I finally have time to post about our first visit with little 2 year old fellow.
We had an insanely busy week and weekend last week. One thing after another on the calendar with no time to breathe or process or anticipate or worry. Finally on Sunday afternoon Aaron and I found ourselves driving through the brilliant fall colors on our way to meet little guy. We talked about our expectations (low) and wanted to be on the same page regarding talking to the foster mother about future visits. We held hands and chatted and enjoyed a few minutes of quiet together. Neither one of us was particularly nervous or uptight.
We found the house and were greeted at the front door by the foster mother. She was friendly and welcomed us in. Little guy was standing in the middle of the living room. We casually said hello to him when he was introduced to us. He took one look at us and made a bee-line for his 18 year old foster sister. He curled up in her lap, keeping a wary eye on us while he listened to music on her iphone. We chatted with foster mom for a few minutes, trying to keep everything casual and low key. She filled us in on little guys likes and dislikes. Aaron got on the floor and started playing with little guys favorite toys, Duplo’s and blocks. Foster sister put the iphone away and little guy pitched an all-out royal fit. Normal 2 year old behavior with just a touch of extra desperation. Foster mom held him in her lap and rocked him and he calmed down. From her lap he was eyeing Aaron who was still calmly playing with toys. He got down from her lap and edged over to Aaron.
The rest of the time proceeded much as expected. Little guy played a lot with Aaron. We were there for about an hour and a half and by the end of the visit he was chattering away (we couldn’t understand him though) and even allowed a cautious hug as we left. We were able to observe him with all of his foster siblings and his foster mom and it was clear that he is well attached to them and sees himself as part of the family. It is also clear that everyone in the family cares about him and that he is being nurtured in their home. He is a relatively calm little guy who loves music and building things.
Our goals for the visit were to introduce ourselves to little guy and have him and the foster family start to feel comfortable with us. That was accomplished. We were also pleasantly surprised at how the foster mother initiated and laid out more transitional visits than we had originally expected, since she seemed a bit hesitant at first in our other meeting and initial phone calls.
So, that is all good right?!
Well, as always seems to happen in the DFCS world there was some news that took us by surprise. Halfway through the visit foster mom casually mentions that the parents have petitioned the court for increased visitation and have started to do one of the things on their case plan. Aaron and I just looked at each other. What did that mean?
On the way home we tried to talk through all the issues. Our conclusion was, this little guy seems like a good fit for our family and we see no reason not to continue with his transition to our home. However, we do not want to be foster parents right now. We do not want to be another stop/disruption on his road to reunification. If his biological parents can show they can care for him then we don’t want to stand in the way of that. His current foster family loves him and the only reason he is being moved is because DFCS plans to petition the court for TPR and adoption.
So what do we do?
Monday morning I called the case manager. Obviously I can’t give details, and there is still a level of legal risk, but there is a bigger picture. Basically at this stage we are being asked to weigh what level of risk we are willing to take.
We have decided to take each day as it comes. We are holding everything lightly and not making any long term plans. Right now we will continue with the transitional visits. If we get new information that changes the picture then we will re-evaluate.
I will admit that some of my initial reaction was selfish. I wanted Sunday night to be the night that we could finally have the joyful anticipation of this process. I wanted to come home from the visit and make positive phone calls to family. But I still feel like I have to hold my emotions in check. My wise husband said, “We have to trust God to provide for our emotions. When it is time for us to be joyful we will be able to be joyful.”
The thing is, I feel God tenderly taking care of my and protecting my emotions right now. I am not obsessing. I am able to think clearly and pray about the situation without it taking over my whole thought process. I feel calm. I am able to take each day as it comes. I am able to give my kids the attention that they need from me. That is only the Holy Spirit.
So we continue one day at a time. Learning the deep lessons of the heart. Realizing again our complete lack of control. Trusting God to care and provide for us.