This past week has been the week that I spent a lot of time worrying about Ella.
The clock is ticking.
The general rule of thumb in foster care is that they want to reunify the children with their biological family, or find another option for permanency, within a year. It sounds reasonable. Except, a year is a long time when it is your first year of life.
I try not to dwell on the fact that Ella (or any other foster child) is not *our* child, and that she will be leaving. You can't live your life dreading the future. It's not healthy. I know this.
But from time to time it's hard to avoid.
Everyone has been asking how it's going, but I know what they really want to know is "how much longer." And the truth is - just like with any of our other placements - I have no idea.
I DO know two things for sure:
I can tell you that I brought her home exactly six months ago today.
And I can tell you that I dropped the "auntie" baloney a long time ago. I am her mama.
But just for now.
I have been worried about her future. Worried about who is going to raise her, and make sure she has clothes that fit, and healthy food, and a safe cuddly place to sleep. Worried about who will hold her when she needs to be held, wondering if she will have brothers and sisters and aunties and uncles to watch over her like she does with us.
Usually I have at least a vague sense of how the case will proceed, what the next step is, and some sort of timeline. Not this time. The fact is, I have no idea when she will leave, and I have no idea where she will go. I feel lost.
And it is terrifying.
I wish I could tell you what the plan was. Tell you that things were going great, and that she will be back with her family any day now. I wish I could tell you that, but I can't.
I know it is hard, the not knowing and the wondering. But I just don't have an answer for you.
I don't have an answer for anyone. Including my own family.
Our entire life as a family is on hold. And our family on the mainland have all been put on hold too.
As foster parents, we can't leave the island with Ella. And we can't imagine leaving without her. The last time we left a foster child behind, it almost broke me. I'm not doing that again.
So here we shall stay. At least it's a nice place to be.
But I do want to go back East and see my family and friends. I miss them.
Soon, guys. I promise. And maybe I'll even be able to introduce you to Ella.
Please send some good thoughts to our sweet girl.
She is stuck in a system that she can't get out of.
We are going to protect her and love her for as long as we can. Until she has to leave.
Or until we do.
I know it is inevitable.
I know she is not my baby.
I know we are going to give her back.
I just wish I knew who I was giving her to.
5 hours ago