Monday, June 30, 2008

15 Month Roller Coaster Ride

Our son's were in our home as foster children for 15 months. Life as a foster parent is never dull and we learned to accept each day as an adventure.

The first rule you learn as a foster parent is that your door is always open and CPS can and will walk in at any time. You are always looking over your shoulder and worried that you will do something wrong. That being said, I would not trade those 15 months for anything. It was a test in faith. By adopting from foster care, the cost to adopt was not in dollars but in sweat and tears. We did not have the financial resources to pursue international adoption, nor the information to purse financial help. We did not feel led by God to purse this type of adoption.

God calls all families to care for the orphans on our planet and he guides each family that asks how to accomplish this task. Now that we are past our foster care days, who knows we may have another adoption in our life from another country.

Because our children were scheduled to be reunited with their biological parents, we would take them to visit their biological parents each week. You learn to listen very carefully to the workers and hope they will reveal any new information about the case. I had to keep a notebook at home with all the twist and turns our case took. The biological parents would work on their objectives for a few weeks and then stop attending classes and calling to check in. As time went by, the CPS workers started to get tired of all the starts and stops and began to lose patience with the biological parents. The parents lawyers were trying to keep the case moving forward and started to turn the biological parents against each other. The fact that they were not married helped this tactic. This threw the case into a tail spin. The mother started doing better once she was on her own and things were looking up for her. We were very worried, but had faith that God would pull us through.

While you understand the goal of reunification, your heart tells you that these children are yours. You are the one to kiss their boo boos, kiss them goodnight, and clean their dirty noses. The biological parents are only there an hour each week. I cried out to God on many occasions asking why this was taking so long.

Given enough time, all problems will boil over and people who do not want to give up destructive habits will choose their selfish path over children they do not have a bond with. With almost 14 months gone by, any attachment they had with their children was starting to fail. I do not like to think of the pitfalls of the foster care system from a biological parents perspective. I have not been able to get to that point yet. I have empathy for people who have addiction problems, but do not quite understand it from a personal perspective.

During the summer of 2004, we were getting ready for the termination hearing. We had been given a date in September and the biological parents were not putting up a fight. They had stopped coming to visits and were not showing up to the mediation meetings.

We were thrown a curve ball when my husband was diagnosed with skin cancer. We were afraid this would hurt us with the children. We chose to withhold the information from CPS and hope we could juggle all the balls. This was hard as the surgery did not turn out well and he was at home for three months. God is gracious and we kept our family intact and managed to keep a positive outlook.

The day of court was nerve wracking. We sat in the court room and listened to the entire trial, and learned some new facts about our children's background that CPS had not informed us about. This is normal for CPS to not give foster parents the whole story. The biological parents did not show up for the trial and the judge made her ruling very quickly. The judge guessed during the trial that we were the foster parents and asked to meet us after the trial. We were overjoyed that she had read about us in the CPS reports and was pleased that we wanted to adopt the boys. Now we just had to wait for the appeal time limit to pass and we could adopt our precious boys.

January 2005 could not come soon enough. We went before the same judge and finalized our adoption.

We were done, but GOD was not!

1 comment:

quilted family said...

thanks for sharing your story so far. I am also an adoptive parent through the foster care system and I like to hear other people's stories.