As of Friday our home will be empty again.
We finally faced our first "because the judge said" short-notice removal. #15 had a hearing on Thursday that overlapped a permanency conference for #14 50 miles away. I chose to go to the PC instead of the hearing which in hindsight was the right choice but I missed what must have happened at the hearing. At the PC I learned that #14 was probably going home to a relative right after the holidays (a relative who refused to take him PRIOR to entering foster care but once he was in foster care had to get involved.....) so it was good that I was there to hear that in person. A few hours later I learned that the judge for #15 had ordered immediate placement with an out-of-state relative, which meant #15 was leaving on Friday. I'm surprised based on the circumstances we got that much time.
Almost our entire family was in town to experience the foster care drama first-hand. I had prayed that they would get to see some of the process though what I meant was that they'd see a placement arrive, not a PC with an unexpected twist and an immediate removal. I tried to explain at how crazy an out-of-state order without an approved home study was, at how unusual that circumstance is especially when ICPC is avoided, and yet allowed them to see some of how it affects our home when we get these calls. I dropped #15 off at the office on my way to my graduation. All in a days work.
Today I talked to #14s CW who said though she could move #14 on Friday (before it wasn't going to be until after 1/1) she wanted to wait because he is sick and she didn't want to move him while sick. I disagreed and said he needed to be moved because a) this person whom he has a relationship may make him feel better while he's sick than I can b) the relative needs to be able to care for him while he's sick and c) let's not prolong the inevitable. I win.
On a separate-but-related note, turns out this CW (who I really like) was the CW for #5 and #6. If you remember, those were the two cutie-patooties we had for just 2 weeks that were moved because we were expecting Summer's brother. She remembered us when she called and gave me and update on the girls who, surprise surprise were adopted by their next placement. In other words, if we didn't have them moved since brother didn't come anyway, we would have adopted #5 and #6.
This is starting to wear on mie. It's not the kids or the system or the impact it has on our family. I'm wallowing in my self-pity wondering why-on-Earth WE can't have permanent members added to our family through birth or through adoption. Why??? Why have we had 7 placements so far this year, 5 of whom came and left in the last 4 months. I completely support foster care. I completely support reunification or family placements. I completely support all of the kids in our care by being a great active foster parent. We have a great home and a great family. We're at least decent parents. WHY CAN'T WE HAVE PERMANENCY?
It's really bumming mie out. I'm sitting around hoping that we can get a call soon for "the perfect" placement - you know the one that fills our home to capacity with great kids that are going to stay forever. And then to top it off get a surprise pregnancy with twins or triplets that just puts the icing on the cake. (yes, I have weird fantasies).
Honestly, I think I know why. In my deepest heart that I try to repress I feel like if we become full then the flow of children through our home would stop. Maybe God only wants us to be foster parents because if our home fills to capacity permanently then the ministry we have as foster parents would stop. Maybe we're supposed to be that family that has 1000 children on our journey. All ours, but not really, you know? Just as I've never been able to imagine being pregnant for the last time I'm not really able to imagine the time coming when we take our last call for a placement either because we close our doors or our home is permanently full. Is this God's plan? I don't know...but I have my suspicions.
So, this is where I am today. Things are good. Life is good. I'm incredibly aware of how blessed I am as a mom to a 6-year-old who came home on Friday and everyday since. I'll continue to try and focus on my blessings rather than my problems as I usually do but I can't completely ignore the tug at my heart that wants to scream "IT'S NOT FAIR!!!". It's not. That's just the way it is. On the other side of this journey I do believe we'll have a more complete picture of our lives' stories. And I know that it is and will be worth it all.