June 24, 2012

Your Honor

Your Honor.
Although the chances of meeting you in person are very slim, possibly non-existent, I often think about you and the powerful impact you have in the lives of the foster children who are in my home.

I am not an attorney or a legal assistant or even a court reporter, nor am I personally acquainted with anyone who is.  In fact, I don’t know very much about the legal system at all.  Whenever a court hearing is scheduled for the families of my foster children, I sit expectantly by the telephone at home, sometimes unsuccessful in the virtue of patience, waiting in anticipation for news of the hearing’s outcome.  My opinion will not be taken into consideration.  My perspective of the situation has minimal significance.  So I must completely entrust the lives of my little ones into your capable, knowledgeable hands.  Hands that hold the gavel as it decisively bangs onto the bench, setting in motion decisions that will have permanent ramifications.  I have no say or influence in those decisions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am silent.  I often use my voice to pray for you.

June 13, 2012

Unanswered Questions

The boys and I wait patiently at the county social worker’s office, watching the clock slowly ticking 5 minutes, then 10, then 20 minutes past the appointed visitation time.  In anticipation of seeing their birthmother, the 12-year old had proudly brought his report card with straight A’s to show her, and his 10-year old brother brought some artwork that he had drawn, complete with hearts and a stick-figure boy holding hands with his stick-figure mom. 

Every Wednesday afternoon we sit in this room with its outdated furniture and bilingual public-service posters on the wall, the boys squirming in their seats with excitement about seeing their mom, me wondering what to think and feel.  I know that if she doesn’t come, they will be terribly disappointed.  Should I gently remind them not to get their hopes up?   If she does come, they will be loaded up with candy and cheap toys, and their mother will be unable to prevent their unrestrained energy and boisterous behavior from getting out of hand.  Should I calmly admonish them beforehand to be on their best behavior?  Either way, whether their mother comes for her weekly visit or not, experience has taught me that I will be facing some behavioral challenges for the next few days:  either from their anger at being broken-hearted once again, or at their frustration and confusion from being reminded that they cannot live with the woman they love.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a single thing I can do to change the situation.  So I wait quietly with them, saying nothing.

June 1, 2012

Never Forget

Although I knew that this moment was inevitable, I was still somehow startled when the phone call finally came.  Your social worker, letting me know that you would be leaving our home.  I hung up the phone with a heavy hand and a sinking heart, my mind numb with trying to comprehend what this is going to mean.  How can a mother possibly brace herself to say good-bye to her child?

There is no way I can explain this life-changing event to you, because you are too young to understand good-byes.  One moment you will be in the security of my familiar embrace, completely content and sheltered.   And in the next moment, you will unexpectedly be in the arms of a new, unknown mother.   Will you be scared and confused, wondering where I am?  Will you grieve the loss as much as I will?