I was talking to Mario the other night and mentioned that in May it will be two years from when we started this fostering adventure. However, we've technically only been parents for four of those months.
It's been totally different than what I thought it would be like. It took nearly a year to get our first placement. Between getting home studies, taking classes, preparations and our social worker going on emergency leave, we didn't get a placement until April. Almost a year after we started the process. We really thought we'd have had a placement much earlier. However, life reared it's head.
Our first placement was a toddler. He was our first big test. Going from no kids to a toddler was hard. However, he was smart beyond his years and because of that we had to keep an eye on him. That cute booger was into everything and loved being outdoors. He was with us until mid July.
He was our first good bye. I still miss him every day. I have a hard time looking through photos of him and not getting emotional. He was our first baby and taught us so much. More importantly, how to love unconditionally.
Then because of our move and trying to get my sister-in-law's home ready for inspection, it took until November to get us licensed again.
We got our second call for a newborn foster placement the week before Christmas. We were supposed to pick her up on Friday, but because of her situation, we didn't get to pick her up until Monday before Christmas. We visited her every day at the hospital. Got to know her and her schedule, fed her and cuddled her. When we did take her home, it was interesting because it was top secret. The hospital took the situation very seriously. They were very careful to make sure we never ran into the parents or the family. The nurses actually wheeled me out in a wheelchair, so I'd look like I was just a normal mother leaving with my baby.
That was a minute by minute situation. Things changed so quickly, even her social worker was baffled. We had her for two nights and then she was ordered to go with a family member. The judge thought she should be with family for Christmas. I totally agreed, but had to say good bye to our Christmas baby. We learned a lot in those few days with her. She was sweet and content. She never cried. I was also able to get over my small fear of newborns. I was having those same dreams pregnant moms have, where you dream you forget the baby somewhere or don't change them. Those dreams are the worst! However, this sweet girl got me over that!
A few weeks later and we are with our third placement. A 1 year old little girl. Tomorrow is court. So, hopefully tomorrow night, we'll find out how long we'll have this sweet girl with us. Depending on court, this is the only placement that looks semi long term and they have even mentioned adoption. I have to be realistic though and keep in mind that like all foster placements, things can change so fast. I have to expect the worst and hope for the best. Until then, we'll enjoy our time with her!
I think the one thing we've learned is to never assume you know how it will go. Every placement has been different. Well, different on the outside. On the inside, it's about loving these babies for as long as we have them. Foster care is an adventure and a complete mystery!