Some Clarity

A few weeks ago, K and I met with the ad litem in the kids’ case (the attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the children). He’s a good guy and provided us with a lot more clarity about the situation than CPS has.

Unfortunately, the news was not the news we wanted to hear. Not only does the ad litem believe the children will be going back to family, but he indicated that they would likely go back well before the twelve months for the permanency plan is complete.

We’re likely to have Abe and Bess for a few more months, but it is very unlikely that the two will be our “forever family,” as they say. The upside is that the ad litem believes there will be a safe place with family for the kids to return to: the situation was described to us as “a good family with a wayward daughter” (the mother of the children). That being the case, it probably is in the best interest of the children to return to family members who can love and care for them. But that will not make it easy to let go.

I’m not sure if knowing this far in advance is a good thing, either. Yes, it gives us time to prepare for the day when we will have to send the kids away; if worked through properly, that could prove very helpful. Conversely, if we don’t work through the impending loss in a positive way, it could be quite the opposite. Most of all, K and I must be careful not to guard our hearts too much–we need to give these kids all the love we can in the time that we have with them. And, nothing is done until it’s done. Despite the high likelihood that the kids will go back, nothing is a sure thing yet.

This puts K and I in the awkward position of needing to decide what our planĀ  will be in the likely event that the kids go back to family. We’ve started to discuss, but a plan is still in the works. We’ve decided it will be best to take some time off before accepting a new placement to make sure we’ve properly worked through our emotions. How much time has not been decided. With our available time away from work largely exhausted for the rest of the year, our next placement would need to be school-age children if we accept a placement sooner rather than later. If we want to try again with small kids, we’ll likely need to wait until 2017. No decision has been made about this.

In the meantime, we’re going to focus on getting and giving all the joy we can, continuing to strengthen our relationships with Abe and Bess and providing whatever we can to brighten their futures, whatever that future may be.

Ask and You Shall Receive

No sooner had I published my post about our false alarm earier this week, than my phone rang. One of our placement workers on the line; they had another potential placement for us. This time, a 3-month old boy (We’ll call him “Abe”) and a 2-year old girl (we’ll call her “Bess”), just taken into custody by Child Protective Services today. We didn’t have much information to go on about the situation they’d come from, but we were ready to take the plunge. A quick conference between K and I and we were back on the phone with the placement worker.

She submitted us for consideration for the placement and we waited  an hour and a half that seemed to drag on forever. We got a call back just before noon that we’d been accepted and that the kids were coming to us that day. I rushed home from work to make sure everything was in order. K joined me sooner thereafter and we tried to busy ourself as we waited for the call from CPS that Abe and Bess were on the way.

They arrived around dinner time Thursday evening. After signing all of the CPS paperwork, our time as parents had begun.

I had intended to post something on Thursday, but I found no time to do so. Here we are, two mostly sleepless nights, and the sun is coming up again. We managed to get Bess to go to sleep around eleven last night (for some reason unknown, trying to put her to bed is one of her triggers, although after last night we may be easing our way thr0ugh that), so K spent most of the night up with Abe. Since I’m a morning person who doesn’t nap, K let me try to get as much sleep as I could last night. She’s a night owl who would much rather sleep in, so we switched off with Abe about twenty minutes ago.

Abe is asleep (only so long as he’s behing held–he’s currently comfortable in one of those wrap-carrier things so that I can type). Bess is still in bed and has a decent sleep debt from Thursday night (when she wouldn’t go to bed until after 5 a.m.) to catch up on. K is resting while we can. I sit at the kitchen table, a mostly-empty bowl of cereal beside the Ipad and a pot of coffee brewing. It’s the most peace and time for myself I’ve had in two days. We’ll see how long it lasts…

False Alarm

Monday night I got a call from our agency informing us that we are now open to receive a placement! It was after five when we got the call (I didn’t answer, so it was a voice message), so I called back Tuesday morning.

When I called, one of our placement workers informed me that they had a potential placement and asked if we wanted to be put it to take them–a brother and sister of 5 and 6 that, based on the information we had, looked like a great fit for us. I quickly called K (pulled her out of a meeting) and consulted with her.

After giving her the information, she had to go back into the meeting (a staff meeting at the church where she’s the director of children’s ministries) and give the devotional. I waited by the phone for her return call. It didn’t take us long to decide that we wanted to try to get the placement.

I called the placement worker at our agency and asked her to put us forward. Then we had to wait an excruciating few hours to know whether Child Protective Services was going to choose us for the placement.

They didn’t. As it turns out, when CPS sent out the message looking for potential foster homes, they neglected to state that there was a foster home already familiar with the children and that they were likely going there–which is exactly what happened.

Needless to say, K and I were exhausted by the emotional roller-coaster of the process, and understandably disappointed that things didn’t work out this time.

On the other hand, we now know what it’s like to go through the potential (emergency) placement process and the experience quickly built our relationship and trust with our placement workers (who were also left out of the seemingly-important information CPS had, otherwise they would have let us know up front that that might be the case).

We had an in-person meeting with our placement workers yesterday afternoon. This is a standard practice and I’d called Tuesday morning in part to set it up. We understood going into the foster-to-adopt program that there are a lot of variables and that there will often times be things we just do not know when we’re asked to make decisions regarding placements. To the extent that we can, we’ve made peace with that.

I can’t say enough how great our placement workers are–we came away from yesterday’s meeting extremely thankful that we have them in our corner.

And so now, we go back to waiting, watching our phones for that call from the special placement number, which could come at any time, wondering who the children will be and what kind of situation they’ll be coming from, imagining what it will be like but trying not to set up expectations, struggling to keep our minds and hearts open. Impatient.