Tuesday, February 24, 2015

my thoughts on visits

The goal of foster care is (almost) always reunification. Even if the State determines that the biological parent(s) is not safe, a family member is always preferred over non-relative adoption. The goal is to keep families together.

Most of the time that is a very good goal!!!

Please don't go in to foster care if you're not willing to support reunification. Because this stuff is hard. Super hard. Crazy hard. But it's necessary.

Here are my thoughts on visits. A metaphor if you will. And I don't take credit for this idea, but for the life of me I have no idea where I heard it first.

Visits are the equivalent of ripping a band-aid off a wound so you can keep it raw.

Imagine if you will...their family tree. Each member is a branch. When the children were removed from Wendy (Bio Mom), their branches were cut off their tree. They were separated from what kept them alive. My family welcomed them into our home. They're Red Delicious. We're Granny Smith. But we're all apple trees and my tree can keep their branches alive.

However, the goal is for their branches to get grafted back on to THEIR tree. They aren't supposed to attach to our tree forever. So we have to keep the wounds raw. We don't want the kids' branches to dry off and die. They do have to attach to us. But they can't attach permanently. We have to continually keep the end of their branch wet and raw so they can attach back to their Red Delicious tree (or at least to a tree in their orchard) when it's safe.

Every visit keeps that wound open and raw so the ultimate goal of reunification can take place.

These cherubs came to my home a month ago. We've had one month for them to get used to our orchard. We've nourished their branches and given them all they need to be strong, healthy and to grow.

Today we get to rip that grafting tape off and send them back to their original tree for a visit.


Anonymous said...

I love that analogy. It feels really vivid. It makes me sad for your little Cherubs, though.

G said...

That is an excellent analogy.

Supporting reunification is so, so important. Wish The System didn't make it so hard to do!

Annie said...

It is a truly excellent analogy. The thing that always upsets me is the expectation that after years of dysfunction, a parent (or, more unlikely) a set of parents are going to be changed so appreciably that they can parent well.

If it is a matter of finances or housing, or even childcare, those things can ordinarily be handled through charitable agencies.

Usually, in our state anyway, the children wouldn't even be removed - the agencies would step in to get those necessary helps.

But, so often the issue is drug use or mental illness or illegal behavior and how can they expect that those issues can be handled in the period of time during which little ones can bear that sort of ongoing injury and re-injury?

Gloria Rivers said...

I like this analogy! And allow me to continue, for those times when reunification doesn't work (I feel inspired by your analogy :)
When the original tree continues to be diseased, poisoning its branches, we must then allow the branches to find another tree to attach to.

Foster care is so unpredictable! That is something I have learned along the way. No cookie cutters, no way to predict.

I admire you very much!! xoxo