Foster Care Reunification
I’ve been trying to catch my breath all week. Every time I think about it, my heart starts beating faster in my chest. My anxiety rises, and my eyes fill with tears.
Our family will forever be different…again.
If you read my post about when she first came, you will know there is something so SPECIAL. about this little girl. She has the ability to capture peoples hearts in a matter of minutes. It is not only me who fell for her hook, line and sinker. My husband, my daughters, her foster grandparents, aunts and uncles. All of us.
She has this smile that lights up a room. Contagious. You cannot help but to smile back at her. This wasn’t always the case.
When Sunflower (nickname) came to us she was a broken little girl. So confused at to what was happening in her life. Pulled from the only people she knows and put into our home. Strangers.
Sunflowers past is colourful. Still many unknowns, but one thing we do know for sure, it was anything but stable. She did not trust adults, especially men. She either broke down crying about food or gobbled it so fast she would choke. She woke up 6-7 times a night asking me to come lay down beside her. Complete fear clouding her bright eyes.
Slowly, she began to trust us. It started with me. She would follow me around like a little puppy dog. If I closed the door when I was going to the bathroom an epic meltdown would ensue because she couldn’t see me. If I went downstairs to bring up a load of laundry she was at my ankles, I would trip over her she was so close. She would not eat unless I was sitting beside her.
Now she runs, laughs, and smiles with ease. She isn’t scared of adults, and she trusts us to meet her needs. She jumps into bed after story time and no longer screams when asked to come for dinner. She happily gets into the bath without screaming and crying.
Everyone that saw how she was when she came, and how she is now is astonished. “She is a whole different kid” they would comment. “She looks so happy”.
We have put 5 long months of hard work into our sweet sunflower. I laid on the floor beside her for weeks until she felt comfortable going to sleep. I helped her through many many epic emotional break downs. I cried when she wouldn’t go near my husband. I rocked her in my arms, reading stories and snuggling. I give her baths and do her laundry. I feed her, I teach her, I love her. And now she is leaving.
This is by far the hardest goodbye. The impact we have made on her life is incredible. She has grown so much and she knows how loved she is. She loves us just as much as we love her, and this move (although she is excited) will be very hard for her. She keeps telling me “don’t worry mommy, I come back”.
As much as I do not want her to go, I am so happy for her family. They have come together as a supportive unit to get sweet sunflower back in their arms!
In the beginning it is so easy to judge the bio family, and not like them because of what you have heard of the child’d story.
As the case develops day by day, you start to learn a lot about the family. The struggles, the battles, the wins. In Sunflower’s case there has been a lot of wins. She is going to a kin placement and they will help her mom to care for her. Her mom has fought hard, shed tears over the loss and is doing EVERYTHING on an extensive list that was required by court order.
This is why we got the news so suddenly. 10 days notice before she leaves.
Usually there is a transition period of at least a month. Starting with extended visits in the home, and then moving to sleepovers. In this case she is just gone. Paperwork moved faster then expected, there is no reason for her to stay in foster care.
The transition period is tough and I am actually quite thankful hers is short. I think that will be better on all of us.
When kids are transitioning home, they are confused, scared and it is quite common to see some regression in behaviours and actions. In Sunflowers case, I think less time to be confused will help her emotional state.
I get asked this question a lot, and I have referenced it several times. It is up to you and the family. Children’s aid certainly doesn’t keep you connected once a child leaves your home.
I think that we will continue to see Sunflower weekly as her family wants to continue bringing her to the gymnastics class I have her enrolled in. I think that is the perfect way for us to say goodbye. Rip it off like a bandaid, but still get to see her once a week.
I have cried a ton over the past few days. I am not myself, I am back to survival mode. When this kind of grief hits me I just feel paralyzed. Walking around in my shadow trying to process my emotions but still keep my cool in front of the kids. I mean they have seen me cry and I think that is a good thing as it solidifies everyones feelings about being sad that she is going. The deep sobbing I try to keep to myself and some brownies!
I have no friends who get this grief. I have met a couple people through my agency who get it, but none of my close friends understand. They are supportive and empathetic but no one truly gets it. That is why I am so thankful to have built this community through my blog and YouTube channel. You guys get it. You cry with me. You know exactly how my broken heart feels.
As we spend the last few days with our girl, we just cherish every moment. The way she runs, the way she smiles, the games she likes to play. Her under developed speech making each word sound utterly adorable. Her cuddles when we read books, and even her epic tantrums. I will miss it all.
I love you Sunflower. You forever have a piece of my heart.
Watch if you would like to see the video…..warning some serious ugly crying awaits you.