We just got your kids the other day. They're very sweet and doing well so far. They ask about you a lot.
I saw your face in court the other day when you saw me and knew who I was. Fear, anger, nervousness all flashed across your face. I'm not allowed to speak with you yet, but here's what I'd like you to know:
We're on the same side. We both want what's best for your kids. We may have vastly different ideas about what's best, but really, we're on the same side.
They don't give us any information about the kids, or about you. We've had your children for a few days, and we're guessing here. We're shooting in the dark. I don't know why they were removed or how long they might be with us. For a while, I didn't even know their last names or for sure how old they are. I know even less about you.
As a foster mom, I have to assume the worst. Don't think that I see you as a monster. I don't. But thanks to the above, everything I see out of the ordinary is suspicious. Don't feel like I'm the enemy when I suggest that we get a doctor to examine the scar on his hand, because we have no idea if it's from a fall he took last week or from abuse.
We choose to love your kids. When we tuck them in at night, we kiss them on the forehead and whisper "I love you" just as we do with our own children. Every day we make that choice to love them, even if it doesn't come naturally.
The system is broken. Yes, it absolutely is. I once heard an attorney say that the state is a terrible parent. Thankfully, the state doesn't take care of your children on a day-to-day basis. I do, and I'm a pretty good parent. You work your plan and I'll take good care of your kids in the meantime.
I respect that you're his mother. And I never forget that.
It breaks my heart when you miss a milestone. Baby's first smile, first steps, first birthday, first day of school...all I can do is take photos and write down the date.
I take a lot of photos. A lot. I don't always give all of them to you, but I document every event, every special day, and every moment in between. Someday, when you're ready, they're here waiting for your child. And if your child ends up being adopted, the photos go with them so they have a record of their own history.
I know you love your kids. Every mother I've worked with so far has loved her kids. I understand that sometimes personal demons are bigger and make you unable to care for your children right now, but I know it doesn't diminish your love.
Your kids' foster mom
**Note: this isn't about any particular case or child. This is an aggregate of all of my experience thus far as a foster mother.
Monday, February 1, 2016