Reunification in foster care is always the ultimate goal.
When everyone does their job correctly within the system, this is a happy end goal. There is joy, yet there is heartbreak.
We got news a couple of weeks ago that our boys will be transitioning home at the end of April. We are super happy for mom, as we know how hard she has been working at getting the boys back. Situations have been handled to the point where it is no longer a risk for the boys to be at home and it is time for them to no longer be in care. At court the judge wanted to give it a couple more months but we are starting the transition.
The transition period is best for all involved. The boys will have been living with us and our routines, and schedules for over 6 months by return date. It would be so hard for them to go to that, to a different home (not where they lived before coming into care) different expectations, different routines, and different people. Right now they wake up, call for me (mama) the little guy snuggles with our small pup, and gets covered in kisses while we snuggle in bed. Then I get them their milk, and breakfast, we take their sister to school, we come back and play, or I get them ready for a visit, and our day goes on from there.
That will all be a thing of the past as their mom does things differently, they won’t have the siblings around, they will have a huge dog that will knock them over with love, and they will be going to full time daycare. They will come home and eat different food, read different books, have a bath in a different tub. They will be sleeping in a different bed, in a different room, most likely in different pyjamas.
Then there is our family. My daughter will no longer have a playmate after her sister is off to school. There will be no more fighting, there will be no more arguing. There will be no more separate bath times. There will be no more pee on the floor, trucks to trip over and in general a whole lot less mess. There will be no more “mommy I love you so much, you’re the best” and no more crazy smiles that light up the room. There will be no more cuddles where they just furrow in trying to get closer and closer.
There will be less food to prepare, less dishes to wash, and less teeth to brush.
There will be less noise, less laundry, less house damage, and less colouring on the walls.
There will be time for my daughters, time for cleaning and reorganizing, and time for reconnecting with my husband.
There will be another piece of my heart broken and never to be the same again.
You see even though this has been our most challenging placement, and part of me is relieved to have our normal back, the other part of me is going to cry like a baby that I won’t have two wild and rambunctious boys tearing up our lives.
What does the transition look like you might ask?
First the visits go from a couple of hours, to visits in the home. They get longer, and more frequent. Then a sleepover will happen once a week for a couple of weeks. Then a second sleepover will be added and then full weekends. Next thing I know I will be packing up their suitcases and toy boxes and cleaning out all the little boy things in their room. I will cry for a few days, enjoy a few days of rest and then prepare to do it all over again.
This is foster care.