A few years ago my dad gave me a dry erase calendar on Christmas. It’s one of those with a small, rectangular cork section at the bottom.
At the beginning of every month I wipe the writing clean and plot our family’s schedule… gymnastics… therapy… church… and any night’s my husband or I are working late.
This next month is full of several milestones:
(in this order)
- big brother graduates preschool
- travel to Ohio to celebrate my older sister, Casey, graduating with her PhD (a journey she’s been on since 2002). Go Casey!
- end of school year carnival at my husband’s school (my husband is celebrating the finish line of another year of teaching and the start of summer break and it’s also the anniversary of one of our first outtings as a family – thanks again, Rebecca for tagging along last year!)
- then little sister’s 4th birthday (she gets to attempt to chew… rather than swallow… bubble gum)
Then there are 4 appointments that remind us that we are still foster parents.
(1) Next Saturday – May 9th – there is a note that we are visiting LEGOLAND after a bio family visit. This is the dreaded-but-necessary dual birthday party visit. If you’re wondering we don’t write “bio family” on our calendar. Instead we write the town and “Legoland”. Lucky for us, our children cannot read quite yet. This date is a turning point for the future of big brother and little sister as bio dad will be meeting with his lawyer again that day and he has verbally committed to signing over his parental rights during their meeting. If he follows through… the road ahead is literally just a road. A road that could be just a waiting game and not a game of bumps and uncertainty.
(2) Tuesday, May 12th at 3PM is the monthly conference call we attend along with the bio family, social worker, kids’ lawyer, and guardian ad litem. Because of the amount of time the children have been in care this time, this particular call will include the judge and the bio parents’ lawyers and will be a formal hearing to review the permanency plan (where the children will be living for the long-term). It’s more of a formality than a game changer. But, never-the-less, another time to receive information about what the bio family is up to. Another time to be reminded that until you’re really sick and tired of being sick and tired… habits won’t change.
(3) Tuesday, May 26th at 1PM the kiddos’ social worker from across the state will come to our home to visit the children.
(4) Sunday, May 31… the long awaited day when the bio family says goodbye. Lord-willing, if everything goes as planned, we get to make the 5-hour trek across state for a 1-hour farewell. There are a lot of unknowns about this visit including what kind of goodbye bio mom will give since she’s in prison. Ideas that have been floating around include a video on the social worker’s phone, a written letter, and/or being conferenced in on a phone.
When I think about May, the appointments on our calendar seem surreal and at the same time the likely realities seem both valuable and necessary. In my mind, I am telling myself that a month from now… on June 1st… I will feel a sense of peace.
These dates are just that… dates. Yet in the middle of all these experiences are two special children who are not aware of these appointments. Appointments that will determine the family and environment they will grow up in.
I honestly don’t know what to expect to go through, to feel, or what exactly our children will need.
While this next and close to final leg isn’t anticipated to be the hardest part of our journey as foster parents… I do think it will be the hardest part of the journey for our children.
We’ve been talking a lot of dual feelings as a family. While severing ties with people who are related genetically will create feelings of confusion and sadness, our prayer is that these feelings be covered with feelings of happiness, love and comfort to know that our commitment of safety and stability is unwavering.
I look forward to sharing with certainty the date of our mid-late summer adoption hearing.