The face-off happens tomorrow. I suspect we’ll hear the the usual phrases – the children’s best interests, reasonable efforts, making progress, we’re on target, etc. People will sound certain. Unwavering. Convinced. Each side will be right and everyone else will be wrong.
That certainty strikes me as a cover for the ambivalence lurking beneath. And there must be ambivalence, otherwise none of us would be at this point – 18 months of hearings, 18 months of visits, 18 months of foster care and still…3 siblings with no permanent home.
How did we all – the parents, the kids, the court, DSS, us – get here? How is it that three children ended up living away from their home for more than half their lives? What makes the prospect of their return seem dim and far away?
I know next to nothing about the hearts and minds of T’s parents, but it’s not a stretch to believe that their ambivalence has lead them and us to tomorrow’s proceedings. They say they want their children back, yet they seem to stand in their own way, victims of their own uncertainty. Their housing choices, their decision to have a large family, their visit attendance, their efforts to comply with the reunification plan – all these things seem to suggest that the parents are unsure about their role as parents and about the changes required of them to get their kids back. Their internal conflict seems to show at every step of the way.
I’m not without my own ambivalence. I never thought I’d be heading off to the kind of battle that will take place in about 13 hours. The idea that tomorrow I must “fight” unsettles me in a way that I can’t fully explain or describe. I’ll do it because I have to and because T needs it, but I don’t want to.
What I want is to no longer worry about what the parents are up to. What I want is to stop caring what DSS has or hasn’t told us. What I want is to treat Wednesdays as any other day in the week. What I want is for all of this to be over and done with.