Thursday, July 24, 2008

Forever at last

Three years ago, a sibling group entered our foster care system. They were placed with a foster family for what was supposed to be a period of about three months, and just now..........three long years later..........they are finally transitioning to their "forever family." This lengthy term in foster care is becoming increasingly rare, as there are now laws in place that try to prevent children from languishing without permanency. However, the path for these particular children has had many twists and turns, and it has taken time to resolve the issues.

I have the utmost admiration for these particular foster parents, who have resolutely endured tremendous challenges and have remained steadfast in their commitment that their home would be the only stepping stone between these kids and their permanent home. For a time, it even looked like these children might be returned to their past-abusive home, and the foster family was facing the unbelievable task of helping to prepare them to transition back. Somehow, they remained patient in believing that justice would prevail. While I would have been raging wildly at the social workers, this family swallowed their frustration and focused on day-to-day life. When the kids left briefly to an adoptive placement, this family welcomed them back with open arms when it all fell apart.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have known these children. They can be incredibly demanding of attention, fight amongst each other like cats and dogs, and drive you to the brink of insanity. They have each struggled with deep depression, have huge trust issues, and are the definition of "needy." But there is a certain courage about them, too, that makes my daily challenges seem so small in comparison. They've faced abuse and rejection that no human being should ever have to endure, and still have the strength to get out of bed and face each day.

And now.......they're starting all over again. In a new place far away. With new people that they don't know. A new home. A new school. A new bedroom. A new yard. A new neighborhood. And they're told that this is "forever." There is no home to go back to on the weekend, or at the end of the summer, or after Christmas, or any other time. This IS home. In all of its unfamiliar glory. I'm sure they will be allowed to visit and talk to their foster family, but their foster home is no longer "home."

There is a saying about giving your children the two most important things in life--One is roots, the other is wings. I wish these children the utmost successes in life. I hope that they've grown roots to build on, and I hope they know that we're all cheering for them to FLY.........

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