Four years ago, my first foster son was returned to his biological mother after being with me for only one month. Despite this short period of time together, I made a commitment to myself and his mother to always be available to take care of him again. Together they entered a ‘mommy-and-me rehab’ facility (similar to Arapahoe House) about an hour away from my home. As my foster son’s mom didn’t have any family, she asked me to visit during family weekends and to take her son back home on some weekends (which was a common practice at the facility, albeit the babies usually went to grandma’s home or an aunt).
A lot of people are surprised to hear about my continued relationship with my foster son’s mother post-reunification, but these days, it’s considered best practice (see Family to Family Model from the Annie E. Casey Foundation). When you think about it, it makes sense. People have been taking care of each others’ children for centuries. The only difference between a mom whose children are in foster care and most of the rest of us is that we have family of friends who will take care of our children if we’re in a crisis. We have a safety net. Only when a child is missing this kind of safety net does he or she enter foster care. Of course, sometimes parents have burned bridges with their family and friends, but nonetheless, in the case of the child, their government has to step in and substitute for the community.
My foster son has since been adopted by a lovely family who lives less than a mile away. Long story short, the child welfare system here in NYC is so big he got lost in it and it took me months to find him. By that time, I determined it was best not to fight for him to be bounced out of a stable home once again. You can see my previous posts about his adoption here. In the meantime, check him out during his first Halloween:
More blog posts from Rebecca:
How The Government Shutdown Affects Foster Kids