Foster Parenting: One Door Opens, Another Closes
By Diane Ponist
As we are in the heart of the summer, we are also coming to the end of several permanency cases in our house. In a few days court is coming up for “Carmen” which should turn to adoption, and “George” is leaving us forever. Emotions are high and coming from all directions. Mind you, we also had two more respite foster children during these past few days.
George started overnights to assist with his transition back home. After the first night, George came back full of bug bites. We immediately went into panic mode, leaving his stuff outside, stripping him down and getting him quickly to a shower. The next day, he woke up itchy and with both eyes swollen from the bites. Straight to the doctor we go, exactly what he wants to do on a Saturday morning.
On Monday morning a chain of emails go out complete with pictures and a doctor report. While the report listed severe bug bites, I was told in person that they were bed bug bites. The county supervisor said she understood our frustration and worry about our own home becoming infested. But she decides it’s simply fleas from the bio parent’s dog. Instead of exterminating, the supervisor decides, and since court is next week, they’ll just have George stay with bio. So now George is leaving us. We can’t get him to understand the sad fact that he is not coming back.
The day before we say our final goodbyes to George, we wake to a 6am voicemail from Carmen’s bio, agreeing to sign over her rights after a difficult two-year battle. This all came after a recent supervised visit when the bio extremely over-fed Carmen, to the point where he was wailing in pain. Later that same day the bio was informed of the goal change to adoption. She called us that evening, screaming about the goal change. We replied that all we ever wanted was for him to be safe, but she hung up. Days passed with no calls from her, until her voicemail. It was the most emotional message either of us had ever heard. She said she would signing over rights before they were terminated. She was going to do this willingly. She also added that we were never to contact her again, that she wanted no further communication. This is hard for us since we promised we would always be in contact regarding this precious little boy.
And so we sit here, buckling our seat belts in preparation of this roller coaster of emotions. We are, for the first time, watching one of our foster children leave us after over a year together. We are not so confident that he will be watched, as promised, by the system. On the other side, after almost two years of fighting, we have our little 3-year-old boy officially becoming “us”. He is finally out of the woods and finding peace. As the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens.