Chronicles of a Foster Family: Saying Goodbye for First Overnight

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May 14, 2014 by greenhouse04

Baby M. is sound asleep in his crib in Eddie’s room. It’s good to have him back. Last night he slept for the first time at his dad’s house.

We were told that he’d have his first overnight last week. We’d been planning our traditional Mother’s Day Mini Vacation for Sunday and Monday, but cancelled it partly because of weather, partly because we wanted to take Baby to his dad’s. I was eager to see where Dad lives and to get to know him a little better, and I wanted my kids to see where M. would someday live to help them with the transition.

So, we did our grocery shopping in the morning, then went to Burger King for lunch where the kids could play. While they played, I cuddled Baby M. as much as I could. He smiled at me with the usual adoration in his eyes, which only makes this whole goodbye-thing harder. But I’m so glad he has learned to trust and bond with us – it will help him bond more easily with his dad when the final move happens.

Finally, we loaded up and drove down to his dad’s. The house was small, blue, run-down and in a rough neighborhood, but the lawn was clean and it was right next to a Baptist church and across from an elementary school.

We knocked on the door and were greeted by two very friendly* dogs – one a white pit bull. They were quickly collared by M’s aunt (the dad lives with his sister and her son), and Dad welcomed us in with a broad smile. The house was spotless, and there were piles of baby supplies ready for M.’s use. He shook hands with Eddie and Emma and exclaimed over how cute they were.

I gently lifted M. out of his car seat- he had fallen asleep – and laid him on his cousin’s bed while telling Dad what to expect while caring for M. overnight. The case manager arrived to make sure everybody was settling in. Dad described the delight he’d had as he drove around town buying supplies for his son. The case manager told Dad that he is the “option” at this point, since M.’s mom isn’t progressing with her case plan as she should (she still only sees Baby M. for an hour each week). I could tell the prospect of getting Baby M. permanently excited Dad.

Finally, shortly before we left, Baby M. woke up, and his dad and I went to the bedroom to get him. Dad tenderly lifted M. up, smiling and talking to him. Then he turned to me while holding M. and said, “I want you to always be a part of M.’s life. After he moves back here, you can see him as often as you want. You can visit him, he can visit you – even when he’s 20 I want you to be in his life.”

Writing these words, I’m doing again what I did yesterday when I heard them – I’m crying. Yes, I cried in front of my foster son’s dad. He seemed pleased by my tears, and gave me a hug. I don’t know if I will stay a part of Baby M.’s life – these good intentions often don’t seem to work out – but it means so much to me that his dad would say that. And most of all, he seemed to mean it.

Poor Baby started crying right before we left. I rubbed his arm and said goodbye, and left. I cried a little as we drove away.

We had a nice day together as a family. Of course, I thought about Baby M. a lot and cried a little more as I lay in bed last night. But after seeing M. with his dad in their home, I felt ok.

Next time: I go to Baby M.’s 4-month check-up with both parents – first time I see them together – then take Baby home after his first overnight.

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One thought on “Chronicles of a Foster Family: Saying Goodbye for First Overnight

  1. Instant Mama says:

    Oh, this was a tear jerker. I’m so glad his dad is so excited. That’s such a positive. Our kids’ mom promised us the same, but once they returned home she wasn’t as excited about continued contact. But she still allows it whenever we are available which is nice. I hope all the best for baby.

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