So Hubby and I discussed. We slept on it and ultimately we landed on the decision that if they can make it 11 days, they should keep going.
After I took them to see the Judge and their GAL today I sent the following email:
After much discussion and consideration, We would like to advocate for the kids to transition to Mom's home on the original move date of April 6th. We feel strongly that if they can handle the 11 days of Spring Break they should be ok. They shouldn’t be teased with effectively moving into her home, and then taken away again. This also isn’t fair for Mom. We imagine this would feel like losing them a 2nd time. If they have the momentum of settling into a routine they should be given the opportunity to keep it going.
We know that there was concern about finishing out the school year. While we agree that this would be ideal, we have received emails from the kids teachers discussing that they have been unfocused and not on task. If this looming move is creating too much anxiety for them to gain anything out of school, then we feel it would be more beneficial to them to get adjusted to their new school, get the supports in place for next year, and perhaps make some friends so that they have kids to play with over the summer. We know from experience that all of the kids do better in school when their home life is stable and having 1 foot in each home will not allow that to happen. This will continue to create behavior issues which just stress the kids (and us) out. From our point of view, school isn’t a good enough reason to continue to cause the kids emotional distress. In addition, they will then be able to know what school will be like when they start in August which is typically a huge trigger for them. This will also allow Mom to adjust with helping with homework and such while she has the extra supports in place.
We understand that this suggestion may seem like a radical change from the past few weeks. Listening in the meetings gave us some perspective. We have always prioritized our role as permanency advocates for the kids and we believe that this really is the best course of action for them. They have been talking about wanting to be done with foster care forever. We would like a successful transition for them as well and so we propose that perhaps a “reverse visitation” take place. Maybe every other weekend the come to us on Friday night and stay through Saturday afternoon. This will give Mom a little break and time to run errands but also ease the kid’s fears that we will disappear from their lives. This will also give us a chance to gradually move their things so it doesn’t seem like they are being forced out. Our hope would also be that we could build some trust with Mom so she can view us as an advocate for her family. We would also suggest, that the family receive extra support – perhaps twice a week therapy or an in-home therapist to help support the daily triggers which would allow Family Therapist to continue to work on the trauma triggers.
We see this as an everyone wins situation. We hope you will too.
So the Judge was not aware of the 10 night visit being planned. They kids felt better after meeting her and the GAL shared our suggestions. It seems that they are concerned about such a long visit but its sink or swim time.
My job is to advocate for them, no matter how sad it makes me. But this also allows us to move on and takes us out of the behavioral battle that will take place with two homes.
Only time will tell.
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