Oh! Didnt know you were open to foster care as well....Thought just adoption.
Well we are kind of open to foster care. If a legally free set of kids had come our way we would have likely said yes. However, in the eight months our license was open for new placements only one sibling group came close that termination was happening on. They ended up going to an out of state relative and it would also have been a transracial adoption which isn't necessarily our preference.
It wasn't like we didn't get calls. I guess we said no to at least 50 kids. At first it was too soon and then we were waiting for a more likely termination scenario.
Interestingly, the same week Simon an Smiley moved in, an email was circulating looking for a family to take a sibling group of four under an identified surrender. This means the biological parents would be signing their rights over to an adoptive family. That particular case would also have been outside of foster care and DCFS (meaning no financial perks of the medical card or adoption subsidy or adoption fee assistance). I don't know that we would have been able to afford adopting four kids with no financial help or costs deferred.
Since these kids still needed to be together and we felt termination was likely, we decided to agree to foster. They don't have as many therapuetic needs as the Fab Four and their ages were right where we wanted. Further in, with more details, and I'm not so convinced that everyone with power believes that this Mom should not have parental rights.
So what's different? Well for starters we are much wiser. We have an idea where we need to push. For example, we need to find therapists and we have to switch transport providers. I am willing to back off insisting on the same therapists (although I love them) in order to take up the cause to keep the visit day as is.
Willow also ordered a trauma assesment which will also assess attachment. This will provide documentation and may give evidence for a psychological evaluation of Mom. All of this tells me they are trying to get enough to terminate rights but it also means a very long road.
Since we know that reunification can work and we've now had a really positive experience with it, it's hard to know how to feel about this case. Mom's had several chances to figure it out but she also hasn't beaten her children. She's sick. She can't really help that. And since I know these kids could be going home, I'm finding it hard to embrace them as "mine" like I did with the Fab Four. It's not a feeling I'm totally comfortable with and I think a lot has to do with me feeling like a foster mom vs a potential forever mom. (I could also just be trying to protect my heart.)
Conversation at dinner tonight did turn to "real" Mom. Smiley asked if I was now her "Real Mom". I explained I am real. I am "The Mom" in this house. Their Bio Mom "Mommy" is also real. And sometimes people refer to Mommy as a Biological Mom since they were born to her. The previous foster family has bio, adopted, and foster children and so the concepts were familiar to the kids. Smiley wanted to know where my baby was (again) and Stella wanted to know if I ever wanted a baby and if I ever had any. Sarah was concerned that if she called me Mom (as Stella has started to) and wanted to talk about Mommy, I would be confused. I assured her she can call me what she's comfortable with but if she did go with Mom, I would probably be able to figure out which Mom she was talking about. She has not witnessed the rapid fire "Mom, Mom, Mom" that is being with Maria and the Fab Four. Four kids, two Moms makes for a lot of "Mom!"
So we are embracing the fostering because these kids need us. We probably need them too. And I've been praying that my kids will find me so when the 2nd request for us To be the foster parents came at us I felt like it was a sign. I do want off the foster care roller coaster. But I feel like this is where we need to be.