Thursday, August 13, 2015

the verdict is in

I love foster care!...

there is truly never a dull moment. every story is different, and every situation is so very very unique. our cousins who have been fostering a little elementary age girl for a year and a half, have been in the midst of a transition plan for months on end, with no actual end in sight. transition plans are ideal, but certainly not mandatory.

we went to court yesterday. twice actually. well, we thought we went to the right courthouse first, but fortunately we got there really early, and found out that they changed judges, and therefore courthouses. so chris and I jumped back in the car and drove 15 minutes away to the correct courthouse. we made it with time to spare- because they started late- which is understandable when you have about five different lawyers representing this one family. our case worker from Christian Family Care Agency came as well, and it was so perfect having her there. she is the best. I love our licensing agency with all my heart. they take such phenomenally good care of us. if I haven't completely scared you off of wanting to become a foster family, you should look into being licensed with them!!!! but back to court: it started, and the more people were talking- the more it sounded like J was going to be with us until the next court date, which probably would have been in December. when I was anxious about the unknown last week, I had the burden of not knowing whether or not we would be a family of 6 or 5 by the end of the week, but to be completely transparent, I was very VERY afraid that J would be staying with us for longer.

I don't know if you have picked up what i've been putting down about her this last year- but J and I are not kindred spirits. instead of being the apple of my eye, she was more like an eyelash in my eye, under my contact lens. this has had so very much more to do with the fact that she is a toddler, and that I too am a growing, developing, selfish being, and pretty much nothing to do with the fact that she is a 'foster child'. but nonetheless, I have struggled with dealing with this toddler that I have not been able to connect, and bond with. I have been her caregiver and provider for over a year, but I do not at all feel deserving of the title 'mommy', as she has been calling me, because, you know, I think she thinks i'm her mom... the whole thing. it's insane. it's maddening. it's why I am insane. did I mention that I love foster care?...

BACK TO COURT: after all 87 of the lawyers said their piece yesterday, the judge proclaimed that J would in fact return to her other four siblings, this weekend. it was the absolute best case scenario that we could have hoped for. had the judge told us to return her home that day, it would have been a rushed and unfinished mess of unsaid good byes. instead we get to really enjoy, cherish, and bless this little girl for a few more days, and then send her back to her family that has greatly been anticipating this reunion. I cried some sincere tears of sadness, but I cried some serious tears of joy and RELIEF. a HUGE burden had been taken off of my shoulders. it's a burden that I have put on myself- the burden of feeling like I HAVE had to love this kid as if I conceived her, and held her in my womb for nine months, and birthed her and got to know her and THEN had to deal with the terrors of being two. I don't know why I put this burden on myself. but I did. daily. and the guilt, and the feeling of falling short for the last year was crippling at times. so even if it makes me sound very heartless- I am glad to see J go.

I feel like I need to defend what I just now said. but i'm going to leave it there.

for now.

this is not my last post about J, because I have a lot to say about our first foster placement experience. but I have a ton of things I need to do to get this little girl ready to leave our home.

we really REALLY appreciate all the prayers and support we have gotten, especially this last week as we waited to find out J's fate, and in turn our own. keep on praying, especially for J, as she is being thrown into the deep end of life back with her family (transition plans are for chumps!) pray for her to somehow understand in her innocent mind, that we didn't abandon her, and that we did what we were supposed to do as her foster family. pray for her family to be ready for life with a toddler (good luck suckers! just kidding!!!! no I'm not.). and pray for us as we take a month off to rejuvenate and relax and enjoy some much needed calm before the next storm...

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

next week

I absolutely realize that no one knows what will happen on any given day. sometimes the best things happen- like you run into an old friend you haven't seen in forever. or you find a $100 bill in your back pocket (that's never happened to me before, but I can only imagine how happy I would be if that did happen. actually, when I was in Toronto there really was a $100 bill AND a $5 in the washing machine and I almost pooped my pants with excitement. but then I bragged about finding it and my mom took it from me cause she 'claimed' it was hers. she let me keep the fiver though and I still felt like a lottery winner.) but on the flip side- terrible things can happen without any warning. I don't have to give examples of this because people are all too familiar with tragedy and pain.

but, as much as I can- I like to plan ahead. I have a big dry erase calendar in our dining room that has all the events of the month on there. I check it often, add things, occasionally erase things, and if it doesn't make it on the board- it doesn't exist. I have almost forgotten to show up somewhere for lunch more than once because it didn't make the calendar.

there is an event next week that is in bright green- which signifies all the things that have to do with J. the event is a court date. the last two court dates- one in January, the next in May- J's siblings were all returned to a kinship placement. J's siblings are all older than her, and so at present the kinship placement is just a 'guardianship'. in other words- they're still foster kids living in a foster home. so as soon as J's siblings went home in may (maybe it was april...) chris and I started mentally preparing ourselves for J to go home at the next court date- which is next week. BUT there are a bunch of things that are supposed to get done before J goes home, and I honestly have NO IDEA whether or not they've been done yet. NO IDEA. and no one has any answers for me. so, even though I am aware that we have to take it one day at a time, and we shouldn't be anxious about anything (phil 4:6), and that each day has enough troubles of it's own (matt 6:34)- I DON'T KNOW WHAT MY FAMILY WILL LOOK LIKE NEXT WEEK. it's very strange.

now mind you- we've been here before. J is our first foster babe, and she has lived with us for a year and a month. 43% of her life. before we got her- we were in this limbo of not knowing when we would get our foster baby and what they would be like and how long we would have her for. foster care is living in limbo. for foster kids, and for foster families. it's not normal. but nothing in this whole picture is. but we've generally known what to expect with J and her family situation. until the last few weeks when we were finding out things weren't really happening, but there was still a chance that they could get done. so we are operating as if J probably maybe isn't leaving, but also trying to be prepared for if she surprisingly perhaps by chance does... it's enough to cause a person to jump out of a moving vehicle. again.