February 4, 2014 by greenhouse04
Previous Posts: We have a new foster son, born in early January. We are now in the midst of navigating the foster-scene once more.
Parental Visits. . . a necessary, though difficult, part of fostering.
Baby M. had his very first visit with his mom right after we agreed to take him. His next visit was a week later, and he now goes twice a week for a one-hour supervised visit in the office.
At Baby M.’s second visit a new figure appeared – his alleged dad. I say “alleged” because parental tests have to be performed. This dad appeared at the office saying he wants custody of Baby M. The case workers immediately put him into the visit schedule, and they’re now working toward reintegration with two parents instead of one.
This news brought mixed emotions for me. I’m glad Baby M. may have a father who is interested enough in him to come to the foster agency on his own. But, of course, the presence of a father lowers our chances of adopting Baby M. in the future.
Not only did visits begin in full-force that week, but medical appointments began as well. He’s already had two doctor visits and one WIC appointment, and will have a developmental screening in a couple of days.
As a good, experienced foster mom :), I wasted no time in making a two-week medical appointment. Once the appointment was made, I notified Baby M.’s caseworker. It would have been very easy to “forget” to tell her of the appointment, because I knew she would tell M.’s mom, and she’d be at the check-up. But, like I said, I’m experienced, so I knew I could handle a doctor visit with a birth mom present.
Sure enough, the case worker emailed back, and warned me that mom would come to the visit, too. She (the case worker) would also come, to help with any “awkwardness.” I wrote back, saying “Don’t worry, I’m prepared.”
The morning of his doctor visit came, and on the drive into town I steeled myself for the coming experience. I’d gone through many doctor visits with Emma in which her birth parents were present, and I hated every one. They were always reminders to me that this child whom I loved like my own, wasn’t yet my own at all.
But this visit was much easier. I knew what to expect; I knew not to take anything I heard from M.’s birth mom seriously or personally; I knew that this was simply a necessary evil to be borne.
The doctor was properly unemotional. She came bustling into the room, talking, asking questions, going through Baby M.’s paperwork (which recorded a lot of disturbing facts, at which she didn’t bat an eyelash)… then suddenly, she stopped, looked around, and said, “I’m sorry, could you all tell me who you are?”
We did – the three of us, Foster Mom, Birth Mom, and Case Worker.
Then she examined Baby M., declared him healthy (amazingly, considering the before-mentioned facts), and we were free to go.
Sadly (said with sarcasm), the case worker and birth mom were parked on the opposite end of the medical center, so we had to part ways at the elevator. I toted Baby M. out to the van, latched him in, and was on my way home. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I congratulated myself on the grace with which I handled that difficult situation. I thought, Maybe I’m getting used to this whole foster thing!
As I drove, I cranked up the worship music that I gravitate toward during times like these, listened, sang, thought about God and His sovereignty, His plan, His love for all His children, and . . . cried.
Yeah, so maybe the experience wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Maybe congratulating myself on my ability to handle a difficult situation with grace was a little premature. Maybe I’ll never quite get used to caring for and loving a child while only being that child’s foster mom… while wondering the whole time what will happen to that child in the future…
But I do know without a doubt that God is giving me grace to take care of Baby M. in these circumstances. I have no other explanation for why I’m able to do it.
Next Post: Case Plan Meeting!