Over a week has gone by and what we initially expected to be a 3-4 day placement has been at least twice that long! Due to the nature of foster placements, I don’t feel like it is prudent to publicly share too many specifics. For that reason baby will just be baby and I will use gender neutral pronouns.
I’m sure the biggest question is “Why don’t you know how long you will have baby?” There isn’t a good answer without going into previously mentioned specifics, but I hope I can give you a general idea.
The first goal of fostering is always reunification. No matter what the circumstances, if there is a safe chance that baby should be with its parent(s), that is the first goal. The second goal is a kinship placement. If baby can’t be with its parent(s), it should at least be with relatives. Third goal is, well, us – complete strangers willing to take baby in, even if they don’t know for how long. Even if baby isn’t with family, baby is safe and loved.
I don’t in anyway disagree with these priorities, but it does make it so things are way more uncertain. In our case, there is both a chance that baby could go back to a parent or go to a kinship placement, just neither are ready quite yet. And there is now really good estimate on when either option will be resolved enough for us to know if baby stays or goes.
Originally, the investigating case worker thought there was a good chance baby would go to parent pretty quickly. This is why we thought we might only have baby a few days. We had agreed to take him before we knew (thought we knew) this, but figured – Hey! We are Lookin’ To Be Parents (bonus points for incorporating the blog name in there), why not be parents for a few days? Get some experience! So we hunkered down into “triage” mode and get it done.
When a child is removed from a home, there has to be a legal determination that the removal was legal/proper, etc. If it wasn’t, I guess baby would go back. I think the case workers make sure there is little chance of this before doing the removal and I haven’t heard of that happening. but I am still pretty new at this.
In our case, it was deemed all proper and good. It was determined there were conditions under which baby could go to parent and there was a possible kinship placement. We figured this would happen quickly.
Obviously it did not. The uncertainty is hard to deal with, but we are managing. “Triage mode” wasn’t very sustainable, so I think we have managed to figure things out where we can both function for the outside world as much as we need to.
We were very blessed to receive a whole lot of baby stuff (clothes, equipment, etc.) from a neighbor. Our preparation of getting a car seat and a basinet were very good things.
I have learned that despite any technical skills/aptitude I thought I had, they in no way translate putting clothes on babies. I am half convinced baby clothes are designed by people who hate babies and their parents. I think easily the biggest point of contention we had all sleep-deprived week was when I couldn’t figure out which side was the front of the onsey (onsie? ones-ee?). The only worse thing are the nose bulb things. These were designed by people who like to hear babies cry. They probably invented the common cold too as an excuse to use them on babies.
We are learning lots and enjoying our time. Maybe I should change my name from Lookin’ To Be A Daddy? Probably not. In many ways I am still lookin’.
Oh, and as a side note on traditional adoption stuff. We have heard back from the birth mother – about her two older children and if we would be interested there as well. That might sounds like a joke, but it isn’t. Sounds like they are in the care of a friend who cannot take them permanently. I haven’t even been able to process that yet.
Clever/heart wrenching last line!