I do believe I've mentioned before that #7 & #8 were going home. This wasn't a surprise to us. We've been told since they arrived at the end of March that they'd be going home soon. Soon was originally supposed to be June. Then, low-and-behold June came and suddenly it was "maybe they won't go home...ever". Ok. Then July came and went with nothing more than a special permanency conference scheduled mid-August, still with the background of "maybe they'll never go home...". Of course, that was to their original home. They had different dads and there was the lingering possibility that they'd go home with their separate dads. Maybe.
No new word as August comes. We planned to attend the permanency conference in person, no-matter-what, but then my uncle died and we had to travel, that week, far, far away to his service. So instead, I attended by phone which wasn't optimal but served the purpose. In only a few short minutes an attorney was talking and saying something to the effect of "Well, blah blah blah, we'd like to have return-to-monitor, blah blah blah, but we know the state isn't going to agree to that, blah blah blah blah blah."...finally the caseworker jumped in (she had been patiently waiting for him to stop talking), and she said "well actually we are going to agree to return-to-monitor".
It was good that I was on the phone. I have this reputation for wearing my reactions wide out there on my face and this was one I wasn't going to be able to mask. No one expected her to say what she'd said. Clearly the attorney's weren't expecting it. I wasn't expecting it. I'm sure the parents weren't expecting it. They then spoke about timing which was very vague and fuzzy - you know, when we can get before the judge and when we can tie up some loose ends and when we can schedule some transition time between 2-4 weeks for them to go back and forth, transition slowly, maybe around the beginning of September.
I was shocked, devastated, and ecstatic, all at the same time. I was worried for our son who'd grown attached to these two. I was worried for these two because they need stability and not to be pawns of the system. Now we had a new future to look forward to soon. And a time frame. This case had been up in the air so long it was nice to know where it was headed.
September 1 came and went without any more word on the progress of the case. This made it very difficult since both kiddos needed doctor appointments soon and we were in the throws of birthday party planning. Should we find a dr and schedule appointments? Will they be there with us when the time comes to go to said appointments? What about the birthday party for #8 - will she be with us on her bday or will she be home already? Decisions, decisions.
Finally twoard the end of the month there was a hearing. It had been 6 weeks since the decision to return-to-monitor had been made. At the hearing everything was confirmed, including a schedule to begin transitioning with the final return date of 10/15. We finally had a date. #7 screamed and threw fits. He didn't want to go home. He wanted to stay with us. I assumed he'd need extra care, but I assumed he'd adjust to be excited to go home with his mother and all would be fine (until he came back into care and was permanently scarred, again...).
It was a bit of a difficult transition but it was manageable. You feel so bad when a 4-year-old one second is begging to stay with you and not go to live with his mommy and the next begging you to go with his mommy because he just got in trouble. Everytime as a family we were making plans we had to remind him that he wouldn't be with us anymore when X happened. My husband went camping which spurred our son to plan a camping trip for our family. #7 really wanted to go camping but my son calmly explained to him that he would be living with mommy H and not us so he couldn't go. Oh the meltdown. How do you explain to a kiddo that he is wanted and yet tell him he's not going to be part of your family anymore? Especially when you are one of the only adults he's learned to trust? Painful.
Everyone asks if letting them go is hard. It is, but not for the reasons everyone thinks. They think, naturally, that you get attached to them and giving them up, not having them in your life anymore, is the hardest part. That the loss you feel as the parent is unbearable. God prepares those He's called. We do miss all of our kiddos, but it isn't hard, especially because it's paired with things that we as parents enjoy, like a more peaceful home, easier grocery shopping trips, less laundry, and more sleep. The hardest part is what I've described above - not being able to keep the kids safe once they leave, and not being able to choose to give them the permanency they need in your family. Working really hard with a RADish kiddo so he feels safe and loved and learns to trust adults and a real family only to "push him out" like everyone else has so far. That's the hard part.