Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Change of Heart...

Life with The Bug was going well, great actually. We were adjusted. We got The Bug some real furniture and out of a pack-n-play. Neighbors and friends were awesome, donating and letting us borrow toys, books, a swing, a highchair and so on. Most have 9 plus months to plan for the arrival of a new baby. In The Bug's case, we had about 4 hours. We scrambled for a while, but by now we were set and sitting pretty. All was good.

By now several months had passed and we were enjoying her so much. I kept telling my heart not to fall in love with her. The reality was that she could be gone just as quickly as she came. It didn't work. Seth and I were falling and falling hard!

Being a Social Worker, (and one that worked in private foster care for a short stint) I believed that children belonged with their families. I believed strongly that a family dynamic should never be disrupted except in extreme circumstances, and in that case, by all means "the system" should do everything to reunite them safely and as quickly as possible. Babies need their mommies and daddies and vice versa. But now, in this situation, I was questioning my very own thoughts and beliefs. The very ones that I had stood proudly behind for so long.

C was running around on the streets, even at her very young age, dodging the police and DCS. No one knew where she was, or at least they claimed. Violet knew. At least she knew eventually. They were working together to hide C. That's for certain.

Violet was certainly not suitable to care for The Bug. This was the very house they were removed from. While it may seem like there are a lot of kids in foster care (and there are), DCS will do just about anything to keep families together (as you will learn as the story continues). They don't want to take kids into care. It's expensive (for us taxpayers), invasive, and more work and responsibility for them. I have called DCS and made report after report in my career as a Social Worker...and nothing. It takes A LOT and a DAMN GOOD REASON for them to remove a child from their home. And even in these extreme cases, when they should be removed, many of tham are not. So, as for The Bug going back to Violet, well that wasn't going to happen...Or so we thought!

Initially, we had a great relationship with Violet. We even had somewhat of a good relationship via snail mail with C's mom who was in prison. Violet would call to chit chat and check on The Bug, and I exchanged letters several times with C's mom. Then things began to change.

Violet was acting differently. Her calls were focusing more on how we were caring for her. They were coming VERY frequently, several times a day. The boundaries were getting scewed a bit, as we were feeling like she was monitoring us and we were letting her "too much" into our daily lives. Then, on the eve of Halloween, 2006 we got the call.

I had a blog back then...It was private b/c of her foster care status. Here is a blurb from it...

"We let the authorities take over and while we were saddened by the decision C made, we went on, caring for The Bug as if she was our very own. She is a healthy, beautiful baby. She has brought so much happiness and purpose to our lives. Just like many parents I suppose, it is hard for us to imagine what life was like before her. WE WERE READY THOUGH, or so we thought. Ready for anything that came our way. We had been carefully prepared and trained, and I had worked in the field. Foster children were to be with us only temporarily, only until they could return to their parents and family who could care for them. We were ready...until the phone call we received Tuesday evening from The Bug's attorney.

"Great Grandmother has filed a petition", she told us. "A petition to get custody of The Bug..." These words went straight to the pit of our stomachs. I spent the evening on the phone with her pediatrician begging for his support, as The Bug was just treated for RSV, and had been diagnosed with asthma. Sending her back into that smokey environment seemed like an eventual death for her.

We go to court this Tuesday, Nov. 7th. Almost exactly 2 months to the day that she joined our family. The Bug's fate, at least for the time being, will be decided then.

It's easy to imagine how devastated WE will be. Our house could be empty again. We wouldn't wake up to baby coos and giggling. The sweet smile that greets us at the end of a long working day would only be a memory or a photograph.
Tuesday night, we were promptly humbled and reminded that foster care is temporary and this child, at least for now, does not fully belong to us. And we, the primed and ready set foster parents who have firmly subscribed to the idea that children belong with their parents are now finding ourselves questioning our beliefs and praying for different results.

Much more than our feelings, emotions and sadness for ourselves, is a sweet, innocent, very young life whose fate rests in the hands of a judge and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. This is the very home that C and The Bug were removed from and placed in foster care. While Violet, great grandmother to The Bug, (grandmother and grandfather are both in prison) is seemingly not a bad person, it was clear to DCS and has become clear to us that Violet is not a fit parent and cannot provide a fit placement for The Bug.

This is a very, very, volatile and scary situation. The Bug came to us with no medical care, no vaccinations, no routine, watery bottles, and smoke infested belongings. Along with this, there are hundreds of other reasons why this would be a tragic placement for The Bug.

Reality is, The Bug will follow one of two paths, neither of which will be one she will choose or have any say in. She will return to the environment in which she was born into, with little or no chance in life for success and stability, OR stay with us or another suitable family who can provide her with love, support and opportunities. 15 years from now The Bug may find herself as a young, struggling mother repeating the cycle of her biological family, OR the star of her soccer team and class president. It may sound dramatic, but it's true and we are scared to death for her.

We are asking for your prayers. Please Pray hard for our Bug. She needs all of our prayers and thoughts! We go to court on Tuesday at 10:00am. If you are able, we ask that you all take a moment at 10:00, Tuesday morning to think of us and ask God to be there with us and with Our Bug.

We know that whatever happens on Tuesday, one thing is for certain. Our hearts and souls will never be the same. And for now, we cherish the time we have with her. We trust in HIS plan and we pray that she is surrounded by angels that will keep her safe and protect her. And once again, just as we did before, we will TRY VERY HARD to Let Go and Let God."

The Halloween that Changed Our Lives!! But, The Bug looked Really CUTE as a LOBSTER!!

The Bug Back in the Day...

A Very Smitten Daddy

Giggles with Grandma

The Bug, helping with the laundry

Now, how could you NOT fall in LOVE with That??


  1. Katie,
    We're a licensed foster home, too and like you, I worked for the juvenile court for several years. We have one adopted son that was placed with us for adoption. We have fostered several others for short periods of time. The hardest was a tiny baby last summer who was abandoned in the hospital. After we had him for 4 weeks his grandmother came forward and decided she wanted him after no contact with him. It was hard to let him go. I do believe that children belong with family if the situation can be fixed. I long for another child but I have mixed feelings as well knowing that another family will lose that child.

  2. Such a beautiful girl!! To think she may have gone back to that same home she was taken from, how horrible! Or maybe she did for a bit, I don't know! Certainly not?! Eagerly awaiting to hear what happens next...

  3. Precious precious precious............