Friday, August 21, 2009

Molly's Back in Foster Care

A couple of weeks before my surgery I got a call from our Resource Family Consultant (RFC) telling me that Molly "might" be coming back into foster care.

MIGHT? What does that mean?!

Our RFC didn't really know any other details at the moment but she said that DCFS was trying to "explore all their options" and were putting "back-up plans in place". They just wanted to make sure that Jared and I were still willing to take Molly as a placement if it came to that.

"OF COURSE!" I told her. She then told me that DCFS would know more about the situation in a couple of days and then they'd be able to make a decision. She promised she would contact me either way- whether Molly came back into custody or not.

A couple of days passed and I didn't hear anything. I tried to remain calm on the outside but inside I was speculating like crazy. I tried to convince myself that no news was good news even though deep down I was frustrated and antsy that nobody had called me back. And of course, Murphy's Law applied to the situation: our RFC happened to be going out of town for about a week so even if I did try to call for more info I wouldn't be able to talk to her anyway!

Although I was extremely stressed I got the feeling that I should just "let things slide". So I tried to be patient, brush things aside, and busy myself with other things, but Molly was on my mind constantly.

The week after my surgery I couldn't wait any longer so I called our RFC back. I was hoping that she had just forgotten to call me back which turned out to be the case and she apologized profusely.

"Can you tell me if anything happened with Molly's case?"

"Yes" she said. Then she took a minute to track down her notes.

"Molly and her brother were placed," she continued . . .

(long pause while looking for the info)

. . ."Here it is" . . .

"with a maternal relative".

I wasn't expecting to hear that.

"WHEN were they placed?" I asked next.

"Let's see . . ." (more pausing)

"August 5th. That was just 2 days ago".

I started feeling a little betrayed, helpless, and even defensive that she had been placed without us even being told a thing.

"Aren't WE supposed to have first priority in taking her as a placement?" I asked, surprised at how defensive I sounded.

Our patient RFC explained that we do have first priority UNLESS there is a relative who is available. And THIS TIME there happened to be a relative who was willing to come forward and take both children (Molly and her little brother) and pass a background check and get approved by DCFS. (When Molly was in our care the first time, no relatives except for her birthfather's parents were interested in stepping forward. Even so, DCFS didn't feel comfortable placing her with them)

"But . . ." our RFC continued, "If things don't work out with this relative, then you will definitely be contacted."

I felt like a runner-up in a contest being given a consultation prize.

It didn't matter that my husband and I were the ones who cared for Molly for nine months of her life (from the time she was 4 months to 13 months old) or that she had at one time been attached to us in a safe, loving home.

None of that matters because we're not blood relatives, we're just lowly foster parents and as such we have no legal rights to this child or any say in the matter. Such is Foster Care!

I asked for Molly' caseworkers number to see if she could give me any more details. The caseworker was very nice but explained pretty much the same thing, "I can't really tell you anything- Sorry."

"Can you at least tell me how she's doing?" I asked.

"Oh sure- she's doing just fine." she casually answered.

So that's all I know about Molly: She's back in foster care, but not with us, and she's doing just "fine". Whatever that means.

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