Before I met the birth parents of the baby whose file we had been recommended for, I had a clear idea of what we were looking for.
I have a high value for win-win relationships and it was important to me that the parents are people whom we liked and respected, and who would like and respect us. It’s also important to me that the child we bring into our family can be raised like all of our other kids, to have a true sense of belonging – not to be pulled between two families. This was my biggest concern about fostering.
If I made a wish list of what I wanted the birth parents to be like, it would look like this couple. Really. I couldn’t have custom ordered a better set of parents to be in this relationship with.
By the time they met us, they had already met with two other families and interviewed a third on the phone. (We were the only family recommended by our agency; the other families were through other agencies.) The wife told me they aren’t going to just take whoever is available, that they’ll wait two or three weeks longer if necessary to find a really good home for him. Since this is a placement for the next 21 years, they want him to be in a home where he will be truly loved and nurtured.
(This placement is in some ways more similar to an open adoption than what is typically referred to as ‘foster care’. Foster care is intended as a temporary situation with the intent to rehabilitate the family so the child can return. We certified to do foster care for children with special needs, and in these cases, the child is given up because of a disability that the parents aren’t able to deal with and there is no expectation that the child will return to live with his biological parents. However, the biological parents are expected to maintain some kind of connection with the child – this can be as infrequent as two hours once a year – the child keeps their last name and they have the legal rights to make decisions for the child.)
We were the last option – the couple was told some inaccurate information about what kind of community RBS is and that’s why we weren’t initially contacted for a meeting. That was later corrected and then they were in touch with me.
They are kind, intelligent, caring, open minded, and very very much appreciate the kind of home environment we can provide. Our expectations of one another and how we see the fostering relationship being handled is very compatible. We genuinely like and respect them, and it seems the feeling is mutual.
We agreed that we’d all like to move forward with this placement and if it were up to us, we’d have all driven to the hospital together and taken care of it right then! But it’s not up to us.
Though there are two motivated sets of parents and a seven week old infant waiting in the hospital who is medically ready to be released, we have to wait for the social workers to be in touch with one another to set an official time for us all to meet in their presence. Then there are technical details to sort out and then we have to meet with the doctors at the hospital and meet the baby himself.
None of that sounds to me like it should take that long and I expected that the parents having already met would have expedited this process significantly. But there seems to be a protocol that needs to be followed regardless.
Almost two weeks ago I was told the placement could be done within two days, and then told it could even be pushed into one long day if necessary. Today I asked for some kind of timeline so I can make plans for my week – I can’t leave every day completely open just in case they decide to call me in at the last minute. She said that she really can’t tell me how long it could be, that all these factors aren’t in her control and it could take another week. Or maybe more? It’s very undefined, which leaves me wondering how long this could drag out for?
I called a friend who is an experienced foster parent and outlined the entire situation. Is it likely, I asked, that in this situation – with both sets of parents in agreement along with us already being certified – that something can happen so that it won’t work out? She didn’t think it was likely. Possible, but not likely.
An Israeli friend who is a lawyer told me to be careful not to get emotionally involved, that until everything has been tied up, there’s no assurances of anything.
She’s right. Anything can happen and there’s no guarantee that this will work out, as positive as it all seems right now.
So that’s where I am now. Once more, waiting and wondering.