A Big Step Forward

20 Mar A Big Step Forward

Six and a half months into our placement, the words caught me off-guard when they came out of the social worker’s mouth: “overnight visit”. Except, it was not just anovernight visit she was talking about – meaning one night – it was a whole weekend. [1]

There have been many transition milestones that we’ve anticipated over the course of our fostering journey, and this was certainly a big one, but it just seemed TOO SOON.

Granted, bio-mom was doing very well: she had multiple unsupervised visits a week of 4-5 hours; was increasingly taking initiative with things like formula, toys, clothes and transportation; and was getting more and more comfortable in her baby-mama role.  I was at once genuinely proud of her and terrified of having to increasingly let go of my every-day-mama role. Our family had spent over 6 months getting attached to Sweet Baby Boy.  How on earth were we going to increasingly let go?

Additionally, I felt sad for Sweet Baby Boy, having to make another hard adjustment and slowly say goodbye to all of the things and people he had grown accustomed to and loves. What will he do without Big Foster Bro with whom to play and get riled up? Or without a goofy pup to get excited about? He is now so used to being with a cohesive family (and our family has felt even more cohesive with him in it). How will he adjust to a different family structure?

Another thought that was painful to entertain was how Big Foster Bro would handle this transition and eventual loss. Despite our periodic reminders that this arrangement was temporary and Sweet Baby Boy would likely go back to his biological mother, Big Foster Bro felt deeply that Sweet Baby Boy was a part of our family. He felt like a brother. One of the best parts of fostering, for me, was getting to help cultivate and witness their special relationship. Despite the age gap between them, a special bond and sense of camaraderie developed, stemming from the shared circumstance of being the kids of the household. I knew that Big Foster Bro would miss Sweet Baby Boy every day, just as my husband and I would.

Once again, I had to dig deep for perspective. The fact of the matter was that ours was agood reunification case. Bio-mom was – without question – doing extremely well. Our Angels Clinical Case Manager, who has seen the full range of good vs. bad reunifications, put it this way: “she [bio-mom] is one of our top performers.”  She loves her son and has overcome SO much because of that love. She lights up when she sees him and takes good care of him when he is with her.

Above all, she is his mother. If she is capable of taking care of him given this second chance, then that is the best scenario of a bad situation. Hopefully, now he will never experience those nagging, painful questions of ‘where did I come from?’ and ‘why couldn’t my mom raise me… didn’t she love me?’”

Ultimately, Sweet Baby Boy’s future is out of our hands and we just needed to accept that and have faith that things would work out for the best for him. This sentiment had become a mantra in our house, given that so much is beyond our control as a foster family. All we could do was continue to be a source of love and support for Sweet Baby Boy, as he would need it more than ever during another time of transition.

[1] This turned out to be a misunderstanding; the first overnight visit was indeed one night, but the misinformation definitely contributed to my initial shock.

Angels Foster
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