Maria did eventually answer the phone. And it worked out because she ended up having a dental emergency and so we took the kids while she went to the dentist.
Part of me was just hoping she would cancel because I was pretty tired. (We ended up at a karaoke bar last night and got home pretty late.) Seeing the kids has been emotionally draining and I wasn't sure I was ready to deal with my own issues today.
They still seem to be doing good although they seemed a little dull. Like their spark was kind of gone. I know bedtime isn't always consistent but it seemed like they were tired and almost depressed. Maybe it's hard on them to see us too. Although, there were no I miss you tears or goodbye tears. I barely got a hello hug.
Jelly Bean did tell me when I finally got ahold of Maria (her phone was charging and the ringer was off) that she had to sit out 30 minutes of playtime. She said "I'm really disappointed in myself Mom."
I said well, we'll have 30 minutes to discuss it! (I'm so mean!)
We've seen them 8 times over the almost 3 months they've been gone. And they are attaching to Maria in a healthy way. As we run into people who we haven't seen in a while like teachers from daycare and friends we've been asked a lot of questions about this process and its allowed for some further processing.
It seems a lot of people are afraid to ask about the kids and how we are. I'm glad they've asked. It means they care!
I've been surprised by my own answers. We were asked tonight if we though the kids would end up back in care. 3 months ago my answer was unequivocally yes. Now it's: I'm concerned from a financial standpoint. Not that they can take kids away because of homelessness but rather, are they in a safe alternative environment. LM's phone being shut off and a lack of certain things in the home suggest that Maria is struggling more financially. Since she has not been working due to the childcare situation I'm worried she will lose the apartment and DCFS was step in as that was a return home condition.
The friends we saw tonight are expecting a baby in a few months. They kept asking about how we handled such a big change to parenthood and then back. My answer to that is we didn't have time at the beginning to stop and wonder how we got there. And while from the outside it looked like we handled everything with ease, the truth is it was hard and there was a lot of crying. We made lots of mistakes and learned quite a bit.
How did we handle the transition back? We ran away. We left the house every other weekend for 2 months. We are still trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. We are living up our free time because we didn't do that before we no longer had the option.
Hearing ourselves talk about the last 2 years in summary was kind of surreal. I can't believe some of the stuff we handled. I think I understand why people want to give us the sainthood. It sounds crazy! But seriously when you are in it and you are a decent human being - you would have done the same things I did. I promise you could have.
The most asked question as of late: will you foster again? Yes. But we are going to wait still.
Although while I was writing this post I got my 3rd call this weekend from an investigator for a placement. This one happened to be up the street at the local office. Since we hadn't talked about it I asked Hubby if he would ever be interested in an emergency placement. For instance it's 11:15pm on a holiday weekend. While we wouldn't be able to take on a case this week we could give some frightened children a welcoming place to sleep tonight.
I didn't know if I was just feeling bad or if it was because we'd been processing foster car all night but we both landed on- we have no plans tomorrow we'd be open to offering our home for a night.
I called back and left a message. We'll see if goes anywhere.