While the changes David Bowie once sang about seemed like a normal part of life, the changes our children are going through shouldn’t be a normal part of life. Sport and Sunshine have been with us almost seven months and we’ve seen so many adults in their lives leave with little more than a good bye. They’ve had their early intervention worker changed twice, had their ongoing worker changed twice, and will soon have their adoption worker changed as well – and this is only since they’ve been living with us. Prior to coming to our home they had already been through a couple of social workers and at least one early intervention specialist.
Needless to say, Sport and Sunshine haven’t had much consistency from the adults in their short little lives. While we are the only home that Sunshine has truly known (she was fortunate enough to be placed in only one foster home besides our own home), Sport has already known many homes other than our own.
People say children are resilient, but they shouldn’t have to be. The adults in their lives are supposed to protect them and care for them. And that’s what we’re trying to do.
The part of all these changes that we find truly upsetting is that some social workers (and by no means all – some are absolutely amazing, and yes we’ve been fortunate enough to deal with some of the truly good ones) seem unconcerned about going to a child’s daycare and picking them up without ever meeting them or talking to them prior. When a social worker is removing a child from a home that is an entirely different situation and there is perhaps nothing that can be done about that unfamiliarity and suddenness, but a scheduled visit with biological parents is a completely different situation. These visits are usually planned out weeks in advance and are not an emergent situation.
We understand that social workers are busy and might not be able to always make it out to a child’s home before a scheduled visit. We accept this and we’re willing to have a chat regarding the impending pickup by a stranger, but all that we ask for is a friendly looking photo to refer to during our discussion with our child. We want to assure our child that a friend will be picking him up from school. Unfortunately the only photo that was provided to us was a work ID with a very serious expression. An institutional ID photo with a stern look is not a good representation of a friend, or anyone a child might want to spend time with.
Our child has been moved by social workers on several occasions, so we want him to know what’s going on and who he’ll be seeing. Equally important is the notion of “stranger danger,” which he has absolutely no understanding of. Most of his life he’s been asked to go with people he doesn’t know and this is not something that should make him feel comfortable. While we of course don’t want our children to be afraid of the world, we know it can be a scary place, and we want to exercise certain precautions. One of those precautions is teaching our children not to hop in a vehicle with people they don’t know.
All that we want is for social workers to be a bit more understanding of our concerns. We’re not trying to inconvenience anyone, but our job as foster/pre-adoptive parents is to look out for our children. They don’t have many people in their lives that have stuck around and stood up for what is best for them, and that’s what we want to do.
Obviously our children also have to go through some changes that all kids have to face, including advancing through school and getting new teachers. Last week Sport started his transition from his toddler classroom to preschool! The timing is less than ideal with all of his other changes. However, even though we love his toddler room teachers, we’re excited for him to move up and be around older children. He seems to be doing very well in the new classroom so far.
Well, while we do our best to manage all of the new faces and changes – we’re going to go about our lives much as we have for the last six months. Even though our schedules have been busy, we’ve made time for some fun too! We were able to get out and enjoy some of the recent beautiful spring weather and take advantage of one of our Christmas gifts – a membership to the zoo.
Our visit to the zoo also included a very familiar face, Grammie, aka Meg’s mother Brenda. Together we saw a wolf, snakes, flamingos, and so much more including two sleeping brother bears – it was the closest we’ve ever been to a bear!
Enjoy a few photos from our zoo adventure: