Being pre-adoptive foster parents puts us in a pretty conflicted state – we want Sport’s and Sunshine’s birth parents to do well but at the same time we don’t want to lose the children. We knew when we accepted this placement that it was a legal risk placement, meaning the birth parents have not lost all their legal rights to the children. However, we knew if we wanted to be placed with a young child or children our chances of being matched with a placement would increase exponentially if we opened ourselves up to legal risk, so we took the chance. Of course knowing the risks and really truly understanding the possible implications of a legal risk placement are two different things.
Now that we’ve had the kids in our care, living under our roof, for over two months we’ve genuinely started to develop a bond and we’re really falling for these kids. Even when Sunshine’s fussing at 3 AM and her eyes are welling with tears because she’s starting to teethe or when Sport is shrieking at the top of his lungs because he wants to play baseball and not go to bed, we’re still head over heels for these little buggers. They have become a part of our family – our children. Yet, the fact is, they aren’t just “our children” they are also our “foster children.”
The reality of the situation is that we have little control over the future. Everything is in the hands of the birth parents, DCF, and the courts. As of about a month and a half ago both children had goals of adoption. However, even though their goals are adoption, DCF continues to work with the birth parents to turn their lives around and follow the path that DCF has set out for them to be reunited with their children. While we do know some information about the troubles the birth parents have faced and some of the things they must do to prove they are fit parents, we don’t know specifics or where they are in this journey. What we do know is their social worker, who we communicate with on a regular basis as she is responsible for organizing and overseeing the children’s visits with their birth parents, mentioned that the birth parents took a step in the right direction. In addition to taking this very unclear “step” we know the parents are showing up to all of their visits with the children.
The “step” and the consistent visits could mean nothing. It could mean they are slowly working their way towards being fit parents in the eyes of DCF and the courts. Or, it could mean that they are doing what they’ve done in the past, making a bit of progress only to stumble back down the rabbit hole. Regardless of what it means, it has forced us to contemplate what legal risk means. It means Sport and Sunshine may never legally be part of our family. It means Sport and Sunshine might be removed from our home. It means Sport and Sunshine might be reunified with their birth parents. It means we might be devastated.
If, down the road, DCF or the courts decide that the children should be reunified with their birth parents – DCF will contact us and a transition plan will be created. If this does happen we could have very little time to get the kids prepared for the move and for us to digest the heartbreak. Of course, none of this may happen, but it could. We need to try to “prepare ourselves.” Although there really is no preparation. It will be painful. It will be difficult. Equally as important as trying to prepare ourselves and remind ourselves of what could be, is doing the same for our friends and family. The children have become a large part of their lives too.
Well, enough of the seriousness, time for some photos of the cute little nuggets helping prep for Christmas: