Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Fourth Placement

Our RFC* called shortly after Christian left our care three months ago to check up on us and ask how soon we wanted to take another placement. I told her it would be nice to wait a couple of months- at least until the end of the summer- so that we could have some time to “take a breather” and even grieve, if that makes sense. I know there are other foster families out there who constantly have their homes open to foster placements, one immediately after the other, and while I find that admirable, I don’t consider myself a “career” foster parent. For my own sanity and for the sake of my family I think it’s good to take a short breather and recover a bit from the drama and loss of saying goodbye to a foster child before diving into taking any new placements.

Anyway, I’ve been getting those feelings once again that it’s time to take another placement and eight days ago our RFC called with some information about a 22 month old boy who would most likely be removed from his home that day, depending on the results of a court hearing. I got as much information from her as was available and got a hold of my husband, who happened to leave that morning on a business trip. (Which is exactly what happened when we got the call for our very first placement- Murphy’s Law!) After talking things over and praying to know if it was just “my feelings” telling me we should take the placement or if it was God’s will for us (or both) I talked to our RFC again a couple of hours later to tell her we were interested and I expected to have him in our home that night.

Our RFC had some additional information for me about the case during the second phone call, including the fact that the court hearing was going to be put off for another week due to the fact that the removal was needful, but not necessarily an immediate risk type situation and the caregivers of the little boy (not his parents but some family friends who have been raising him his whole life) wanted to obtain legal counsel in their defense.  That gave us a week to prepare for the placement and let things sink in.

As for details, I obviously won’t be giving them, but I will share a statistic: Of our four foster placements, 75% have been drug-related and there may not be weekly visits (at least with his birthmother) because she will most likely be in jail. 

Also, when the caseworker told me the first name of this little boy I thought it was ironic that he shares the same first name as our last placement, and “Christian” didn’t have a particularly common name.

FAST FORWARD TO LAST NIGHT:  One week after we got the phone call from our RFC this little boy was taken into state custody immediately following the court hearing.  We picked him up last night at the DCFS Office and I'm surprised at how well-cared for and seemingly well-adjusted he is considering some of the circumstances he came from. 

After watching him, I've decided to refer to him on this blog as "George" because like most 2 year-old boys, he is active and very curious.  In fact, I considered getting him a monkey costume for Halloween but we found a Tiger outfit that fits him perfectly.

More about "George" in the near future as his case unfolds and we get more information.  In the meantime, I'm going to have my hands full with a toddler and a pre-schooler which is why I'll have to save my blogging for the wee hours of the night! 

[*]   Three or four months ago I was really disappointed to get a letter informing us that we were getting a new Resource Family Consultant (the caseworker who works with foster parents and calls us about potential placements).  I was bummed because we have a really good working relationship with our old RFC.  She was always very respectful and attentive and considerate to any concerns we might have as foster parents, which, in my experiences at least, isn’t always the case in the system as foster parents seem to be at the bottom of the totem pole in importance.  

Anyway, due to ever-present budget cuts the state has had to cut back on some of the casework positions and is the case with most cut-backs or lay-offs, the employees with the most experience are the ones that are able to retain their jobs, so our former RFC is going back to doing “regular” casework with foster children and their parents since that is where the bulk of her experience lies. The good news is that it’s a blessing for the families she gets to work with, because good caseworkers are VITAL to the child welfare system. The bad news is that I hate to see her go. But more good news is that our new RFC seems just as easy to work with as our former RFC was.


FootPrints said...

Welcome to the family george! give him lots of kisses and hugs from his friend in hawaii

MamaFoster said...

that is neat!!! i know what you mean about murphy's law- i am awaiting a placement call this week because i got one this time last year :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found your blog...its nice to hear other peoples stories of fostering. I hope little George is adjusting well.

Mary said...

Thank you for your support, ladies!