This past year has been completely surreal. Sometimes I feel like it never happened and other times I feel like I am still in the middle of it. One year ago we received our first foster care placement - a 3.5 year old girl and her 10 month old brother. Even though we had been through the classes and thought we were prepared, nothing can prepare you for the real thing. My husband and I have never been parents and still haven't. It is the strangest thing to love and do everything a mom would do for someone, but never be "mom".
We pretty much knew shortly after they arrived that they would be reunified with their mother and we supported that goal wholeheartedly. No matter what we thought of their family situation it was completely out of our hands - we just continued to care for and love the little ones while their future played out in DCFS offices and courtrooms.
Yes, it happened pretty much as I predicted in this post. After her brother went home she and I bonded even more. She was undoubtedly my little sidekick. We loved our time in the kitchen together...it didn't matter if she was icing cupcakes are tearing apart broccoli florets she was all in. Okay, maybe she was there to lick beaters and bowls :) She was terrified of dogs when she arrived - literally hanging on to the door frame for dear life when she arrived because she saw Zommie (our dachshund). Fortunately, she came around and also accepted and came to adore Millie. I still laugh thinking about her tiny 35 pound self bossing around 85 pounds of "Middie." I feel like I have a sidekick story for every aspect of our daily life. My husband and I often quote her. She is a part of us.
After almost 9 months she too returned home and she most definitely took my heart with her. We have been back to a household of two for a few months, but there is not a day that does by that I don't miss those little faces. We made a sincere effort to establish a relationship with mom. I wrote her letters almost every week and sent stacks of pictures. After the little guy went home we exchanged texts, pictures and even some phone calls. When she went home we texted a little and even made some plans to meet up (both times they cancelled). Then the texts and calls stopped. It has been complete silence since late February. Part of me understands and the other part of me does not understand what happened. Maybe someday contact will resume, maybe some day we will see them again, Maybe. Someday.
Where do we go from here you might wonder? We wonder too. We have had a few calls for new placements but for varying reasons we have not accepted one yet. After our experience this past year I think we realize that what we really want is to foster to adopt. Of course, the goal is always reunification...until it is not. When they make those initial calls to place children they have very limited information. You are making a life-altering decision based on a whole lot of nebulous information. Chances are we could get our hearts broken again, but as they say there are no guarantees in life.