seem to move to one side – maybe towards adoption – only for the tide to then turn back to parental rights and visits and reunification. They are dynamic, not static. You cannot anticipate the direction a case might move. The information available changes. The people involved change. The kids change. The judge’s perspective may change. So many variables that affect the outcome. Yet, the end goal is the same – to provide a healthy, safe, stable environment for children.

So we do our part to be a safe place for kids when they need us.

And we wait for the next call that will change everything once again.

PS: I want to say "thank you" to all of those who support us in what we're doing - we have many people praying for us and offering help in many ways. So if you, dear reader, are one of those behind-the-scenes helpers, thank you!


Bella said...

Wow. Well, I will certainly be praying for the safety of the boys, for your family and kids as you adjust to saying goodbye so quickly, and for the grandparents taking care of them.

The boys look adorable in that picture and your kids look so happy with them. We had a somewhat similar "short term placement" experience, but ours was just a one week respite. I blogged about it here:

It's amazing how attached you get after such a short time! I found it sad and somewhat difficult to say goodbye to the 2 year old and 8 month old we had for a week. I think my biggest concern, was just their safety. I want them to be in a safe home.

And like Tim and Wendy said, if the kids are crying, and it's hard for us as foster parents to say goodbye, then we've done our jobs. We've shown these little ones love and taught them how to attach.

Praying for "Chase" and "Davey." :)

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