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A Forever Family for Me

November 13, 2011

One of our friends is a foster mom.  Actually she’s an incredible foster mom.  She’s all-round amazing with kids and does incredible work with those who temporarily reside in her house.  There’s no distinction between her foster kids and her daughter.  If she loves them unequally, it never shows.

The majority of kids who are in care eventually go back to live with their birth parents.  Sometimes when that isn’t possible a kinship plan is put in place, meaning that a relative will step up to take custody of the children.  It’s even more rare that a child will become available for adoption by a non-relative.

Bella and Bubaloo lived with their foster parents for 2.5 years before we became their adoptive parents.  In their first year of care the intention was for our kids to return to live with their birth mother.  The day before they were supposed to permanently return, their birth mother lost her housing.  She didn’t show up the day they were supposed to go home to her.  She called the Children’s Aid Society a few days later to explain.

Over the next few months it became clear that the stability required to raise our two children might never come to be with their birth mother.  The legal process of becoming a crown ward and the search for adoptive parents commenced.  It took 1.5 years for this to be completed.

Our foster mom friend currently has the most incredible sibling pair in her care.  They are the most lovely children ages 5 and 7.   I do so very much adore the time we get to spend with these two wee ones.  They’re funny, clever and sweet.  They’re incredibly articulate for kids of their age.

This sibling pair are rare in that they will be adopted by a non-relative.  The search is underway for what we in adoption speak call the forever family.

Their adoption is now seriously being explored with these kids and it has understandably shook them both.  The youngest more so than the eldest.  He’s angry, scared and acting out.  He doesn’t understand why he can’t stay with his foster mom or why he has to choose new parents.  He got in a fight last week at school and threatened to punch a teacher.  It’s completely out of character.  His little spark, his joyful self, has been temporarily extinguished.

They all came over for a visit today with the intention of spending some time with our kids.  The foster kids never realized that we were a forever family and that our kids were adopted, too.  The foster kids wanted to see what a forever family home might look like, specifically what kind of neighbourhood it could be in and if it was equipped with fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Bubaloo took the little boy under his wing and they retreated to playing video games that rule boyland.  Bella took the little girl and they played dress up together.  Our kids took the time to unpack all of their feelings about being adopted and shared with these little ones some of their experience.

It was nearly 5 years ago that we moved Bella and Bubaloo from their foster family to their forever family.  Until today I never really got how scary it must have been for them.  After living with their foster parents for 2.5 years, they were moving on to another family that they’d only known for 5 weeks for the rest of their lives.  Intellectually I identified with what they might have been going through at that time, and it was only today that I connected the emotional dots when seeing these foster kids ask my kids questions about their adoption.

I was so proud of my kidlets today and how vulnerable they let themselves be.  I realized how far they’ve come in the time that they’ve been with us.  The complexity of their histories, both pre- and post-us, will forever shape the human beings they are.

I have my fingers crossed that the perfect forever family will be found for these two kids.  That they will get the love and stability they need and deserve.  That they will have supportive adoptive parents who will help them work through their issues and become the incredible person I see inside each of them.

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