It's May 2010, our son is 3 months old, and our foster (it's growing harder and harder to say that 'F' word) children are one and two. It's been a month since God changed our hearts and we began loving and living as a forever family of five...things couldn't be better.
The road to getting to this place was long. We loved our babies and we loved their birthmom ('L')...she had our support. We wanted her to succeed so bad and I wanted God to use me to make that happen. I really thought it was a job God gave specifically to me and I took it very seriously. I worked hard on our relationship while she was here and I encouraged her to come back after she moved. I wrote letter after letter pleading with her to move back and work toward reunification with her children. The whole moving the kids out of state thing was beginning to feel a little out of reach, it was proving to be much more difficult than was first believed. And the longer they were in state care, the harder it would be for her to get them back, especially considering their ages. Because they were under 2 when they came into care, DCS could have filed for termination after just 6 months, but they didn't because of 'L's' unique circumstances. Since she moved to have the support of her family, they gave her the benefit of the doubt and exhausted many options in helping her.
I gave her a call on Mother's Day and my heart was broken, for may reasons. One thing lead to another and I ended up asking our FCM if she could move in with us. She could live here, work toward reunification, we could find her a job, provide transportation, and what better way to learn to be a good mother than to live with her children under our supervision and let us help her! Right? Or wrong...very wrong, not even allowed actually. The truth is, despite my intensity and passion for all of this, my FCM giggled when I asked her. There were several reasons why this was a bad idea...I'm sure where you're sitting, you can think of plenty. At the time, I was determined to be the person who believed in 'L' when no one else did, I knew that God could use me in a big way and I was so willing. So from here, I called our community works pastor in hopes of finding her a job and I called a local shelter in hopes of finding her a place to stay. In order to work toward getting her babies back, she had to come back, no one was actually saying this...but I knew it. I kept hitting dead ends and I was working much harder than 'L' was, which frustrated my husband. He has always been much wiser in the ways of this world than myself, and I was fixated on being "Sammysaveherlife".
It was during a home vist that summer, our FCM mentioned it casually...we were coming up on a year since the "bigs" came to our home and like I said earlier, DCS could have filed for termination at six months. When she mentioned the beloved 'A' word, I let myself go there. It was an idea that JT and I had not let ourselves entertain. We couldn't. Foster parent rule #1...It was a bad, bad idea to start dreaming up their adoptions. There had never been any mention of it, and JT and I were still supportive of 'L', although we were finding it harder and harder. But now the seed was planted, she said it, not me...so it wasn't my fault. I talked to JT about it and our wheels were turning. Could this be the beginning of the end...the beginning of a new beginning...the end of the beginning we began a year ago? Okay...sorry about that, but you get the idea:)
Adoption...adoption! Is this real life? Could these babies that we've been loving like our own really become our own? Could loving our "forever family of five" become our truth? Thanks to my husband and several others in my life, it was pretty easy for me to begin letting 'L' take care of 'L'. My loyalty was easily transferred from her to her children. I had put her first for a year and made her my priority. Now it was their turn. What was really best for them? Their mom was in a much worse place than she was when they were removed a year ago. Our once neglected, broken babies were happy, healthy, and thriving. We were their mom and dad. They had already been through so much trauma in their short lives, and leaving us after an entire year would add to that already too long, heartbreaking list. At this point, "reunification" would feel more like being ripped away from their parents than going back to them. And once I let myself feel all of this, my intensity was redirected in a major way.
Termination was filed that summer and that would prove to be another long road...seemingly endless. But it's a place we were grateful for, it was totally unexpected and proof that I really have NO idea what God's plans are for my life. I've learned that if I'm moving in a direction that lines up with His heart, He'll do what He wants and surprises are His specialty. And nothing was certain, it still isn't...but we are full of a hope and peace that only He can provide. Until next Monday....
Crazy Mama Crook