12 votes

Trying to figure out my personal craziness

I hope this is the appropriate Tilde for this. If no one has any input it will still have helped me to type this out.

TL;DR In over my head with marriage, foster care, family, and work.

My wife and I became foster parents about 1.5 years ago with the intention to not adopt, but to care for children 3 and under while bio parents worked to regain custody or other permanent placements were arranged. Our first placement was two girls (7 mo and 2.5 yrs) despite wanting to do just one kid at a time (especially to start). We had them for 6 weeks and mom got them back. We had another placement (8 mo boy) for about another 6 weeks. There was a considerable lull and we were getting frustrated about not getting any new placements when the girls from our first placement were placed into custody again. So we were able to take them in again (now about 1.2 and 3.5 yrs). FF to now and we've had them for about 6 months.

We never really intended to have more than one child and for quite this long and we're struggling. My wife has always had a little less ability to weather stressful situations like this and these last 2-3 weeks I'm carrying a lot of weight. In the meantime, bio mom has gotten pregnant and there's not another hearing regarding custody for another 9 months. We fully expect that she will not be able to take them back at that time (or really realistically ever). What should probably happen would be that the county could place the kids into permanent custody (basically getting them adopted). However, from what we've heard from other foster families, temporary custody could drag on for years.

So, our main dilemma is this. We are not equipped (as a couple) to care for these kids for years. With the likely prospect of no change in custody in the near future, it feels like the best thing for these kids would be to get them into the care of someone looking to do this long-term, perhaps to eventually adopt. That being said, we absolutely love them and it feels like some kind of betrayal to force them to make yet another transition. On the other hand, with our limitations, it seems like that is inevitable anyway. Do we try to make that happen sooner?

Some other data points:
Our fostering license expires in October (about a month after the hearing is scheduled) and we don't intend to continue fostering (at least for a while, and definitely not with our current agency).
We don't have many family members close by to give us a hand with the kids, making us feel isolated and making it hard to get breaks from the kids. Our agency has not been very helpful with lining up respite care, but we're trying to be more aggressive about that now.
I've got things pretty well lined up to retire in about 5 years. My company is also just now kicking off a major project of a similar time frame and I'm in a good position to really make a mark before moving on. It will probably require some serious time commitments and effort to do it the way I want to.

Thanks for listening.

3 comments

  1. [2]
    DonQuixote Link
    First of all, my hat's off to you for taking on this wonderful mission. Not every one is able or willing to do that. Your situation is a tough one. You could try to separate your love for the...

    First of all, my hat's off to you for taking on this wonderful mission. Not every one is able or willing to do that. Your situation is a tough one. You could try to separate your love for the children with what's best for them. No one can do that but you.

    For example, if I was married and about to divorce in this situation, the whole question of well-being would change. Or if one of you two should come down with an illness.

    That being said, grandparents take up this burden all the time, and the health issues are everpresent. My thinking is that you need to look at all the barriers to their well-being if they stay with you versus if they are put up for foster care again.

    One of these barriers to their well-being may actually be your well-being. For example, a few years back my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and moved in with us while we tried to figure out what to do. After a time, it became apparent we couldn't provide for his needs, so we moved him to a nursing home. Part of not providing for his needs was the increasing stress it was putting on us.

    I still visited him almost every day, and made my presence in the nursing home well known. It was all I was capable of doing.

    So in your case, I would assume the realistic choices for the children are 1) remaining with you and your wife, essentially adopting them. 2)Postponing this choice as long as it won't kill your life-trying to make it work or 3)take the pain of putting them back in the system.

    But base it on both your heart and your head. Just separate the two on paper and look at it again. Sometimes things become clearer just by looking at things differently.

    I have no training or experience with this, so I hope someone with more background comes forward to help you. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    5 votes
    1. Jehosephat Link Parent
      Thank you for your response. It makes a lot of sense to try to break down the logical and emotional components of each possible decision.

      Thank you for your response. It makes a lot of sense to try to break down the logical and emotional components of each possible decision.

      1 vote
  2. Jehosephat Link
    Happy to answer questions if it helps. Didn't want to make the wall of text even taller...

    Happy to answer questions if it helps. Didn't want to make the wall of text even taller...

    1 vote