Yesterday we said goodbye to our first placement as he reunified with his mom after two years in care. He was a sweet and incredible boy full of joy. He was an easy placement and a wonderful beginning for our foster care journey.
We were so blessed to be able to spend his last day with us doing things he loved like making french toast, going to the river and throwing rocks in, playing at the park, reading, and getting him an ice cream cone. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful last day for us. Not everyone has that luxury when a placement reunifies, so we were thankful.
After we dropped him off at his moms we went straight to the movies. I think for us it was good to start the “moving on” process immediately and outside of the home.
For those rookie foster parents like us, I want to give you an inside look as to how things played out. What we’ve learned is that there is no “normal” in foster care.
2/9/18 – Became certified resource parents for California seeking ages 0-5 any gender or ethnicity.
2/20/18 – Received call of possible matched placement (a matched placement is a child who’s parental rights are either terminated or very close to termination)
2/28/18 – Disclosure meeting with the county social worker (a disclosure meeting is when you learn everything there is to possibly know about a child before deciding if you want to proceed. This helps eliminate the chance of a failed adoption as well)
3/7/18 – Meet FS5 (foster son age 5) for the first time to see if it’s a good fit
3/10/18 – Had FS5 over to begin a slow transition into our home from his previous foster home.
3/17/18 – FS5 first overnight before moving in as a part of the transition plan.
3/21/18 – FS5 moves in.
– A million court dates happen in here –
6/3/18 – Receive call that court has decided to reunify and he will need to be moved back with his mom the next day.
6/4/18 – Moved FS5 back in with his mom
So, why do I say there is no normal? Because this was our FIRST PLACEMENT. We weren’t looking for a matched placement. We were expecting a 2am phone call with a placement we knew nothing about. Then all of a sudden we have to actually decide if we will accept this child into our home or not knowing that it very likely could lead to adoption….that is a heavy decision especially when you have to make it in a matter of days and only seeing the child for about an hour. Thankfully we made the right one for our family and brought him in.
Our little guy also had unsupervised visits 4x’s a week with his mom that we transported for. Needless to say we were incredibly confused as to why “reunification was slim” like the county social worker told us. When we shared this info with seasoned foster parents many of them had never heard of anything like this. Our first placement was an anomaly.
Then, our matched placement, reunifies. We are so glad we took the county social worker’s words with a grain of salt because we fully expected reunification to be a viable option and in the end it was. Usually matched placements almost always lead to adoption.
I think it’s important to eliminate any expectations you may have. You must be able to roll with the punches in foster care. You are not in control of what happens. While we miss our little one dearly we are excited to see who God brings into our home next!