Within days after the kids came to us, we had lots of people ask us "Do you know yet if you can keep them?" Well, no, we don't know that yet...it has been four days...
Recently, about 6 weeks into the placement, we've had another wave of folks asking us the same question, perhaps, understandably, thinking we have more knowledge of where things are headed now. Nope, not really. These things take time.
Our kids' mom had her first visit scheduled with them five days after they came into foster care. She didn't make the visit. Honestly I think it was a mix up about time because she did then show up an hour later, but nevertheless, she missed it. I later had this conversation with someone:
Me: "Their mom didn't make her first visit."
Other person: "Oh, that's good, right?!"
.........No, actually....that's not good. Ya see, I kind of want to set something straight.
We are not trying to steal someone else's kids. While we are indeed dual licensed as foster and adoptive parents and do hope to adopt at some point through CPS, we're not trying to jump the gun. Our intent is to present ourselves however we are needed. For now, that is as foster parents without a clue how things will turn out with these particular kids. Down the road, it may be as adoptive parents for these or other children. If we wanted to jump straight to "keeping them", then we should have been licensed as adoptive only parents and found a child or children whose parents' rights had been terminated and who were awaiting adoption.
We are rooting for their mom, not against her. We want, want, want her to be able to get her kids back and them to be a whole family again. Reunification is always the goal, always, unless and until it has been clearly determined by the court that it can't happen. Just like it took their family falling apart to put our little for-now family together, our little for-now family will have to break apart for their family to get back together. We calculated that risk plenty beforehand and are prepared for that heartbreak if it comes. Honestly, if it means that their mom is on her feet, doing great, keeping them safe and taking care of them, bring on that heartbreak. If the powers that be determine that they can go home, we will trust their decision and it would be with many tears of both sadness and joy that I hand these sweet kids back to their mama.
It's a weird place to be, not gonna lie. You just have to have the right mindset in this and understand that CPS is not trying to tear families apart. They're trying to get families back together and they try really hard. How the birth parents respond to what they need to do is not in CPS' control, but we can all root for them in the meantime.