There is waning interest in our foster son and I no longer believe it is my imagination. The urgency of helping this little boy and his siblings, all less than four years old, appears to be fading. The activity around the case, even the court dates have spread out, leaving us big gaps in time for us to bond and love and grow closer as a family, but distracting us from the reality–that our son is a foster child in the custody of the State of Maryland, until and unless the Baltimore Circuit Court for Juvenile Causes determines otherwise.
We hear less and less from those who were with us so often for better or for worse in the first year. His initial case worker who was so much a part of our lives and such a huge support in the first four months is now completely unreachable. The Child Protective Services worker who also was with us from the very beginning and was at the first few hearings is also no longer around. His current case worker who seemed so eager back in January when she was handed our son’s case is now busy with other things. She has moved to a new location, is in a new department and has an intern in tow. There are indications that her interest in reunification is also waning. This is not to say that the plan for our son has changed, it has not. But the word from our worker and even some of the comments that the case worker has dropped on other people seem to indicate that the excitement of pressing the case forward under the current plan has diminished. She still does not communicate with us, shares nothing that would help us continue along this path with the full understanding of what our future holds, both for the three of us as a family or the two of us if he is to leave.
There appears to be disinterest from the family, but we don’t know what that means in reality, if it means anything at all. There are visits every week and we know that they cause our son’s case worker frustration but we don’t know why. We had contact with one of our foster son’s relatives, a relationship we had hoped to maintain but we have not heard from that person in close to a year. There are doctor appointments scheduled but no one shows up anymore but me. It is worrisome a little. The appointments were supposed to help with the transition, to give the parents more time to be around their son, to begin to understand his medical situation, to be able to ask questions. But no one comes, not the parents or the case worker and I don’t know what it means. We have less contact with his court appointed attorney, and that is not to say that her interest too is waning–it is simply a matter of hearings getting spread out as the case drags on.
We no longer keep up The Book, that sacred binder full of documents that tracked his caloric intake, his daily progress, his medical records, even his bowel movements. With the improvements in his weight and overall health and development, I begrudgingly gave up the constant documentation of his life. This last weekend I put both volumes of The Book into a closet after filing away the latest medical documents. I guess my interest has waned in maintaining it. The Book served its purpose and for now would mostly amount to busy work. I do regret that we are not recording things about his development–the words he uses, the mini-milestones he achieves. I thought that it would be interesting for him to read someday.
I too have changed over time. I think we both have. We are mostly consumed by our wonderful life. Our foster son is becoming so boisterous, full of fun and energy. We can talk to each other now. We all get sucked into this life that we lead as a family, both the happy-fun and the screamy-pouty-not-so-fun times. It is all good–good for us–good for him. I have lost interest completely in wearing my sadness on my sleeve. I am less prone to tears; I do not walk around in a daze. There is hope for us and maybe that is all I wanted, just to know that it is not so absolute. It does seem that I have made some kind of peace with what is happening and I imagine that will continue at least until the next court date.
One day this coming January, for a few hours in a courtroom in Baltimore, Maryland, everyone will shake off their disinterest and will feign that they are engaged in this case again. What will happen is anyone’s guess, but in all likelihood the maneuverings before and during the hearing will result in another court date sometime in July 2009, another six months so that everyone can go back to the way things were.