After we let Ladybug go, it took three weeks before we felt like our hearts were ready to love another child. Then we accepted the placement call for Precious. Loving again was easy. I was ready to love again. But I’m not ready to lose a child again. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. We knew when we became foster parents that loving the kids wouldn’t be the hard part, it would be letting them go that would be difficult. And it has been. It hurts like hell. What I was not at all prepared for was the tangled mess of policies and players (case workers, CASA workers, guardians ad litem, placement specialists, adoption specialists, judges, birth family, kin, etc.)
We’re in a very difficult situation right now. How can I explain this without giving away too much information… Let’s say Precious has several older siblings. Two of them, BoBo and LaLa (not their real names, of course) were adopted by a foster mother named Sue (not real name). Sue was called to be a kinship placement for Precious when she came into state custody but she declined. Sue is not related to Precious but would be considered kinship because the kids are biologically related. No other family or kinship (friends, godparents, church members, etc.) were identified so Precious ended up with us: random foster parents. Now, 6+ weeks later, the department has identified a woman named Patty (not real name) who wants her and hopes to adopt her since that’s where Precious’ case is leading. Patty is good friends with Sue so she spends a lot of time around BoBo and LaLa and is considered their godmother. Patty has never met Precious but has crossed paths with her birth mother a few times when Sue initiated some visits between her and BoBo and LaLa on holidays and birthdays. The department is now considering Patty to be kinship under their “broad definition of kin.” Although really the policy says to be considered kinship, the adult should have an existing relationship with the child or at the very least an actual relationship with the birth parent. The department says they made a mistake by overlooking Patty initially and now they’re trying to fix their mistake. Precious and her siblings have never met her so there is no existing bond or relationship. We have expressed that we would also be willing to allow Precious to stay in touch with BoBo and LaLa if we can adopt her.
So let me make this really simple: they want to move Precious out of the home she’s in now with two foster parents who have been loving and adoring her for half of her life and are completely attached to her (and she seems pretty fond of; see picture above) into the home of a woman she has no relationship with, who is not family, where she will not be living with her siblings, because this foster mother is friends with the adoptive mother of her siblings. Does that seem like it’s in the best interest of the child? We think not. Some of the players think not. The decision making ones think so. So we’re fighting it.
As foster parents we are asked to love the children as if they are our own, to consider them fully a part of our family as long as they’re with us and to be an advocate for them. Especially in the case of a child who is too young to communicate, we have to stand up for what we believe is best for her. It’s not that we want to keep her just out of selfish desires and avoiding a painful loss, we believe it’s our great love for her that propels us to fight for what is best for her. What is best for her is to be in a home with people who love her and already have a relationship and attachment to her, and vice-versa. Staying in touch with biological siblings is important and we’re not disregarding that, but because there is no currently existing sibling relationship, it doesn’t seem like that should trump the parental relationship that currently exists between her and us.
I’m sharing this for several reasons… to be honest about the struggle we’re in right now and how much it’s tearing at our hearts, to be open about the kind of policy mess that can surround each child welfare case, to shed light on what we believe to be an unjust situation and more than anything to ask for your prayers as all this is being figured out. The department has essentially made their decision but there are a few things we can do to challenge their position.
It ain’t over yet…
Martina, I’ve just started reading your blog a few weeks ago. I live in PIttsburgh, and I’m praying for you. It takes so much courage and vulnerability to be foster parents. I am praying for Precious to stay in the home with the parents she loves, and I am praying for you and your husband and protection of your hearts and souls as you battle.
First time commenter! I have been following your story and am rooting for you guys. I also live in Nashville and can’t believe that the define kinship that broadly. Best of luck to you guys and I will be thinking of you!
I HATE THIS! 😦
Wow what a pickle. How unnecessarily complicated to these people make things? I feel for you all. Keep blogging! For me part of the therapy of some of life’s trials and triblations are best thought through when I am committing font to virtual paper. Hope it works for you too. We’ll keep praying over here in Blighy too xx chin up
I’m praying that you can keep her with you.
I hesitate in writing this. When ever people “tried to comfort me” I never felt better. They did. But they would always say such stupid things. But alas I feel compelled.
It’s been a long while. 5 years to be exact. We were going through the “process”. The very painful process. I remember the day when I realized that at least 14 people had a say in if a particular baby would be ours. I remember the moment when I realized that all of those 14 people had free agency to do what they wanted. And they did 4 times. 4 times a baby slipped through our hands. And it was crushing. Until one day all of those people let it be and our beautiful Aiden came to us. We are forever changed by those babies and by Aiden. The road can be long, hard and very sad but there are also moments of pure bliss, love and strength you will find in your relationship with your husband. You are not alone, fight the fight as long as you can and keep faith that all of those people will see it your way. And one day it will hurt just a little less and you will have a baby forever (my prayer is that it will be precious) . 5 years later I feel like myself again, babies are incredibly healing to the soul. My prayers are with you and your precious.
My heart is breaking for you. God is bigger than policy or judges though, so will definitely keep praying.
Fight hard and stay strong. I’ll continue to send thoughts and prayers your way. Hang in there!! 🙂
Praying for all 3 of you!!
I can’t imagine how hard this must be. I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but a good lawyer might make the difference.
As I ahve read your struggles with your 2 girls, I am hurting for you. And I am awed.
What an amazing gift you are offering these girls, and who knows who else.
Not everyone could do this–you have extraordinary hearts.
You both inspire me.
May God bless you as you fight for your girl.
Your family will be in my prayers.
What a mess of a situation and I’m so glad you’re fighting for what’s best for Precious. It’s amazing what you are doing for her. You all are in my prayers…