After the storm, there is a calm. How amazing it is to have gone through a trial (like being in the hospital with a sick child, from Part 4) and then getting to come home. You realize how much you can take for granted: sleeping in your own beds, being together as a family, our health, and the breath of life. We were all so excited to be back together in our own home, but there was a small problem that hung over our heads, which hangs over every foster parent’s head….the thought of losing your child. Heath’s birthmother had told us in the hospital (as well as in court) that she did not want him but to be with a family member. This stung so bad. Why now? Why not sooner? He was now a month old and we hadn’t heard of or from a single family member. How after she had seen that I was treating this child as my own would she not want him to stay with me? But then I would quickly remind myself that it is all in God’s hands. If I was only supposed to come in his life to save him by taking him to the hospital, then I had done my job. This thought didn’t make the sting subside though.
Shortly after the hospital when Heath was about 2 1/2 months old I received a call from my social worker. She stated that Heath’s maternal family would like to meet Heath and my family. I was TERRIFIED.
The day had finally come. My palms were sweaty, I was freezing, and my stomach felt incredibly ill. My family got there a little early so we had to wait. Isn’t waiting the worst when you are anxious? Every minute feels like an hour. As we were sitting in the waiting room every person who would walk in… I would think had to be the family, but then it wouldn’t be. Finally, in walked the family, a whole herd of them. I just knew right away that it was them. The social worker introduced us to each other and we all broke into tears. It was such a tender moment. They were so grateful to meet the family who had been caring for their grandson, nephew, brother, and cousin. And we were so anxious that the tears just flowed.
We were all escorted to a back room. We talked and talked and talked. They wanted to know how he got sick and I wanted to know about his mother. They wanted to know all about us and I wanted to know if they had any intention of wanting my baby. It was such a reassuring meeting. They were not able to take the baby and wanted us to adopt him, but we all knew that there was a paternal aunt from Colorado who was trying to fight us. And in the court’s eyes family always wins in a battle, IF they pass the requirements. This is where we were praying she wouldn’t be successful.
Scott and I realized that we didn’t have any say whatsoever as to how the long-term plans for Heath were determined. We understood that family should have priority over a foster parent when determining the permanent home for a child, but in our case… we didn’t want to see it that way. I mean, my feelings have to be the most important, right??? Seriously though, I really didn’t want my son to be raised with another family and in another state to where I wouldn’t be able to see him.
We decided to continue meeting with them on a weekly basis to get to know one another but also to possibly help the judge understand that keeping Heath here in Nevada with us he would be able to have a relationship with his other siblings who lived nearby.
What an incredible blessing it was that we decided to meet weekly. We have gained a love for this family and they have become a part of our own. Also, what an added blessing that Heath would never question who is family is and where he came from.
1- Visits with family are NEVER mandatory unless the judge orders this.
2- The primary goal for foster children is reunification with parents, siblings, grandparents, and or aunts and uncles.
3- “Open Adoption” is only between the child and parents. So if the parent has had their rights terminated you will in NO way have to visit family if you do not choose to.
Please if you have any inkling of a desire to foster take that first step and contact your state Department of Family Services. There is such a dire need for good foster families. These children need you! Your life will change for the better and your eyes will be opened up to a whole other world.