It’s taken me a really long time to write Part 3. However, my goal is transparency and to share real-life, even though our first experience highlights the reasons that families hesitate to say yes to foster care.
Our first court date. It was my younger bio son’s 3rd birthday, February 18, 2019. We had celebrated the weekend before and had a great time at Chuck E. Cheese. Our social worker told us to prepare to have the boys for at least a year. As I understood it, this court date was a formality, the case was strong.
Adjudication is the court date where evidence is presented as to why the children were taken into care. DSS has to prove that there was a valid reason and the bio parents are also able to present their defense through their attorneys. My jaw was on the ground (along with the rest of the court room) as the judge dismissed the case. It was 6:00 pm and I had until 8:30 pm to bring the children and all of their belongings to the DSS office to return them to their parents.
I was in total shock. Emotions were high among our social workers. The tears flowed. I drove home to an empty house as the boys were at taekwondo and started packing. In tears I packed away the two months of life that had occurred and prayed about what to tell all of the boys. I tried my best to maintain my composure but failed miserably. I am still tearful as I recall that night and the innocent goodbyes shared by the boys. My bio sons were frantically handing over their favorite toys. My older son cried for hours.
My husband and I loaded up the car and headed to DSS with the foster boys. I was mostly silent as we drove, although we shared briefly how much we loved them and how we would be praying for them constantly. Our handoff was brief, and we did our best to share encouraging words to all despite our emotions and overwhelming fear of what might happen next.
Over the next weeks, we grieved. I tried to reach out to the bio parents to talk with the boys (as they said we could), but the responses quickly faded. My older son cried every single night when he went to bed for well over a month. We prayed constantly and began to heal. We had to trust. Lord, be near.
On July 8th 2019 we closed on our new house and were preparing to quickly renovate and move in before closing on the sale of our old house and beginning at our new school. The deadlines were close and my project manager hat was on in full force.
One day later, I got another phone call. I still have the voicemail. “It’s about the boys, please call me back”. My stomach was twisting in all kinds of knots as I returned the call. The boys had been taken into care again and needed a home. Would we take them?
I didn’t even have to ask my husband. It was an automatic yes. We’d already decided that long ago. I had 3 hours before I needed to go pick them up, so the scramble began again.
The reunion was sweet. There were big hugs and so much excitement. It was like we were all going on vacation. I distinctly remember the 3 oldest boys squeezing each other on our landing while jumping up and down. Our 2nd journey began. It’s still going. The last year has been full of joy and many challenges. The story is still being written and I hope to share more soon.